Since having Evie, my skin has been incredibly difficult to please. I blame hormones (still lingering on from pregnancy and birth) but of course poor diet, stress and lack of sleep are probably also factors and my spotty chin seems to be settling in for the long haul!
I’ll admit that I’ve never had the definition of ‘good’ skin and have battled with some form of dryness, redness and acne ever since I was a teenager. I’ve had brief moments of reprieve where each time I think I’ve cracked it, and then life gets in the way to switch things up again. When planning my wedding I had various skin ups and downs, and frequent flare ups depending on what stress level the planning was at. My old – slap on a bit of cheap moisturiser after a shower and buy whichever foundation is on offer at the time – no longer worked, and it was around then that I set about finding products that really worked for me. It was then that I discovered Ermana skincare (an all natural method) and Balance Me (again 99% natural). Both were able to offer my skin the nutrition it needed and I haven’t used a face wipe or a cheap moisturiser since. I also have the wedding to blame for my rather expensive Nars addiction, because let’s face it once you’ve used a Nars foundation, that Rimmel one on offer really doesn’t cut it anymore!
Of course, not long after I felt like I’d found the skincare routine that suited me, pregnancy came along and threw EVERYTHING up in the air (that pregnancy glow you’re supposed to get where your skin and hair get all shiny and dewy – yup never happened to me!) and I’m still battling the post-partum spotty chin situation 7 months after giving birth.
The difference now of course is that I have zero time to spend pampering myself, and my ‘routine’ is very much dependent on Evie’s mood that day and whether she’ll allow me to leave her alone for longer than it takes to splash my face with water and hope for the best. In those early months where everything was hazy, both my moisturiser and foundation ran out at the same time and with neither the time, money or inclination to re-stock, I fell back into old habits and reached for an old bottle of Simple moisturiser and a back up Loreal foundation that was kicking about at the bottom of my make up bag.
And I really noticed a difference. My skin immediately went from tired, dull and a little spotty to super dry, red and riddled with angry spots. I realised then that my skin clearly has expensive taste (should I have expected anything less?) and gave in to the fact that I need to spend £32 on foundation unless I want to resemble someone with chicken pox daily. And honestly, I’ve made my peace with it. I really do love Nars foundation and I feel like good skincare is actually worth investing in.
So with very little time for faffing right now, I’m sticking with these everyday essentials – all of which are simple and easy to use and guaranteed to work with my skin (while these hormones still rage on I’m not taking any chances trying new products). There’s nothing revolutionary here but it’s what works for me – a very tired mama whose prone to spots and never manages to get rid of the bags under her eyes! I’d love to hear what products work for you, if you have any tips and what your everyday essentials look like?
Balance Me restore and replenish face cream – £40
This is my everyday (and night) moisturiser. It’s hydrating without being greasy and gives my skin the nourishment it needs to stop it looking dry and red, but doesn’t aggravate my oily T-zone or feel so thick that I can’t layer make up on top. It’s natural too and I’ve never had a bad reaction to it (which can often happen to me when I switch from one product to another). It’s pricey, and the bottle doesn’t last me long, but I’ve honestly not found anything else that keeps my skin in check like this does.
Balance Me restore and replenish cream cleanser – £18
This is the cleanser that goes along with the face cream, it’s significantly less expensive and it lasts me a long time so it’s become a bit of a favourite. This is what I use in the evenings to take my make up off (I can’t believe I spent so many years using face wipes – gah) and the difference I’ve seen using this with a little warm water and cotton pads to remove the daily grime, is ridiculous. I don’t use it every night religiously (as I don’t wear make up every day) and it can sometimes dry my skin out a little (but as long as I use the moisturiser afterwards it’s not a problem) but it’s very simple and fast to use which suits me fine. I just lather it on then wipe off with a warm cotton pad and I’m done.
