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24 September 2017 18 comments


G E N T L E ,   N U R T U R I N G ,   R E S T O R A T I V E

I've been out in the glorious sunshine today (a rare few rays amidst the rain and cloud we've had lately in Surrey), and even though I tried to slather my face in sunscreen, the tops of my cheeks are feeling just a little bit warm.. It's pretty apt, therefore, that this post should go up today, as I wanted to sit down and have a big 'skin chat' with you, specifically on my ethos of skincare that's gentle on the skin, and how 'sensitive skincare' shouldn't just be reserved for the reactive, or the particularly troublesome.

I've had several requests to share my current routine and product rotations too, so I've tried to be indepth and share with you some products that I'm using and loving right now. Hope you enjoy!



I've been having a big clear out of my skincare collection and it got me thinking -

I wonder if the chemicals and fillers in all of these products are outweighing the benefits of the active ingredients?

I think with the veritable smorgasbord of skincare available to us today, it's easy to overwhelm our skin.

Mine isn't generally reactive, but I'd consider it sensitive, in the sense that I consider everybody's skin to be sensitive and fragile, or at least more fragile than we might appreciate when we grab mindlessly at the latest product launches.. (guilty), regardless of what's in them.

Even though I'm already pretty hot on scouring ingredient's lists, more recently, I've made an extra effort to look into the ingredients I'm putting on my face, and have tried to make a conscious effort to go down a more gentle, natural route, using products with a large proportion of naturally derived ingredients, embracing brands that cater to sensitive skin, and even using more homemade treatments.

That's not to say, by the way, that I've given up on the rest of what's available. I still use retinoids (more on that in my Retinol 101 post if you fancy it), and I still use vitamin C (this one in fact). I even use makeup wipes and a microfoliant scrub every now and then - even though people tend to get really preachy about them! And there's no escaping chemicals, even some of the not-so-good ones, unless you take a completely natural path of cold-pressed this and organic that and using solely and exclusively natural brands, which realistically, I'm not going to do.

I've a selection of gentle gems, from cleansers to creams, that I'd love to share with you today - I'll warn you though that it's a bit of long one so if you've snacks readily available, I'm sure they'd come in handy!





Cleansers seem like an apt place to start. It's a very easy area to improve your skincare routine by using something creamy/oily and gentle - goodbye are the days of detergent-heavy, foaming cleansers that strip your skin and jeopardise it's acid mantle.

I've been a lover of Liz Earle's cult classic cleanser for a very long time. Like Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua, it's a golden oldie among a sea of new arrivals, but it's something I come back to time and again.

I'm pretty particular with cream cleansers. I always love the idea but when put to practise, very few seem to perform for me. Cult Beauty kindly sent over Skin Laundry's cream cleanser and it's perfect. A mixture of mild surfactants, and seed and nut oils, it's got a slight creamy foaming action that stops it absorbing into the skin like I find a lot of other cream cleansers do - no hint of tightness either.

My favourite way to take off makeup is with balms and oils, nothing does the job better. The Cleansing Oil c/o Caudalie is completely free from common irritants, and I love that they've chosen such a simple formula, that's 100% natural. A silky blend of sunflower, castor, grape and sweet almond oils, it's effective, it's gentle, it's soothing, and at £18, it's also affordable, meaning you can be liberal. I've been known to mix a few drops in with the Skin Laundry as a second cleanse, just for a little extra something.

Something a little more pricey, but an item I love nonetheless, is Omorovicza's cleansing balm. Enriched with that magical Hungarian mud, trace minerals, jojoba and other oils, it's equally as efficient at removing makeup, and a real nighttime treat to circulate around your skin.



For toners, I either lean towards something gloopy and viscous, like the Whamisa 'really-long-name' toner c/o Buttermilk Skincare, that's so hydrating it's more like a serum - or a hydrating facial mist, full of oils and humectants that I can spray 20 times before and after makeup (not exaggerating).

The Troiareuke Skin Complex Formula c/o KBeautyBay is one of the most hydrating and gentle facial sprays I've tried, not to mention I love being able to mix in ampoules and the like to amp up it's benefits. I've listed it's ingredients in my brand review here and it's a product that's well worth a look.

My third toner love is the Trilogy mist, which I don't feel gets enough love on the internet. With rose, geranium and lavender, it smells divine and is a lovely first step after cleansing.

A few brands like Avene, Vichy and La Roche Posay do facial water mists in an aerosol form which, if you've reactive skin or are just looking for the most basic of formulas, are well worth a try.





