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Who doesn’t love knowing what other people use in their beauty routine? It’s frequently the topic of discussion amongst us on the Powder beauty desk – we love nattering about the cult skincare products that arrive on the beauty desk. So much so, we decided to spill the beauty beans on what’s in our make-up bags and now we’re opening up our bathroom cabinets to reveal our ‘I literally cannot live without these’ skin care products. Here are the best skincare products of 2017. Come and have a nosey…
Bethany Ostacchini – Publisher and Editorial Director
Before I apply any products I always like to do a good old cleanse and this is my go to. The balmy formula feels quite waxy, but goes on like a dream. It dissolves every trace of make-up (even seven rounds of mascara), as well as the remains of a smog filled city day. It's packed with natural oils, so it doesn’t strip skin or leave it tight like so many cleansers can. At the same time, the oil balances skin out nicely - even on combination skin, like mine, with a super dry forehead coupled with a spot haven around my chin. I’m always a fan of using a face cloth to remove it – it sloughs off the top layer of dead skin to stop pores clogging up and causing mischief. Comes in a nice shelfie friendly tub too.
Not just for Paula, this is the choice for anyone with oily or combination skin. This exfoliator is ridiculously effective at getting dead skin cells and pore cloggers to clear off, fight breakouts and calm rouged skin. I always like Salicylic acid for problem areas, but those with sensitive, dry or delicate skin should give it a miss. The library of excellent formulas and different solutions in the Paula’s Choice range is excellent, but I heart this 2% liquid one - it’s easy to apply, absorbs at speed and the results are something else. Take a bow Paula.
Frankly, it does not come much better than SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic! The name sounds like it means business and boy, it does. An excellent serum which tells all the environmental nasties to 'do one', whilst also giving a good dose of vitamin C - which will give you the lovely even skin tone you deserve and hit winkles where it hurts. It’s not exactly cheap, but cost per wear and all that. My hero.
This moisturiser is a win, win, for all skin types and really delivers the beauty goods (and then some). I can be a bit fickle when it comes to moisturisers, so many to try, so little time, eh? But this pretty gold bottle caught my attention. It contains 'Floralixir’ Dew (mix of flowers from the Himalayas and Brazil), which sounds fancy, smells fancy and even has you looking fancy. A slather of this makes my skin feel firmer and stronger and less, well, old! Amen to that.
If I’m honest, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to applying facemasks. I’ve often found them a bit of a faff, even though I know what game changers they are for skin. But with this Sisley’s mask, it’s different. An instant fix for skin that looks as tired as you feel on a grey Friday morning. The benefits are undeniable - hydration, plumping, smoothness and younger looking skin. It says to blot off the excess after 15 minutes, but I leave it on overnight and in the morning I practically wake up a new woman. Smells like actual roses too.
Katie Thomas – Beauty Editor
I don’t like to over cleanse my face – controversial I know. I double cleanse in the evening, but in the morning I don’t like to over do it, so I just wake my skin up with a slick of La Mer’s Micellar Water. I drop a few drops onto a cotton pad and away I go. I’m not entirely sure if this particular micellar water is actually any more effective than say a French pharmacy favourite, but I do know that this one doesn’t dry out my skin any further. Plus it’s La Mer, shoot me.
I used to refuse to use cleansing balms and gels, because their oiliness and heaviness put me off. Then one facialist told me to stop being so silly and give them a bash. I owe everything to her. They have changed my life. I tend to swap between a few, but I love this Oskia one because you only need to pump a little bit out (I often use too much if it comes in a pot) and it's not too thick. I work this into my dry face (sometimes even with a full face of makeup) and everything just melts away. I use a muslin or flannel to take it off and my skin feels so clean afterwards.
Depending on how my skin feels, I’ll change up my serum. If my skin is so parched that it feels really tight, then I’ll use Skincetuticals H.A. Intensifier. It smells lovely, feels like velvet on my skin and weirdly tastes nice if I get a bit on my lips (don’t feel like you need to try it. I appreciate that this is very weird.) My face instantly feels soothed and after a week or so using it, it’s no longer so thirsty. Once I get to this point, I’ll switch back to the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic – THE best antioxidant serum, in my opinion. Everyone should have antioxidants somewhere in your skincare – they are so vital for fighting environmental aggressors.
This is brilliant. Its light texture is ever so cooling on the skin, it’s packed full of papaya enzymes - which nibble away at dead skin during the day – and it’s got two types of hyaluronic acid in it so that my dry skin is looked after. Sunday Riley can do no wrong in my eyes. Well done, another top product.
There are lots of products out there that have an SPF in them: moisturisers, foundations, tinted moisturisers, primers; but if I could only recommend one skincare tip, it would be to add an extra SPF step to your routine. Protecting your skin from sun damage is so important. Every time you walk outside, you are exposing yourself. It doesn’t have to be sunny out if it’s during the day then the sun is still out. Daylight counts people and it’s gonna age you. This Chanel one is perfect, it’s not too cakey and not too white – it blends really easily. I pop it on right before my foundation.
Hannah Coates – Deputy Beauty Editor
No beauty cabinet is complete without a little Hyaluronic Acid and trust me when I say that they’re not all made equal. In the words of a great scientist – at some point – molecular weight is everything and you tend to get what you pay for. This one has a low molecular weight (and sadly isn’t cheap), which means it seamlessly submerges into skin - cue hydrated, plump face. I like Skinceuticals' serum because it contains a blend of liquorice root and purple rice which encourage skin to produce more of its own, naturally-occuring hyaluronic acid so you’re getting double the effects for no added effort. Intelligent skincare at its best.
