Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Favourites: Skin Care

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 RĂªve 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.


  1. Ohhh I missed your gorgeous posts <3
    I really should do something like this...Maybe after Christmas.

    After reading this I'm doomed. I really want to get my hands on the Pixi glow tonic - and since the AHA Mizon serum I wanted is out of stock I might get the perfect excuse to get it. The same goes to Nuxe's cream de Miel which I've been hunting for a while.
    As for the Emma Hardie cleansing balm...I want to get it, but first I might test out the Clinique one and the Banilla co. cleansing balm. Mostly because they are cheaper.

    Are you going to do one for makeup? Can't wait to see it!!
    Take care*

    1. That's so sweet of you to say Diana, thank you :)

      I hope you manage to track down all those products that interest you.

      Yes - I will be doing one for makeup!

    2. I recently found out that Feelunique is doing 20% at First Aid Beauty and Beauty Bay is doing a get 3 pay 2 at First Aid Beauty too....I'm doomed. I want to get their trial kit and their pads.

      Can't wait for the Makeup one :3
      Take care*

  2. Ahh I love this post as I also have dry skin and have never used any of these products you've mentioned besides the Dove so I can't wait to try some of these products! Looking forward to your beauty favourites!
    P.S I've been reading your blog for over a year or so and you have to be one of my favourite beauty bloggers! I love how detailed your posts are and your photography is great. Keep up the great work Lena!


    1. Thanks Wendy! Really kind of you to say :)

      Hope you get to try some of the products I've featured here. They all work really well for me and I'd love to hear about your experience if you do start using them!

  3. The nuxe lipbalm is my most loved this year and I'm so glad that I discovered it this year. The dove body wash is really good, I tend to use it during autumn/winter months though because it is so hydrating!

    Love this post~ gives me an idea to start doing one of these posts aswell.
    Also gives me a chance to put some of these products on my wishlist, especially the pixi glow tonic :)
    Have a lovely day~ ♥

    Ying | *Yingcbeauty*

    X x X x X

    1. Would love to read your version of this post if you do decide to write something similar :)

      The NUXE has become an essential skin care item for me - it's the last step in my evening routine and it keeps my lips happy!

  4. Love that you have a whole post dedicated to your skincare favourites of 2014 because this year (well particularly the end of this year), I have become enveloped in all things skincare (probably at times surpassing my interest in makeup). I have a different skin type to yours so I haven't actually used many of the products you mention but I was the same when it came to the Nuxe lip balm. I wasn't too big of a fan at first but now I love to use it at night as my overnight lip balm. You're right when you said you've got to work it into your lips!

    1. Skin care is addictive. I never was all that into it but now I feel it's up there with makeup. It's a different beast though, like I feel skin care is more important, but makeup is more fun and in some ways reliable. Like, I can always count on eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara making a big difference, but skin care can be changeable and temperamental in terms of effect. Still, a good canvas is everything when it comes to makeup, so they're inextricably entwined :p

  5. I just started using the Emma Hardie cleansing balm last week for the first time and I already think I'll have to include it in my 2014 favourites. It's ridiculously amazing!


  6. I love the Dove Body Wash, and I would also recommend the shea butter version because it smells incredible!

    Emily // ahemitsemme.blogspot.com

  7. I really want to try the Pixi Glow Tonic but I don't want to order it online, plus I can't think of any stores in Canada that sell it. I'm liking the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Facial Pads for a chemical exfoliator.

    Ling | The Cosmetic Critic <3

  8. I need that Origins mask in my life! My skin gets so dry when it gets below freezing here in the Midwest. I also love the DHC cleansing oil, particularly in the summer. Great post!

  9. Ahh since I first laid eyes on the DHC Cleansing Oil on your blog I've felt like I needed it! And now you're turning me onto the Pixi Glow Tonic! Girl!!!!!!!

    1. Haha I'm sorry! :p I've heard mixed reviews about the Pixi from other bloggers who didn't find it all that effective, so I don't want to get your hopes up in case it doesn't perform as hoped. The DHC is great but a) clouds your vision if you get it near the eyes, which you will to remove eye makeup since that's kinda the whole point b) still should ideally be followed with a cleanser afterwards to ensure skin is fully washed. It's still pretty much everything I wanted in an oil-based cleanser though!

  10. If only the Pixi Glow Tonic was available where I live! I've heard nothing but great things about the product and it seems much more affordable than the Clarins Exfoliating Toner which I love. Please, Pixi bring the Glow Tonic to Canada! xx
    Celina | The Celution | Bloglovin’

  11. Lovely post. I have been wanting to try out the DHC cleansing oil for awhile now, shall definitely try it out once my current cleanser finishes


  12. Love the DHC cleansing oil, it's fabulous! xo

  13. The GROWN moisturiser sounds great, I am a body moisturiser junkie so have to try it :)


  14. Really want to try one of the origins masks!

    - Grace xx

    PS. would really appreciate it if you could check out my blog and maybe subscribe if you feel so inclined? <3

  15. The overnight mask sounds like a real treat. I want to try it along with that Dove Body Wash. That also sounds heavenly!

    Follow me to Fancieland!

  16. I enjoy reading your blog, It will be provide affordable cosmetics skin care product collection to get affordable price.
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