A guide to choosing retinol and retinoid.
Last year the blog was very skincare heavy. This year I decided to take it easy with the products and focus on other topics. However, there will be regular skincare posts. But I’m going to try and keep them to product categories or skincare routines.
If you want to reverse skin damage, delay the signs of skin ageing or preserve the current state of your skin then retinol has your name all over it. After SPF retinols or retinoids are the only legitimate anti-ageing skincare ingredients. I will include some links below if you would like more in depth information. Today I’m going to show you four varieties from my skincare stash.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%. This bad boy packs a punch and it’s cheap as chips at just £8.00/9.80€. Don’t be fooled by the price. This is one of the strongest versions I’ve used and it’s fragrance free. A great option if you want transformative skincare on a budget. Unfortunately, if you are new to retinol or have sensitive skin then this is likely too strong. Start with 0.5% and work your way up to this strength. With this product you get way more for your money.
Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Treatment. This is also pretty strong and therefore not a good option if you are a first timer (they have milder options). I like this a lot as it does exactly what it says on the tin. At £53.00 the price is good for what you get. It’s perfectly packaged in an airtight container and it’s also fragrance free.
African Botanics Intensive Recovery Oil. This is hands down one of my favourite brands. The founders are lovely and they sure know how to create luxury. Besides retinol this serum/oil contains Baobab (rich in antioxidants, vitamins A,C & E. Omega’s 3, 6 & 9), Marula Oil (rich in vitamin E & antioxidants) and CoQ10 (aids collagen production). It also contains Immortelle Jasmine flowers so this is definitely more than just a retinol. And so it should be at £175.00. This is an absolute treat and my skin looks soft and bright the morning after. Three or four drops is plenty so the 30ml bottle should last around a year.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil. Perhaps the most famous retinol product ever. I’m sure you have read a review on this. The inclusion of synthetic colour pigments with soothing Blue Tansy give this it’s deep blue hue. Cold pressed oils elevate this from a standard retinol product. A little goes a long way so £85.00 for 30ml doesn’t seem so outrageous to me.
When using any type of Retinol or Retinoid it’s essential you wear an SPF 30 or higher everyday. Please see links below for more information.
- Man Repeller – You Really Should Be Using A Retinoid
- Allure – 11 Retinol Myths
- Huffington Post – Everything You Need To Know About Retinol
The Plasma Essentials Collection by Perricone MD came to my rescue this Winter and I’m going to tell you why. The Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment was out of my comfort zone as it’s non-rinse (kind of like a micellar water). If you wear make-up this is a good option as your first cleanse as part of double cleanse in the evening. Or simply as a morning cleanse. I use it in the morning and splash my face with water afterwards, I couldn’t cleanse without a wet cloth or a thorough splash of water, it wouldn’t feel right. When I use this my face feels especially clean but not stripped.
Cold Plasma Eye is a wonderful eye cream that I’m using at night. Even a generous amount absorbs quickly without a trace of residue. It’s the best. It’s worth mentioning this smells a little like fish. I imagine it’s marine collagen or fish oil. What this means is the nutritious ingredients haven’t been diluted to make it smell pretty. I prefer this as I want the best for my skin. And it doesn’t smell bad, just different.
Containing three types of hyaluronic acid Hyalo Plasma works as a serum and is a pleasure to use. It’s a gel consistency that feels concentrated and rich yet lightweight. It’s not sticky and leaves my skin feeling properly hydrated.
Photo Plasma is an intensely rich moisturiser with SPF 30. Whilst it hasn’t been fragranced I think this smells very nice. It really is rich, especially when used in combination with the Hyalo Plasma. If you have dry, dull skin I expect you will love it. I appreciate the SPF 30 as anything lower wouldn’t be enough for me. This leaves a nice sheen on the skin which lasts for an hour or two. I have a feeling make-up will sit nicely on top of this as it doesn’t feel greasy. If you have an issue with shine then this won’t work for you. If you like a glossy glow from your moisturiser then give it a go.
The products work very well together and this makes great sense as a set. I need another cleanser in addition. I happened to be using the Perricone MD Gentle Cleanser (it’s so good) and for me this completes the set to perfection. It’s currently on 50% discount but most places are sold out. It’s still available here though.
Supreme moisture mask is the latest addition from one of my favourite brands NUORI. Everything I’ve used from this brand feels special and I love the packaging. The intense moisture mask can be used in a number of ways. The instructions suggest applying a generous amount for 10-15 minutes for an instant hydration boost or leave it overnight for an intensified result. A few weeks ago I needed to take a flight to London. I thought this would be a perfect time to test the mask. Even a short flight leaves my skin feeling dry and I wanted to see if this product would stand up.
During my morning skincare routine I replaced my usual moisturiser with the Supreme Moisture Mask and applied SPF as the last step. In terms of texture this feels like a heavy cream. However it absorbs well and feels lighter when it’s actually on the skin. As a flight mask this worked a treat and it doesn’t leave a shiny film on the skin as many moisture masks tend to do. It offered lasting hydration and my skin was still soft and quenched when I landed. If you have a long haul flight coming up then I recommend you take this with you.
I now use this about once a week as an overnight mask and I like it a lot. If you have oily or congested skin this will likely be too rich for you. However if you have any level of dryness or dehydration then you will benefit from using this. It contains a multitude of natural, plant based ingredients and essential oils.
You won’t find preservatives, silicones, artificial fragrances or anything else that’s synthetic. Because of this you need to store it in a cool place and use within 6 months. During the Winter I store almost all of my skincare in a corridor where there is no heating. This is a little inconvenient as I have to move items to and from my bathroom twice a day. But, I wouldn’t put a Prada jumper in the tumble dryer so correctly storing my expensive skincare feels like the right thing to do.
The selection in my forth and final gift guide can be found at online mecca Niche Beauty. Whilst many of their cult brands are gender neutral the store has a section dedicated to men. I’ve put together an eclectic mix of products that harness the power to help us look good and feel good. All of the items are perfectly giftable with options for stocking fillers.
The Michael Van Clarke No. 1 Brush has bendy bristles that gently de-tangle longer hair. If you have shorter hair like me I recommend this as a wonderful scalp massager. Sounds Crazy? Gently running this brush over your scalp in different directions for 30 seconds feels like a 15 minute neck and shoulder massage. Bargain! Keeko coconut oil pulling in morning mint. If you are new to oil pulling then I guarantee you will have cleaner and whiter teeth by adding this to your daily routine. It’s also known to be an ancient method of detoxing. Bring it on! Pure Elixir skin supplements. These tiny bad boys are infused with marine collagen, vitamin c + e, hyaluronic acid and tomato extract. Clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smooth and brighten the skin. Yes please! Tata Harper face moisturiser. This brand is completely natural and non-toxic. Yes, some skincare contains ingredients that are toxic. Tate Harper manufacture their products themselves in Vermont. In-house manufacturing allows small batches, produced often to ensure the products are fresh and of the highest quality. MINIMERGENCY KIT. The trusty tin contains 13 essentials, especially useful when traveling. There’s everything from shirt buttons to a safety pin, plaster and nail clippers. I had my own minimergency yesterday when I discovered a small hole in one of my bed pillows. I used the needle and thread from my kit to quickly sew up the hole. Viola! Sleeping crisis averted.