To-The-Rescue Skincare

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

It’s been a while on the old beauty front hasn’t it?

I have been not best placed to make any recommendations recently as my skin has been behaving badly since November. Think dry red patches that result in congestion and a bumpy uneven texture. Attractive. And I always find the cycle so difficult to break.

Unfortunately I am unable to use the vast majority of products that target blocked pores as they are often too harsh/abrasive for my sensitive skin. If I do then the flaky patches become….flakier. And so it goes on.

Determined to regain my glow I’m going back to basics (no actives, no over zealous exfoliation, no picking) and reintroducing products slowly one-at-a-time so I can monitor what makes a positive difference and what is potentially exacerbating my epidermal doom.

Let me begin with an excellent lip balm.

My lips often become so dry during the winter months they split and bleed. I have always been an advocate of Lansinoh HPA Lanolin (aimed at nips but can essentially be used anywhere on the body/face) but it’s very very greasy. It doesn’t work particularly well with lip liners and the like either. As an overnight treatment it’s super though so do give it a whirl.

Eucerin Acute Lip Balm is my new favourite thing. £6 a tube (I’ve found it for £4 when I’ve been bargain hunting) and it feels lovely. Great for travel and slathering on whenever you feel peel-y rather than pouty. It also works well underneath lipstick and glosses once blotted. I have one in my handbag, both bathroom cabinets and my desk drawer at RMW HQ. Mabel also has one in her school satchel, the lucky girl inherited cold-weather-cracking from her mother.

For the bumps and lumps I am finding The Ordinary Niacinamide and Zinc serum very effective. I only apply it to isolated outbreak areas not over my entire face – I do find it drying if used too often so I dab on sparingly. I apply it only at night and make sure I moisturise the following morning. It’s about a fiver and I have found it does assist in unclogging without increasing redness and sensitivity. Niacinamide is also known as B3, a water-soluble vitamin that allegedly helps to visibly minimise enlarged pores and improve uneven skin tone. It’s claimed that zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, can regulate sebum production and aid the repair of damaged skin.

To combat overall dryness I have been applying Clinique Moisture Surge as a mask. I leave it on whilst taking a shower/faffing around afterwards and gently remove the excess with a warm flannel. It doesn’t seem to increase congestion as I have found many heavy duty creams do, instead it just leaves you silkier and with a hint of a sheen. Plus it’s much missed team member Lisa’s go-to and she has skin like glass so I’m determined to keep it within my routine.

I’ll compose another update once I’ve discovered other potions worth mentioning. As always none of these links contain affiliates/have been paid for or sponsored. Buy stuff from wherever you want.

I would be really interested to hear about any “rescue” skincare items you recommend and if you may have gone OTT with the actives in a bid to emulate Lisa’s poreless translucence (she was born with it FYI – it’s definitely not Maybelline, or even Clinique). I am very tempted by Dr Sam Bunting’s Flawless Nightly Serum as I like the idea of one product that does pretty much everything, but any kind of retinoid scares the sh*t out of me. I start itching just thinking about it.

Header image from the bathroom makeover by @nordicllar

Here’s to less flakes and more glow. See you in the comments section folks.

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
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34 thoughts on “To-The-Rescue Skincare

    1. Sarah I have heard so many good things about Votary, do you not find oil blocks your pores? And does it sink in enough to put make-up on top or do you just wear it at night?

      1. I have found that it hasn’t blocked my pores and have actually helped calm everything down. I use it morning and night and make up goes on nicely over the top once I’ve allowed it to sink in a bit.x

  1. Since moving to Kuala Lumpur 2.5 years ago my skin has been a nightmare. I had beautiful skin my whole life in London but here it hates me: I can’t get rid of small little skin surface spots & it’s constantly either dehydrated or oily – sometimes both.

    I follow Caroline Hirons so have tried a few of her recommendations but not many have worked for me. What my skin does seem to like, however, is the Dermalogica ‘daily superfoliant’. It’s a powder that you pour a little of onto wet hands and rub in so it turns into a finely lathering exfoliator.

    I also love the Clinique Moisture Surge Mask but I can’t sleep in it or I do get more congestion so I leave it on for a few hours only.

    What I’ve also really enjoyed as a gentle cleanser is the Botanics. Hot Cloth Cleansing balm. I love using it as a second cleanse and then give my face a massage with it on & use my little jade roller gizmo thing. It’s delightful.

