The SNW Beauty Awards - The Best In Skincare
A tried-and-tested guide to skincare. From organic to anti-ageing superheroes, find the products that'll get your skin glowing again...
If you're on the quest for glowing skin then there's no denying that a sound skincare routine plays an important role. Finding the right products for your skin type is one of the most important factors, but with so many different brands on the market both mass and more boutique brands, it can be confusing and hard to work out where to put your money.
I have been obsessed with skin or rather how to get clear skin since a teenager!
Now at 33 with skin best described as sensitive skin, prone to redness and a hormonal breakout every now and then, but also at a stage where it can really do with the help anti-ageing products filled with active ingredients, deciphering what will and won't work for my skin is an ongoing process!
I know many of you are in the same position, so I decided to set myself a mission to road test a range of products to help make your decisions a little easier and a bit more informed. Over the last six months I have trialled cleansers, moisturisers, toners, masks and serums to come up with this comprehensive guide of products and brands that I personally recommend. While all these products covered really impressed me, there were a couple that have really become faves, so I have highlighted them with ED'S FAVE...
I hope you find this in-depth guide informative and super helpful in making your next skincare decisions. The Big Beauty Awards - The Best In Makeup is coming up in the coming weeks and also all the details for your chance to enter a giveaway full of some of the goodies I have road tested. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to be the first in the know.
SKINCARE - The Best In Cleansers, Toners & Moisturisers
As I mentioned above, I would describe my skin as sensitive and prone to redness. I used each an every one of these products over a period of 4-8 weeks and am happy to report not one upset my skin. Many of the products are specific to sensitive skin, but many of the anti-ageing serums were not sensitive-skin specific and yet they did not irritate.
el8te - Goat Milk Foaming Face Cleanser, Hydrating Face Cream & Calming Face Mask
If you've got sensitive skin, put natural and cruelty-free skincare brand el8te on your radar. Australian-made, free from artificial colours, fragrances, parabens and other harsh chemicals it's perfect for the girl who flares up easily.
All el8te products are developed with a base aloe vera juice rather than purified water with the benefits of pure Australian goat’s milk, activated charcoal, wild rose, rosemary, citrus, chamomile, lavender & other botanical ingredients.
The Goat Milk Foaming Face Cleanser, $29.95 is great for every day use, removes makeup effectively and leaves the skin feeling clean, but not stripped, while the Hydrating Face Cream, $39.95, soothes and hydrates the skin and leaves it looking smoother. I also recommend using the Calming Face Mask, $34.95 once a week to keep redness in check and to help fight fine-lines and improve skin's elasticity.
Fun fact: Goat's milk is a natural wrinkle and fine line reducer, so this three-step system is great for the girl looking for natural skincare with anti-ageing benefits too.
Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser, Rejuvenate Serum & Ultra Dry Moisturiser
Anti-ageing high on your agenda? Skinstitut has you covered. Formulated by leading cosmetic chemists and pharmacists, Skinstitut specialises in advanced formulations and products that use active ingredients to promote collagen production and glowing skin.
Want in on these anti-ageing benefits, but not sure if it will work with sensitive skin, I have good news - the Gentle Cleanser, $45 is suitable for hypersensitive skin. Containing green tea, Goji berry, aloe vera and vitamin E, the cleanser lathers up well and effectively removes makeup - even often hard-to-remove mascara! - while still leaving the skin feeling soft and hydrated. For best results follow with the Rejuvenate 15 Serum, $45 followed by the Ultra Dry moisturiser, $45. Containing Progeline™, olive fruit oil, green tea extract and oat extract. My skin, which is prone to redness and sensitivity loved this combo of rejuvenating anti-inflammatory serum and rich moisturiser which I mostly used at night. A pea-sized amount of each goes a long way and left my skin feeling intensely hydrated and nourished.
Fun fact: Skinstitut It's a great brand to consider if you regularly get professional dermal treatments like chemical peels, laser or microdermabrasion and want to support the benefits of these treatments with the right sort of skincare - and for an affordable price.
Dr Roebuck's Cleanse, Polish & Face - ED'S FAVE
All-natural, Australian-owned and made, Dr Roebuck's skincare is free from parabens, sulphates, BPA, synthetic fragrances or colours and not tested on animals.
