January has whisked by in a hurry, leaving a whole host of beauty essentials in its wake – from do-it-all {cleansers} that restore balance, to {serum}-{moisturiser} hybrids and glow-bestowing, marula oil-infused {foundations} – and if this month has been any indication of what the next year has in store, then there’s only one thing left to say: 2021, we’re finally ready for you.

BACK TO BASICS

With more and more people opting to treat their skin with fewer, all-round gems as opposed to slathering on an entire vat of various acids, (*lowers lashes in sheepish guilt*), 2021 is set to be the year of stripped back {skin care}. With stress and worry absolutely rife, (*cough* Coronavirus *cough*), our skin needs no excuse to flip out, which is why we’re simply choosing to restore, balance and strengthen. And that’s where the {Oskia} {Rest Day Comforting Cleansing Milk} comes coolly sauntering in…

Formulated to soothe when your poor skin just needs a d*mn break, the gentle, milky formula is like a real-life on/off button that also wipes away the day’s grime. A comforting blanket for stressed, sensitive and even dry complexions, this cocktail of calming and cleansing ingredients is ideal for young ‘uns at the very beginning their skin care journey: rose and lavender flower waters unite with oat and organic cactus extract to ease irritation; probiotics support the microbiome; oat ceramides, pomegranate sterols and vitamin B5 restore the lipid barrier; and polyglutamic acid acts like a big slurp of water for the skin. Let’s face the facts here: this formula is practically mandatory when your skin is screaming for help.

BIGGER AND BETTER

In classic Oliver Twist fashion, you asked for more of the {Vinoperfect Radiance Serum Complexion Correcting} by {Caudalie} and – unlike Oliver – when you ask, you get. Enter: the same angelic formula, but {supersized} and with a saving of 30%! Scientifically proven to lighten dark spots (read: post-blemish scars, hyperpigmentation, sun damage… the lot) in as little as four weeks, the brand’s patented Viniferine (extracted from grape vine stalks) is reportedly 62 times more effective than {vitamin C}. That’s a LOT of antioxidant protection against free radicals, which makes this exclusive serum the ideal for those who live in polluted cities. Also working to age-defy by boosting collagen and elastin levels, this is your one-stop-shop cocktail. Oh, and did we mention it clears blemishes and prevents the appearance of future dark spots too? Hmm… *adds two to basket*

A 2 FOR 1 BARGAIN

Giving you more bang for your buck, {IT Cosmetics} have released a two-for-one wrinkle-wrestling elixir for those who wish to simplify their extensive youth-boosting routines. Ideal for busy bees who struggle to remember to take their {make up} off at night, let alone indulge in a full ten-step routine, the {Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol} combines the potent effects of a serum with the nourishing effects of a {cream}. Gentle enough for sensitive skin and lending all-day hydration while reviving and regenerating tired complexions, you can expect your skin to be deliciously smooth and refined with continued daily use. How? Using a blend of free and encapsulated {retinol} alongside niacinamide to reduce inflammation, vitamin E to nourish, and vitamin B5 to strengthen and hydrate. Yup, that means you get all the benefits of retinol with no redness, flaking or drying! While we ponder on whether or not fairy godmothers are actually real (what other explanation could there be for such a magical invention?), this enchanting formula also reduces the look of fine lines and dark spots while encouraging firmness and elasticity.

SOS STRAND SUPPORT

Because the mere thought of a certain 2-in-1 dandruff {shampoo} gives us the shivers (just think of the stripping, the drying!), {Philip Kingsley’s} Flaky Itchy Scalp range is our go-to for dandruff protection. With both a dandruff-defying {shampoo and conditioner}, we like to whack on these products for a happy, healthy, flake-free head. Getting to the very root of the problem, these formulas nourish, cleanse, calm and comfort your actual {scalp} – boosting and balancing the natural flora and fauna thriving atop your crown to stimulate healthy hair growth. Swiftly relieving irritation without stripping or harming delicate textures, the {conditioner} even replenishes strands with a blend of provitamin B5 and betaine, patauá oil (a plant-derived oil rich in essential fatty acids), plus VarisoftBT 85 (a vegetable-based conditioning agent with potent antistatic properties). Our conclusion? This duo is a must for restoring equilibrium and making dandruff a thing of the past.

TO QUENCH YOUR THIRST

For a totally radiant beam (both via your skin and in the form of a grin – it’s that good) the {Stay Naked Hydromaniac Tinted Glow Hydrator} by {Urban Decay} has the long-wearing, medium coverage of a {foundation}, all with the hydrating benefits of a {tinted moisturiser}. Delivering a quenched {complexion} for up to 24 looong hours, this weightless formula is infused with nutrient-rich kombucha filtrate and industry-favourite marula oil to moisturise and grant a lit-from-within finish that stays looking fresh. Plus, the buildable formula gives you the freedom to tailor your coverage as you need, diffusing for a sheer tint or layering for a medium coverage that obscures imperfections – either way, expect a seamless, second-skin finish that's endlessly dewy.

BRIGHT SPARK

Making dark circles look so bright you won’t need a light at night, the {Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream} by {REN CLEAN SKINCARE} uses a formula that’s blessed by Mother Nature herself (with 95% naturally derived ingredients!) to brighten dark circles in just a week. Non-irritating – and thus ideal for the sensitive-skinned and water-eyed among us – this formula harnesses elderberry flower extract (a zero-waste by-product of the French perfume industry), alongside sustainably sourced glycogen (from non-GMO corn) to smooth, tone and brighten the entire {eye} area – including the eyelid. Nobody will ever know that you were up all night scrolling TikTok…

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