5 Skincare Ride or Dies

We're here to help you create a skincare routine that will give you the gorgeous, glowing complexion you crave - even with sensitive skin.




After years of experimenting with multiple products, gimmicks and terrible skin care hacks that have wrecked my skin, I have found a few products that I will continue to repurchase and use for many years to come. My skin is slightly dry and can get very sensitive from using the wrong products so I am always looking for something that is going to hydrate my skin without overly stripping it. I also tend to get congestion on my forehead and cheeks, so products with some clarifying properties are also something I keep an eye out for. With that being said, all of these products can be used by people with all skin types and they are all fragrance-free.

1. Paula’s Choice BHA Exfoliant, £28.00 from paulaschoice.co.uk


Image: Aditi Rane

In 2020, I was very on board the chemical exfoliant hype bus and was trying a new one almost every other day. Finding one that would improve any texture and dullness but was gentle enough to not leave my face red and flaky the next day was God-sent. This exfoliant is a leave-on treatment that removes impurities, unclogs pores and brightens skin. It contains salicylic acid which speeds up the recovery process for acne. Apply it at nighttime with a cotton pad and sweep it across your skin before applying moisturiser for smooth, bright skin the next morning.

Cons: It does have an oily texture which can be uncomfortable, and as with all chemical exfoliants, it can leave your skin vulnerable to sunburns, so definitely slather on an SPF 50.

2. Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Cleanser, £37.19 from stylevana.com

Image: Aditi Rane

My skin gets especially dry during the winter months and the last thing I need is for a disruptive cleanser to strip my skin of its natural moisture and oils. This matcha hemp cleanser is incredibly gentle and leaves my skin feeling moisturised as soon as I put it on. It has a nice gel texture that is easy to apply and it is free of sodium lauryl sulfate, which is the ingredient in most face-washes that gives you that tight, squeaky feeling. There are also ingredients such as matcha (green tea) and hemp seed oil that provide your skin with anti-oxidants to rebuild its natural moisture barrier.

Cons: Krave Beauty products can be a little harder to get hold off in the UK. You can still find it on beauty retailing sites such as Stylevana.com

3. The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin Serum, £7.00 from theordinary.deciem.com


Image: Aditi Rane

This serum is amazing at reducing the appearance of any marks, scars, hyper-pigmentation, and age spots by inhibiting melanin production. As a person of colour, my skin scars with every little spot I get which makes my overall complexion appear rather dull. Since I incorporated this into my routine, I can see a noticeable difference with my scarring. The serum also contains hyaluronic acid which hydrates your skin at the same time.

Cons: This is almost always sold-out, so you need to keep an eye on The Ordinary site to see when it is back in stock (or check for it at other retailers, like Cult Beauty)

4. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream, £62.00 from drunkelephant.co.uk


Image: Aditi Rane

Retinol is one of the most hyped-up ingredients in the skincare community now, and with good reason. It tackles so many skin issues that almost everyone can justify adding it to their skincare routine. It helps with fine lines, wrinkles, discolouration, pigmentation, texture and even acne. My favourite retinol product is by Drunk Elephant. It has a number of hydrating oils incorporated into the formula that prevents the drying and flaking that usually comes with using retinol. If you are planning to use retinol, I would suggest using a pea-sized amount on your face and neck weekly and then working your way towards using it every other day to prevent your skin from increased sensitivity.

Cons: Rather pricey, but it lasts for a while as you only use a little each time.

5. Glossier Bubblewrap Eye + Lip Plumping Cream, £23.00 from glossier.com

Image: Aditi Rane

This cream has been a staple of mine for a while now as it applies smoothly and absorbs into the under-eye skin quickly. Dab on a little before you apply your under-eye concealer, and it will hydrate the area without causing concealer to slide around your face. It is made with natural hydrators such as hyaluronic acid, squalane and avocado oil, and it is has antioxidant-rich blueberry which brightens the under-eye. It also comes in a small metal tin with a pump that keeps the product cool.

Cons: I can’t say it does much for the lips, but I would repurchase it for the eyes alone.