I often go through cycles of bulk-buying a certain type of skincare, and of all the options, I'm on a bit of a moisturiser kick at the moment. If you're looking for something extra lightweight then the Aromatica Sea Daffodil gel cream c/o Buttermilk is an excellent option. With a base of 84% aloe, it's notably gentle, dries down completely and hydrates - a definite staple.

A brand who leans towards natural ingredients and gentle formulas, and whose ethos I love, is Caudalie - which is why you're seeing quite a few bits from them in my current routine. They recently sent across their Resveratrol Lift (which I'm loving), an anti-aging moisturiser containing 93% naturally derived ingredients, and a great option if you're looking for something to firm and plump, but that's also going to be gentle, and with fewer chemicals. It's suitably rich in texture for my combo skin, which makes it perfect for facial massage, and I apply this day or night - mixing in (literally) 1-2 drops of the Odacite oil below at night for extra nourishment.



A relatively new Kbeauty-brand find for me is Iunik, and their Beta Glucan moisturiser c/o Korean stockist Unique4U. A silky smooth moisturiser, it contains the skin-soothing antioxidant beta glucan, as well as plenty of fruit extracts, niacinamide, licorice and other skin benefitters. They've made a special effort too to keep 100% of the cream's ingredients within the lowest band of cosmetic safety, making it suitable for more sensitive skins. I've been using it recently and it's a really great one to wear prior to makeup, especially after their serum, which I'm going to talk about later, as it's slip provides a smooth, even base for foundation.

Avene is a brand that makes great, underrated, gentle moisturisers - specifically their Skin Recovery Cream, and if you're looking for a good selection of naturally derived ingredients then it's well worth checking out L'Occitane moisturisers - their Divine and Precious creams are super silky, contain lots of botanicals, and aren't spoken about often enough!




I haven't been using too many masks on my face at the moment, and when I have, I've tended to reach for my 2 staples (the REN glycolactic and Oskia Renaissance), neat manuka honey or something like the Farmacy Honey Potion c/o Cult Beauty - so as you can see, something along the honey or brightening theme. Other than that, I still love my sheet masks, although I'm even pickier now with what I use, and the Whamisa Flower and Kelp masks are probably still my favourite, and I just can't help myself but to continue repurchasing.

For lips, I'm all over Caudalie's new tinted lip balms that they kindly sent over - as you might have seen already over on my Instagram (do you like the current feed btw? I've been playing around with editing and would love your thoughts!). They're almost completely composed of natural ingredients and are rich in castor oil, which I'm often inclined to apply neat, straight to the lip. The berry-cherry shade, the one I thought I'd perhaps like least compared to the two lighter pinks, is in fact really delicious (both in shade and taste....) and pairs a naturally flushed cheek beautifully.

I've a couple of old favourites and a couple of new ones when it comes to serums and oils. An old fave is Grown Alchemist's combination of two of my favourite oils - camellia and rosehip. It's not fancy, but it is first-rate.

I think there's actually a lot of Korean skincare that's filled with junk, whose products have really low concentrations of the active ingredients they slap all over their marketing, so it's great to come across Kbeauty brands with really good formulations (because there are many), like Swanicoco. I'm still using and loving their EGF serum - read more in this post.




One of my newbies is the Odacite Po + R Serum Concentrate c/o Cult Beauty, which has quickly made it's way front and centre of my trimmed skincare collection. I love the idea of these little, highly concentrated oils that you can use neat, or mix into a moisturiser - I've been mixing mine into the Caudalie Lift above. The Po + R is designed for hydration, and features cold pressed and organic Pomegranate, Rose Geranium and Vitamin E oils, although they have a little library for other skin concerns - I definitely want to get more, which shall I pick up next?!

And my final product to mention today is another from Iunik (I think they're well worth checking out, as these two products I've tried so far have really impressed - and having a quick look now, their range seems really affordable for the quality). Their Propolis Vitamin Synergy serum c/o Unique4U might have a name that doesn't make all too much sense, but it's formulation certainly does! Predominantly propolis and seabuckthorn extracts, there's also honey, fruit extracts, niacinamide and several other extracts and it feels wonderfully hydrating on the skin - not dissimilar in fact to my beloved, thricely-repurchased Banila Co Honey Flower Essence, which I'm sure you're all bored of hearing about by now ;)

I must offer some congratulations if you've made it to the end of the post! It's a long one but I hope it's gone some way to answering some of your questions, or provided a few ideas if you're looking for an excuse to go skincare shopping (as if we ever need one ;) I'm greatly looking forward to winding down this evening, donning something snuggly and sticking something mindless on the telly - and I hope you enjoy your Sunday eve equally as much!

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