2015 was a big year for me. I feel like a lot of things happened, most significantly, Harvey and I bought our first home.

2015 was also the year I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with all things beauty. Now we're well into 2016, I've had time to reflect and have realised that 2015 was the year I finally identified some key staple products which I have continued to use through the last year and into this one. 

I feel like you cannot beat a good recommendation, and this past year I have been guided extensively by various youtubers and bloggers. Unfortunately I don't have quite the same budget for makeup and hair/skin care, especially now we have a mortgage to pay, so although I'd love to be buying gorgeous high end beauty products to try, the majority of the products I used last year are high street products you can pick up in Boots. 

After years of removing my makeup with makeup wipes (essentially due to laziness) I have finally consigned the makeup wipe to use only at the gym, on very late nights and very very lazy evenings. I'm actually fairly sure that I ran out of makeup wipes at the end of last year, and only repurchased so that I'd have a stash for my gym bag.

After years of using the humble face wipe as a covers-all-bases product, I am now a converted multiple-product user, and generally start my routine using the No.7 Beautiful Skin Eye Make-Up Remover. This is one of those products which you have to shake well before use, as it's dual action, and is pretty much useless otherwise. I just pour some onto a cotton pad and just hold it over the top of my eyes for a couple of seconds, before gently massaging to remove my eye makeup. Since I've been using this product, I've noticed that my eyelashes seem to be growing better and are a lot longer than they have ever been, and I'm wondering if this is because I'm breaking my eyelashes less than when I did when I was just using makeup wipes?

In terms of cleansing, I'm currently switching between two products, a facial oil and a Miscellar water solution. The facial oil I've been using (and absolutely loving!) is the L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Facial Oil. I have to say I was a little bit dubious about using an oil to cleanse, as I've got patches of oily skin on my face and I didn't want to worsen those. However I thought I'd take the plunge and give this a try, and boy am I glad that I did! I really do love this product, because it literally makes my makeup dissolve and is so gentle - there's no pulling my skin around like there is when I use a makeup wipe. Also, it makes my skin feel super clean once I've washed the oil off with a flannel, and where there always used to be a little bit of makeup on the cotton pad at the toner stage, there's absolutely nothing when I use this, so it's a win win.

As I've said, I've also been using the Garner Miscellar Water and cotton pads to remove my makeup. I really love this stuff and honestly think that whilst it's probably not quicker than a wipe, it doesn't take that much longer and is definitely a more effective way to remove makeup. What's also great is that it's gentle enough that you can use it to remove mascara. I have noticed that my use of this product has become less frequent of late, so if I had to choose between the oil and the Miscellar water, the facial oil is a clear winner. 

I generally follow up by using the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Lotion. This is the product I feel has made such a difference to my skin, as my pores feel so much tighter and my skin less oily generally. Don't get me wrong, it does burn if you have any open wounds, but it gives me the sense that it's actually doing something beneficial? I'd have to do some research to establish whether that theory is actually true, however... 

And finally, I have embraced the world of moisturiser. After years of thinking that moisturiser would only worsen my oily skin, I did my research and learned otherwise. I now swear by two L'Oreal moisturisers, one I apply just before I go to bed, and the other is a day moisturiser which I've been using as a base for my makeup. 

The L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum is my moisturiser of choice when it comes to finishing my evening skincare routine. I love this because it's designed specifically for people in their 20s and 30s, and it's designed to tighten and refine pores and even and brighten skin tone. Like I said, moisturiser is a pretty new field for me, so I've not got anything to compare this product with, but so far, so very very good. 

However the revelation for me, in terms of moisturiser, was the L'Oreal Revitalift Magic Blur Anti-Ageing Moisturiser. One would hope that I don't need to be using an anti-ageing moisturiser just yet, being only 23, but this was recommended to me by the sales assistant at Boots for its use as a base for makeup. I'd tried to use moisturiser as a makeup base before, without success, as my makeup was left feeling more slippery on my face and less set. This product is completely the opposite; when you apply the product, it leaves the skin feeling so smooth, very matte and silicone-y and feels ready to apply foundation over the top of almost immediately. I don't put foundation straight on, as I've found that it tends to make the moisturiser ball up, and it doesn't end well, so if you do try this product, make sure you leave it a couple of minutes to sink into your skin before applying anything over the top. 

So not a revolutionary skincare routine, but my skin seems to have been lapping this up lately. I'm looking to try an eye cream soon, and to find a really good face mask which isn't just my usual clay mask, used in desperate times to ward off any breakouts. If you have any recommendations, give me a shout, as I'd love to hear them!

L xx 


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