    So best of luck with yours Charlotte, hopefully we’ll both find products that suit us soon! X

    1. Ciara thanks so much for your advice! My skin hasn’t been right since the birth of my second daughter, it’s as if it doesn’t know what it’s doing one day to the next. I’m not a fan of Hirons – just another paid-to-say-its-ace “influencer” who seemingly uses something different week on week. The Botanics sounds lovely – I’ll take a look x

  2. I have been using Dr Sam for a year now and would definitely recommend. I was also scared but pretty confused on using retinoids but she has a good ‘how to’ video which recommends how to slowly introduce them into your routine. Her moisturiser is good too. There’s a standard and a light if the standard is too heavy.

    1. ooooh Katelin which products of Dr Sam’s do you use? Do you use her serum/sunscreen? I like that her products seem very research based and are not ridiculously expensive.

      1. I’ve tried all of it. Love the cleanser. I use the nightly serum every other night, just to avoid it mixing with my acid, then I use the moisturiser light and the new lip balm. Very like the lansinoh as the main ingredient is lanolin but less greasy and easier to use without smearing it everywhere. I also use the SPF. Would love to say I apply it every day but I’m just not that good! I’ll try to be better as its the best texture I have found for sunscreen.

        1. Katelin so useful to hear you have had such a positive experience. What acid do you alternate with? and would you say you have noticed a positive difference with skin texture/clarity etc? ALL the questions…sorry

          1. I use the Aldi version of the Pixi Glow tonic as it seems to pretty much the same. The Nightly serum had an instant effect. Improvement in glow, texture and clarity. Like I would be looking forward to using it to see the results the next morning (Small things!) I’ve got my mum using it too and she has also seen an improvement

            1. Erm, I might need to buy this too! It sounds amazing. I need an SPF as well. I’m convinced the last one I used made me really congested 🤔

  3. I swear by Elizabeth Arden 8 hour lip balm – its not cheap – but it is non-greasy, soothing & everything good when your lips are feeling like they are about to fall off!!

    I might give that The Ordinary serum a go – at the moment i have got those same dry red bumpy patches exactly as you describe right under my nose – i am positive they are stress related (they disappeared when i was on hols) and so far nothing beauty product wise seems to make a jot of difference!!

    I am using & loving Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin amazing sleep oil – just this on its own dont seem to need anything else – and at this time of year my skin is usually super tight all over needing to be slathered in super rich cream (which then makes me spotty) – not this time!

    1. Janey I have this oil! But haven’t used it as I’m waiting to introduce things one at a time. I’m hoping to try it soon so I’m glad it’s working for you! Stress really effects my skin, always has – my epidermis doesn’t get on with the increased levels of Cortisol.

  4. I’ve been loving The Ordinary 100% Rose Hip Seed oil. It’s so gentle, Gavin can even use it on psoriasis around his eyes.
    The marketing schpeil is “brimming with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which are known to hydrate and promote a smooth, even complexion. It is also known to correct dark spots, hydrate dry, itchy skin and even reduce scars and fine lines by encouraging cellular regeneration.”
    I use it instead of a moisturiser last thing at night and have found I have smoother skin and way less hormonal breakouts since.

    1. I’m so wary of oils, yet they seem to work for certain people. I used rose hip when I was pregnant to prevent stretch marks….I don’t have any but who knows if that was the oil or genes! It was lovely to use though x

    2. I have just discovered an absolute GAME CHANGER. Embryolisse lait-crème concentré. It is honestly incredible. I have only been using it for five days and my skin is the best it has ever ever been – it is plump and dewy and soft and not oily at all, it’s a miracle! I have been using it in quite a thick layer at bedtime (after double cleansing with Bioderma micellar water / Cerave and popping on a layer of TO Niacinamide + Zinc), and I wake up feeling lovely. But I have also been using it as a primer in the morning and I really feel as though my make up is lasting longer and looking nicer. 10/10!

  5. I think I need some of that The Ordinary serum for my random spots. My skin has gone a bit haywire after number 2 baby (why is that-less sleep, hormones??) so that serum might be good on my spots (I’m reliving my early teens but with fine lines too!).

    I’ve had to on occasion strip it right back and have completely stopped using my acid toner (with no adverse affect in my opinion) in my day to day routine.