Eve Lom cleanser – £55
This is a fairly new addition for me, but after SO many of you recommended it on the social medias I decided to give it a go. It is expensive but I bought a small pot on Ebay just to test it out which wasn’t too crazy. I only use it once a week at the moment as a bit of a ‘treat’ for my skin (and because it’s not as quick and requires a bit more pamper time of an evening which I don’t always have!) but so far I’m enjoying it and it definitely makes my skin softer and feels rather luxurious.
Nars Radiance Primer £27
Primer has been a bit of a game changer for me (again I was introduced to it during a make up trial ahead of my wedding) and if you too suffer from dry skin, I’d urge you to try a good quality one under your make up. Not only does this one give my dull tired skin a bit of a helping hand in the glow department, but it also provides a barrier between my skin and the foundation – stopping the foundation from settling into all of my dry patches and looking cakey. It’s also SPF 35 so offers some protection too.
Nars Sheer Glow foundation – £32
This is the one. The one that gave my skin a taste of the high life, so much so that it simply refused to go back to an affordable foundation since. It’s a great light coverage if you’re after a natural make up look that isn’t heavy to wear. This was my wedding foundation so I know it’s good in terms of all day coverage, and I enjoy the fact that I don’t feel like I’m wearing make up when it’s on (although you can easily build it up if you need to).
Nars light reflecting setting powder – £28
The finishing touch on the base for me is this light powder which just sets the foundation, avoids any shiny-ness, and helps keep it in place all day no matter the weather.
The failsafe extras
Obviously there are other make up items I use if I have time to don a full face such as concealer, bronzer, blusher, highlighter and then eye-shadow and eyeliner if I’m really going all out. For the most part though, I’m not loyal to a particular brand on these pieces (apart from perhaps the liner – I’ve been using Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner for years) so tend to pick these up as I need them. Despite not being able to go back to a high street brand when it comes to foundation, concealer isn’t something I’m quite as picky about as I generally think all cream concealers do the same job and I only use them to build up coverage under my eyes and on any spots.
Two products I do tend to invest more in though are lipsticks and eyebrow pencils. Lipsticks, because I never ever tire of a bold lip and buying a new lippie every so often brings me an immense amount of joy. Brow pencils because I a rather obsessed with getting my brows to look good and I somehow feel naked if I don’t fill them in one day.
For an everyday quick make up look when I really don’t have a lot of time, I slap on my base products and then just fill in my brows, add a slick of mascara (which for some reason I haven’t photographed here – doh) and don a bold lip to make me look more ‘done’ than I really am.
Bobbi Brown nourishing lip colour in cosmic peony – £18.50
This hot pink shade is a current favourite and always adds a bit of pizzazz when I’m feeling particularly tired and frumpy, plus the lippy is super creamy so doesn’t go dry and flaky as soon as you lick your lips/step outside and lasts all day with only a few tops ups needed.
Topshop brow pencil in vicious circle – £6
Ok so up until about a month ago, I was using a much more expensive brow product, which (disclaimer) I totally love and can’t recommend enough – the Dior universal brow pencil. It isn’t limited to a specific shade and claims to work on any brow to naturally fill in your shape without adding darker/lighter colour. I love it BUT at £18 a pop it’s an expensive addiction, and it lasts me approximately a month max. So, I knew I needed to find a more affordable alternative that I could use for everyday and I’ve eventually settled on this Topshop number which is soft and natural looking without being overly – oh HEY heavily drawn in eyebrows, are you actually trying to be a Kardashian? – in your face.
Maybelline colossal big shot volume express mascara – £7.99
The final touch – a slick of mascara. I’ve always been a fan of Maybelline mascaras, ever since my early teenage years when my weekly pocket money would get spent in the aisles of Superdrug on So… fragrances and that £4.99 pink and blue mascara everyone loved. Since then I’ve progressed onto more classy fragrances thankfully, but I’m still championing the mascara. My current favourite is this (rather fetching gold) volume mascara, which goes on quickly and easily, leaves minimal splodges, gives my lashes an extra oomph and is a great jet black shade.
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So tell me, what are your everyday essentials?