Friday, 14 February 2014

Face Off

Today's post is going to be all about my favourite facial cleansers. I am really, really into skincare at the moment. When I was a teenager, I had truly awful pizza skin. I cringe looking at photos of me from that time. I just didn't have a clue what I was doing - the only items of make up I owned were Rimmel concealer sticks and a blue eye shadow, and my idea of skincare was splashing a bit of Neutrogena on my face in the shower.

Now I'm the grand old age of 27, my skin has settled down. It isn't perfect, but I certainly don't weep when I look in the mirror. My biggest concerns now are dark circles, oily skin and enlarged pores. Glamorous!

Bring on my favourite products!

The Body Shop deserve a massive round of applause for their skincare ranges. I used to use the Tea Tree collection, but now that fighting blemishes isn't a priority I have switched to the Seaweed range for oily/combination skin. And omigod, what a revelation. This post is dominated by the Body Shop, so if you haven't tried their skin care ranges yet, I hope this will encourage you to pop into your local store and check them out.

For washing my face in the morning?

Seaweed Cleansing Facial Wash, £8

#This is a gel cleanser that you only need a tiny amount of. It doesn't generate masses of foam, just the right amount to make your skin feel completely clean.

I have extremely oily skin, but after I wash my face (regardless of the product I use) it goes tight and dry within a minute before going into oil production overdrive, unless I get my moisturiser on quickly. I wish I could say that I'd found something to counteract this effect, but I haven't.

This gel is gentle enough to rub on your mascara eyes, if you keep them tightly shut, though I prefer to use this in the morning on "clean" skin.

Morning toner?

Seaweed Clarifying Toner, £8

#I use a small amount of this toner on a cotton wool pad immediately after the gel cleanser. Too much of any toner is horrible - I think it is quite drying - but this one is fairly gentle. If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn't recommend using a toner at all; during my teenage years, my skin would burn horribly if I used it.

I don't use this toner in the evening, since I use an exfoliator or alternate product instead. For me, added a toner after any abrasive cleanser is not a good idea and can leave my skin red and sensitive.

Morning moisturiser?

Seaweed Day Cream, £10

I used to think that a "cream" moisturiser would be too heavy for my oily skin. But this day cream is very, very light - almost more like a gel. I wish it was in a pump rather than a pot, but it does the job so well that this doesn't seem such a bad compromise.

I dip three finger tips lightly in the pot, and find that amount sufficient to cover my whole face. Slightly more is needed if you're into moisturising your neck, but I tend to stop at my jawline.

Along with the facial wash, this is my favourite item from the Seaweed range. You can buy mini versions of both the toner and this moisturiser from the Body Shop to trial, if you're interested.

Taking my eye make up off at night?

Bioderma Sensibio H20, price varies

There is a cult French product called Bioderma, which if you're a fan of beauty vloggers on YouTube you are bound to have encountered. If you visit France, buy as many as your suitcase will hold and bring them home with you - it's absurdly expensive to buy in the UK. I only use this to remove my eye make up - I won't rush to restock it when I run out until I visit France again, because as much as I love it, it is overpriced.

The best place to get it in the UK at the moment is from Escentual, who have a 25% off everything promotion running until February 17th if you use discount code ESCENTUAL25.

I buy the 500ml bottles to get the best value, but they also sell 250ml bottles and sweet mini travel sized ones.

I use the Sensibio H20 line because it is safe for your eyes and sensitive skin, but Bioderma do other collections too, plus a myriad of other skincare lines.

For taking the rest of my make up off at night?

Seaweed Purifying Facial Cleanser, £8

#Honestly, I'm not a massive fan of this. I received it as part of a Seaweed gift bundle - I won't repurchase it for myself when it's gone, because I much prefer the Soap & Glory 'Peaches and Clean'.

This is the kind of cleanser that you plop onto your dry skin to remove make up, or just dirt. I have to use a really big squeeze of this to deal with my mascara, and when I wipe it off afterwards my face doesn't feel completely clean.

Until it runs out, I will just be using it before a bath to clean up my face, then follow up with an exfoliator or other cleanser.


Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator, £9

#I don't like to overdo scrubs, as I find them a little harsh for me. But this one is great used every other day in moderation.

I like to use it after a bath, when my pores are open, or after cleansing my face if I feel like I had a particularly grimy day.

