Jesska Denise is an Irish beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog



My Skincare Staples

My skin and I have a very love, hate relationship. With a little bit more hate than love on my behalf. Sometimes it seems that no matter how much money, attention and water I tend to it with, it's still not enough and it hits back to look, dare I say, worse?
Thankfully (what?), being on lockdown has provided me with ample time and opportunity to work on my skin. Nurture it. Pay attention to it. And I think, I have finally cracked it. A rare occurrence without the help of fancy monthly facials which to be honest, I cannot wait to fork over 100 quid for some to squeeze and extract the shizz out of my face. Wow. Simpler times.
Now, some of these products are on the pricier end of things. But after years of slumming it in the middle aisle of Tesco, I have learned that sometimes it pays to splash out on your skin. It only took me to the ripe age of 27 to suss this, however.
First, a background check on my skin. Oily t-zone. Acne-prone, especially in the chin area. Dry cheeks and flakiness in previously mentioned oily t-zone. Combo not welcome. Scarring and redness, with a pinch of anger.
If you're a long time reader of my blog, you will know that my skin is something I have fought with for years. I've taken medication, used antibiotic roll-ons, took the contraceptive pill and briefly considered Roaccutane and thought better of it. In comparison to others, my skin isn't actually that bad. A lot of it probably boils down to poor eating habits, poor hydration and stress. Stress flares it up a lot. So it is manageable. It's just managing it with the right routine. I'm a massive fan of those Chinese skin maps that shows you what triggers breakouts on certain areas of your face. It's very fascinating and has allowed me to learn a lot more about my skin. I think knowledge is power when it comes to managing acne, knowing what makes your skin thick being the biggest piece of info you can have. My skin isn't amazing. But it's much better than it was. I feel that because of these products I've gotten it into a place where I feel comfortable enough with it, it's not perfect but it's not the worst either. I feel less self-conscious if I'm not wearing makeup, which is all I ever wanted anyway.
Just like there are lifestyle things that I can attribute to my breakouts, there are also products too. One of which I actually included in this post (you gotta keep reading to find out which) just to show that just because it works for everyone else, doesn't necessarily mean it's the one for you.
Let's break it down. The pictured products. What are they. Where do they come into the skincare routine and where can y'all buy them.
  • Cleanser - to cleanse, I've been going in with the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. I've been using this for two weeks, and guys, this is where I break hearts. I am not loving this. I thought after years of reading all about it and how it was such a holy grail item that I would be converted for the rest of my life. But I really don't rate it. I much prefer my Kiehls cleanser that I was using prior to this, and will be repurchasing when I can find somewhere online. I don't find it amazing at taking off makeup, I don't think my skin feels squeaky clean afterward, and if anything I feel like it leaves a residue on my skin, no matter how many times I rinse it. I'm not a happy camper. I expected so much, and the disappointment is high. I had previously purchased the Aldi version of this last year and can say, they are pretty much the exact same thing except one is less sleek in packaging and has a more purse-friendly price. I wanted to love this but unfortunately, it just doesn't do it for me. I can't wait to have my Kiehls back. I double cleanse, so I always go in with micellar water after this, and thank god, because I would hate to think I wasn't getting a good clean. Cleanser is so important, especially when you cake on makeup like I do.
  • Spot Treatment - the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion has become my number one staple item over the years. This is my second bottle of the stuff, and if I was to only be allowed one product out of all of these - this would be the one. I apply this using a cotton swab and then let it do its work over night. It's magical. It just has this way of reducing/almost killing spots overnight, that I've never experienced any other product do. It is extreme, you have to be careful not to put it on damaged skin because it burns. Horrendously. But on spots? No feeling. It dries those buggars right out, and after a few nights, they're gone. I bought this in Urban Outfitters because I wanted the glass version of the bottle, rather than the plastic. I'm pretty sure it cost an extra few €€ but I'm very conscious of how much plastic I buy so I like to make changes where possible. If you have acne-prone skin, you absolutely need this in your routine. This has changed everything for me.
  • Scarring - when I have my breakouts under control, I slide in with this bad boy. Now, this isn't something I get to use a lot, because my skin can be problematic, but when I do, I can really see where this Kiehls Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution makes a difference. Because I've had problem skin most of my teen/adult life, my skin does have quite a bit of scarring/redness as a result. Specifically the chin area. Half the time its not active breakouts making my skin look bad, it's the scarring. And being so pale it highlights it more than it should. It just doesn't look even. Since I've been using this I've seen massive improvements in redness along my jawline and my forehead. I would imagine if I could get my skin majorly under control, that with continued use of this, my scarring/redness would be non-existent. I wouldn't describe it as bad scarring, it just needs some TLC. But if I have Mario on my skin, it's not the time to use this. This is one of the more expensive products, sliding in at nearly 50€ but I would buy it again and again cause it definitely makes a difference when I can use it.
