Flawless, youthful and dewy looking skin is the number one beauty goal for many people. The ultimate dream is to feel confident enough to forgo any foundation or concealer coverage because our skin looks totally fabulous and ‘perfect’ without it. Of course, there is a very valid argument that you don’t need to cover up your imperfections, and that you don’t need to look good for anybody – your appearance is your own personal business. Yet the confidence required to stop caring about how our skin and hair looks on a daily basis is far easier said than done. Besides, to some degree you should care, because your skin is a delicate organ and should be appropriately tended to, if only in the context of maintaining your own health. And if you commit to forming long-term habits pertaining to skin and hair maintenance then you will only receive positive results to be grateful for in the future. Look after your skin and hair basically, but do it for you, and nobody else.
However, with so many aspects of daily life fighting against achieving ‘flawless skin’ and ‘perfect hair’ – the harsh weather; pollution; a lack of time to commit to a proper beauty routine, and a confusing amount of expensive products to choose from that all claim to create perfect skin and gorgeous hair, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some of my favourite, student budget-friendly products that have helped improve and protect my skin and hair…
1. No. 7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, around £15 – This really has to be my ultimate skin saviour, through consistent use, morning and night, the serum manages to radically soften my skin and quickly clear up any nasty break outs that I might be troubled with. What’s also great is the gentle nature of the product – I have super sensitive skin that’s prone to horrible allergic reactions if any products have strong chemical ingredients. For example, a lot of make-up remover wipes have a form of alcohol as an ingredient, which nearly always affects my skin, often resulting in a painful, burnt effect that lasts for days. Goodness knows why companies put alcohol into products that are meant for the skin – nobody should ever put alcohol on their face, as it’s only ever going to do damage. Trust me, watch this video where a skin expert explains why you shouldn’t put it – along with some other harmful ingredients – on your face, it’s a really educational watch.
2. Maybelline Baby Skin Primer, £7.99 – This primer is super cheap, and makes my skin literally feel like silk. In addition, this Baby Skin primer is definitely good value for money – which is essential for a student on a budget – as I don’t find myself having to use much product to cover my whole face. It’s the perfect product for preparing my skin and creating a base for my foundation and eye make-up, helping to prevent it from smudging and sliding off my face throughout the day. Plus, I’ve had no allergic reaction to this formula, despite having highly sensitive skin, which I’m really pleased about.
3. Garnier Ultimate Blends Sleek Perfector, around £10 – A couple of years ago I made the decision to dye my hair platinum blonde. This of course meant putting my tresses through some severe bleaching processes, which thoroughly weakened my hair, making it thinner, less workable and made it prone to breakage. Garnier’s latest hair care range has been a life-saver for me. The large variety of mixtures tailored to different hair requirements ensure that there is a perfect solution for every kind of hair nightmare. I found that The Sleek Restorer and Perfector products were the most helpful for my dry, frizzy hair. The Sleek Perfector Oil in particular was a great addition to my hair routine. It works as an excellant additional softening, smoothing and conditioning treatment after drying my hair post-wash, or it can be used as a heat protecting solution whenever I plan to style my hair with hot tools. I also highly recommend the newest addition to the Ultimate Blends range – The Strength Restorer shampoo and conditioner, as my hair has never felt so soft or thick. Here’s another tip, a lot of supermarkets and drug stores sell the shampoo and conditioners from the range at a discounted price if you buy the products as a pair, so keep an eye out.
4. The Soap and Glory ‘A Brush With Greatness’ Exfoliating Brush, around £6 – This little handheld tool is a manual version of the popular ‘Clarisonic’ electronic face cleansers that are great for getting rid of bacteria and dead skin cells. After removing my make-up, I often put a little dab of cleansing lotion onto the brush, before massaging the bristles against a pre-dampened face. Be very, very gentle when using these kind of tools, as scrubbing too hard is not going to help your skin at all. Applying too much pressure to the bristles will most likely just cause irritation and inflammation, which is to be avoided at all costs as it’s painful and promotes skin that is easily aggravated in future. I clean my brush after each use – otherwise I’d just be smudging all that old bacteria from the previous use back onto my face again, which negates the whole point of using the tool in the first place. Also, as you would with a toothbrush, I recommend replacing this brush every few months, or as often as you possibly can.
5. Nivea Pure and Natural Soothing Day Cream, around £3 – The gentle nature of this cream is perfect for my sensitive skin, it feels cool and calming whenever I rub it on, which generally is in the morning after my cleansing routine. However, I should warn you that if unlike me, you aren’t very fair, it can very subtly make you look a little paler if you don’t thoroughly massage the mixture into your skin. And here’s a little bit of cute trivia for you – there are rumours that the Duchess of Cambridge herself allegedly uses this cream.
6. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 30 and upwards, around £7 – You’ve probably seen this sort of thing in beauty magazines over and over – the advice telling you to wear sunscreen every day underneath your make-up. I’m a huge, huge supporter of this. UV rays are a big contributor to long-term skin damage, and can potentially lead to all sorts of problems, from pre-mature wrinkles to skin cancer. Even when the weather seems overcast, UV rays can filter through the clouds and have an effect, so it’s best to prepare in advance, and form a habit of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis. To me, the Neutrogena formula doesn’t feel greasy on my skin, and each tube lasts quite a while as a little amount goes a long way, so it’s good value for money.