17 Of The Best Skin Soothing Products
Blame it on this springtime weather, the very present allergy season or even just the incessant mask mandate (not a complaint, I’m all for the masks, my skin just wishes we didn’t need them) but everyone I speak to is having trouble with their skin. For some it’s dermatitis flare-ups, for others it’s just seriously dry and itchy skin but collectively everyone seems pretty over it. It’s not unusual for the needs’ of your skin to change season to season, which is why we often see blog posts and magazine articles about skincare switch-ups but if you’re in need of something more than just the usual seasonal swap recommendations, or you need something to combat irritated skin after going too hard on the actives, spending to much time outside in the cold wind or just generally have irritated and sensitised skin right now, then these are the products I recommend year-round for soothing, rehydrating, rebalancing and calming – put simply, to make unhappy skin look and feel happy again. We’ve all been in that situation before where we’ve seriously angered our skin.
These are the products that I have on hand to combat sensitivity and irritation, in saying that though, they make excellent additions to daily routines too, and can absolutely be used on perfectly calm and ‘normal’ skin to boost hydration and further balance the skin.
Let’s start with the body. Most of us spend so much time and effort on our faces that our bodies are lucky to get an afterthought. I’m not at all saying you need a five-step routine for your bod, but regular moisturising helps reduce the likelihood that you’ll dry out and get to the point where you need soothing and super nourishing products. I keep quite a few body products on hand because I’m prone to dermatitis, but having a nourishing body wash and a great moisturiser regularly in your routine is more than enough for more people.
Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil – this stuff is fantastic. I first picked it up after hearing it made a great shaving cream alternative (can confirm, it’s great for that) but it’s also so kind on dry skin I’ve actually been using this golden oil as an everyday shower gel. It’s specifically made for dry and irritated skin, and it works to replenish moisture levels and provide comfort to itchy skin. It’s silky and soothing, and emulsifiers in water and turns into this gorgeous milky consistency that then rinses clean without leaving any residue behind. Although it’s called an oil, it definitely doesn’t feel greasy or slippery in the slightest – in reality, it’s more like a nourishing gel than an oil. Love.
Bioderma Atoderm Ultra Soothing Balm – this cream is specifically made for itchy skin, so if your dry skin is leaving you scratching then this is what you want. There is a lot of technology in this bottle; an anti-itch agent called PEA which helps to reduce your urge to scratch itchy skin, a patented skin barrier therapy that helps prevent the irritation-causing bacteria’s ability to stick to the skin and Lipigenium™ complex which is made up of biolipids which are naturally found in the skin and help to repair the skin barrier. Loaded with all these dermatologically beneficial features, it still manages to be thin enough to absorb quickly and feel comfortable on the skin.
Kenkay Extra Relief Cream – if you’re after a thicker, buttery cream this one is a real treat. I apply it after a shower to then mooch around in a towel for a few minutes while it absorbs. I have dermatitis on my lower legs and this has been a godsend for itchy and dry skin, but it takes a minute to absorb. Effective though!
Garnier Hand Repair – hands often get forgotten and they very quickly can become cracked and dry – and with a quick application of hand sanitiser suddenly everything hurts and you’re cursing the dozen hand creams you’ve bought that you never remember to use. This wonderful little red tube contains Allantoin which promotes skin healing and Maple Sap which is known for its soothing properties. It also has a subtle floral fragrance and absorbs insanely quickly, both factors making it a pleasure to use. I rarely enjoy using hand cream during the day, I hate that sticky feeling, but even I can get on board with this. And with overnight use, I wake up with the softest and most comfortable hands, it’s incredible.
Often people accept cleansing as this necessary ‘duty’ to take off the day before you get to put great serums and moisturisers on your face, but in reality, cleansing is your first opportunity to get great ingredients and formulas on your skin and start tackling any problems your skin is facing. Cleansing is crucial to keeping a happy and healthy skin barrier, but when your face is tight, sore, dry or flaky, it can seem counterintuitive to reach for one. A nourishing and balancing cleanser will help slough away dry skin to allow further products a clearer path to be their most effective too.
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser – whether it be as a straight oil, combined in a serum or added to a cleanser, Squalane Oil really has become a go-to for dry and dehydrated skin. This particular no-frills cleanser is absolutely ace for unhappy skin because it nourishes and hydrates without any potential irritants getting in the way. This opaque gel makes a great first and/or second cleanse, and leaves skin feeling like it’s had a little boost of moisture, but it’s still been left perfectly prepped and clean.
Q+A Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser – this thick, clear gel is absolute heaven for skin that needs some soothing. As well as the ultra-hydrating Hyaluronic Acid in the formulation, this product also contains Coco Betaine which is a gentle surfactant that helps to clean the skin, Glycerin which works to restore the skin’s balance and hydration, and Aloe Vera for soothing and calming.
The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter – this here is a cult classic for a reason. I’ve given this to friends with super-sensitive skin and they’ve lapped it up. It’s also one of my go-to products when I’ve caught that dreaded Winter cold and my poor nose looks like a beetroot and my skin is broken and sore from constant nose wiping. It contains Shea Butter and Sunflower Oil for hydrating and Camomile for soothing, but it also manages to plough through makeup with absolute ease too. The light-weight tin packaging and solid-state of the butter make it the perfect travel companion too. A great first and/or second cleanser, this here is the epitome of the perfect all-rounder.
