Lazy skincare: the ABCs

You would think that with me being unemployed (I prefer funemployed) and working on my dissertation, I would have gads of time to write for the blog. No, I've been too busy eating and drinking my way around London (and, briefly, Brighton and Bristol). I've seen Russell Brand, Catherine Tate, and Stephen Merchant, and I've been job-hunting (which: soul-destroying).

Since I've been in London, my skin seems to have gone from oily and acne-prone to normal-combination and slightly acne-prone. I don't know whether it's the hard water, the lower humidity, normal ageing or just, you know, hormones, but I like it. My hair's been loving it too, but more on that another day.

Despite my constant wittering on about "active ingredients" this, "scientifically-validated" that, my skincare routine... isn't much of a routine. Basically, I cleanse (currently with the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish -- love), wipe off with a muslin cloth, and pick one thing from an array of serums and light moisturisers. 

differin plantae environ

The As:

  • Differin 0.1% cream. This is a formulation of adapelene, from drug giant Galderma. Adapalene is a retinoid (see my post about them here), and is only available with a prescription. The neat thing about that is that it's funded, which means that in New Zealand you can get it for $5! That's, what, a tenth of what you'd pay for less active formulations from brands like Environ, ROC, and the like. You do have to be careful with this if you have dry skin, however. I found that it works best for me when used every 2-3 days; any more and I get really bad flakiness.
  • Environ Intensive Alpha Hydroxy Gel. This stuff will make your skin soft, plump, and smooth. It's brilliant when you're looking grey and haggard after a night out, or when your skin is a bit congested, and works perfectly for when I've overdone it with the Differin. I also like that this has a short ingredients list: water (the solvent), glycolic acid (an AHA, or alpha hydroxy acid), glycerin (a humectant, which helps moisturise), hydroxyethylcellulose* (thickener), lactic acid (AHA), and ammonium hydroxide (an antimicrobial). 
  • Plantae Supercritical Rosehip Fruit + Seed Regenerative Facial Serum. This isn't just your normal rosehip oil -- it's supercritical. Luckily, that doesn't mean it yells "stop looking so old" at you while you're looking in the mirror; it just means that the oil has been extracted with CO2 as opposed to cold-pressed. For an oil like rosehip, this is critical (HAH) because its high antioxidant content means that it's prone to degradation from heat and oxygen, which is present during cold-pressing. 
paulas choice bha

The B:

  • Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid used in skincare, and it's fantastic for exfoliating your skin. Unlike AHAs, which primarily slough off the surface layer of dead skin, salicylic acid is oil-soluble, and it acts down in your pores to get rid of excess sebum -- ideal if you're oily and acne-prone. It's also a good anti-inflammatory, so helps get rid of redness from sore, active pimples. 

    I find this to be quite oily going on, but that greasy feeling goes away after about half an hour or so. It's one of those things that has an overnight effect; the next day my face seems to be more even in tone, and my pores are less obvious.
kiehls philosophy vitamin c

In terms of the Cs, I don't currently have any full sized products in rotation. These are the samples I've got lined up:

  • Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. This is a thick white gel which contains 10.5% Vitamin C. There's also silicone in it, enough so that I don't put anything else on top because I find it moisturising enough. I'm just starting the second sample of it, and haven't really formed an opinion on it yet. Hopefully the packaging of the full-sized product is designed to protect the light-sensitive ingredients.
  • Philosophy Time in a Bottle. I was wandering through Debenhams and the philosophy salesperson practically threw this at me. I haven't tried it yet, but judging from the ingredients list it's your typical silicone-based serum with a whole bunch of antioxidants (including vitamin C) and plant extracts packed in. I am ambivalent about the As Seen On TV-esque name.

I haven't ventured much into vitamin C products. Any recommendations for me?

*Hydroxyethylcellulose is the main ingredient in KY Jelly.