Lockdown Beauty: Best Skin Products for Body and Face 2020
by Rachel Howard
As we hit the month of May – and despite lockdown – thoughts are undoubtedly turning to the summer season; warmer weather, summer clothes, cocktails, the tantalising possibility of barbecues and, brace yourself, exposed flesh! There’s nothing nicer than wearing a little dress in the heat of summer, but as we all know, the transition from pale, dry skin that has been hidden under woolly jumpers and jeans, to glowy, bronzed limbs that are ready to be shown off, is not an easy one. Neither is daring to bare your face after months of heavy foundation, bronzer and mascara.
So, to help get your skin – both body and face – ready for summer, I’ve road-tested some of the best products on the market, and formed a comprehensive list of everything you need to be the ultimate summer stunner.
All skincare specialists will tell you that good skin comes from good cleansing. Ideally, it should be done twice a day, with your evening cleanse being all about removing makeup, dirt and grime and the morning routine focusing on waking up and refreshing the skin.
For removing makeup, I’ve found the best type of cleanser is a balm. No matter what your skin type, balms melt away makeup gently, with no need for harsh scrubbing, leaving the skin clean, soft and hydrated. Two of the best are Frances Prescott Tri Balm (£46) and Slow Ageing Essential Face Balm (£60). Both have a beautiful spa-like scent and whip every last trace of makeup away effortlessly. I’m not the biggest fan of the stick design of the Tri Balm – it’s a little gimmicky and means you aren’t able to use the last few remnants of product (note to Frances Prescott – please just put this fabulous product in a pot!), but the formulation of both cleansers are beautiful.
Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser (£17) is more of a refreshing cleanser. The gel formulation probably isn’t the best for removing makeup, but as a morning ritual, the cool-feeling gel is fresh, light and un-fragranced. I wouldn’t recommend this for very dry skin, but my combo/oily skin loved it and it made for a lovely clean canvas ready for moisturiser, serum, primer and makeup.
Once the face has been cleansed, the next major step is moisturiser. As most people will know, buying a moisturiser can be a minefield, and an expensive one at that.
I was especially impressed by Pestle & Mortar Hydrate Lightweight Moisturiser (£43). Doing exactly what it says “on the tin”, this moisturiser is beautifully lightweight, making it perfect for my skin type. It has a gorgeous, slightly zesty fragrance and sinks into the skin quickly. The clever packaging also dispenses the perfect amount of product, so it’s impossible to waste any. This has to be one of my top finds of recent months.
Slow Ageing Essential Moisturiser (£45) is a little thicker in texture but I would still class this as lightweight. Continuing the spa-like scent from the cleansing balm, this nutritious product is not greasy, sinks in beautifully and has a plethora of antioxidants making it an anti-ageing dream.
JunéCell is a luxury, high-end brand that crams huge amounts of active ingredients to aid anti-ageing, promote protection and leave you with the best skin you can possibly get. Their Midnight Recovery Cream Rich (£289.99) is certainly not cheap, competing on a price scale with the likes of La Mer, La Prairie and Augustinus Bader. I would certainly struggle to ever say that a face cream is worth in excess of £200 – it depends what value you put on good skin. But this is definitely one of the best night creams I have ever used. Non-greasy, nourishing and with a beautiful gentle fragrance, it makes your nightly skincare routine like a visit to a fabulous spa.
For dry skin, you won’t find much better than Dr Hauschka Revitalising Day Cream (£44). This is a brand that I haven’t previously tried, and I must admit, I’m hugely impressed. This day cream is jam-packed with botanical extracts and oils making it a soothing, hydrating drink for dry skin. And despite my skin being more on the combination/oily side, this moisturiser didn’t make me flare up or feel too greasy. It provides a beautiful glow and leaves the skin plump and hydrated.
From the same brand, Dr Hauschka Revitalising Mask (£39.50) is a real treat for the face. This isn’t one of those thick masks that turns hard and flaky, it’s a fairly thin texture and incredibly soothing. Designed to be used once or twice a week, this mask is suitable for all skin types and aids in conditions including redness, blemishes, rosacea and couperose. The finished result is calm, even and glowing skin. Just what we’re all looking for as the summer months approach.
Sticking with treats for the skin, Verso Enzyme Peel (£80) is one of those products that could instil fear if you haven’t used an enzyme peel before. But don’t be scared! Containing AHAs and PHA, this exfoliating gel simply removes dead skin cells and accelerates the renewal of cells, leaving you with a smoother, softer and more radiant face. This should only be used 1-3 times a week as it’s pretty strong stuff, but I found the results well worth the extra step in my skincare routine – despite the chemical-like fragrance.
Jane Scrivener Skinfoliate (£26) is a resurfacing exfoliator containing AHAs and BHAs. The texture of this is much more liquid than the Verso Enzyme Peel. Designed to be used on a cotton wool pad, this has a slightly more pleasant scent (although still pretty pungent!). Again, this should only be used once or twice a week to reveal your most radiant, clear and glowing skin.
