Time for the yearly roundup of best-loved products, and this time I'm dedicating an entire post to skin care (beauty favourites to follow). Some of these products I discovered this year, others were purchased the previous year but continued to serve me well throughout 2014. The funny thing about skin care is that unlike makeup, where I can usually tell straight away whether something will be a hit with me or not, it's not uncommon for me to develop a deeper appreciation or understanding of a product weeks or months after forming an initial lukewarm, or perhaps even slightly negative, opinion. Perhaps the key is continued use and the patience to stick with a routine that eventually pays off with results.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Silky, slippery and nourishing, this olive-oil based cleanser gets absolutely everything off efficiently, while your face receives a relaxing massage every night when this is smoothed onto the skin in circular motions. When washed off, it doesn't leave any trace of greasy residue, nor does it feel drying.
Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum
A wonder product for dry skin, this can be worn alone before moisturiser as a serum, or mixed in with your regular cream for an extra hydrating, skin-loving boost. Lately, I've been slapping onto my face 3-4 drops of this with a small dollop of Nivea Soft before bedtime and waking up to smooth, soft and visibly rested skin. If you buy the 10ml size in the $20 Anti-Ageing Minis set (which also contains a 15ml tube of Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream), it's terrific value.
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask
My go-to product to fix dry skin, stat. It's deliciously fruity and feels calming and instantly thirst-quenching, minimising any flaky patches and generally restoring moisture to the skin overnight. My only (slight) complaint is that it does feel a bit sticky and doesn't absorb entirely, especially when applied liberally, so there might be a bit of transfer on your pillow if you rest your cheek on it.
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm
After initially not being all that enthused, I finally saw the light in February this year when I started using this as a morning cleanser. Now, it's hard to imagine being without what is undoubtedly the most luxurious skin care product I own. With a heavenly fragrance that demands to be inhaled deeply, this ultra-nourishing and skin-plumping balm wakes up the senses with its premium ingredients and pampering feel.
Omorovicza Queen Of Hungary Mist
Yes, it's an eye-watering £46 (or $91) for 100ml, and the main appeal might be the glamorous name and elegant packaging rather than what's inside. I wasn't completely convinced it was worth the price at first. But now? I'm leaning towards repurchasing when I run out (I'll definitely need a discount code though). Firstly, like all sprays (except Avene Thermal Spring Water, which I go through like toilet paper), it takes ages to be used up. I've had my bottle for 16 months and it's still about 50% full. Granted, I'm not religiously spritzing it every hour of every second, but I'm not exactly rationing it either. But more to the point, when I follow with this after an exfoliating toner, my skin loves the injection of hydration and suppleness. It feels properly prepped to receive and absorb the benefits of any serums/face oils/creams that are subsequently applied.
Pixi Glow Tonic
Along with the Emma Hardie and Omorovicza, this is yet another Caroline Hirons recommendation I simply had to take up. I remember the sheer joy of finding this in stock at the Pixi shop off Carnaby Street on my London holiday in September 2013, back when you couldn't purchase it online and it was notoriously difficult to get a hold of at the physical store. Although I've been alternating Glow Tonic with the excellent First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads for my post-cleanse exfoliating toner, I find the Pixi more economical and gentler, more hydrating. Consistent use helps to improve the texture of my skin and forms part of a more complete skin care routine when paired with a hydrating toner before moisturiser.
NUXE Rêve de Miel
I was a naysayer at first. Now the backup's already in my drawer, waiting to be utilised the second my existing tub is emptied. If you've never tried this before, then it probably won't be like anything you know. This is a weird thick paste with exfoliating BEADS. The trick is to apply a small amount and really work it into the lips, letting the heat of your skin almost melt the product so it starts to sink in. I use this every evening as an overnight lip treatment to banish dry, flaky lips, but also whenever my lips are calling out for some intensive repair.
Dove Triple Moisturising Deep Nourishing Body Wash
You know what? Forget about philosophy or Lush and all those fancy shower gels with their gourmand or oriental scents. This stuff is simply the best. While I love a bit of bathing in a foamy cloud of cookies or spice, most of the time, you just want to keep it simple. This is pristine, soapy goodness. The actual product and the way it feels on the skin is positively luxurious for something seemingly so pedestrian. It's lusciously thick, lathers like a dream, feels slick and intensely nourishing and washes off without leaving the skin feeling dry or slippery.
Grown Mandarin and Rosemary Leaf Body Cream
I never thought I would use up a 500ml bottle of body moisturiser, but 18 months later, here we are. Let this be a resounding testament to how good this stuff is. Dare I say it almost makes me look forward to moisturising my body after I step out of the shower? The formulation is perfection. It has a herbal, somewhat citrusy scent that isn't too heavy, and is the furthest thing from sugary and cloying. But best of all, this is a body cream that actually absorbs into the skin. There is no stickiness or dampness after you've applied it, which I find nothing short of a miracle given the deep hydration it provides.