Here’s a list of product recommendations based on the science I’ve described in The Lab Muffin Guide to Basic Skincare.
Remember: your skin is individual so you may respond to these products differently, so make sure you keep your skin type and conditions in mind (refer to the specific considerations for each product type), and introduce products slowly and keep track of how your skin is doing (as detailed in Chapter 2).
- CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser: Hydrating gel cleanser that contains ceramides. It’s better suited to normal and oily skin as it can be too stripping for some.
- Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser: Gentle cleanser that leaves skin hydrated. Fragrance-free.
- Avène Gentle Cream Cleanser: Oil-rich cream cleanser that is suitable for dry skin. Has moderate fragrance that may irritate sensitive skin.
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser: Gentle hydrating cream cleanser that’s suitable for dry, sensitive skin. Fragrance-free.
- QV Face Gentle Cleanser: Oil-rich, fragrance-free cleanser that keeps skin moisturised during washing. It’s particularly good for dry and dehydrated skin. The QV line also has gentle fragrance-free body cleansers in huge pump bottles.
- Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Detox Foaming Cleanser: Gentle self-foaming cleanser with a light fragrance, that does not strip skin of moisture.
- Nivea Cleansing Mousse/Foam: Glycerin-rich self-foaming cleanser that’s fantastic for keeping skin hydrated. Lightly scented.
- Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water: The most famous micellar water. Good for removing make-up. Many people like using this for removing eye make-up but I personally haven’t had much luck with it.
- Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: Inexpensive micellar water.
- Simple Hydrating Cleansing Oil: Grapeseed oil-based cleansing oil that’s fragrance-free. One of the most budget-friendly cleansing oils around (they’re generally on the more expensive side).
- Shu Uemura Balancing Cleansing Oils: Lightly scented line of cleansing oils based on mineral and corn oils that come in handy pump bottles. Suitable for removing eye make-up.
- Banila Clean It Zero Makeup Remover: Gentle cleansing balm based on mineral oil with a light scent.
- Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm: Based on ethylhexyl palmitate and safflower seed oil, fragrance-free.
- Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm: Gentle cleansing balm based on cetyl ethylhexanoate and caprylic/capric triglyceride, with small amounts of botanicals.
- Missha The Style Green Tea Lip & Eye Makeup Remover: Two-phase make-up remover that’s fantastic for quickly removing eye make-up without leaving an oily film. Lightly scented.
- The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Lip & Eye Makeup Remover: Low-priced two-phase make-up remover with light scent, leaves minimal residue.
- Garnier Clean Sensitive 2 in 1 Gentle Make-up Remover: An inexpensive two-phase make-up remover. Fragrance-free.
- Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes: Budget-friendly cleansing wipes that remove make-up without too much effort and leave your skin feeling reasonably hydrated.
- Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes: Lightly scented wipes made of biodegradable cotton.
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Ultra-Light Fluid: The exact formulation of this organic sunscreen depends on the country, but the texture is light and very runny. Designed for oily skin. The melt-in cream also has a fantastic formula, but only seems to be available in the US at present. The European versions have labelled UVAPF, which tends to be very high. Fragrance-free.
- Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 30+: Broad spectrum organic sunscreen with a light texture that sinks in easily and works well under make-up. Comes in a handy pump tube.
- Bioderma Photoderm Sunscreens: Can’t be found in many countries (e.g. Australia), but the European formulations have extremely high UVAPF.
- Coles Face Sunscreen SPF 30 Broad Spectrum: Extremely cheap sunscreen from Australian grocery giant Coles that performed very well in a blinded consumer test.
- Sunsense Sensitive Invisible SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum: Zinc oxide-based sunscreen with minimal white cast and moisturiser-like texture.
- EltaMD UV Physical Broad Spectrum SPF 41 Tinted: Lightweight inorganic sunscreen with minimal white cast (tinted). Fragrance-free.
- Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50+ PA++++: Budget-friendly Japanese combination organic/inorganic sunscreen with a light texture. Fragrance-free.
- Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF 50+ PA++++: Combination organic/inorganic Japanese sunscreen with an excellent texture.
- ROHTO Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk SPF 50+ PA ++++
- The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA: Heavier moisturiser that works great for dry skin or harsh weather. Fragrance-free.
- CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream: Fragrance-free heavy moisturiser that is excellent at smoothing and softening dry skin. Includes ceramides and niacinamide.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream: Jar-packaged cream with both humectants and oils for treating dry and dehydrated skin.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: A moisturiser that absorbs quickly and is fantastic for dry skin. Contains ceramides and oatmeal.
- Cold-Pressed or CO2 Extracted Rosehip Oil: This was the first ever plant oil I tried. It has small amounts of vitamin A in it and is linoleic acid-rich, so it’s very good for oily, acne-prone skin.
- Squalane: Squalane is the oxidation-proof version of squalene. It’s a light-textured oil that sinks into skin easily and is suitable for sensitive skin.
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel: Very hydrating, silicone-based moisturiser that comes in jar packaging. Moderate scent.
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Moisturisers: Fragrance-free moisturisers that are very suitable for sensitive skin. Very humectant-rich. They range from light to heavy for different skin types.
- Vaseline: Pure petrolatum jelly. Works great as a night-time moisturiser for dehydrated or dry skin, or as an overnight mask on top of other products. Very safe for sensitive skin.
- Aquaphor Healing Ointment: Petroleum jelly, diluted with some other ingredients that make it spread better. Includes lanolin, which makes it less safe for sensitive skin than Vaseline.
- Klairs Supple Preparation Toner: Humectant-rich toner, great for layering if you have dehydrated skin.
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