I’ve spent many mercury retrogrades in search of skincare that actually makes my skin glow, rather than just promises it. Then I found The One. It’s a potent blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (including anti-inflammatory azelaic and super-exfoliating lactic) that combine forces to gently slough off the dead skin cells that dull my face, while working beneath the skin to calm and hydrate. Unless you go and see a professional, you won’t get better results than this at home. Smooth, radiant, even-toned skin in just ten minutes, perfect pre-party or every couple of weeks.
I’m going to be honest and say that what initially attracted me to this serum was not the promise of a rest or a revival, but the very pleasing on the eye pink packaging. Well, friends, let me tell you its exterior is not a patch on what’s inside. I use it pre-bed, before my skin goes into its nightly restore and repair mode - the phyto and ovine (sheep) placenta stimulate my skin’s cells to produce more collagen and elastin. It makes it look and feel firmer, more radiant and just ten times better. Sheep placenta doesn’t come cheap but Harry Styles is said to swear by it so I advise you do the same.
Another of my overnight friends, this is one I turn to when my skin feels tired, dry and a bit sorry for itself. A great quality oil will disappear into skin straight away; this one does exactly that and leaves a dewy sheen behind. After using it for a few months I’ve seen a real difference in the texture of my skin – small scars are less prominent and brightness is finally mine thanks in part to Vitamins A, C and E and the ultra-nourishing omega oils. Quite literally a facial in a bottle.
You can have all the serums, moisturisers and masks in the world but if you don’t have a good cleanser – and a good cleansing routine – then it’s (almost) all useless because they can’t penetrate the skin. Aside from the satisfying name, Clinique’s oil-based balm cleanser is my favourite for its lightweight, soft texture that is gentle on every skin type; you can really massage this into skin and it picks up every little bit of makeup, dirt and hidden pollution you can think of. My tip? Get the muslin cloths that go with it to lightly exfoliate skin.
Eleanor Vousden – Junior Beauty Editor
That old chestnut! Like the rest of the team, I'm also a loving devotee of this talented antioxidant serum (have a read of my review on it here). After a nasty bout of acne, this has transformed the texture and tone of my skin like nothing else. Since using it, I've barely had any spots and my scarring has almost completely disappeared after a month of use. I’m running low on my supply and the thought of not using it makes me nervous – always a sign of a marvellous product.
I’ve struggled a long old time with hormonal breakouts (the boulderous, cystic kind that linger like unwanted party guests) and I’ve finally found a cleansing combination that’s helped. I was initially cautious of balm cleansers (oil frightens me and I feared this would actually make things worse, but here's why oily, acne prone skins should use oil), but I’m pleasantly surprised and pleased to say I’ve not had any facial freakouts since. In fact, my skin has been much better behaved. I remove with a face cloth to gently exfoliate and my skin feels clean, comfortable and raring to go to receive a second cleanse.
For my morning/second cleanse I rely on Eucerin’s DermoPURIFYER Cleanser to get to work at decongesting. It has a water-gel consistency that is designed for acne prone skin (tick), has a very low-foaming formula so it doesn’t dry skin out (tick) and it’s really helped to keep my breakouts away too. (Tick tick tick.)
I've sung praises about this product before because it's hands down the only thing that stops my incredibly oily skin from getting shiny during the day. It’s a cushion compact that holds a clever mattifying liquid that absorbs sebum – not water – so it stops oil in its tracks, before it makes an appearance at lunchtime. I prefer to use it before makeup application - the last step in my skincare routine to keep my T-zone shine-free and matte. If you have oily skin, it’s only right that you own this – I notice the difference straight away if I’ve forgotten to apply it.
Does what is says on the tube. When my skin is red, spotty, angry or just in a pickle, I reach for this and it really calms everything down. The thick clay-like consistency has a winning combo or sulfur, zinc oxide and camphor, which are excellent at preventing, treating and bringing down spots in a three-pronged approach. It's one of my favourite spot treatments. I apply this to my spottiest areas to bring down angry spots, soak up excessive oil and stop breakouts before they have a chance to get worse. I also love using it as a targeted spot treatment if I have a particularly large whopper. My skin breathes a sigh of relief after using this.
Charlotte Hammond – Beauty Intern
This cleanser has been a staple in my skincare regime for years and I use it both in the morning and the evening. It's packed full of vitamins, pumpkin enzymes and a whole host of other ingredients, which my skin loves. It changes from a gel to a lightweight oil as you apply it, and it always leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and nourished.
I like to think of this as my skincare saviour; I suffered from awful breakouts during my late teens and being so embarrassed of my spots, picked them (don't do it kids) and ended up with unsightly scars on my face. I started using this serum and it significantly reduced any battle wounds, something I will forever be grateful for! If that isn't reason enough to love it, it also fights signs of ageing and hydrates the skin.
I suffer from dry skin, especially in winter and this is just brilliant. It's not supposed to be a daily-use moisturiser, but I use it every evening during the colder months. It contains Avocado Oil and Apricot Kernel Oil, which, aside from making it smell incredible, work to quench my skin's thirst. I know that after using this I'll wake up with happy, hydrated skin.
I'm a huge fan of sheet masks; I think they're fun, fuss-free and I like the convenience of them. Plus, I quite enjoy walking around the house scaring various family members whilst wearing one, but that's beside the point! As mentioned, I suffer from rather dry skin and these hyaluronic acid-infused sheet masks give my skin the instant hydration boost it needs. Every Sunday evening, I'll pop one on and let it work its magic.
This drying lotion is a fairly recent addition to my skincare regime, but I'm not quite sure how I managed without it. It contains calamine and salicylic acid, which are brilliant for soothing and clearing up pesky little whiteheads. Using a cotton bud, I'll apply a little to the spot in question, leave it overnight and by morning that spot is looking a lot less angry.
Now find the perfect skin care products for you by taking our serum quiz below...