There are many reasons for skin to be stressed – and coincidentally, a lot of them happen right around the holiday period. Weather changes, a poorer diet, a spike in boozing, intense central heating and generally partying too hard can all have a negative effect on the face. The most annoying thing? The skin concern you typically battle will likely be amplified by these changes. Here are some products to help deal with common stressed-out skin concerns.
Dryness: SW Basics Oil Serum
This facial oil is absolutely perfect for skin feeling parched by cold winds and sucked dry by harsh central heating. It’s extremely simple in formulation, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. The four ingredient combo (avocado, geranium, coffee and turmeric oils and that’s it) combine to make a facial oil both lightweight and deeply hydrating, both glow-giving and makeup-enhancing. It can be worn day and night under moisturizer to give dry skin the pick-me-up it needs. Think of it as like putting a vest on under your shirt during winter: protective and sublimely comforting.
Dehydration: Bravura Hyaluronic Acid Serum
A quick skincare lesson here: dryness is lack of oil, while dehydration is lack of water. And one of the few ingredients that actually aids skin’s water retention is hyaluronic acid. Once only available from higher end brands, the trickle-down effect now means tons of more affordable companies now have HA offerings. Bravura is one I think is unfairly overlooked – it has a thin, silky and easily absorbed texture, visibly plumps and smooths and comes in a massive 50ml bottle with a pump. Top marks.
Dullness: Laneige Sparkling Water Sheet Mask
Sheet masks are one of the breakthrough skincare items of 2017, and with good reason. While sitting around looking like a mummy may be a touch silly, it’s the best way to get an instant, potent dose of ingredients into the face. One that is perfect for dull, grey, winter complexion is from Laneige. Unlike some other brightening masks I’ve tried, it evens tone whilst also adding a hefty hit of hydration. It also walks the line in terms of price point, neither extortionate nor suspiciously cheap.
Redness: Mario Badescu Azulene Calming Mask
This mask is an absolute marvel for reddened or irritated skin. Unlike other “soothing” products, it doesn’t have that cooling, mentholated sensation that we all know is secretly actually irritating. Instead, it is a really gentle clay affair in a pleasing sage green shade, which can be left on for a long time. The impurity-drawing clay is balanced with antioxidant oils, so it rinses off to soothed, treated and softened skin.
Clogged Pores: Makeup Artist’s Choice 25% Mandelic Acid Peel
I’ve been around the block when it comes to chemical exfoliation, so I don’t take my decision lightly when I say this one’s the best. It’s as effective as an at home treatment can be without being risky. A quick application (I favor a Q-Tip) over the face, a two minute wait and a gentle rinse gives visible results from the first use, and a cumulative effect over time. Pores are tightened, congestion is minimized, scars are faded and skin glows. It can be annoying to get hold of, but trust, it’s worth it.
And as for spot-clearing clay treatments, there is no better than this guy. Yes, it looks like its label was designed by a child, and yes, you have to mix it yourself, and yes, it stinks and even kind of hurts. But boy oh boy, does it put other “clarifying” clay masks to shame. The first use may bring some demons to the surface, but they quickly dissipate and other lurkers may not even form. If you’re really despairing at your skin-state, an every-other-day program can give it a much needed reboot back into ship shape.
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