To be honest, I usually prefer a foaming cleanser, but after trying the Dr Roebuck's CLEANSE, cream cleanser, $23.95, I am now a convert. Not only did my skin feel clean and all traces of makeup removed - and without causing redness as some cleansers can.
After use it also felt soft, hydrated and plump - mostly attributed to the fact that while all-natural, this superstar cleanser is formulated with six active antioxidants including jojoba, macadamia, pot marigold, oat kernel oil, camelia oleifera seed extract, echinacea and arnica.
Together these ingredients work to reduce redness, swelling and puffiness, delay skin and cells ageing and soothe, smooth and soften skin.
The Anti-Aging FACE moisturiser, $49.95 which contains rosehip, Vitamin E and macadamia oils, is the perfect partner to this cleanser. I actually have never taken such delight in lathering on a moisturiser before! Not only does it smell delicious, it absorbs well into the skin and I really feel like it works to repair and rejuvenate skin.
I used CLEANSE & FACE in conjunction with POLISH, $39.95 (1-2 times a week) a two-in-one mask and exfoliant which contains jojoba beads, peppermint and grapefruit oils and kaolin. I found that this non-abrasive scrub really brightened my complexion.
Q Silica Makeup & Grime Cleansing Gel & Q Silica Naturally CLEAR Spot Gel
I've long been a fan of silica and have used the gel form for many years as s supplement to keep my hair, skin, nails and connective tissue healthy. I was very excited to hear it was available as a skincare product, and definitely impressed with Qsilica's Makeup & Grime Cleansing Gel, $19.95.
A foaming gel formula, the cleanser contains natural sugar and coconut extracts and jojoba seed oil - the result, a cleanser that really leaves the skin feeling fresh and free of excess oils while balancing the skin's natural oil production. Great one to keep in the shower and use daily, and especially good if you frequently experience breakouts or have oily skin.
Speaking of breakouts, I had a couple of spots pop up during the course of testing and I used Qsilica Naturally CLEAR Spot Gel, $17.95 to treat them. After two days of putting this clear gel on the spots, they disappeared quickly and without further irritation which can sometimes happen with spot treatments. The gel contains naturally derived ingredients including Willow Bark, natural Salicylic Acid, Canadian Willowherb, Mineral Silica and Tea Tree extracts to combat the breakout, as well as Aloe Vera and Cucumber extracts which help to nurture and calm irritated skin. Paraben and sulfate free. No artificial fragrances or colours. A little acne-fighting gem to keep on hand!
A'kin Micellar Water & Hydrating Mist Toner - ED'S FAVE
Every girl needs A'kin Micellar Water, $14.95 & Hydrating Mist Toner, $19.95 in her beauty arsenal. I love makeup, but I also love taking it off as soon as I come home - often this is long before I hit the shower before bed. One of the best I have tried, the A'kin Micellar water, which is infused with organic coconut water and green tea, effectively removes all traces of makeup with no need for rinsing, and leaves skin feeling refreshed and soothed and not itchy like some others I have tried.
After cleansing with the Micellar water I recommend spritzing skin with Hydrating Mist Toner. Enriched with Green Tea to tone and Chamomile it's fantastic to soothe tired, stressed skin. A spritz mid-day is also a great pick-me-up for the skin.
Obagi Hydrate Luxe Moisture Rich Cream - GREAT FOR MATURE SKIN
Intensely rich and extra moisturising, Obagi Hydrate Moisture Rich Cream, $79.95, $79.95 makes a great night time moisturiser. I used this on my skin, when it was feeling particularly dry and it definitely did the trick to restore hydration. Containing shea butter, mango butter, and avocado, along with active ingredients that provide a host of anti-ageing benefits, it's perfect for mature skin and those looking to improve the appearance of fine lines, firmness, skin texture, skin radiance, and hydration.
Dr Lewin's Line Smoothing Complex Hydrating Day Cream - GREAT FOR MATURE SKIN
There's a reason Dr Lewin's Line Smoothing Complex Hydrating Day Cream, $74.95 is a best seller - it really delivers on what it promises. A light but super hydrating formulation, this treatment day moisturiser is another great product for mature skin and those looking to fight fine lines and the signs of ageing.
