Moisturisers, Eye Creams and SPF 101: What to use, how to use it, when to use it

So, we reach the last few steps of the skincare routine. I’m afraid things get a little less exciting here as me and the ‘creamy’ products don’t have the best relationship. Hopefully you find a few useful tips and product suggestions!

These products and routines are suited to my skin type and concerns (normal/dry, acne prone, not sensitive, drastically dehydrated, with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentaion). I am by no means an expert and the products I use are what work for me.


What does it do?

 I’ll be upfront. I’m not a moisturiser person. I’d much rather use an oil anytime, and in the evenings I will forego moisturiser 99% of the time.

I do like using them in the daytime though, primarily because they make a good base for make-up, but also because I do see them as a good protective barrier for the skin, which helps lock in moisture from your serum/oil and provide a good mix of emollients and humectants which will keep your skin plump throughout the day.

Oils contain fatty acids, but our skin needs other lipids to retain moisture throughout the day and for the skin barrier to be strong and healthy. I won’t go into a huge amount of detail but if you are interested have a read of this truly excellent post by Sarah from You Glow Gal. This has made me more dilligent about using my moisturisers in the morning (I’m still not a fan of using them at night).

What different products are available?

As I am sure you know there are thousands upon thousands of moisturisers on the market. Mostly, they tend to be formulated for skin type, unlike serums which are more issue-focused. So you need to determine if your skin is oily, combination, normal, dry or very dry (or inbetween!).

Beware of confusing dehydrated with dry – dehydrated lacks water, dry lacks oil. For example my skin is normal/dry but it is also dehydrated – when it is particularly dehydrated I get an oily forehead.

The easiest way I have found to tell is by seeing what your skin feels like after a shower. I can shower and not wash my face or get it wet at all, but it will feel tight afterwards. As a test try having a shower/washing your face and not putting anything on for 30 mins to an hour. If you start to get oily you are likely dehydrated.

Caroline Hirons’ cheat sheet on the differences is a good read too.

When it comes to formulas, brands are pretty good across the board at specifying what skin-type their product is for. Lots of ranges within brands will have different version of their formula for different skin-types. This means you’ll still get the same active ingredients, but the ‘heaviness’ of the emollients and humectants will vary.

Moisturisers for dry/very dry will be thick creams and will tend to be heavy on the butters (shea, cocoa etc). Normal/combination, normal/dry will be creamy and may have some oils in them but will lack the heaviness from butters. Combination/oil formulations tend to be a gel or light lotion consistency and primarily oil-free.

How do I use it?

As mentioned, I only really use them in the AM, as the last step in my routine before my SPF, primer or foundation.

How often do I use it?

Everyday, unless I am not leaving the house in which case I tend to just use oils in the morning too.

Which products do I like?

As I’ve said I don’t love moisturisers and I’ve never really found one that I couldn’t be without. Having said that, I have repurchased the Clinique Moisture Surge twice (I started with the regular version then upgraded to the Intense) and I am really liking the Chanel Hydra Beauty Creme. If I lost it tomorrow I would probably repurchase.

I recently purchased the Stratia Skin Liquid Gold, which contains the magic trio of ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol (see the You Glow Gal post mentioned above). I LOVE this stuff, but after a week of using it as my moisturiser I found I need something else on top.

I also really like the MV Rose moisturiser and La Roche Posay Effaclar H (from my acne medication days) – but neither so much that I couldn’t be without them.


What does it do?

An admission – I don’t really use eye creams. Mostly because I can’t be bothered and I am of the camp that thinks your face product is more than capable of taking care of your eyes as well.

Eye creams focus on three key issues – dark circles, fine line and puffiness. Sometimes they focus on one, sometimes all three.

What different products are available?

Eye creams have a similar range to moisturisers, some will be heavy creams, others will be more like lotions. You can also get some that are more like gels or serums – which would be a great option if you find creams feel too heavy around the eye area.

How do I use it?

If you do decide to invest in an eye cream then you should probably use it morning and evening to get the best results. Or you could get two – one cooling and depuffing for the morning that will sit nicely under make-up and one more nourishing for the evening.

