As you may have heard, I went on the brilliant Emma Guns Show and one of the things Emma said readers might be interested in was a list of products that I’d recommend. Now instinctively that wasn’t something I felt super comfortable with. I tend to recommend ingredients, or genres of product, rather than specific products. But equally I get Emma’s point, that life is short and while you might be interested in beauty and ingredients and efficacy, you might not want to trawl PubMed and beautypedia to find out what ingredients and products might be worth trying so a list like this could be useful.
But can we get a few things straight first?
* While I may have been sent samples of these products through my job as a beauty journalist, none of these brands have paid for a recommendation. That’s just not how I work. Links aren’t affiliate links, they’re just me trying to be helpful.
* I’m not saying that these products are the best examples of products that contain a specific ingredient/perform a specific function, there just ones I know about.
* Just because on paper — or for me — they’re “a good product” doesn’t mean that they’ll work for you, unfortunately, only trial and error can tell you that.
* If I’m recommending a product to someone, and I don’t know if they’re going to like it, I’m loath to ask them to spend a fortune so most of the recommendations below are under £20 (although I have put the odd pricier product in that I know, use and love in case you really want to splash out)
* It goes without saying that I’m not a dermatologist, I can’t guarantee that any of these products are suitable for you personally, none of this constitutes advice, so use anything at your own risk and consult a professional if you’ve got any medical or dermatological concerns.
On the podcast I was talking about ingredients that we know worked and had a body of evidence behind them to support their efficacy when it comes to helping skin.
Broadly speaking, those ingredients are Vitamin A (and derivatives which include retinoids, retinol etc), Vitamin B (which includes Niacinamide), Vitamin C, and peptides (not sure I was this succinct on the podcast).
I should also say that someone once asked me what ingredient I would consider a red flag on a product, and my answer was that I don’t have one. To my mind, if a product is sold in the UK, the ingredients in it have been safety tested in a way that means I think they’re not going to do harm. Sure, if you know you have a sensitivity to an ingredient such as fragrance or sodium laureth sulphate, don’t buy a product that contains it. If you don’t like what petrolatum does to your skin, don't buy a product that has it in, but — maybe because my skin is usually pretty robust — there’s very little I have an issue with.
As I’ve already said I don’t think you need to spend a lot on effective skincare but one of the things I didn’t say was that my general feeling is the areas where you can REALLY economise are cleansing and moisturising. It’s the stuff you do in between that I think is worth investing in and should contain the active ingredients.
And if you can only afford to buy one product, buy broad spectrum high factor sun cream that you like to use, and wear it every day. I don’t think there’s a single better way of protecting your skin that I have found.
So now the preamble is over, go to the next post to read about the products I will (reluctantly, with caveats) recommend.