Labthetics Advanced Antioxidant Protector (£46.99) is a powerful serum containing Vitamin C 5% and Ferulic Acid 0.5%. A few drops of this serum can be used morning and night after cleansing to help protect the skin from the dangerous effects of free radicals at the same time as stimulating natural collagen and fibroblasts and improving skin tone and pigmentation. It has a nourishing texture that sinks in surprisingly quickly. The scent isn’t too overpowering and my skin felt calmed and even in tone after just a few days.
Kyushi The Power Of Ten (£21) is a serum that is suitable for all skin types, and is especially good for sensitive skin. Despite being an oil-based product, this is particularly good for oily skins as it helps to balance oil production and reduces inflammation. As someone with fairly oily skin, I used to be very dubious about the “reducing oil production” theory, but I can confirm it really does work. This is a light texture with a pleasant scent that, after using in an evening, left my skin hydrated, balanced and “happy” upon waking up.
Lips & Eyes
Lips and eyes may only be small features but they are the things we look at most when talking to other people. They are also some of the first features to show signs of ageing and, on the flipside, are great indicators of health and vitality. Ignore these areas at your peril!
Dr Pawpaw Scrub & Nourish (£8) is a fabulous little product containing both an exfoliating scrub and a thick, luxurious balm. Small enough to carry in your handbag, it is the perfect product to have on hand as we make our way from spring to summer. The scrub gently buffs away the dead skin from chapped lips and the balm rehydrates and nourishes leaving lips soft and supple.
Dr Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm (£3.49) is a traditional type of lip balm. In a stick formulation, this product comes in flavours including peppermint and orange ginger. Containing organic beeswax and US hemp oil, this highly moisturising balm can be used not only on the lips but also the hands, feet and even to keep brow hairs in place. At just £3.49, it should be a staple at home, work and in every handbag you own!
Time Bomb Smart Balm Eye Cream (£29) is an un-fragranced, lightweight eye cream. More of a fluid than a cream, this can be worn under or over makeup to moisten, tighten and smooth fine lines. Unlike some eye creams that can feel greasy and heavy, this sinks in well, doesn’t sting and doesn’t irritate – even for this contact-lens wearer. Suitable for all skin types, I would encourage anyone to try this product, including those in their 20s who are just starting out on their anti-ageing journey.
For something much more powerful, JunéCell have brought out their Enriched Eye Cream (£224.99). This won’t be for everyone’s budget, but as far as eye creams go, this is a winner. With a thick texture and the signature JuneCell scent, this cream contains ingredients including hyaluronic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and caviar extract. Created to target dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles it also helps to reduce puffiness by featuring a cooling metal applicator.
As the weather improves and the temperatures rise, we know that there’ll be a little more flesh on show. Whether this fills you with excitement or dread, here are some products to ease that transition and leave you full of confidence for getting those limbs out!
Alive Magnesium Plus Energising Body Gel Lotion (£5) is a great staple to have in your cupboard from this part of the year onwards. Magnesium is known to aid nutrient absorption and skin hydration, so this lotion is especially hydrating. It has a gorgeous subtle scent and isn’t sticky, meaning you can get dressed as soon as you’ve applied this. It is also especially cooling, so would work fabulously as an after sun lotion. Enriched with sea help and arnica, it also helps to enhance the appearance of the skin.
Dr Hauschka Revitalising Leg and Arm Tonic (£26.50) is a product that I genuinely thought was a gimmick. Whoever heard of a leg and arm tonic?! And is it really necessary? However, out of all the products I have tested for this article, this is the one I am most likely to buy again. It isn’t oily, more of a water/toner that has a wonderfully botanical scent. It claims to invigorate and energise, whilst rosemary and borage warm and refresh. It definitely does all those things but the thing I liked most about it was the change in appearance and texture to my skin. It evened out my skin tone, helped with those little rough patches on the top of the arms that we all get, and left my skin looking and feeling fantastic. Highly recommended.
Ishga is a brand born on the Isle of Lewis. It uses the purest Scottish seaweed in its products as they harness natural anti-oxidants, healing and anti-ageing properties. The Hebridean Sea Salt Scrub (£15.50) exfoliates the skin leaving it looking glowing and nourished and ready for the summer (or some fake tan!)
From the same brand, the Invigorating Body Oil (£36.50) scores highly for me firstly as it comes in a pump. Oils can be terribly messy products, so to have one in a pump is a fantastic idea and one that other brands should take note of. The consistency is light, not greasy and is absorbed quickly. The texture and tone of my skin certainly benefitted from this and although there is seaweed in this product, the scent isn’t unpleasant.
So there we have it. You certainly don’t need to use all of these products to get yourself summer-ready, but the addition of one or two to your regular skincare regime will leave you bursting with confidence and ready to enjoy the sunshine and the summer months, regardless of lockdown.