I usually like to apply after my serum, before an oil or moisturiser. I pat the product in around the orbital bone, not really taking it too close to the eye itself.

How often do I use it?

See above for how often you should use it. I use it as and when I remember, usually when one of my samples catches my eye in the cupboard!

Which products do I like?

In the past I have actually used a whole pot of the Origins GinZing, so I guess I like that one! I purchased the Una Brennan Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Dark Circles eye cream earlier this year and I like it, but I don’t use it regularly enough to know if it does anything. I’ve had a few samples of the Clinique Pep-Start, which is also nice. The one I really like is the Sunday Riley Start Over. I’ve only ever had samples but this one I saw an overnight difference with. To be honest, I don’t know why I’ve never purchased it – probably because I can always find something better to spend my money on than eye cream! As I am pushing 30 now I should probably remedy that!


What does it do?

I hope you all know what suncream does! Pretty much any dermatologist, esthetician or skincare lover will tell you that SPF is the single most effective anti-aging ingredient. A good suncream is going to protect you skin from damage and pigmentation association with the Sun’s UVA and UVB rays. If you use acids and retinols it is incredibly important as those ingredients can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage.

What different products are available?

There are three places you can get your daily SPF – from your skincare (SPF moisturiser), make-up or a designated facial suncream. Because I am breakout prone, I would never put a bog-standard body suncream on my face. I would highly recommend choosing a face suncream – even the most budget brands now do them. At the higher end you are likely to get some added skincare benefits in a face-specific product.

How do I use it?

Firstly, you should only use your SPF product, whatever form it comes in, in the morning. This may sound obvious but I am sure lots of people use their moisturiser containing SPF as their nightcream too. Please don’t. You are better off getting a night cream, or a moisturiser and a separate SPF so you can use your moisturiser day and night.

I’ve never really been a fan of moisturisers with SPF in. I almost always use a standalone SPF, and my foundation often contains SPF. I use my SPF staight after my moisturiser – usually instead of a primer.

How often do I use it?

In an ideal world you should wear a specific SPF product every day, no matter where you live and what the weather. Having lived in both England and New Zealand, I would say in a British winter if you don’t spend much of your day in the sun, you would be fine relying on your make-up for SPF or even going without. In summer you will want to think about a specific SPF face cream. Down under, here in New Zealand and Australia, the sun is very strong and I would suggest a designated SPF all year round.

Which products do I like?

As I mentioned, I’m not really a fan of moisturisers with SPF but in the past I have enjoyed Estee Lauder Day Wear and actually really loved the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturiser SPF 30. I’ve used plenty of foundations containing SPF over the years – I’m sure you will already have a favourite. My current pick is the Chantecaille Just Skin.

For specific SPF products, the Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF 30 is my absolute Holy Grail and I can’t imagine ever using anthing else ever again. It’s simply amazing, doesn’t feel greasy or break me out. I am obsessed. However, if I’m ever without it I would be happy to use the Clinique Sun Protection Face Cream or the Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Cream , both of which I like and trust.

Apologies this is a bit brief compared to my previous Skincare 101 posts – but you will see this tail-end is where my skincare stash and enthusiasm begins to wane! I would love some recommendations for great moisturisers and eye creams.

If you want to see how I use and mix my products on a daily basis, depending on what my skin needs, please check out my Instagram account @infatuatedbybeauty

2 thoughts on “Moisturisers, Eye Creams and SPF 101: What to use, how to use it, when to use it

  1. Thank you for handing over your Mecca SPF Effie. You probably aren’t surprised that I ordered some of the smaller tubes. It absorbs nicely and doesn’t interfere with the foundation I’m using. I’d also ordered the Sunscreen Biore Kao UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (Hyaluronic Acid) SPF50+ PA++++ which arrived just as the tube you’d kindly given me had run out. So I’ve switched to the Biore brand just so I could compare. It’s also really great. I bought it primarily because it had a higher SPF and with heading to Aus over the holidays I wanted a higher SPF since I expect to be outside more than I am at home. I really appreciate you giving up your much loved SPF so I could try it. I hope it didn’t leave you high and dry. As always your posts are really interesting and informative. Thanks for putting your time and effort into sharing your experiences and knowledge xxx


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