SERIOUS SKINCARE, ON A BUDGET
It goes without saying that if you want a financially sustainable but discernibly effective [and mildly luxurious] skincare routine, go French. I have always applauded French skincare brands for their pragmatic, no-frills approach to skincare, and frequently urge those seeking to equip their regime with serious but affordable products to make the likes of La Roche-Posay, Avène, and Vichy their first port of call. Those new to the world of skincare or looking to up their skincare game without splashing too much cash will rejoice in a £10-15 price point and products that perform with prowess.
This is French skincare at it's best; applaudable product packaged in unassuming bottles [a real hidden gem], it's simple and effective, hard-working and results-driven, but effortless to use.
When I first decided to invest a little more in my skincare routine than the pocket change I was throwing [fruitlessly] at the likes of Neutrogena and Clearasil, I underwent thorough research, ending in a routine featuring the likes of Lush, The Body Shop, REN, and La Roche-Posay [in the form of Effaclar Duo]. Five years down the line and Effaclar Duo remains a steadfast; beloved enough to inspire many forays into the brand's other offerings...
With a pharmaceutical lineage originating from France, and a long-standing commitment to a dermatological approach to skincare, La Roche-Posay are renowned for offering first-rate skincare products, which in their formulation and efficacy come close to competing with the best of the best.
Today I'm shining the spotlight onto what I consider to be the brand's crowning glory - the Physiological range, designed to cater for sensitive skin [although regardless of your skin's sensitivity, I commend the line to anyone and have repurchased it as often when my skin has been dry as when it has been oily].
The range is formulated with ingredients designed to respect physiological balance [i.e. the skin's barrier function, which can be compromised by overzealous and harsh cleansing], leading to an either excessively dry or excessively oily complexion], so whether you associate as oily, dry, or dehydrated, you can expect these products to calm and balance your skin whilst it cleanses, bringing your complexion closer to a state of 'normality' with every use.
Expect exceptional skincare, minus the price tag.
I've confessed my love for this cleanser on many an occasion, rejoiced over the fact it was dedicated an entire Into The Gloss post, wept over the news that it is soon to be discontinued, and hoarded bottles from all over the country [the advantages to having friends in every major city]. Put simply, this stuff saved my skin during a nasty bout of hormonal acne, it took my complexion from oily, blemish-prone, and dehydrated, to a state that I can [for the first time since childhood] describe as 'normal' and 'balanced'. Despite its prowess [and gel formula], it's gentle enough to use on a daily basis [it's my go-to morning cleanser], always leaving my face feeling clean, and ultimately refreshed; yet not at all stripped, dry, or tight [in fact I'm quite certain it serves to add moisture]. Don't let the fact this will soon be disappearing from the shelves deter you though; if you suffer from cystic/hormonal acne, and those pesky under-the-skin blemishes, then one bottle is enough to change your life [it also works a treat in conjunction with a Clarisonic].
If you're wary of using anything overly abrasive or tend to steer clear of physical exfoliants, this offering is specifically designed for you. I use a scrub 2-3 times a week, by way of prepping my skin ahead of mask application, and always favour those that offer both chemical and physical exfoliation [in this case glycerin [a hydrating natural exfoliant] and micronised powders]. The physical scrub serves to unblock pores [allowing for better penetration of consequently applied products] and the chemical exfoliant helps to fade pigmentation, scarring, and blemish marks etc. In this case, the [finely milled] exfoliating particles are suspended within a thick gel formula, which reduces potential for irritation and means that the scrub can be used on a frequent basis, without distressing sensitive skin.
If you haven't already cast aside your makeup wipes in favour of a micellar solution then do so immediately. Devoid of the former's irritating ingredients and futile performance [you're doing nothing short of simply moving the dirt/makeup around your face] a micellar solution utilises tiny molecules, which lift oil and dirt from your skin. Unlike other makeup removers with claims to a gentle and mild formula, this product does not lack efficacy; alongside its soothing and hydrating ingredients, it serves to remove makeup and deep-rooted grime without aggravating the skin, and is every bit as effective in its purpose as other micellar solutions I have used. A delightfully non-invasive formula, ideal for easily irritated and dry complexions; I find it gentle enough to use on my [incredibly sensitive] eyes, and it breaks down even the most excessive mascara application in seconds.
Call me old-fashioned, but I love a good cleansing milk. Come evening, it's the perfect way to prep my skin for overnight products without over-cleansing [if you already removed your makeup and cleansed earlier in the day then you don't want to be too over-zealous, but admittedly products perform best when applied upon freshly cleansed skin]. It's also more than suitable for use as a follow-up to a micellar solution, as it's incredibly effective at removing deep-rooted grime and makeup [use this after a day in the city and observe the hard truths of pollution]. Thick, creamy, and cooling, it's a delight to apply; I like to take the time to massage it into my skin [often performing the Gankin facial massage technique] before removing with a cotton pad soaked in toner [see below].
The type of products you chance upon in a French pharmacy, buy on a whim, and discover to be the covert mainstay of every chic Parisian woman's medicine cabinet...
This is that rarity, a toner that moisturises as much as it tones; and for which reason has earned itself cult product status - boasting a loyal following of users who accredit it with clearing up concerns ranging from acne, to eczema, dry skin, and redness [it also contains glycerin, so will work to fade discolouration and blemish marks over time]. Enriched with a high count of the brand's Thermal Spring Water, this toner soothes, softens, and refreshes; an ideal way to remove a cleansing milk [as above] and to add an extra boost of hydration to the skin before locking it in with moisturiser. Ideal if you're looking to balance your complexion, or get rid of any unusual irritation with haste - expect your skin to look clearer within days.
Have you used any products from the La Roche-Posay Physiological range?