These cleansers are all fab, and they’ll do the job of leaving your skin feeling clean but nourished and hydrated, and won’t further irritate angry and broken skin. Which one you opt for probably comes down to texture preference.
Long gone are the days of alcohol-filled toners that strip your skin of moisture and hydration, we now have beauty halls full of nourishing and soothing mists, essences, toners and fluids that allow you to sandwich an extra layer of hydration in between the rest of your routine.
PIXI Milky Tonic – the word ‘tonic’ might confuse you as to where in your routine you place this cloudy, watery liquid, but it fits in at the traditional toning step (after cleansing, before eye/serums and moisturiser). This particular product is a bit of a hybrid, it prepares the skin for the next products, but it also adds the most incredible soothing Oat Extract and hydrating Jojoba Seed Oil making it the perfect everyday product but also ideal for irritated and dry skin.
Jordan Samuel Mist – it’s one thing to do your skincare routine in the morning and at night, but sometimes you need a little skin-soothing during the day too, and that’s where a mist comes in very handy! You can use this on top of makeup or just whenever your skin feels like it needs a little moisture. Having said that, you can definitely use this at the toner stage of your routine, or even in between serums and moisturiser to layer in some more added hydration – your dry skin will thank you for it! This mist contains Glycerin for hydration, Cucumber Extract for soothing and calming and Red Seaweed to help pull water into the skin. A great product to have on hand.
When your skin is really having a moment, whether it be a reaction to lifestyle, environment or product, it’s often advised to pare everything back to the bare essentials and just use a great cleanser and a fab moisturiser. But there are quite a few serums out there that are so reparative and helpful to inflamed skin, and they truly can make everything calm down a lot quicker.
Alpha-H Vitamin E Serum – famously known for their Glycolic Acid products, it may surprise you to know that Alpha-H make an incredibly gentle and nourishing Vitamin E Serum that is purpose-built for irritated, inflamed and sensitised skin. It’s a silky, opaque liquid that I like to apply directly after cleansing and toning, and then seal it in with a moisturiser. Hydrating, calming and definitely oh so soothing.
Jordan Samuel Hydrate Serum – we can’t talk calming and soothing and not mention a hydrating serum, and this is the best I’ve found. No fragrance or colours or potential irritants, just a fabulous serum that really delivers on hydration. I use this every single day, but it’s especially useful when my skin is in need of some moisture and soothing. Full review here.
They have one, fairly self-explanatory, job – to moisturise your skin. But when it comes to soothing I go one of two ways, super basic that won’t cause any further irritation or hard-core workers that will actively diffuse the situation and calm my skin right down.
La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm and Toleriane Eye Cream – these two products fall firmly into the ‘do no further harm’ category of reparative skincare. They’re not loaded with fancy ingredients, instead, products from La Roche Posay focus purely on healing and repairing for sensitive skins. All of their products are formulated with their signature ingredient – thermal spring water from La Roche Posay in France – which is proven to have nourishing properties that help speed up healing and the repair of the skin.
Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream – although this is my ‘everyday’ moisturiser, it’s still one of the few that I reach for when my skin needs some assistance in the soothing department. It’s deeply hydrating, absorbs really quickly, doesn’t ever feel like it sits on top of my skin and is available in a huge 125ml tub. It’s so good in fact that I’ve even managed to get my younger brother hooked on it, and he never sticks to any kind of skincare routine. It contains Glacial Glycoprotein Extract to help reduce the negative environmental effects on the skin, as well as Avocado Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil and Vitamin E which all help soothe and promote healthy skin. It doesn’t contain any potential irritants, making it great if you’re ‘normally’ sensitive or just having a bad skin moment and need to pare everything back to basics.
Murad Intense Recovery Cream – they call this a cream, but in reality it’s a balm, it’s completely solid at room temp and just like a cleansing balm you scoop some out and warm it between your fingertips before applying it to your face. I favour pressing it into my skin, but you can apply it just like a regular cream once it’s softened up a bit. This is clinically proven to reduce redness and soothe stressed skin. It contains Shea Butter, Macadamia Oil and Mirabilis Jalapa Extract (a plant native to South America known for its ability to calm inflammation) making it a total powerhouse against angry and sensitised skin, plus the scent is absolute heaven.
Rodial Dragon Velvet Cream – if you’re after a ‘heavy-duty’ moisturising cream that feels like an oil and cream in one this is what I’d recommend. It’s perfection on dry and flaky skin (assuming the fragrance isn’t an issue for you – it’s never been an issue for me) because of it’s thick and almost buttery texture. My preferred way to use it is to scoop a bit out, warm it between my fingers for a few seconds and press it into my face. It instantly soothes dry skin but leaves a shiny, protective layer on top too. I picked this up abroad when my skin was really rebelling against the British Winter and it’s been a favourite ever since. Nourishment galore!
Nuxe Rêve De Miel – this lip balm is my holy grail. It’s thick and balmy in the true sense of the word, but it’s not sticky or pasty in the slightest. It has the most subtle hint of a honey scent, and it’s comfortable on even the most dry and cracked lips. I find it works best with regular use, it keeps lips from getting too dry and uncomfortable, so I use this most nights before bed and wake up with soft and hydrated lips every time.
Hopefully, this has given you some ideas of what to reach for next time your skin is having a rough day. Whether you’ve gone a little hard on the actives and disrupted your skin’s barrier or allergy season has just knocked your skin completely out of balance, these are the soothing and hydration focused products that I rely on to get my face back on track.