Skincare expert Linda Blahr, our Education and Science Manager at SkinCeuticals, is passionate about beauty. Having worked with the brand for over ten years, here, she chooses the five products she would be pushed to go a day without.
1. Equalizing Toner
When I was a student at cosmetic college in Germany, the first surprising thing I learnt was the importance of using a toner whenever you use tap water on your face. Toner helps to remove the residue of chlorine and minerals left behind from tap water when you splash your face or use a wash off cleanser.
These components often block pores leading to milia and comedones – commonly known as black heads or white-heads, especially in the T-zone where the activity of sebaceous glands is much higher than on the rest of the face. The daily use of a toner helps to reduce pore congestion - with the added benefit that subsequently applied products are able to penetrate the skin more effectively.
My go-to toner is Equalizing Toner, which suits any skin type. I use Equalizing Toner on a daily basis (morning and evening) after cleansing, as it helps to re-balance, refresh, and restore my skin while removing any excess residue. As a result, my skin feels softer and smoother and looks instantly fresher. Equalizing Toner is my ideal skin prep for all subsequent steps in my daily skincare regimen.
How to use: Spray a small amount onto a cotton ball or pad and smooth over face, neck and chest. Use twice a day after cleansing.
2. Phloretin CF
If you haven’t already heard about environmental aggressors, such as UV radiation and pollution, and how these external factors can harm skin, increasing the risk of oxidative stress, it’s time to swat up!
Oxidative stress is the term used when the levels of antioxidants in our body are not high enough to counteract the damaging effect of free radicals. I like to think of free radicals as tiny, little ‘pac-men’ in your skin: devouring everything that gets close to them. When the skin is in this state, healthy skin cells can get damaged, increasing the risk of mutations and speeding up the visible signs of ageing such as sagging, fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
As a skincare professional, skin health and how to maintain and support it is something I feel passionate about. This is why I use a daily topical antioxidant – whatever the weather.
Phloretin CF is a triple antioxidant with a high concentration of vitamin C, ferulic acid and phloretin. This light serum delivers advanced environmental protection whilst diminishing the appearance of an uneven skin tone. Furthermore, it helps to support the firmness of connective tissue – a process that declines with age. My advice is to start young – especially if you love to run or exercise outside.
How to use: Apply four to five drops to a dry face, neck, and chest in the morning after cleansing and toning.
3. AOX + Eye Gel
It is no surprise that most of us observe the first fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area; the skin around the eye is very delicate as it is 10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. Additionally, many of us have trouble with under-eye bags or dark circles.
Hence, I’m a strong believer that the skin around the eye area needs its own, individual treatment to support the delicate tissue and prevent and correct any signs of damage.
AOX+ Eye Gel is my favourite eye product as it contains a powerful complex of ingredients such as vitamin C, phloretin and caffeine, and not only fights the visible signs of ageing, but also reduce signs of fatigue.
For me, the fact that the eye gel is contained in a compact pump and fits into even my smallest of handbags, adds to the appeal. The gel feels cool and refreshing around my eyes, so I often repeat the morning application throughout the day – especially when my eyes feel tired from glaring at a computer screen.
AOX+ Eye Gel is definitely my go-to wake up product – I think of it like an espresso for the skin!
How to use: In the morning, apply 1/2 pump to each eye socket. Apply on the area below the eyes, outer corners, and brow bone. Do not apply product to the inner corners near the tear duct, below the brow bone, or on the upper lid.
4. A.G.E. Interrupter
Now, in the latter half of my thirties, I recognise changes in my skin – especially regarding firmness, skin tone and wrinkles, no matter how careful you are with your skin chronologically ageing – also known as ‘intrinsic ageing’ and in contrast to ‘extrinsic ageing’, happens naturally. It can be observed all over the body (even in areas that are rarely exposed to UV).
Glycation is a key process belonging to intrinsic ageing. This occurs when excess sugar molecules bind to collagen and elastin fibres and prompt the formation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs). This is when fibres become rigid, break, and accelerate sagging and creping of the skin.
I compare glycation to a caramelisation process: once you create caramel, you cannot return the contributing ingredients to their former state. It is an irreversible bio-chemical process.
Enter my personal life saver A.G.E. Interrupter, a multi-action corrective cream formulated to improve visible loss of firmness and the thinning of mature skin. This cream is enriched with Proxylane™, a patented active ingredient, and blueberry extract that can help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How to use: Apply a thin, even layer of cream onto the entire face, neck, and chest once or twice a day.
5. Hydrating B5 Masque
After long flights, extreme weather situations or dry conditions, my skin often feels tight and dehydrated whilst looking tired and dull. To re-balance my skin and boost its moisture levels, I found my perfect treatment when I discovered SkinCeuticals’ Hydrating B5 Masque: a mask enriched with 1% hyaluronic acid and panthenol that helps to hydrate and soothe skin. My skin looks fresh, moisturised and smooth again in no time.
How to use: Apply a thin layer to the entire face. Allow it to penetrate into the skin for 10-15 minutes, and remove it with a damp cloth. Alternatively, gently massage product into face as an overnight-treatment.
Special Tip: I use Hydrating B5 Masque as a boosting lip treatment to replenish moisture levels, smooth vertical lines around the outer lip-line and increase volume. Before going out, apply an even, thick layer onto the lips and around the lip line. Remove it with a damp cotton pad after 5 minutes. You can then apply your lip cream or lip balm as normal.