Empties – Volume 1 (May 2019)

Here are some short reviews of the products that I’ve completely used up recently, which can finally now be dumped and recycled to free up some drawer space!

Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum

This is an absolute desert island product for me and if I could only choose one moisturiser for the rest of my life, this would be it. I say moisturiser, as despite the name of this being a serum, it is a lotion texture, with an ingredients list that is exactly that of a moisturiser. On the lighter side of things, combination to oily skins will love this as a final step, but drier skins could use it as the name suggests, as a serum. Containing ceramides, urea, lactic acid (at a high pH, so functioning as a humectant) and glycerin, this is my idea of a perfect skin barrier supporting product. At £2.99 for 50ml and always on BOGOHP, 100ml of this would cost under £5 – a steal. Run out and try this!

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Speaking of desert island products, this is another in my Top 5. Milky, gentle and jelly, this would work for any skin type, dry or oily and is so good at regulating my skin’s natural oil levels. I notice less congestion, less mid-day oiliness and less dehydration when I have a bottle of this open and in rotation, as strange as that sounds to notice by using a cleanser. 1 pump by day and 2 by night is my perfect application for this superb cleanser. I’m not a huge fan of the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser, this is miles better and works for every skin type. I’ll forever be a fan!

Simple Refreshing Face Wash

This is a foaming cleanser that I can get on board with – fantastic at cleansing the skin gently and costs less than £2 for 150ml of product. Using only a tiny pea sized amount per use works a charm, meaning that a bottle of this can last me well over 5-6 months with twice daily use. I challenge you to find better value, at this level of effectiveness. We’re taking a break right now so that I can test out some other gel cleansers, but I will always go back to this and recommend it to skincare newbies and veterans, alike.

Geek & Gorgeous Cheer Up

Containing 6% mandelic acid and 1% BHA, my skin absolutely loved this combination of surface and pore exfoliation. Although I encountered an issue with the mandelic acid in this product falling out of solution and crystalising around 25% through the bottle, the brand were kind enough to send me another. I used the remainder of this up on my body, but I can’t wait to use my new bottle, which hopefully won’t meet the same fate, as my face really loves this. Gentle, but effective – just how I like my actives.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum

This product surprised me because despite the name, it feels more like a gel moisturiser. I’m not used to having a serum in a gel format, but I have to say, I loved this from first use right to the painfully sad end. Colloidal oatmeal is what drew me to this product, as my skin can be very prone to redness and sensitivity during the winter months and this worked like a dream to calm any temporary irritation. I would definitely purchase this again.

QRxLabs Niacinamide + Retinol Serum

I was surprised when I saw this product for sale on Victoria Health, containing 5% niacinamide and 1% retinol in a traditional watery serum base. For this level of ingredients, you would expect to pay high, but for only £10, 60ml of this serum can be yours. I have to say, I really enjoyed using this and the fact that it contains double of a usual serum is very surprising, given the price, but that, in itself, is my issue with this – I’m not sold on its effectiveness. I’m struggling to understand how a relatively unknown brand can sell this level of science for so little and not have ‘diluted’ it in some fashion. Until I see more research on this brand and evidence behind the ingredients in this, I wouldn’t repurchase, despite really enjoying it for day to day hydration.

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

This was my first attempt at using a retinol in oil and one that I would definitely consider using again for during the winter months, when my skin wants a little something more. Due to the fact that the retinol is housed in squalane, I don’t think the 1% claim is true to its name in reality, but this is a great maintenance product with little to no irritation for my skin. I would look at this more as a facial oil with an added punch, if you’re not serious about your retinol game. It’s a great all-in-one moisturising, mild treatment step for under £6.

Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturiser

Another Simple product that I absolutely love. This contains nothing special, but nothing harsh. Simple by name, Simple by nature – containing only glycerin to hydrate and occlusives and other humectants, such as lactic acid. A huge 125ml of product for under £2 is always welcome in my skincare cabinet, but more so because this really works. Despite the name, this isn’t the thickest of moisturisers I’ve tried, which is a positive for my skin.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

I think a bottle of this is a welcome addition to any skincare cabinet for times of trouble. Be it a rash, irritation or a patch of very dry, flaking skin, this can come to the rescue. Containing 5% vitamin B5 (or panthenol, as many may know), this dense balm works instantly and delivers results overnight – a result that not many products can deliver for compromised skin.

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