Although I have mentioned quite a few products here that I use frequently, personally I find that no amount of products could ever come close to the benefit my skin gets from exercising regularly (you don't need to go mad in the gym either - a quick 30 minute walk in the fresh air once a day does the job quite well. The exercise is also a great stress relief, which plays a big role in preventing breakouts), cutting down on the amount of alcohol I drink (I'm not saying you have to become a pioneer, I'm just advising to watch how much you drink), cutting out the takeaways and fatty foods except for once a week (life is far too short to be completely depriving yourself of the nice stuff) and drinking plenty of water during the day. It's not easy to stick to I know, but I find it does make a world of difference not only to your skin but your overall health. Often breakouts on the external of the body are mirroring a problem on the inside of the body (e.g. digestion problems, the difficult task in detoxifying alcohol).
It's also worth noting that breakouts are sometimes caused by dirt transferring off your pillowcase onto your face, so make sure you change yours every few days (I'm a bit paranoid about this and change mine every 2 days). Plus if you are putting on moisturiser make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap wash. Sometimes it's these little things that make the world of difference with your skin, and if you're trying to banish breakouts, you will often see results much quicker using these simple methods rather than if you buy a lot of high end skincare products - that if you're a broke ass college student like I was - you don't have money for anyways. The products I've mentioned here range around the €5 mark anyways.
Tea tree oil, as many of you are aware of, is an antibacterial disinfectant and unlike other acne treatments, will not strip your skin of it's natural oils and cause further damage. Before I tried this, I was afraid of using tea tree oil as I had used it before and it caused a reaction with my sensitive skin. However, combined with soothing witch hazel in this wash, it works quite well. A bottle of this would last me about two months. I'd typically use this in the morning and then again in the evening before I put on makeup for nights out to completely wash my face. It's very light and kind to sensitive skin, so it doesn't sting whatsoever. This will get rid of light breakouts, but I have frequent reoccurring stubborn breakouts on my chin that this won't get rid of though. It's €4.79 in Boots.
To explain some of these so you know exactly what's going onto your face: Pro Vitamin B5 acts as a skin moisturiser, helping to keep skin smooth, soft and healthy. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory by stimulating your skin's natural healing process. It is deeply hydrating and even helps to keep skin moist by absorbing moisture from the air.
As an anti-oxidant, Vitamin E helps to protect skin from damage from free-radicals (in really really simple terms these are by products caused by the oxygen we breathe). In small quantities they are OK but they can cause premature aging, hence where this baby comes in to counteract this.
Glycerin as a compound helps absorb water from the air and increases hydration within skin cells.
Borage seed oil contains high levels of essential fatty acids, which are part of the skin's natural moisturisation process helping to keep skin soft and supple.
But to get down to the basic stuff! It's super hygienic as it comes with a cap that contains just a small hole - there's no putting your fingers in a pot and worry that you're going to transfer dirt to your face or contaminate it. It's oil free, so no horrible oil residue is left. It is absorbed into the skin super quickly too, so you can get started on your makeup base just five minutes after application. It acts as the perfect under base - keeps any sort of makeup I have going for the whole day and the whole night. I use it as a daily moisturiser even when I have no makeup on after cleansing and my skin is super soft the whole day. Can literally not recommend this stuff enough! It costs €5 in Boots. When I was drafting this blogpost 2 weeks ago, it was out of stock on boots.ie - no wonder! It's the UK's No.1 beauty brand for a reason!
The night cream I use is Cien Anti-Wrinkle night cream. Cien is actually Lidl's own beauty brand. I know what you're thinking - surely she doesn't need anti-wrinkle cream at 22?! - but I firmly believe caring for your skin and body when you're young is one way to get into a good routine as you become older and good skin in your youth becomes good skin in your older age. The Q10 you can see on the label is short for the co-enzyme 10, and like Vitamin E that I've mentioned above, is a anti-oxidant. It helps fight off free radicals therefore counteracting premature aging. Overtime, the body starts to produce less and less of this co-enzyme 10 due to aging, stress and medications. Therefore, it stands to reason that it is in most - if not all - anti-wrinkle creams.
This stuff smells absolutely gorgeous. It's quite heavy so a little goes a long way (I've had this a few months), and when I wake up in the morning my face feels so so soft. Obviously, as I've ranted about other products that have this - the only thing I dislike is that it comes in a pot so you have to put your fingers in it, therefore risking contamination of bacteria in the pot to your face. But for the price (around €3), I think it's worth trying out. Over the coming weeks I will be doing a full blog post on other Lidl own brand beauty products.
If I have a lot of eye-make up on after a night out or a day out, I use Garnier Express 2 in 1 Eye Makeup Remover. I bought this for my college graduation in October as I wanted something to gently remove the individual eyelashes and the strong smoky eye look at the end of the night. If you shake the bottle, you will see that it looks oily, but it doesn't feel very greasy, and the beauty is of it that you only have to use a little of it to have an effect, so the 125ml bottle would last you at least three months. You put a few drops on a cotton pad and put it to your eyelid while the makeup quickly dissolves, then gently wipe it off, so no rubbing is needed. I find though that if you use it around a sensitive part of your eye that it does sting quite a bit, but I put up with that personally because it's the only thing I find that will remove waterproof mascara from my eyelashes or a waterproof gel eyeliner from my eyelid super quickly. It also contains arginine, which helps care for your eyelashes by coating them in a protective layer so as not to damage them in the eye makeup removal process. It's ophthalmologically tested too, which means if it gets into your eye it won't blind ya! It's €4.29 in Penneys.
Regarding facemasks, I have been using two the past six months.
I bought the Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-1 Wash & Mask about three months ago because the brand is quite reputable and supposed to be good quality. It was also a good price for €5.49 in Boots. You can use this as either a wash or a mask. It didn't a great job reducing or removing any breakouts I had as a wash, so I decided to try it as a mask. I applied it in a thin layer to my face. Within a minute, it started stinging so violently that it made my eyes water and my nose runny. I persevered and left it on for the five minutes recommended. The stinging only stopped when I washed it off with warm water. My skin did feel super smooth after it and even the next day after but I don't think it was worth it for the horrible stinging sensation I experienced on my face, so stopped using it and haven't used it since then. I definitely wouldn't advise it for someone with sensitive skin.
The face mask I use once a week nowadays is Montagne Jennesse Very Berry. You can buy this sachet in Dunnes or Tesco or Penneys. I bought it in Penneys for €1.35. The sachet comes perforated at the top, so there's no scouring the house for a scissors like I had to do with the hair mask I reviewed in the blog a few weeks ago. I cleanse my face first with the Boots Foaming Wash before applying this. The formula is bright purple in colour as it contains pressed blueberries and crushed cranberries, which both contain antioxidants - the role of which I've mentioned above. I applied it in a thin layer (there's still loads always left after I apply), and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. It stings slightly for about a minute but then it calms down. Then you wash it off. It contains peach kernel oil which nourishes and aloe vera which soothes. I love this range of skincare masks as it's completely natural. The ingredients are all written in basic language as well, for example it says it contains aqua then has in brackets that it's purified water, so you know exactly what you're putting on your face. This company doesn't test on animals either - the packet actually says that they "don't bash bunnies or add bits of animals"! - so you can rest assured you're using an ethically produced product.