If you’ve been here before, you are already intimately familiar with my morning and evening skincare steps and most of the time, that’s all I do to my skin. Well, many people would say that’s plenty (and I agree), but what I mean is that unless I’m having a skin emergency, the routines seem to be enough and I don’t necessarily need anything extra. But sometimes, when I have more time and/or my skin is acting needy, it’s nice to do something special. The most frequently used bonus products in my stash are below.
1. When you I have one minute. People often don’t like masks because they take time and can be messy. Ren’s Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial works quickly and it does give your complexion a boost. An even faster solution is Alpha-H Liquid Gold, it’ll take you about 10 seconds to exfoliate and brighten the skin. I use it 2-3 times a week, usually as a part of my evening line-up. This is a serious glycolic acid product and the main reason I no longer feel the need for cleansing/exfoliating masks that often.
2. When my skin feels really gross. I’m suspicious of individuals who are too worried about their pores. Nobody is looking at your pores! Or if they are, stop talking to them. But if your skin feels congested and in need of some serious cleansing, I recommend Glamglow mud treatments. Yes, I know, experts say not to spend too much on clay masks, but I have tried a few (including the iconic Aesop parsley one) and Glamglow Supermud is my favourite. Possibly because of the added acid action, it makes my skin look clear, even and ready for anything. I currently use Youthmud and it seems to have a very similar effect.
3. When my skin feels gross, but also sensitive. I can most of the time use almost anything on my skin without upsetting it, but Glamglow can be too harsh for more sensitive skin. When I want to exfoliate gently, Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is an old favourite. It’s a lovely product and I warmly recommend it to novices: for people used to hard-core acids and retinoids, it’s not going to be enough. The mask now has an overnight version, Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial, another great product.
4. When I’m sleepy. Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir is called a cult product these days. I’m not sure what it means, except that clearly many people like it a lot. I like it as well, but not as a hydrating spray, more as a refresher. I’m sure it provides some hydration, too, but frankly, there are better sprays for that (including by Caudalie). It’s a great pick-me-up, however, smells lovely and stimulates the skin lightly. I love it for travel, too (three yays for the small size!).
5. When you look dead. When my skin is dull and dehydrated, I start with an exfoliating mask and follow up with a hydrating one. The Glamglow and Ren ones mentioned above would all work for step 1, but sometimes I use Good Genes, one of my absolute favourite products, as a mask to clear the way. For hydration, there are millions of intensive treatments on the market: I’ve got several Asian products, but I must say I prefer Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask. And I’ve just tried the Glamglow Thirstymud that looks to become another favourite.
6. When you need the love. My skin is less dry these days, but does get stressed and worn out. I hesitate to recommend it because of the price, but Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask is probably the best nourishing product I have ever used. I also like oils in this situation: in the name of science, I applied the rose mask in the evening the other day and followed up with Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex. It worked beautifully, but I’m still on the market for a serious, heavy-hitting oil: Vintner’s Daughter and La Mer both look very tempting. They also cost about the same amount as a small house.
You have probably noticed that all the products on the pictures are mini size. This is because a) I’m obsessed with minis and b) I think this is a good category for experimentation. Unlike serums or creams, masks and the like need to give instant results, so it doesn’t take 2 months of diligent use to form an opinion.