As I was sorting through my beauty shelf in the New Year, taking stock of products, decluttering and clearing out old things, I realised 2018 was the year I took a different approach to skincare compared to the 2 years previously since I started my blog.
Life was busy, so my skincare routine became more simplified with less steps. I tended to stick to products that I liked, repurchased favourites and generally bought/tested less new skincare products.
2018 was a year of change for me – moving away from home, a new town, new job etc. I didn’t blog and review as much as I would have liked so I thought I would do a roundup of the best skincare products I used in 2018, so you can get an idea of what I used the most and enjoyed. Most of them are K-beauty but there were a couple outside of them.
1.Best first step cleanser – Heimish All Clean Balm
I love cleansing balms the most out of all the different types of first cleansers and this is such a reliable, effective and affordable one that I didn’t have any incentive to try other brands. I went through a few tubs of this in 2018 and have just run out of backups so I’m moving on to Banila Co and Labiotte as I have them in my current stash. You can’t go wrong with Heimish though because it’s gentle on the skin, removes the most stubborn makeup, doesn’t sting your eyes or leave residue and your skin still feels hydrated after use. BUY
2. Best second step cleanser – Neogen Real Fresh Foam Cleanser
I definitely used this Neogen Cleanser the most in 2018 but that’s probably because I had a few bottles stashed of the blueberry and green tea versions that I wanted to use up before I moved onto something else. 2nd step facial cleansers are still a category of skincare I like to experiment with because I feel they are the hardest category to get right in terms of correct pH level, effectively removing dirt/makeup and not making my skin feel stripped.
I don’t believe the Neogen has a low pH but I loved it because it was super soft , foamy and fluffy on my skin and didn’t leave it feeling dry. For oily – normal skin types, this would be ideal. I love its lightweight, mouse texture, how soft it makes my skin feel and their scents are an added bonus. BUY
3. Best exfoliator/wash off mask – Glamglow Flashmud Brightening Treatment
Glamglow was a brand revelation to me in 2018 and 2 of their products made it into my list of best skincare products. I was skeptical of their high price point and its celebrity consumer base but I ended up loving almost all the products I tried from them as they give fantastic results! Their flashmud is brilliant – it doubles as a mild exfoliator which isn’t too abrasive on the skin but still effective at sloughing off flaky skin. It also doubles as a wash off mask which I leave on for 15-30 minutes. In that time, it doesn’t harden or dry out the skin like a typical clay mask but when it comes time to wash it off, your face feels and looks fantastic and immediately brightened. With continuous use I did notice it brought an overall glow to my skin, made dark spots fade quicker and reduced dullness. BUY
Honourable mention: Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel – absolutely fantastic enzyme powder – super gentle for everyday but has great long-lasting benfits to keep your skin baby soft, smooth and hydrated.
4. Best toner – Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner – Review here
Toners are usually one of the more unexciting products for me because they are there to fulfill a basic part of my routine – remove excess makeup, dirt etc leftover from cleansing, add the hydration back to my skin and prep it for the rest of my skincare steps. However the Klairs one is slightly different because it has a thicker, gel-like consistency that is so deeply hydrating on skin. If you’re feeling especially dry or dehydrated, this is like a well awaited burst of hydration to quench your skin’s thirst and it will drink it up immediately. This makes your skin feel so comfortable and if you add 2 or 3 layers (I apply with my hands and pat it in), then you get a really nice bounce to your skin. BUY
5. Best FTE (first treatment essence) – IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning
I’ve been using this since 2015 and it is still my favourite FTE among the ones I’ve tried. I always notice the difference when I stop using the IOPE, because its so effective at maintaining the best results for my skin. I get minimal breakouts, my skin rarely looks dull and it feels so hydrated and healthy. I have quite a thin skin barrier so my skin can look dull and lifeless easily in winter, but when I use IOPE I can rely less on brightening serums to perk me up. I will always continue to repurchase this one. BUY
6. Best essence/serum – IUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum – Review here
This was the skincare surprise of 2017 for me and something I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to try or I may never have discovered this bottle of goodness. (I have also continued to use it in 2018 which is why it’s made it into my best list). I didn’t realise how well my skin reacts to propolis until the brand reached out to me and once I incorporated it into my routine I was hooked. The consistency made it enjoyable to use (I used to think propolis skincare would be too heavy), but this greatly improved my skin’s hydration during the day and gave me a lovely inner glow and radiance.
