As I mentioned in my introductory post, skincare is something that’s relatively new to me. I only really started taking care of my skin with a proper regime and good quality products in 2015 and the difference it’s made is phenomenal. I’m now a firm believer in only using good quality products that really work, and one thing that’s made that easier is knowing which brands to go to and most importantly understanding my skin type and why my skin does what it does.
For years I chopped and changed between cheap skincare products with no understanding of the ingredients they contained or what my skin really needed. What everyone else is using isn’t necessarily going to work for you, and I didn’t know that. I was constantly breaking out, my skin texture was awful and my face would vary wildly from dry and flaky to a total oil slick from month to month, and nothing seemed to do the trick. Then at the start of 2015 I began to dip my toes into the realm of higher end skin care. I had consultations, tried different products by different brands, and slowly but surely I’ve got to the point where I understand my skin, and I know how to keep it under control. I now have much better skin texture and I’ve settled very much into the “normal” category. I don’t get too oily, I don’t get too dry, it’s just normal. I’ve never been so happy to be normal! It’s still not perfect, I get hormonal breakouts which can’t really be helped, the occasional stress breakout via my job, I have enlarged pores from 6 years of heavy smoking (I’ve quit now, but DON’T EVER SMOKE!!) and a bit of redness in the centre of my face, but all of these things are becoming less common, and less of a problem now that I’m looking after my skin properly. The breakouts disappear faster, the pores are getting smaller and the redness is slowly fading as the months go by.
Now not all expensive skincare works, and sometimes what works wonders for one person might break you out horribly or do absolutely nothing for you at all, but I truly believe that you need to spend a little more to get the best results. I’ve tried it both ways and I’ve tried a lot of products, and the best results really do seem to come with a higher price tag. But you only get one face, and it’s the first thing most people will see when they look at you. You can’t order a new one, and there’s only so much damage you can reverse, so take care of it the best you can. There really is a lot of trial and error involved. Always see if you can get testers, always sit down with one of the sales assistants and talk through what you’re working with and what you want to achieve, just try not to get over excited and buy a heap of products you don’t need… Pick and choose what you like the most from each brand you try and you’ll have the recipe for near perfect skin, it’s highly unlikely that one brand can solve all of your problems and it won’t happen overnight, but you’ll get there!
Once I found the right products and got the hang of being religious with my daily regime (this is essential!!) I was on the road to success. But there was always one aspect of the world of skincare that had confused me a little, and that was face masks. I’d tried a few, but if I told you I did more than one a month, I’d be lying. Then Fresh came along. The lovely Estée Lalonde invited me to the opening of their new store in Covent Garden which she was hosting, we talked to the lovely staff and were shown their entire range of face masks one by one. I was fascinated. I learned that if you’re doing face masks less than once a month, you might as well not be using them at all, around 2-3 times a week brings the best results. We were also told about the magic that is multi-masking. No one face mask is going to do everything you want it to do, so using different masks for different things is essential to getting the most out of your skin. They very kindly sent us away with a selection of their masks, and I’ve been addicted ever since. I do roughly two a week depending on what my skin needs, sometimes using different masks on different parts of my face and I have to say I feel like I’ve found that last missing ingredient to my regime! My cleanser, toner and plethora of creams/serums/oils keep my face clean smooth and nourished, but the masks take it one step further. I feel like I’m finally “there”. Can you tell skincare is still pretty new to me? I get so excited about new discoveries, and anything that makes a real difference still makes me giddy.
If you can’t get down to a Fresh store, they have a wonderful mask finder quiz on their website here, which will help you find the right products for your needs, and if the rest of their products are anything like the masks I’ve tried I highly recommend them, and there’s also plenty of reviews on their website for you to check out. Every time I wash one of these masks off I feel like I have a new face! Now on to the masks themselves, I’m going to talk you through each mask I’ve tried and give my thoughts on each one individually… Enjoy, skincare junkies!
