Thursday, 7 March 2013

Current Skincare Routine/Products I'm Loving

Breakouts and oilies have been my two main skincare concerns for years, but last year my normally oily, acne prone skin went through a bit of a change and became slightly drier. I'm not sure if age is responsible, or if it was skincare routine and hormones/BCP (I suspect they all played a part), but breakouts became less of an issue for me and oilies less of a problem. I would still describe my skin type as combination (I still battle the oilies in my t-zone area), and it is still clog prone, but spots have become more of an occasional occurrence instead of a constant problem. 

Because of the constant breakouts, my main focus with skincare was finding products to reduce and prevent acne, reduce redness and also prevent scarring. When my skin changed, my focus instead moved to skin texture and pores and I went on the hunt for products to help refine and balance. My skincare routine at the moment is quite simple and fairly fuss-free, which I find works best for me. The products below are all things I've been using for a while now, and seem to be working well and helping a lot with the issues I mentioned above. Particularly the Alpha-H products (my skin seems to love glycolic acid), and Avene's Eluage.

Alpha-H Micro Cleanse, Balancing Moisturiser & Absolute Eye Complex

There are quite a few products from the Alpha-H range in my skincare routine at the moment, as I picked up a little kit from Beauty Bay in a sale last year. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but it contained 4 great (and generously sized!) products, which have all found a place in my everyday skincare routine.

1 - Alpha-H Micro Cleanse is described as an entire beauty regime in a bottle: deep cleanser, exfoliator, polish, mask, all-in-1. I'm generally not a fan of scrubby/granulated type exfoliators, but I love this stuff. The non-scratchy granules/beads remove dead skin cells brilliantly and leave my skin feeling amazingly soft and smooth. I normally use this once or twice a week by massaging it gently over skin and then leave it to sit for a minute or two to let the glycolic acid work it's magic. My skin looks brighter, fresher and smoother after using, and any creams or serums applied after seem to soak in beautifully.

2 - Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser & Gentle Exfoliant. I'm currently using this as my daytime moisturiser. It's a light weight, easily absorbed moisturiser, which hydrates my combination skin well and creates a nice base for make up. The 10% glycolic formula seems to help keep the oilies at bay throughout the day, has really helped to improve texture, and really helped to reduce acne scars, too. I must admit, it's not the nicest smelling moisturiser I've tried and it does tingle a bit sometimes, but it really is good stuff.

3 - Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex. I went through a bit of a puffy eye stage last year and tried quite a few different eye creams that promised to help reduce swelling, Absolute Eye Complex is the only product that really worked for me, though. The clear, thin gel feels quite cooling when it's applied and has a slight tightening effect as it sinks in and dries. It's definitely helped to reduce my puffy peepers, and I feel it's helped to improve the appearance of dark circles, too - not dramatically, but I definitely see a subtle improvement.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish & Avene's Cleanance Gel

4 - Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish.This was a PR sample that I received last year when the product was released. I was working my way through a bottle of Liz Earle's regular Cleanse & Polish at the time, so this one was stashed away. As far as I can tell, it's exactly the same as the original product, except this one contains rose and lavender, and comes in different packaging. I love the pretty packaging, but I'm not sure about the added rose and lavender. The scent is a bit too strong and overpowering for my liking and I have to say, I prefer the original. Like the regular Cleanse & Polish though, this does a fantastic job at removing make up and leaves my skin feeling soft, comfortable and clean.

5 - Avene Cleanace Gel. I've been using Avene's Soapless gel cleanser for a few years now. I'm normally quite fickle and tend to try different washes, but I've stuck with Cleanace gel because it does a brilliant job at removing any last traces of make up, and leaves my skin feeling lovely and clean. I've found a lot of cleansers and face washes aimed at oily and combination skin types tend to be bit harsh and drying, but Cleanace thoroughly cleanses my skin without leaving it feeling dry and tight. It's quite reasonably priced, too and the 200ml bottle lasts for months.

Avene Eluage Cream

6 - Avene Eluage Creme. I discovered this after searching through the skincare board on MUA for products to help improve texture. A few different products were mentioned quite a few times, but Avene's Eluage had some really positive reviews. Although it's aimed at more mature skintypes and is described as an anti-aging cream, it's working wonders on my combination skin at the moment. I was hesitant to try it at first, as it's quite a rich cream and I was convinced it would clog, break me out and leave my skin looking like a shiny mess. I have to say though, it's not done any of those things. In fact, I've noticed a reduction in clogged pores since I started using it, I feel it helps to reduce and quickly heal any blemishes that pop up, and I also think this has helped to balance. 

I've been applying a pea sized amount after cleansing every evening for the past seven months, and I'm really starting to see some positive improvements. My skin looks and feels more even, redness and scarring is reduced and my skin generally looks healthier. I really am impressed with this stuff and have just purchased another tube along with the Eluage gel that's available. I'll write a full review on both of them soon. 

Hyaluronic Acid Serum & La Roche-Posay Effaclar H

As well as the products above, I also occasionally use a moisturiser from La Roche-Posay (Effaclar H) when my skin's in need of a bit of extra hydration, and a Hydra-Vital Hyaluronic acid serum when dry area need some extra moisture. As I said though, I personally find that my skin behaves the best when my routine is kept nice and simple.

I thought it might also worth mentioning that the french skincare brands (Avene & La Roche-Posay) are currently on offer at escentual (25% off). And there are some pretty good deals on Alpha-H sets at Beauty Bay at the moment, too.


  1. Alpha-H is one of those brands whose simple packaging/high price combination makes me believe that the product inside must be INSANELY good! I want to try their eye cream and overnight peel!

  2. I honestly can't fault anything I've tried from the brand. I also received a tube of their Balancing Cleanser in the kit, which was really nice stuff, and I've tried a sample of the Liquid Gold Smoothing & Perfecting Mask and the regular Liquid Gold, both of which were lovely. I completely agree on the simple packaging. I often get suckered in by pretty packaging when it comes to make-up, but skincare packaging really doesn't bother me - I'm much more interesting in the actual product. I think Alpha-H have revamped their logo and packaging recently, though.

  3. I'm really happy to hear you like the Avene Cleanance Gel! I almost picked it up the other day and thought it might be too drying for my skin type, but from your review, it's not! Hurrah, I had to replace my drying La Roche Posay Effaclar face wash anyway! Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. I love the Cleanance gel, Annick! I've been using it for quite a while now and really like how clean it leaves my skin feeling. It's not a bad price either considering you only need a very small amount and the bottle lasts for ages!

  4. Really interested in that Hydra Vital serum - saw it featured in several blog posts throughout the year - and also the Liz Earle, which we don't get here. I'm realizing again how important skincare is and want to make a greater effort to take care of my skin going forward.

    1. I do like the Hydra-Vital serum, Liz, but do find it slightly annoying to apply sometimes. If you overdo it, it tends to ball up a little bit, but hydrates nicely if you use the right amount. It's a shame you don't get Liz Earle there, the Cleanse & Polish is really nice stuff!


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