SKIN CARE - Anti-aging moisturisers, serums & topical treatments
Ultraceuticals C23+ Firming Concentrate - ED'S FAVE
Ultraceuticals C23+ Firming Concentrate, $138, is what I like to call a superhero anti-ageing product. A concentrated formula that combines 23% pure Vitamin C in a CSIRO developed delivery system with Ultraceuticals powerful peptides MicroElastin® (which helps support skin's natural renewal of elastin) and MicroCollagen (which helps maintain healthy levels of collagen).
Given it's a powerful formulation, as suggested, I started with just using this product every second night, slowly building up to every night. It feels velvety going on, and a small amount goes a long way. It might make you skin tingle due to the active ingredients it contains, but rest assured it's non-comedogenic, paraban-free and synthetic fragrance-free. I saw a significant improvement in my skin's firmness, and felt my lines looked softer and my skin felt plumper and appeared more youthful. Definitely worth the outlay!
O Cosmedics Pure Age Defiance Serum - ED'S FAVE
The bottle of the O Cosmedics Pure Age Defiance Serum, $92, comes with the warning "Highly Addcitve". They're not wrong! This serum is just what you need if you are looking for an anti ageing product that hydrates, calms and soothes skin and leaves it looking radiant. The gel consistency feels velvety on application and absorbs beautifully, while acting as a natural skin-tightener thanks to super concentrated doses of pure L-Sodium Hyaluronate, Acetyl Octapeptide-3.
I've definitely noticed a significant difference to my skin using this serum.
Transformulas EyeLifting Gel
Looking for an instant lift for tired eyes, this little silver tube of goodness will become your best friend. Known as an EyeLift in a Tube, this eyecare product is formulated with peptides and plant extracts to instantly give tightening results, smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil - ED'S FAVE
I've long been fan of Trilogy products. Their Rosehip oil was one of the very first organic products I ever used after discovering very many years ago that my skin was super sensitive to many products.
Now in my 30s and about all things anti-ageing, I still love the brand and their nourishing skincare especially the CoQ10 Booster Oil, $44.95, a certified organic oil blend formulated with Glycablend™ (a potent mix of chia, blueberry, strawberry and pomegranate oils), Tamanu, macadamia and black caraway seed oils, plus antioxidant co-enzyme Q10.
A perfect antidote for dull winter skin, this super-fast acting oil is fantastic when applied after your nightly cleansing routine. When you wake skin definitely looks more supple and radiant. If you want an organic product that really works and fast, add CoQ10 Booster Oil to cart!
Obagi Professional-C Serum 15% Strength
I'll keep it short - if you want a brighter complexion, use Professional-C Serum 15% Strength, $79.95. Due to my skin being more on the sensitive side, initially I was a bit hesitant to try any Vitamin C product, however my skin did not react adversely at all to this serum. Of course being of an active nature it did tingle on application, but not for long. You can used this product morning and night, but I only used it on alternate nights under my moisturiser. A great choice if you are looking for a Vitamin-C based serum that will deliver a clearer complexion.
Beauty Chef Beauty Fix Balm
Another certified organic goodie, The Beauty Chef ’s do-it-all Beauty Fix Balm, $24.95 is the ideal multi-use product to have on hand. It's perfect for treating a range of skin issues and can be used as a; hydrating lip balm, smoothing and de-puffing eye balm, dry skin moisturiser or as a soothing and gentle skin salve for dry hands, nails, feet, heels, knees or elbows.
I loved to using this delicious smelling balm before bed as lip and eye balm, and as a face moisturiser on the days my skin was feeling particularly dry. Made with a mix of botanical oils with a unique fermented coconut extract and a blend of seeds and grains, the balm is rich in amino acid peptides, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, which means it not only soothes and softens dry skin, but also smooths fine lines and wrinkles.
Replederm Dark Spot Corrector
Not only is my skin sensitive and prone to the odd hormonal breakout or two, it also marks super easily too! So even after the breakout clears up, I am usually left with a reminder of it in the form of a dark spot. Over the years I have tried lots of whitening and dark spot correcting products, but none have even come close to Replederm Dark Spot Corrector, $79.90.
