Like so many of us with red hair, I have sensitive skin. In fact, I can’t use any perfumed moisturisers or body care products, and my nemesis is scented toilet paper (why does that even exist?).
I have the kind of low tolerance to cosmetic irritants that makes me permanently suspicious of introducing new products to my routine, with my anxiety only confirmed when I do try something new and then come out in a strange rash, or my skin gets drier and further sensitised.
Skin sensitivity is common among redheads, perhaps because our skin tends to be thinner than that of our non-ginger peers and so our nerves and blood vessels are nearer to the surface of our delicate shells. Trips to the pharmacy can easily become a voyage into confusion and indecision, scrutinising product labels and sniffing bottles of ‘unscented’ moisturiser.
I suppose this is what led me into an eight-year relationship with Lush’s products, which I have found to be kind on my eczema-prone skin. My particular favourites are Dream Cream, a heavenly moisturiser for body and hands, and Ultrabland, a thick and waxy face cleanser which feels luscious on my dry skin. These two products are amongst Lush’s bestsellers and it’s easy to see why. However, with the pair of them setting me back the best part of £30 every time I buy them (about four or five times a year), I decided it was time to look for some thriftier alternatives.
Now, the main thing I use every single day is a moisturiser for my body. In a fix I will use the same moisturiser on my face – my dry skin means I don’t often break out and my face can handle a lot of oil – so a good all-purpose lotion is the number one priority for me.
Waving goodbye to Dream Cream was nerve-wracking. I thought plain old Aqueous Cream would do the trick but apparently it’s no longer recommended for sensitive skin as it contains a small amount of SLS, which can be aggravating. I then considered E45 cream, which might be excellent but isn’t ideal for out-of-UK-ers, which I currently am.
Thankfully, I stumbled across the baby care section in my local supermarket and picked up Dove’s sensitive baby lotion, which is fragrance free. Happily, it has been serving me well and even more happily it costs only £1! I tried it straight after I shaved my legs and had no problems. I plan to use it on my face too. The only side-effect I have to contend with is my boyfriend calling me a big baby. Worth it.
Next I looked for an alternative to Ultrabland, my old cleanser. I didn’t have to look far as I always have coconut oil on hand to use as my deep conditioning (and waterproofing) hair mask, so I decided to also put it to work as a cleanser and make-up remover, too.
For this, I scrape a small chunk out of the jar, let it melt in my hands and then cover my face and neck in it, before wiping it off with a damp cotton pad. Coconut oil easily removes mascara, too; gently massage a small amount over your eyelashes and use another damp cotton pad to lift it off.
Lastly – shocker! – I have stopped the toning step of my twice-daily cleanse, tone and moisturise regimen. Did you know that toning isn’t necessary unless you have very oily skin? I’ve been using plain old water instead of a toner for the last couple of months and I can’t say I have noticed a difference in my skin, so that’s one less product to buy!
Do you have any thrifty skincare tips for your fellow redheads? Share your knowledge!