My skin wasn’t in great condition when I first tried this and I did see a noticeable difference in the overall health, texture and vitality. BUY
Honourable mentions: Huxley Brightly Ever After Essence – smells so good like the rest of Huxley products. Has a great consistency that layers well, absorbs quickly, hydrates and helps speed up the healing process of dark pigmentation spots. I also noticed an overall brightening effect in my skin’s dull complexion with consistent use. BUY
7. Best eye cream – Innisfree Perfect 9 Repair Eye Cream
This is one of my favourite eye creams that I would buy again consistently because it feels so good. For me, having the right texture and consistency is crucial because the eye area is the most delicate and thinnest skin area and is more prone developing wrinkles quicker. I like thick, balmy eye creams and this one isn’t too oily, heavy or lightweight. I find this perfectly moisturising, absorbs nicely while creating a protective barrier, it doesn’t sting or cause milia around my eyes and it doesn’t make my eye makeup smudge over it. This has prevented my under-eye fine lines from deepening, softens them out and has prevented further wrinkles. BUY
8. Best moisturiser – Tatcha The Silk Cream
This was a really hard category of skincare to pick a favourite as I used so many good creams last year. However the one standout for me was probably the Tatcha Silk Cream. It is crazy expensive but worth the splurge in my opinion because its texture is like nothing else and so was really unique compared to anything else I tried. I still rememeber the first time I tried it – I thought wow this is amazing! I was so impressed. It feels unbelievably silky soft, smooth and luxurious. Whenever I applied this I really enjoyed the experience, which is enhanced by a wonderful scent (although has not synthetic fragrance included). If you have normal – dry skin, looking for something deeply hydrating without feeling heavy and want anti-ageing benefits then definitely give this a try. I will do a full review of this in the near future so I can rave about it properly. BUY
9. Best facial oil – Huxley Oil Light and More
I haven’t tried many facial oils as it’s a product category I’ve introduced only in the past couple years as my skin has become more dehydrated but I lucked out on a really great one in the form of Huxley’s Oil Light and More. I tend to use this in my evening skincare and mix 2 drops with my moisturiser or sleeping mask so a bottle lasts for ages. It combines perfectly with everything I’ve tried it with and really helps to lock in the moisture without feeling heavy and greasy. It absorbs into the skin well so when I go to bed I don’t worry about my face leaving oil marks on my pillow but still wake up with moisturised skin. BUY
10. Best sunscreen – Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence – Review here
This was a new product that made it into my morning skincare routine toward the end of 2018 and I’ve rarely gone a day without using it since I got it. It’s a very hydrating sunscreen that doesn’t pill under makeup, dry out your skin, leave a white cast or feel thick, heavy or oily. It’s like adding another creamy moisturiser on top of your day cream and it’s really no effort to ensure I have broad spectrum sun protection with this on a daily basis. BUY
11. Best sleeping mask – Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment
This tops the list of my all time favourite product from Glamglow as it gives me the best results and it was love at first use. It smells absolutely divine – reminds me of coconuts and shea butter. It has a fairly thick consistency which deeply moisturises and when you wake up in the morning you have such soft, healthy and fresh looking skin! It is like a miracle in a jar. Glamglow say you can also use this as a wash off mask but this is way too precious in terms of results for me to only apply it for 10 minutes and wash it off! The great thing is that it really seems to adapt to my skin needs. I used this in both summer and winter and it never made me oily or dry the next morning; my skin was always perfectly balanced. I really recommend this to all skin types – definitely holy grail status to me. BUY
There you have my top 11 skincare products of 2018. I’m looking forward to discovering more gems in 2019. What were some of your favourite skincare products of the past year?