  • Hydrate - alongside moisturizer, I use The Ordinary 100% plant-derived squalane. It's such an amazing product for under 10€. I apply it all over my face and I can feel it sinking into my skin. Since I've started using this, the dry patches along my forehead and cheeks are no longer noticeable, and flakiness isn't anything I need to worry about. A pea-sized amount goes such a long way. I honestly just can't get enough of The Ordinary. I have yet to use a poor product by them.
  • Eye Cream - the Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, this is up there as one of my all-time ultimate 'treat yourself' purchases. I bought it this time last year when I was wandering in Arnotts feeling like splashing out, and I smelled this and I knew I had to have it. I've never really bothered with eye creams before this, aside from a Simple eye gel in Boots, I never saw the point. I am dumb. Eye cream is very important. Especially as you get older as those lines start to creep in. I love this. It makes my under eyes much brighter. They look less puffy. And I just feel like I'm doing something good for that delicate area on my face. I apply a dab using the end of a cotton swab and then slowly massage it in, being careful not to tug the skin too much. Eye cream is definitely one of those products you feel like you can skip but I would say if you're feeling spendy and you don't have one already. This is for you. at 28€ for the tub I have, it is steep but you can also see for yourself how little its budged in a year.
  • Lips - to be fair, you don't need to splash out huge amounts of €€ on your lips. But I was feeling super spendy when I bought the Nuxe Lip Balm one day when I was waiting in Lloyds. This is so creamy and hydrating. I use it every night without fail and more so during the winter months. If you're a heavy matte lipstick wearer like me, hydrated lips are a must. And other than making sure your water intake is solid, this really helps make them all soft and lovely. I exfoliate too using a lush lip exfoliator, but I can't recommend this enough. I have a travel pot that I scooped some into for when I'm on the go or at work. Rather than having to carry such a big pot.
This Mario Badescu spray is such a guilty pleasure product for me. This is my second bottle of the stuff and I swear I just adore it. Lather my entire body in the stuff, please. A lot of people I know use this mid routine, before moisturizer. I like to use it at the end. The cherry on top of the cake if you will. I just love how refreshed it makes my face feel. Likewise, I spritz a bit over my face when I've finished applying my makeup, and also throughout the day just to refresh. It's even way nicer if you keep it in the fridge, especially during the summer months. This is basically just a nice cheap mist for your face, but it is a nice cheap mist that I can't see myself living without. I've previously used the green tea scented version of this, but I like that there's lavender in this for night use. I'm all about lavender during this lockdown and it's relaxing benefits.
The Ordinary Peeling Solution is a very new addition to my routine. But the second I tried it, I knew I was going to tell everyone to buy this and share how amazing it is. It's blood-red, you apply it with the little pipette to your cleansed skin. Spread it to make a mask. Leave for 10mins and then wipe off with a damp cloth. My skin tingled so much. Which I had read about prior to buying. But it felt so nice. Like it was burning away the bad top layer of my skin with all the impurities. Sadly, I only got this a few days ago so I can't properly say too much about it. But like I said above, I love everything I've used by The Ordinary and so far so good with this.
Despite some of these being super pricey, they really do go a long way. A couple of them I've had well over a year, and some even two. I've recommended them to friends who have also grown to love them and incorporate them into their own skincare routines. A definite win for me, as I wouldn't exactly consider myself an expert on skincare, I just know what does and doesn't work for me. I've also been repetitively influenced by Gracey over on Instagram here.
We only get one face and I think it's so important to look after it. It's worth noting that I haven't included sun protection above, but I think it goes without saying that that's such an integral part of any skincare routine.
I use other products outside of these too, moisturizer, anti-aging and brightening serums, but there hasn't been a holy grail product for me in these categories which is why I'm reluctant to share anything there till I've found yano, 'the one'. There are other bits too like overnight masks (The Origins) and more from The Ordinary that I don't use on a regular basis but do when I'm having a 'spa' night. So it's good to stress that this isn't everything I use. I'm not an expert but these are just some of the products I've been using a while now and just find really nice, and do what they should do. Except for Liz Earle. Disappointed in that. If you have anything you like to use or something you would recommend I try, comment below or message me on Instagram @JesskaDenise.

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