Be kind to your skin with cleanser and serum combinations

Oct 23 2020

Scarlet Spy

5 min read

Mature skin woman crop

As the nights draw in and we spend more time locked up in our centrally heated WFH spaces, our skin is going to need plenty of TLC, especially after that heatwave summer.

In the past, I would simply lather on extra hydrating moisturiser or face oil. As I get older and wiser, I am more likely to invest in a great cleanser and serum. These guys really do all the important behind-the-scenes work and can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy, year-round glow.

I am always on the lookout for the perfect cleanser: one which won’t strip the skin but will clean away any dirt and dead cells. One which can pave the way for serums to enter the epidermis unimpeded. One that is also strong enough to encourage cell renewal but without leaving me with that slightly stretched, dry feeling.

As for serums, the older I get, the more I rely on them. Their highly concentrated molecules deliver key ingredients such as vitamin c, retinol, hyaluronic acid and peptides. While moisturisers are all about hydrating, serums target wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and rosacea, and brighten the skin. With a really good cleanser and serum combo, I sometimes don’t have to bother with a moisturiser. (I know, heresy…!)

So, without further ado, here are some cleanser and serum combinations that bring a glow to autumn skin as the leaves turn orange and the heating dial goes up...


Tri-Active Resilience Detox and Purify Cleanser (100ml, £46)

What is it? The latest product from this legendary spa brand is designed to melt away pollution and nurture the skin’s biome defence with its Biome Balancing Marine Complex and microminerals from Cornish clay. It comes beautifully packaged – ESPA have nailed the origami-esque product box – in a lilac tube alongside, joy of joys, a fresh white flannel.

How to use: Squeeze a small amount onto your fingertips and rub to warm, then massage in circular movements on your face releasing a floral spring bouquet. The soft cream melts into your skin releasing the oil which will attract the dirt. Enliven it once more with dampened fingers, then remove with the abovementioned warm cloth.

Verdict: Left my skin feeling as fresh and pillowy as five-star hotel bed linen. I almost didn’t want to sully it with further products.

Tri-active Resilience Pro-Biome Serum (30ml, £100)

What is it? The frosted glass bottle reveals a golden-hued elixir, crammed with age-defying natural goodies, using pro and prebiotic technology to improve skin resilience. Peony and microalgae firm skin tone, Irish moss seaweed cleanses and has antibacterial properties, while the neroli softens.

How to use: One or two drops on your fingers, then press gently into your face, neck and decolletage.

Verdict: Nirvana for my sensitive skin: it feels like silk and looks smooth and glowing, with no more redness. I love the subtle floral fragrance, too.

Comfort Zone

Sacred Nature Cleansing Balm (110ml, £35)

What is it? It looks like a jar of tasty lemon curd! This balm is fragrance free and certified organic with a majority of natural ingredients – the key one being buriti oil, a Brazilian palm tree fruit used for healing scars, anti-ageing and smoothing wrinkles. It's also rich in beta-carotene and vitamin e.

How to use: Scoop out a small amount with the wooden spatula provided – the gel turns to milk on contact with water. Massage into your face and over your eyes, then rinse. Simple!

Verdict: It’s so gentle but effective. My skin always feels super-smooth and plump like I’ve had a facial. It didn't remove all my waterproof mascara but the majority of my make-up came off easily.

Sacred Nature Youth Serum (30ml, £68)

What is it? A light, creamy firming serum in a neat little bottle. One hundred per cent natural ingredients include a powerhouse of fermented antioxidants, the Scientific Garden Extract™ and kangaroo paw flower extract, an Australian flower with a firming action. Tamarind is used as a botanic alternative to hyaluronic acid.

How to use: Squirt one pea sized blob onto clean fingers and massage into your cleansed face, morning and night.

Verdict: First I like that a tiny amount goes a long way, smoothing on easily. Second, it has an instant effect on the skin, making it feel hydrated and nourished. A firming favourite.


Marine Cleansing Balm (100ml, £38)

What is it? A jar of vegan-friendly honey-coloured cleansing putty, packed with COSMOS certified organic ingredients to gently cleanse the skin and remove make-up. It contains shea butter, almond oil and hypoallergenic carnauba wax, as well as seaweed extract and rose, bergamot and patchouli essential oils.

How to use: Scoop a small amount onto your fingertips and gently circle to activate the product. Then apply to your face and neck up with upward movements. Remove with a hot face cloth.

Verdict: Ishga is a wonderful product for dry or eczema-prone skin. The balm is very pleasant to use, buttery and smooth, and leaves my skin feeling loved and nourished.

Regenerating Organic Face Serum (50ml, £86)

What is it? A concentrated capsule of the Ishga USP – a blend of the purest marine waters of the Hebrides and Hebridean seaweed extract. Plus aloe.

How to use: Massage into the face and neck using upward and outward movements.

Verdict: Rich and oily, this is perfect for parched skin in need of emergency nourishment. The active ingredients can be too much for some skins, but is manna for mine.

Natura Bissé

C+C Miscellar Cleansing Water (200ml, £54)

What is it? An organic cleanser with micelles to cleanse and remove make-up without disrupting the skin’s barrier.

How to use: Pump the water-y liquid directly onto your pad and wipe. Use a different pad to remove eye make-up.

Verdict: I love the burst of tangerine fragrance and that it removed my waterproof mascara easily.

C+C Vitamin Complex (30ml, £177)

What is it? The ultimate concentrate of vitamin c, this super serum creates a barrier against environmental free radicals that cause the skin to age. Also uses vitamin e to reduce inflammation and rosa mosqueta oil to promote collagen production. Great for travellers, sun-worshippers or city-dwellers.

How to use: A light, citrusy lotion. Massage a tiny amount into your face, neck and decolletage daily.

Verdict: My skin drank this in and became plump and luminous. A light citrusy serum that gives an instant uplift.


Scarlet Spy

23rd October 2020

Spy Likes:

Nature-inspired spas, cold water plunges, sound baths, deep tissue massage, delicious food.

Spy Dislikes:

Thin walls in treatment rooms, lounger hoggers, soggy robes, bright lights.

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