Budget Beauty: Cetaphil

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Queen of thrift Hannah Rochell finds the dream cleanser and moisturiser that won't break the bank

What’s the one beauty rule you learnt from your mum? For most of us, it was simply to wash our faces at night and use a good moisturiser. I still feel naughty if I fall asleep with my make-up on; my mum would be so disappointed in me. Some of the most beautiful women in the world swear to have aged wonderfully with just the help of soap and water, or a really cheap lotion such as, in the case of Joanna Lumley, Astral. So whenever a new budget cleanser and moisturiser hits the market I’m always keen to try it out, if only to keep my mum happy. The latest one, Cetaphil, £8.99, has hit our shores from the US and I’ve spent the last two months trying out its cleanser and moisturiser for you.

I never had problem skin as a teen but I’ve found since turning thirty it has become more difficult. My combination skin seems drier in the dry bits, and greasier in the greasy bits, and I get hormonal breakouts when I never had so much as a pimple before. The more cleansing and moisturising products I try, the worse it gets. So this means I’ve been wearing more and more make-up as the years have gone by. Not to mention the onset of wrinkles that has had me reaching for the thick, unctuous anti-ageing products. And it turns out that all of these things combined could be working against me.

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“Aggressive skin cleansing rituals, facial oils and long-wear foundation are not designed for people with slightly unstable skin,” says Dr Sam Bunting, a cosmetic dermatologist who uses Cetaphil both for herself and her clients. “The skin is a barrier, it’s designed to keep stuff out. Well, we keep trying to get stuff in, so it’s not surprising that these processes create problems. Sometimes it’s about saving women from themselves and this simple regime is a really good place to start.”

In the last two or three weeks (Dr Sam says it takes at least four weeks to properly see the difference a new product is making on your skin), I’ve not only noticed that I can get away with wearing less make-up, but people keep commenting on how healthy I look. “Have you been on holiday?” was a particularly unexpected comment when I had, in fact, just worked twenty-six days straight at the London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks. My breakouts have all but disappeared, and my combination skin seems much more even; my dry cheeks are soft and my T-bar section is not oily.

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So what is it that’s so great about Cetaphil? “It does the cleansing and moisturising it is supposed to - to take your make-up off, to take off a little bit of excess sebum - but not too much that you then have to slug your skin with loads and loads of clogging moisturiser to retain status quo," continues Dr Sam. “It’s a basic support system, a bit like the jeans and white T-shirt in your wardrobe.”

I love this way of thinking, as it matches my personal style too. I love wearing a classic Breton top and jeans (and funnily enough, so does my mum), and then jazzing it up with some snazzy shoes or a statement necklace. With my skincare, I now just add some eye cream, a light foundation, some liquid liner and some mascara. Sometimes, less really is more. And when you look at the price of the huge bottles of Cetaphil, you’ll know that I’m right!


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  • Judy J
  • March 26th 2013

I use this too and have seen a massive improvement in my (super dry and sensitive) skin. Works wonders!

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