The Skincare Products That Saved My Combination Skin This Winter


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Every year around this time, my skin goes haywire. It’s already pretty temperamental, but during winter, it tends to become dry, flakey and oily all at the same time.

The skincare routine that gets me through summer just doesn’t seem to work from March to August, resulting in me trying a hundred different products to fix whatever I have going on.

Does my skin go through a million emotions because I slather on a thousand different products on it? Absolutely.  Will I ever learn? Probably not.

After months of experimenting, I’ve finally found a routine that works for me and targets all of my concerns. I needed an anti-ageing routine that deals with adult acne, dry/dehydrated skin and helps fade hyperpigmentation.

At 27, I don’t have extremely deep lines as of yet, but prevention is always better than cure, which is why I’ve been using some pretty powerful ingredients.

So, here are the products that have saved my skin this autumn and winter and hopefully will help you too.

Day and Night Products

Oil Cleanser (on Days I’m Wearing Makeup) – Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

Years ago, before I knew about its environmental impact, I would use wipes to remove my makeup. However, my skin would be left feeling raw and irritated. 

Despite how quick and easy it was, I just couldn’t put my skin or the planet through it, so I switched to oil cleansers.

I’ve tried a lot of oil cleansers, and the Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil is by far the best one I’ve used. It doesn’t break me out and melts away my makeup with very little product.

And one of my favourite things about it is that it doesn’t leave my bathroom and the bottle an oily mess. 

Cleanser: Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash

When I was 16, I looked at my skin in the mirror and told myself, “Basmah, it’s okay. Because when you turn 25, you won’t have to deal with acne anymore.” Well, I was wrong.

Adult acne has hit me with a vengeance, and I don’t really think it has any plans of leaving. So, to help keep my skin bump-free, I use the Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash, which contains salicylic acid to zap those bad boys whenever they appear.

Using salicylic acid on its own tends to dry out my skin, so I prefer it in my cleanser because it’s less concentrated.

Hydrating Serum: CosRX Snail Mucin 96 Power Essence

In case you didn’t know, no one does skincare like the Koreans. There’s a reason they look about 18 when they’re 80. So when they told me to apply snail goop on my face, I didn’t question it.

The CosRX Snail Mucin 96 Power Essence is, yes, snail slime, but it does a great job of hydrating the skin and repairing the moisture barrier. 

The most important tip I have for you is to apply this on damp skin. I used to slather this on dry skin, and it didn’t do much, so I changed up my strategy, and it worked wonders.

Day Products

Serum: Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

I’m a brown woman, in case you didn’t know, and if you have even the tiniest bit of melanin in your skin, then you need to be using vitamin C.

Not only does it help even out the skin tone and fade pigmentation, but the powerful antioxidant helps stimulate collagen and protects against sun damage.

The Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum is *chef’s kiss*. Seriously, try it and thank me later. 

Eye Cream: Cetaphil Optimal Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum

No other affordable, pharmacy-brand skincare line has impressed me quite like the new Cetaphil Optimal Hydration Range.

I have hereditary under-eye circles. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had deep tear troughs, and nothing I do will get rid of them completely (besides filler).

My eye area also suffers from eczema if I don’t stay on top of my routine, so clearly, I’m a victim of a hate crime at this point.

The Cetaphil Optimal Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum is SO good. It’s lightweight but still hydrating, and it sits underneath my makeup perfectly. 

Sunscreen: Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+

I finish off my day routine with the Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+. Sunscreen is important, but when you’re using acids on the skin, it becomes crucial. Don’t skip this step!

Night Products

Eye Cream: RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream

At night, I prefer to use a stronger eye cream, and this one from Chemist Warehouse contains retinol which you’ll soon find out, is my favourite ingredient.

I only use the RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream at night because it’s pretty potent stuff, and if you’re applying retinol, you need to stay out of the sun.

Since I’ve been using this product, my fine lines have gradually reduced, and my undereye area feels much smoother.

Note: Do not use retinol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

First Night Serum: Youth to the People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum

I’ve been testing the Youth to the People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum for a few weeks now, and I have one word: Wow.

If you’ve never used retinol before, then you should probably start with a more gentle formula first, but because I’ve been using it for a while now, I jumped into this with no problems.

Containing niacinamide and the most potent retinol next to an Rx, this serum fades fine lines, stops acne in its tracks and also helps hydrate the skin. 

This is a must-have in my routine, no matter the season.

Second Serum: Cetaphil Optimal Hydration 48hr Activation Serum

Retinol can be drying, especially when you first incorporate it into your routine. The Cetaphil Optimal Hydration 48hr Activation Serum is like a big drink of water for your skin and contains Vitamin E, Vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to help moisturise and repair the skin from the inside out.

Night Cream: Sulwhasoo Essential Comfort Firming Cream

The Sulwhasoo Essential Comfort Firming Cream has quickly become a staple in my routine. The texture is luxurious and almost feels like silk, but it’s what’s inside that really makes the difference. 

The JISUN firming complex, which contains goji berries, black beans and arrowroot, helps keep the skin firm. While the JAUM moisturising complex calms and soothes the skin.

Before I go to bed, I slather this on as my final step, and I wake up to beautiful, hydrated skin.

Honourable Mentions

Lip Balm: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

It may have mask in its name, but the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is one product I use all day, every day. I have chronically dry lips, and this magic pot helps keep them plump and moisturised.

Exfoliator: Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment

Whenever my skin needs a pick-me-up, I slather on the Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. The lactic acid exfoliates my skin and smooths out any texture I may be dealing with. This is a must-have before a big event!

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