Sunday, 26 January 2014

Winter skincare: oily/combination skin

When winter comes, my skin tends to get a bit angry and start doing all sorts of weird things. For most of the year, I am definitely fit into the oily skin category, unfortunately. However, in the colder months my skin becomes a bit more 'combination', as I get a few more dry patches. I had never particularly struggled with my skin in the past, apart from the usual few breakouts in my early teens, but as soon as I started living on my own, when I came to university in 2012, my skin was just awful. I don't know whether it was to do with a change in diet or different drinking habits *ahem*, but it was the worst I had ever seen it. I became so self-conscious that I wouldn't even face anyone who I lived with if I wasn't wearing a full face of foundation, and these were people who I mostly was very close to! After a few trips to the doctors and lots of testing of different products, my skin has been looking a lot better for the past 8 months or so. This is the routine I am currently using, which for the most part seems to keep breakouts under control and my own self-esteem quite a lot higher :)

Cleansing - Yes to Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser - £8.99 -

First of all, I have to say that this is the best cleanser I have ever used. I will have to try and keep this description short as I could otherwise harp on about it for hours. I began using this in about October 2013 after hearing glowing recommendations from Ruth (A Model Recommends), whose advice on skincare I usually trust, as she really researches products well. It is specifically for oily/combination skin, so perhaps this is why it works so well on me. It is a gel-like formula which lathers on your face and rinses off easily to leave you with the softest skin (seriously, I still can't stop touching my face after I cleanse). I use this every night and it is simply amazing. I only cleanse my face at night, DON'T KILL ME. I know this is basically illegal in blogger world, but my skin actually started to improve as soon as I began doing this. No rhyme or reason, it is just what works for me!

Exfoliating - Garnier PureActive 3 in 1 - £3.99, Boots

As you may be able to see on the tube - apologies for the bad photo, I only remembered this product after I had photographed the others in daylight - this is marketed as a wash, a scrub and a mask. I first used it just over a year ago at a friend's house and instantly fell in love with it. After this, I used it every morning as a wash, and then once or twice a week as a scrub/mask. The difference between its various uses depend on how long you leave the product on, and whether you massage it in or not. However, I think this was a bit too abrasive as my skin started to get worse after a few months, so I switched to using it once or twice a week only. I use it in the shower, as an exfoliant mostly. It smells quite strongly of cucumber, which I don't really mind myself, considering how clean and soft my face feels afterwards. It is a traditional scrub with little micro-beads which help to get rid of all that gross dead skin, leaving your skin extra smooth and soft. I just wouldn't advise using it daily.

Mask - Super Facialist by Una Brennan Pore Purifying Clay Mask - £8.99, Boots

This is a product which seems to be quite famous in blogger world, and for good reason! It is really good value for what it is. I've had mine since July and have been using it on a fairly regular basis, and the tube is nowhere near being finished. I also think that the packaging looks much more expensive than the product actually is. It is a classic clay mask, which I usually use when I have any of those spot foetuses. Ok I know this is a really weird description but you know the little red angry buggers which hurt like hell if you bump them on anything, and you know that they're going to emerge and basically ruin your life in the next couple of days. Well, this glorious mask usually helps to dry these up, making them slightly more manageable. It is just really good for purifying your skin, as it describes itself. The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it takes a lot of rinsing to get rid of all of the mask on your face. But I've discovered that using a muslin cloth to remove it tends to speed this process up!

Moisturise - Garnier Moisture Match for oily/combination skin, £5.99/Nivea Oil-Free Moisturising Day Cream for oily/combination skin, £3.99

