My skin likes to keep me on my toes. It's a bit all over the place, so I keep a hefty stash of skincare on hand for it's many moods. In simple terms I have combination skin; dry cheeks and an oily t-zone. Except it's also dehydrated, and prone to breakouts and blackheads (lovely), and it's pretty sensitive... you get where I'm going with this...skin isn't simple, and it's not a one-size fits all kind of thing. A lot of trial and error is needed to find what works for you and these are just things that I've found that more or less sort me out...
I generally stick to the same type cleanser for the morning, I switch up my night time cleanser depending on whether I've been wearing makeup or the state of my skin. Something gentle and creamy usually does it for me. No one should need anything too fancy in the morning if you've cleansed properly at night. Right now I'm using Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser. It's for dry to very dry sensitive skin and that works well with my dehydratedness (definitely not a word). It's hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, so it doesn't give me any breakouts or blocked pores. Plus it's not pricey at £12.00 for 200ml. Avene is on 3 for 2 in Boots just now and in general I'd say their range is pretty good for sensitive skin. Get it here or you can get 25% off on Escentual.com.
I'm not really loyal to a toner, but I like to use a gentle microexfoliant one everyday. I really like the Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner, but it's pretty expensive and there's toners out there that work in the same way for a fraction of the price. This is the nicest smelling one I've found, fresh and citrus sans any chemical smell which I know puts a lot of people off, it's £37.00 and can be bought online here. Aesop is a little difficult to come by in the UK which bugs me because it's without a doubt my favourite skin care brand. I'm just about finished the La Roche Posay Effaclar Astringent Lotion Micro-Exfoliant it's £11.00 and you can get it here. I also like the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator (£25.00, but £22.00 on Escentual.com) and the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads £12.99 for 60 pads, here. The latter two suit me better when my skin is feeling more sensitive than usual. Sometimes when my skin is feeling a little drier I follow with a spritz of a second soothing toner. The two I have are my Caudalie Beauty Elixir £9.20/£25.59 on Escentual (this site is excellent for bargains, if you're sensing a theme) or the Boots Botanics 100% Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz for a very lovely £4.99 here.
This is where it gets more interesting...sort of. I don't skimp when it comes to serum and I use all of these most days. Starting with the Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum, for dry, combination and sensitive skin. It's full of vitamins and it helps combat breakouts while giving a nice little boost of moisture. It's £45.00 for 100ml, but it lasts AGES. I've only just purchased my second bottle and I've had this coming up to a year. You can get that here. Next on the list is Clarins Double Serum. It's primary marketing point is for anti-aging and at 22, that's really not my main concern. It boosts hydration, oxygenation, collagen production, protection and regeneration. For me it just plumps and brightens my skin and as the oiliness makes it dull and lifeless this works great with everything else that I use. And it can't hurt to start early with the anti-aging right? It's again cheaper on Escentual £48.40/£60.70 for 30/50mls pricey but again worth it in my opinion. Serums is where you want to be putting your money for your skin care. Next is fairly new in my skin care routine so the results that are supposed to come over time I haven't experienced yet. I'm talking about the Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum. Again with the brightening and moisturising - but hey I need it! It's also supposed to help with blemishes, but as I say I think I've used this a grand total of four times (told you it was new). Over time this should help with the pigmentation left over from old blemishes too. Fingers crossed and I'll keep you posted. Now reduced to £37.76 here. Next is some old favourites. I use the La Roche Posay Effaclar K, £13.00 from Boots. This is to help with the whole blackhead problem, it smooths skin and makes pores smaller. La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo + I use on alternate days. This is more of a direct treatment for blemishes, which unfortunately I do get a lot of. It's £15.50, here.
Moisturiser is the last step. I'm not really as in to moisturiser as serums. Although I have two on the go just now. The Origins Make A Difference Plus+ which I've almost finished. I have the treatment, which combats dehydrated skin that's prone to oiliness. It's pretty good but I'm still dipping my toes into the moisturiser ocean - so many to try and so little time. I would repurchase this, it gives my skin a nice smooth finish ready for makeup. It's £34.50 and can be purchased here. A new one to me is the Antipodes Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream. It's oil free and nutrient rich, and it has anti-bacterial manuka flower oil to help with blemishes. I've only used it a few times but so far so good. My skin seems to be enjoying the more natural products lately and Antipodes is certified organic if that's something you look for. You can buy it here for £23.36.
Now you know why it takes me so long to get ready in the morning...