It's a no-brainer that when a brand releases two products with the same name or within a range, they're designed to complement each other; but what about those duos that chance upon each other by fate, the unlikely star-crossed lovers of the beauty world? For these five pairs [and me], it was love at first sight.
Meet the ultimate brightening duo. First, Codage's Spring Break Serum - offering a multi-pronged approach to skin reparation by optimising cell renewal, stimulating collagen production, and improving pigmentation. Codage do well by their French heritage and laboratory-style branding, both of which affirm a high-quality and luxury vibe that transcends into the application, use, and results of their products. This serum is light but potent; it never turns greasy, instead, it absorbs cleanly and wholly and ultimately leaves your skin bright and rejuvenated come morning. Despite working with prowess when used on its own, its results are amplified in conjunction with Eve Lom's Brightening Cream. Without a doubt the best moisturiser I have ever used [it completely debunks the theory of moisturisers serving only for hydration], the formula contains rose, Vitamin E, allantoin, and betaine - all known anti-inflammatories. The star ingredient however is Dermapep - which blocks melanin production and works up to 20 times more effectively than regular skin brighteners. The results are immediate, be prepared to marvel over a noticeable luminosity and newfound radiance. Together these have dealt with the remaining traces of my peekaboo acne breakouts. Using them in succession, expect skin to brighten up and even out from day one - pigmentation, scarring, and redness replaced with a clear complexion that positively glows. The epitome of beauty enlightenment.
Together this pair are quite simply the gold standard for pore-ridden, wan looking skin. The Origins Original Skin Retexturising Mask is a recent, but already adored addition to my skincare stash; the soft scent is reminiscent of a light rose perfume and the glow it leaves is like no other. I don't think I have ever been so impressed with a product after one use, exposed pores quite literally vanish. Sensitive-skinned readers, take note; it doesn't crisp to an uncomfortable crust like most clay masks - instead it dries comfortably after 10 minutes to a velvety, clean finish that doesn't feel tight in the slightest. Consider it a quick-fix treatment to looking like you're not on your deathbed [I can see this being a particularly worthy treatment during the winter, when my skin looks duller and greyer than the Manchester skyline]. Maintain your newly evident fresh-faced radiance with liberal application of the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. A cult product by any skincare junkie's standards, the standout ingredients here are witch hazel and olive oil; natural brighteners that hydrate and firm your skin, whilst algae extract revitalises and bisabolol softens. The result is a luminous and healthy glow, with quite the softest smoothest texture you'll ever know.
Doubling up on spot treatments might seem gratuitous, but sometimes, it takes two. When I'm suffering from one of those particularly nasty supersize under-the-skin spots, this pair are my failsafe in ensuring that the situation is dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible. The Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion is specifically designed to deal with deep, cystic acne, and is incredibly efficient at quelling potential blemishes before they've had time to properly show their face. The formula is unusually thin for a spot-on treatment; a watery texture that absorbs quickly, making it that rarity, a blemish treatment which can be applied beneath makeup. Its texture renders it ideal for layering, so for double the impact, once absorbed I dab on a little of Eve Lom's Dynaspot. This takes more of a traditional form - a thick white cream [best worn at night, for obvious reasons]. Without a doubt one of the most powerful blemish treatments I have ever used, the formula contains potent doses of salicylic acid, tea tree oil, zinc, yarrow, and chamomile, which work to reduce inflammation without causing scarring.
As regular readers are no doubt aware, Aēsop is my go-to for luxe skincare, and their Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque never leaves my on-hand stash. It's my salvation when I wake up with a face resembling a map of the constellations, and is what I use daily at that time of the month, when breakouts are both inevitable and at their very worst. Blemishes will be both reduced and prevented [I often employ it as an overnight spot-on treatment] and excess oil absorbed. Its efficacy is undisputed, but unfortunately comes at a price; the combination of clay and alcohol [albeit the good kind] are astringent and may leave sensitive skin feeling a little tight. For this reason I find it best followed with a product that serves to replenish and restore moisture - most specifically RMK's Skintuner Smoother Moist. A thick essence-like toner, I apply it with either a cotton pad or my fingertips and find that my skin feels instantly soothed, softened, and nourished. Citrus peel and bilberry extract star in the ingredients lineup, whilst apricot, rose, and hibiscus all have supporting roles. This proverbial cocktail of hydrating ingredients gives skin a reboot, strengthening its barrier function, restoring elasticity, and countering the astringent effects of a particularly effective detox mask.
Micellar solutions have long championed a virtuous and efficient approach to makeup removal backstage, and in recent years have established themselves as a high-street favourite, adored for their gentle proficiency. The formulas contains micelles, tiny molecules that latch onto and withdraw oil and dirt. I particularly adore this one, which bears the delicate, dessert-like trademark scent of La Roche-Posay's Physiological line, and is designed specifically for use on dry and sensitive skin [I'm a big believer in treating any skin type like sensitive skin]. Two cotton pads soaked in this fluid will remove the bulk of your makeup [including stubborn mascara], no scrubbing required. But don't stop there; if there's one thing to take away from the recent so-called 'skincare revolution', it's that double-cleansing is now the norm. For the past six months, I've ritually followed up my micellar water cleanse with a dollop of the Eve Lom Cleanser. The texture is wonderfully indulgent - thick, smooth, emollient, and peppered with finely ground exfoliating particles, it turns from balm to oil to cream and is the perfect consistency for a lengthy and luxurious face massage. Less glam is the scent, a pungent aroma of cloves and eucalyptus which has been known to put off users but fast grows upon those committed enough to see past an unusual aroma [don't judge a book by its cover, don't judge a cleanser by its scent]. One of the only truly effective cleansers to not only remove dirt, grime, and makeup, but also leave [and perhaps enhance] skin's moisture - there's almost no need to follow it up with the statutory toner and moisturiser. Rinse off with a warm soaked flannel and voila - you've successful deeply cleansed your skin with just two products and it won't feel tight in the slightest.
What are your failsafe skincare duos?