It’s easy to get distracted by all the shimmery summer make-up and bronzing powders. But what our skin needs most at the moment is a decent moisturiser. After the sunshine last week, our skin is crying out for a bit of proper hydration – the sun causes skin to lose moisture, and feel dry, flaky and tight, bringing to mind the texture of a sundried tomato.
I’m fussy about moisturisers for the face – they need to absorb quickly, smell good, give long-lasting hydration and, ideally, make your skin glow. I don’t want anything packed with silicones (they make the cream feel silkier, but do nothing for your skin, and often cause creams to flake or crumble off), or mineral oils. And you need to be able to use an SPF over it, every single day now right through until September. A nuisance, it’s true, but the only proper skin-preserving action that you can take; one older lady I know looks at least 20 years younger than she is due to her religious SPF habit. Consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Craythorne stresses the need for using a sunscreen separate to your moisturiser or make-up: “A sun protection cream is designed to last longer, and also we tend not to apply enough make-up to achieve the proper SPF factor.”
What else you’re putting on your skin has an impact too. Consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall says that many of her patients have been using lots of actives such as topical retinoids: “When people are keen to try and get maximum effects very quickly they plaster lots of retinoids on their face, and this causes inflammation and irritation; I often see people with red, dry and irritated skin. When you’re using actives, including AHAs or vitamin C, it’s key that you introduce them slowly and infrequently, and also that you use a hydrating product to maintain a healthy skin barrier. What I recommend is SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair – which I also use post-laser procedures – as it’s very good at quickly helping to re-establish the skin barrier if you have overloaded on a retinoid early on.”
Skin clinic owner Nuala Woulfe recommends looking for hyaluronic acid in your moisturiser: “It’s an oil-free ingredient so suitable for all skin types, and it works to replenish the skin’s moisture as well as plumping and smoothing the appearance of fine lines, whilst easing skin sensitivities and preventing breakouts. So it’s perfect for light hydration in summer.” She also reminds us to then add an SPF. “I recommend using a broad spectrum SPF that has some hydrating properties, rather than a moisturiser with some SPF. I think that SkinCeuticals’ new Advanced Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF50 (€45 at www.nualawoulfe.ie) will be very popular as it has a nice lightweight texture, plus the added bonus of potent ingredients to work to lighten and brighten the skin.”
With all moisturisers, start reading ingredients lists and getting used to the names used for silicones, petrolatum and mineral oils, so that you can make an informed choice on what your skin wears all day. And clock the amount of product you’re paying for, as packaging can be misleading – a bigger pot doesn’t always mean more ml of cream.
Here are five tried-and-tested lightweight moisturisers that are ideal to use in the summer months – just remember to follow with an SPF for daytime:
1 The Natural One
Caudalie Vinosource SOS Intense Moisturising Cream
The French grape-centric brand offers a wide range of moisturisers in different textures, from sorbet to soft cream. WHY WE LOVE IT The pink pot of SOS Cream is a great daily hydrator that’s not too rich or heavy, with squalane – a natural lipid derived from plant sources – high up on the ingredients list, as well as lots of other naturally good moisture-boosting ingredients such as seed oils and a stable form of hyaluronic acid. A trusty daily reliable that’s well-priced. €26 (50ml), online at pharmacies nationwide.
2 The Vegan One
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Drunk Elephant is a most photogenic skincare line, but there’s substance behind the style. This cream is vegan, cruelty-free and comes in an easy to use pump action pot. It features lots of seed oils like watermelon and plant-derived ceramides and lipids to help bump up the moisture in the skin. WHY WE LOVE IT I like that it contains no fillers, like silicones, alcohols or added fragrance, so it won’t irritate. Mix in your serum or face oil to adapt as your skin requires. The only negative? The big pot makes it look bigger than the 50ml cream you’re actually getting. €57, at SpaceNK and www.cultbeauty.com.
3 The Irish One
Holos Triple Lipid Replenish Cream
The Co Wexford-based Holos skincare has launched some good skincare products recently, including a micellar cleansing water that’s gentle and pleasant to use. WHY WE LOVE IT I like the transparently clear ingredients list on the website and information about actives, so you can see for yourself the lack of cheap “filler” ingredients. It’s also a good choice if you’re keeping things as natural (and vegan) as possible: it’s essentially a lipid-packed blend of shea butter and flower and seed oils. The lightly orange scent is lovely, too. €42 for 100ml, www.holos.ie
4 The Forgotten Parts One
Clarins Extra Firming Cou & Décollété
A neck cream is a good idea purely to make you consider the areas apart from your face that need moisture. Your chest gets a lot of sun, typically, while your neck is constantly scrunched up as you look down at your phone, so they could both do with some love. Essentially, neck creams aren’t any different to any other moisturiser, so the best thing is to apply your facial moisturiser before you get dressed, and take it right down to chest. WHY WE LOVE IT The skin on the neck and chest is thinner, and we generally forget all about looking after it. A specialised product might just help you to remember, and this one is firming and non-greasy. I love the idea that Clarins were inspired by sunflowers for this cream and incorporated plant actives, after exploring the way that those strong stems hold up a heavy head of petals. Follow with an SPF on these areas for daytime. €64, at pharmacies online and www.Clarins.ie
5 The Luxury One
Augustinus Bader The Cream
Look, no one needs to spend €150 on a moisturiser. However, if you have very dry skin, and believe in skincare as a treat, this is the height of luxury plus science, and I’d choose it over creams that are three times the price. WHY WE LOVE IT It gives your skin a certain glow, and makes you look like you have your own secret facialist hidden away in your house somewhere. The formula is high quality, and not filled out with cheap ingredients or silicones (certainly not the case with all face creams at this price point). Choose the original or extra rich texture, depending on your preference, though regular is probably best for summer. The downside is the bottle – you can’t see how much you’ve got left, and can’t squeeze out the very last dregs, which I definitely want to at this price. €150 (30ml), at www.brownthomas.com
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