Exfoliating and using face masks are one of the most important parts of your skincare routine. At one point I was under the illusion that just using one cleanser, mask and moisturiser would clear up all my skin worries - wrong. And I know that some people can fear using too many products on your skin will cause breakouts - wrong. If you have the right balance and the right ingredients you're on to a winner.
First up I'll be chatting about the exfoliating treatments I use and secondly my two favourite masks. Of course, what's right for me may not be right for you and this post is based on MY skin-type. Oily/Combination.
Algenist Triple-Action Micropolish & Peel: RRP £58.50
Now, for an exfoliator I can see the price already putting you off. Who wants to spend nearly £60 on any skincare I hear you say - well I can tell you I never thought that would be me. But when you're suffering with your skin, it's amazing how important skincare becomes. For example you'd probably spend £60 on a bag or a new pair of shoes, yes? So why not on your FACE? One of the most important things! This micropolish peel is honestly one of the best investments I've ever made, with Alguronic and Glycolic acid working together to generate dermal cell renewal - removing the top layer of cells to reveal healthier, smoother skin underneath and the pumpkin, pomegranate and micropolish crystals removing larger and smaller dull cells to leave a radiant finish the ingredients are matches made in heaven. Using this once a month isn't going to do a thing - consitency is key. I use this at least twice a week. Applying a thin layer all over my face, rubbing in circular gentle motions for a few minutes, then leaving it to set for a further 5-10 minutes. When washed off my skin instantly feels smooth and super clean. I have really sensitive skin and haven't found it to cause any redness, drying or irritation. It's super gentle but 100% does what it says on the tin. My scarring is clearing itself up and it heals overnight redness so spots that are under the surface aren't so painful.
Dr Sebagh Deep Exfoliating Mask RRP: £59 c/o Harrods
This product is ultimate luxury, although it's price tag is heavy there is no denying this exfoliant is up there with the best. It's unlike any exfoliator I've ever used before - it's bright orange, with a gloopy consistency and doesn't contain any beads. To be honest, it doesn't sound much of an exfoliator at all, but once you've used it there's no going back. With Azelaic, glycolic and lactic acid it's certainly strong and not for the faint hearted. As you know, my skin is is sensitive but if you are SUPER sensitive I would certainly suggest applying a dab on to the back of your neck or wrist before whacking a face full of it on. Surprisingly my skin has lapped this baby up and I haven't experienced any discomfort from using it. Like any other exfoliator, you apply a small amount to your entire face and rub for a few minutes. I then leave it on for about 10 minutes as it is more like a mask than a quick rub down. It stings and tingles but it's nothing unbearable. Once I've washed it off my skin feels smoother than a baby's bum and I can already notice the reduced size of my pores - it's also a key player in balancing out both oiliness and dry skin. I alternate between this and the Algenist so use it aprroximately 2 times a week. Even though it's pricey I'll definitely be re-purchasing it, it's not only helped improve my complexion but it's also helped prevent breakouts which is a winner in my book.
Liz Earle is one of my favourites, I found when using all of her products and nothing else my skin wasn't at all happy, but sharing the love with other brands and throwing in her heavenly animal friendly products once or twice a week makes a huge difference to my regularly un-happy skin.
If you're looking for an affordable exfoliator that shows almost immediate effects then STOP, you've found it.
This product is so gentle but effective - aimed at congested, flaky skin it contains jojoba beads to gently buff away dead skin cells and cocoa butter and sweet almond oil to keep the skin hydrated. As it's so gentle I use this daily when my skin needs it, rather than on a weekly basis. For example, if I'm feeling run down or it's that time of the month, I'll use this morning and night for a few days and any dry patches or flaky skin are banished. I've re-purchased this 4 times...so that's saying something, right?
First up on the masks is another Liz Earle product - the Deep Cleansing Mask. With ingredients such as Manuka honey, rose scented geranium, green clay and propolis you can imagine how heavenly this smells. Whilst the scent is quite strong, it's not overpowering and as with the majority of Liz's range they feel and smell almost medicinal - something I find to be beautiful in skincare, it makes you feel that it's really giving your skin what it needs. I've been using this mask for a few years now and know I'll be using it for years to come. It's a very thick but almost runny consistency (a little messy, some might say) but boy does it work. It's meant to regulate oiliness in the skin (winner) and when used once a week certainly does that, along with helping to reduce redness, clear up patchiness and leave your skin feeling super smooth for it's hugely reasonable price tag, it's a bit of a no brainer.
REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask RRP: £18
It's a little pricier than the Liz Earle mask, but I still think it's a mask that's affordable and definitely worth the £18. It's a thick clay that's formed to draw out any impurities in the skin whilst reducing the size of pores and blackheads. I bloody love this mask, not only is the packaging a beauty lovers dream (pump applicator and kept contained in a little bag to see when you're running low) it also contains lavender oil which is something I always look for in products as it's so soothing for spot prone skin. I use face masks twice a week, so when I've used my Liz Earle on a Sunday night I'll turn to my REN mask on a Wednesday. It dries in the most peculiar way, showing off all your blackheads, pores and patches but you can really see a difference in your overall appearance once you've added this to your routine. Of course, you're not going to wave goodbye to your blackheads overnight using this, but it will definitely help you on your way.
I hope you guys found this helpful, again I want to reiterate that using these products *together* helps keep my skin healthy and regulated, none of them are miracle workers on their own and if I'm honest I don't think that product even exists...do a bit of research in to what your skin needs and what will help it recover from whatever downfalls you feel it may have. There's a routine for everyone and sticking to it is the key element :)
Next up on the list will be serums and oils! Keep your eyes peeled...
Much love, xxx