    I’ve found Beauty Pie’s Japanfusion Cleanser is really gentle and hydrating but also no clogging. As a night cream/treatment I’ve also used their JeJu AM/PM superinfusion cream – its a very bizarre texture (very solid, comes with a little spatula) but is sooo hydrating and comforting.

    I’ve recently discovered The Inkey List which is in a similar vein to The Ordinary and I’ve been trying their Squalene Oil which is ‘dry’ oil and sits nice under moisturiser or make up. Or Balance Me’s Rose Otto Oil is lush for bed tome etc.

    And an oldie I’ve used for centuries (it feels like) is Clarins Extra Comfort Toner, (gently pressed all over my face using a reusable cotton pad) after cleansing to calm and soothe everything.

    I honestly thought that by now (almost 40) I’d have this skin thing down.. but no my skin likes to through in a spanner every now and again!

    1. I have the inky list oat cleansing balm ready to try – it was a tenner and my skin loves oat extract (Aveeno is full of it – soothing for eczema etc) so I have high expectations. It seems quite solid though – I do prefer a milky cleanser. Beauty Pie’s Juju daily cleanser has just won the beauty bible awards – it’s also quite cheap with my subscription. My skin was pretty good up until my pregnancy in 2017/18….since then it’s been very high maintenance. I’m not a fan of acid toners, I’ve read so many dermatologists saying how they image the skin long term, and that they shouldn’t;t be used full time in any routine. Then others say what great results they have from using one so….it’s a mystery!

      1. If I’m honest Charlotte I’m not sure the acid toner actually did anything. I’ve found an exfoliating mask (usually with fruit enzymes I think) has a much more brightening effect on my face.
        I can see why dermatologists don’t recommend them for daily use, you’re basically taking off a layer of skin each time which must be aggregating to your skin.

        1. Exactly, I think all these impressional girls are stripping their young skin with scary acids and then shoving retinol and god knows what else on it. The clarins sounds lovely!

    2. Vicky I use Beauty Pie JeJu AM/PM at night as well and have found it hasn’t left me clogged. It is a weird texture isn’t it but doesn’t it feel lovely when it’s on! So soft!

      The Clarins toner sounds great too. I find my current toner seems to make me a bit red?!

  6. I won’t recommend as I don’t suffer from any of the above issues at the moment (touch wood) but always interested to hear other people’s responses. I would love ideas on reducing plastic/disposables in skincare routine though!! I am guilty of cotton pads and cotton buds, and am looking into alternatives but if anyone has any particular recommendations I am all ears!! I saw some lovely reusable pads on The Mamahood the other day (don’t recall whose they were but they were very pretty). And how many do you need realistically from a washing turnover point of view?

    1. Annie I just use good old cotton flannels! But there are a lot of reusable wipes on the market. I personally love the squares from little green wood and bamboo cotton buds (fully compostable). I have both in my online shop ( but you can buy them from tons of places online.

      In terms of skincare with great packaging, The Ordinary is mostly glass bottles so recyclable and I really like White Rabbit Skincare, which comes in tins and glass. Hope that helps xo

  7. After dry Jan my skin has never looked better. I really think it all starts from the inside. Nourish your body with good food and lots of water and you’ll see the diff.

  8. You are very kind Charlotte! Moisture Surge is most definitely my desert island beauty product (is this a thing?). It’s just a shame it doesn’t eliminate eye bags.

    Miss all of you guys too x

  9. Environ Skincare – absolute game changer for me!
    My salon sells it and its good to go for a consultation first and they can recommend what you need. I use the face wash and moisturiser (the same one for day and night) and also love the toner and under eye cream. Cant recommend it enough..

    another one I am loving at the moment is Emma Hardie – the moninga cleansing balm and Midas touch revitalising cream – it is spa like heaven! Ive got to add though Ive only used this during pregnancy and for some reason my skin has never been better – I dread to think about afterwards but I know my trusty Environ will be my rescue. xx

  10. Thanks for the lip balm rec Charlotte, I’ve been using the Carmex tube overnight for a few years but I’m not keen on the menthol so this sounds like a perfect replacement. My favourite cleanser right now is The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, it feels so nice on and gets rid of everything. It’s also in a metal recyclable tin so win win! My skin is generally pretty good but I suffer from redness on my nose and chin so any recommendations to target this or cover it would be appreciated.

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