I never, ever exfoliate in the morning. It buffs my skin a little too much to then try and apply make up - for me, it's strictly an evening product.

I like to follow it up the the Body Shop's Aloe Soothing Gel, which is deserves it's own mention actually...

Evening moisturiser?

Seaweed Night Treatment, £11

Click for enlarged viewThis is not my favourite part of my cleansing regime. Which is a little unfair of me because it works really well. It is a very light, clear gel, not at all like the sort of rich cream you might expect to put on at night.

The key requirement for me is not waking up with an overly greasy face. No matter how clean and soft my face is when I fall asleep, I always wake up oily. This night treatment does massively reduce my morning shininess, but I wonder if I'm missing out on any other benefits that a different night cream would give my skin.

Plus my current pump doesn't smell very nice, though previous ones have been lovely. Hmm.

Help! My skin is burning!

Aloe Soothing Gel, £8


Aloe Vera is an absolute miracle. When I lived in Japan, we had huge aloe plants growing in the nakaniwa (our inside garden). You could snap the ends of a thick leaf and rub the pure oils directly to your skin.

I could rave about the wonders of aloe all day. It's the only thing I would put on sunburn (forget those stupid after sun lotions) and I run screaming for it if I ever upset my face with a mask or a new product.

Whenever I go to Florida, I stock up on great big bottles of gel for my body. But here in the UK, this new offering from the Body Shop fits the bill nicely.

Face treats?

You could be forgiven for thinking that I have never stepped foot out of a Body Shop reading this post, but this is the result of YEARS of searching for the right things for my skin. I have tried so, so many different brands - from the ultra high-end Creme de la Mer, to the famous Clinique 3-Step programme, to Boots bargains like Clearasil and St Ives. My skin continued to suffer through everything I tried, until my current routine. So regardless of where it all comes from, if you find something that works for you, embrace it!

Then there is the added MASSIVE bonus of knowing that everything I buy from the Body Shop is fair trade and never tested on animals. What's not to love?

There are SO many products I want to talk about here from my various routines, but I am trying to stick to "facial cleansing" in this post. And I would be utterly remiss not to include:

Montagne Jeunesse face masks, approx £1

Montagne Jeunesse Peel & Mud Pamper PackOh how I adore these face masks. They're cheap as chips and some of them work amazingly. They all smell lovely, and despite occasionally being a massive pain to scrub off, they never fail to leave my face soft and happy.

Just in case one upsets my skin, I have my trusty aloe soothing gel to slap on afterwards.

Miracle product?

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum, £39

Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum

 Now this product is not for "cleaning" my face, so technically I shouldn't include it, but it is so, so good that I must.

It is the only face care I still buy from Clinique, because as a general rule I find their collections overpriced and I know that they aren't supposed to be perfumed - but I like my products to smell nice. Or at least clean.

But if you have enlarged pores, YOU NEED THIS SERUM. I use it religiously every night after my moisturiser and I can honestly say that it has made a significant difference to how noticeable they are. It doesn't clear pores, but boy does it shrink your big empty ones.

Even though I am very happy with my current range, I am tempted to try La Roche-Posay's range for oily skin, and also maybe First Aid Beauty. I will always have my beloved Soap & Glory on standby too. I'm certainly open to trying new things, but I know what I like and I'll stick with it until my skin's needs change again.

Do you use any of these products, or have a recommendation from me? I'd love to hear from you!

Much love,


  1. I really need to try that Clinique serum... Thanks for the tip!

  2. Interesting products. Those face masks rock!

  3. I have nominated you for the Liebster award!
    For more details, check out my blog!
    Alley xoxo

  4. I really need to try biodrema, haven't tried it yet!

    Sharlotte //

  5. Oo I really really want that Clinique Serum! :) and who doesn't love a nice cheap facemask? :D haha x

  6. Love the products you've selected!

    Have a wonderful day.


  7. I love the body shop seaweed products, they're so good X

  8. I used to use body shop all the time, the suddenly , I made pretty bad breakouts. I haven't used it since, but might give it another go after reading this. Thanks!

  9. I bought the Bodyshop seaweed facemask about a week ago and my skin is so much clearer since using it! I have the same problem as you with my face feeling very dry after washing it though


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