If you’ve got dry skin, don’t be put off by the name of this mask. It’s great for deep cleansing and minimising pores but still leaves your skin feeling soft, even with its mattifying effect – hard to believe I know, but it really doesn’t dry you out! It’s also multi-purpose, you can dab a small amount on to individual blemishes, use as an overall mask, or even as a cleanser on damp skin. I particularly love using this when I’m having hormonal or stress related breakouts (which usually involves me being a little oilier than usual) as it really helps to clear everything up and get me back to normal. The Umbrian clay itself, found solely in the town of Nocera Umbra, is the pivotal ingredient in this product. Having heard the story of how Fresh founders Lev & Alina discovered it (which you can read on the website) I’m dying to try more products from the line. This mask gets top marks from me for pore minimising and clearing up breakouts, and all without drying my face out or leaving me with that horrible tight, dry, screaming-for-moisturiser feeling!
Not just any polish, a polish and mask all in one! Fresh’s brown sugar face polish was in fact the first sugar exfoliant on the market, and of the many I’ve tried this is my favourite by far. It’s not your standard rub-on-wash-off scrub, you massage onto damp, cleansed skin, leave it on for 5-10 minutes and then wash it off. While the mask is on your face, wild strawberries, plum seed oil and grapeseed oil are brightening and nourishing your skin. So once the sugar has buffed off any dead skin, the other ingredients are taking care of the new skin underneath, and let me tell you, when I wash this off my face feels incredibly soft and smooth, I wasn’t joking earlier when I said I feel like I have a brand new face! Oh, and it smells like stawberries (real ones, not that sickly synthetic scent you find in a lot of “strawberry scented” products) so try to use it, not eat it – harder than you think!
This stuff is like the Rolls Royce of face masks, it makes my face feel radiant, hydrated and silky in a way that no moisturiser or serum ever has.The pure honey used is particularly special (you can learn all about it on the Fresh site) and other ingredients including Echinacea, Vitamin E, Meadowfoam seed oil and Seabuckthorn oil are full of anti oxidants and other nourishing properties that leave your skin feeling soft and protected against the elements. Now it’s not cheap, but whether you’re treating yourself or a loved one, I honestly believe the benefits are worth the price tag when compared to other super-masks from the likes of La Mer or La Prairie. Plus I tend to believe that natural ingredients are the best route for a lot of our every day skin/heath/diet issues, so skin care packed with natural ingredients will usually get my vote.
The cool, gel texture of this mask combined with the smell of roses and actual petals in the pot make this a seriously refreshing treat. It kind of feels like smearing watery jam onto your face, but in a good way – is that a thing? It does dry, so you won’t be leaving a trail of rose-y droplets around the house, and once it’s washed off skin feels toned, hydrated and almost bouncy. This product contains pure rosewater, cucumber extract, aloe vera gel and green tea among others, making it both nourishing and soothing in equal measure. This mask is the perfect Monday night treat, and goes best hand in hand with candles and a bath (glass of wine optional), I’m a big fan of trying to beat the Monday blues with a pamper evening!
In my opinion, I’ve saved the best ’til last. This is definitely my favourite mask, with its creamy whipped texture and icy cooling sensation (rather like covering your face with refrigerated cucumber slices) it’s an experience in itself. But it’s the results that have made this my top pick. I love using this mask after I shower and before I put makeup on, because it leaves me with the smoothest skin texture I’ve ever had. Even once I’ve put my lotions, potions and makeup on, it’s almost like there’s a filter on my skin that’s all but removed any unwanted texture from the surface. They really weren’t kidding with the whole “instant perfecting” thing, I love it! Black tea, lychee seed extract, polysaccharides and jicama root juice intensely hydrate the skin, pump it full of anti-oxidants and leave you smooth and with more elasticity. If I had to choose one mask to use for the rest of my life, this one is winning so far. This product has a sister mask of sorts, the Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask which I’m itching to try and I will probably purchase on my next trip to Fresh!
I hope the length of this post hasn’t put any of you to sleep! I’m just super excited about skin care at the moment, and making new discoveries like this is really exciting. When I talk about something for the first time I tend to go on a bit, because I feel like I have so much to express! Side note – while these products were gifted to me and the other girls attending the event by Fresh, this post is in no way sponsored, nor was I asked to write it. I can’t blabber on like this for paragraph after paragraph unless my feelings are genuine, it’s just not in my nature!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and I hope to bring you more skincare discoveries and general goodness in the coming months alongside my fashion posts