As suggested I trialled the cream over 8 weeks, rubbing a small amount onto my dark spots after cleansing and before serums and moisturiser. I can honestly I am stoked with the results. Dark spots definitely faded and in some cases of ones that were new, disappeared completely.
Full of active ingredients known for their powerful brightening properties this is a great product for anyone looking to reduce the appearance of age spots, dark spots, acne marks and hyper-pigmentation. Suitable for all skin types.
Ella Bache SpiurLines - Intensive Wrinkle Correcting Serum, Intensive Rich Wrinkle Cream & Eye Lifting Patches
For an intensive three-step system to combat the signs of ageing, look no further than Ella Bache's SpiurLines Intensive Wrinkle Correcting Serum, $, Intensive Rich Wrinkle Cream, $130 & Eye Lifting Patches, $34. I tested these three products for two months and noticed a softening of my fine lines, particularly on my forehead and around my eyes - both areas that show the nature of my highly expressive personality!
For best results, use the Intensive Wrinkle Correcting Serum, $109 under, The Rich Wrinkle Cream, $130 morning and night, and the Eye Lifting Patches, $34, 1-2 times a week.So why do these products work? Both the serum, cream are filled with proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients which recharge dry skin, while Hyaluronic acid, adenosine and spirulina work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and increase skin firmness.
Meanwhile the Eye Lifting Patches instantly plump and enhance the eye contour area, again using the special acting ingredients of hyaluronic acid, caffeine and essential nutrients from Spirulina to reduce the appearance of ageing and visible signs of tiredness around the eyes.
Cinch - ED'S FAVE
From the first day I pumped 4-5 sprays of Cinch Face Cheat, $39.95 in the palm of my hand and patted it onto my skin, I was hooked! Now, I literally use Face Cheat every morning.
It takes care of moisturising, anti-ageing, illuminating, pore minimising and priming - and all in one spray - and leaves you looking like a well-rested goddess.
As a busy mum, most days I'm trying to get ready with a 2.5 year old at my feet. To have a multi-purpose beauty product on my shelf that does the job of five products, gives me the confidence to leave the house make-up free or a great base for applying my favourite makeup for work or a night out. Every woman needs this product on her shelf.
SKINCARE - Three Of The Best Masks
I'm a big believer that a good skincare routine should include some time to put on a mask and relax for the 10-15 minutes so they can do their thing!
I integrated each of the below masks into my skincare routine over the last six months and they have become firm faves. Here's why I love them.
Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask
Feel like your skin needs a really good clean, then the Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask, $31.95, will do the trick.
Containing deep cleansing kaolin clay along with regenerating Native New Zealand pohutukawa extract and nourishing rosehip and evening primrose oils, this mask not only rids your skin of impurities but leaves it looking instantly more radiant. Afterwards, I loved to apply a generous amount of Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil, $44.95.
Mint Detox Clay Mask & Hydrating Clay Mask
Packaged in individual no-mess sachets, both these natural masks made with Australian mineral-clay can be used on the face or body - or both given the generous amount the sachets make once the recommended amount of water is added before application.
The Detox Clay Mask is great to treat blemishes, congestion and cellulite, while the Hydrating Clay Mask provides more targeted hydrating and brightening results for the face and décolletage. The mask kits contain 4 sachets and a mask applicator, from $31.95, which make application easy and mess-free!
I found both were equally good to balance my complexion and reduce the appearance of blemishes. After 10-15 minutes, my skin felt tighter and brighter, but super soft. A great addition to the beauty cabinet.
Supercharged Food Earth Mask & Scrub
Supercharged Food Earth Mask & Scrub, $19.95, is a beautiful mask and scrub that truly leaves skin looking brighter and clearer. The first time I used it my skin was feeling a bit angry and red post a break out. After application as a mask, my complexion was significantly more radiant and redness had completely disappeared.
Containing a combination of silica-rich minerals and pure clays including Diatomaceous Earth from the USA and Volcamin from the iconic outback town of Lightning Ridge in Australia, this mask and scrub works to soften skin, remove dirt and oils and reduce pore size. All natural, and gentle on skin, it's suitable to treat age spots, rosacea and pigmentation.
It also works doubly hard - it can be used as a face mask once a week or an exfoliating scrub 2-3 times a week.