As I said earlier, I have usually always had oily skin, but this winter I have been faced with dry patches needing more moisture. I think as someone with oily skin, any excessive moisturising scares the hell out of me. I always moisturised once a day, but I must admit that I was very stingy with it. I was just always worried that my face would get too greasy and breakout if I used too much. I used to use the Garnier moisturiser, which was brilliant. I had bought it just because it was on offer, but it's really good for my skin. The formula feels almost like a mousse rather than a traditional cream, which I do really like. It is also fairly matte, suiting its specification of being for oily skin types. When this ran out, I thought i'd try a different one, so I picked up the Nivea version for my skin type. This is very good for its price. I use the day cream at night, just because I am still wary of products being too heavy for my skin. I sometimes use it in the morning too if I do have some dry patches. I do think that when i've finished this tube I will go back to the Garnier one, just because I feel that it actually hydrated and moisturised my skin more, while leaving my face looking matte and feeling smooth but not so greasy. I have had some trouble using the Nivea product on my extra dry patches. I would recommend the Garnier Moisture Match range for anyone with oily/combination skin, but of course I cannot speak for other skin types, although i've seen/heard positive reviews from others with different skin types.

Eyes - B. Energised Eye Cream - £8.99, Superdrug

If i'm honest, i'm fairly apathetic towards eye creams in general. I've only used them for about a year, probably. I know this is bad, but it was never something I had considered as a teenager before. Obviously I have since learned that you have to start these things early to prevent signs of aging and blah blah blah. Before this I was using a sample pot of a Clinique one, which actually stung my eyes a lot. I recently switched to this one when I decided to start treating my eyes regularly. I don't really have a lot of experience with eye creams as I said, so I can't really comment extensively on this. It comes in a gel form, which I don't love, but this seems to be the common formula for eye creams targeted at young people. Anyway, I use this morning and night, and it seems to cool my eyes a bit, and I suppose it must be making some difference!

Calming my skin - La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo - £13, Boots

If you haven't heard about this wonder product then you must have been living under a rock. I bought my first tube probably about a year ago now, after hearing another recommendation from Ruth. Since then, I haven't heard a single beauty blogger NOT talk about this (well, almost), and I can tell you exactly why. As I said, I used to suffer from fairly severe acne, and this was a product which certainly helped to clear my skin up. It is a gel formula, which you can apply all over your face. I used to use it morning and night but my skin became a bit too sore/dry, so I switched to using it every morning. I am now literally scared not to use it in the mornings, just out of fear that my face will return to a state of volcanic eruption (sorry if i'm grossing you out). It is seriously amazing. It has definitely whet my appetite for French Pharmacie products, and I guess it's only a matter of time before I try the heavily-coveted Bioderma and Caudalie ranges. This little tube is simply magnificent. It really does calm my skin as soon as I put it on my face, and I'm sure that any breakouts I have visibly shrink a few minutes after. I would highly, highly recommend this.

Breakout-busting - Duac (prescription)/Grease Lightning - £5.95, Lush

The first of these treatments, I won't speak too thoroughly about, since I believe you can only get it on prescription. It was the third topical treatment I was prescribed for my skin, after the first two did nothing, and it was the first one which actually worked. It is a benzoyl-peroxide gel, a formula which is commonly used for acne, and it is pretty amazing. At night, I dab a bit of it on any spots that I have or any which look like they're going to appear in the near future, and the next day they're either gone completely or have reduced to a tiny mark, which you can use the product on the next night to really get rid of them. I can really notice the difference on nights when i'm too lazy/too tired to use this on my skin. If you are really suffering from acne I would recommend seeing a doctor. I was also put on some amazing antibiotics which have helped enormously. Secondly, this Lush treatment has also been a great help. I saw Ingrid or MissGlamorazzi on YouTube using this, so I thought i'd give it a try. I find that it is best to use on no-makeup days, otherwise it can go kind-of 'bitty' when you put makeup over the top of it. It is quite a sticky, jelly-like substance, and it feels a bit weird to put on your face. However, this is a great, classic spot-calmer. I haven't noticed that it really gets rid of any blemishes, but it definitely cools and calms them, reducing their size. It is also made up of a lot of natural ingredients such as tea-tree oil, which is always good.

Sorry that this post was fairly long and a little rambly, but as you can see I do have quite a large skincare routine. I just wanted to (try to) properly explain all of these fabulous products and give my thoughts and opinions as somebody who struggles quite a lot with their skin.

Which products do you guys recommend? Do you have any holy grail skincare items?

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