Exceeding Expectations: Skincare
Developing a solid skincare routine with products I know I can rely on and will never fail me is something that has done wonders for my skin. Unless I've run out of something, it's not very often that I buy new skincare simply because I've found what I love and I know what works well for me. Following on from the makeup products that exceeded my expectations, today's post is all about the skincare that has gone above and beyond. Since day one, these products have taken me completely by surprise and have delivered results that were so much more than I ever expected.
My love affair with France began as a 15 year-old learning about the different French art movements in high school; I became completely enamoured by the culture and the history, and naturally, I would later develop a love for French beauty. In 2012, not only did I travel to Paris to see my favourite paintings in real life at The Louvre (it's so much more than the Mona Lisa), but I also got to wander through the French pharmacies and pick up my very first bottle of Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution. Simply referred to as Bioderma in the beauty world, I use this fragrance free micellar water to remove my eye makeup and nothing has ever come close to doing a better job. Super gentle and never stinging my eyes, I can completely remove my eye makeup with just one cotton pad and I prefer using a separate eye makeup remover as it means my white wash cloths don't get all stained and gross. I realise there are a lot of cheaper alternatives out there on the market now, but to me, beauty is just as much about the experience as it is the price and with my love for all things French, it's the OG micellar water all the way for me. I always stock up during Priceline's 40% off skincare sales too.
As a product I use every single day, I've tried out my fair share of cleansers over the years, but one I always come back to is Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Introducing this product into my skincare routine all the way back in 2011, Cleanse & Polish revolutionised the way I cleanse my skin as I'd never used anything so soothing and so moisturising - all while removing every trace of makeup - before. Prior to this, everything else felt tightening and stripping, and didn't do anything for my then acne prone skin. It has a luxuriously thick, creamy texture with a subtle and refreshing herbal scent, and though there are a lot of other great cleansers on the market now, I still love Cleanse & Polish just as much even after all these years.
My skin has become increasingly drier as I've gotten older and I love having a good hydrating mask on hand to leave on as I sleep during the night. After using the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask for many years, I felt like switching things up and decided to try the Glossier Moisturising Moon Mask next. I'm not going to lie, what originally drew me into this product was the super cute packaging, but what's inside is equally just as beautiful and has been a life saver these last few winter months. Makeup can occasionally accentuate my dehydrated skin, but with Moon Mask left on overnight, I awaken to nourished and replenished skin, and there's no trace of dehydration whatsoever. I'm always in disbelief by how nicely my makeup applies the next day and especially since I'm all about that fresh and dewy-looking complexion, which this definitely gives. It's comprised of sweet almond oil, plant-based squalene, and hyaluronic acid to plump and smooth skin, though be careful if you're sensitive as it does also contain shea butter, a known skin irritant. Aside from that and the lack of international shipping (shipping to Canada and the UK is not international!), I'd say Moisturising Moon Mask is my favourite Glossier product to date so far.
After Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, the second longest withstanding product in my skincare routine is Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (my full review from 2014). Having gone through most of high school blemish free, it was a shock to the system when I developed acne during university, and after I finally got it under control a few years later, I was still reminded of that horrible time in my life due to hyperpigmentation. I tried so many different lotions and potions to get rid of my scarring, but discovering Advanced Night Repair was a massive turning point for my skin and even quite life changing. A serum that works to slow down the look of premature ageing, reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and improve the evenness of skin tone, this completely rid my skin of hyperpigmentation once and for all and made me feel so much more confident in myself without any makeup. Family and friends even noticed how much my skin had improved and no one ever believes me when I tell them that I used to suffer from acne. It contains a powerful blend of antioxidants (delays cell damage), hyaluronic acid, algae and yeast extracts (boosts cell activity), as well as Bifida Ferment Lysate, which fights bad bacteria. Advanced Night Repair has been a complete game-changer for me and I'll never be without it.
Living in a country where UV radiation is its harshest and most damaging, sun protection is something that is deeply ingrained into Australian society from a young age. In primary school, we were taught to "Slip, Slop, Slap" (it's been upgraded to "Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide" since then!) and mine even had a "no hat, no play" rule. Growing up, I always hated it; sunscreen was sticky, unpleasant smelling and never failed to leave a white cast, but sunscreen technology has come a long way since then and I finally found my holy grail in the Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50+. Lightweight, non-greasy and unscented, it applies more like a moisturiser than a traditional sunscreen and has broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. I much prefer wearing sunscreen made in Australia that caters specifically to our harsh sun (we have strict sunscreen regulations and SPF is a lot stronger here) and what makes this a real skincare treat is that it also contains hyaluronic acid, pomegranate extract and vitamin E. Whenever people complain about how horrible sunscreen is, I tell them it's because they haven't tried this. It sits well under makeup and in fact, To Save Face Superscreen just might be my favourite thing to have come out of this sunburnt country of mine. Well, that along with Vegemite, Tim Tams and Savage Garden.
I don't think I've ever talked in detail about how much I love this lip balm on my blog and it surprises me considering how long I've been using it. You've heard me rave on about Nuxe Rêve de Miel as my favourite nighttime lip balm, but during the day, my go-to is the Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15. Like the Glossier Moisturising Moon Mask, I was drawn to this product due to the pretty packaging, but its lightweight, yet super nourishing formula makes it perfect to apply underneath any lip colour; your lipstick won't slip around, nor will it look glossy. I think a lot of people tend to forget that the lips need sun protection too, so I love that this also contains SPF. Baby pink in colour and housed in sleek silver packaging, it's formulated with wheat germ, avocado and olive oils to hydrate and comfort the lips, while aloe vera soothes. I've tried a lot of different lip balms in my time and the Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 is definitely one of the standouts.
What skincare products exceeded your expectations?