It's harder to find products for sensitive skin by some of the bigger one-size-fits-all brands, but every so often you'll discover a real gem writes Judy Johnson

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As someone who breaks out in a rash at the mere thought of slathering on a new skincare product, I've realised that I've become especially cautious around the bigger, better known brands; once bitten, twice shy and all that.

The skincare giants are great at what they do, but after relying on the more mainstream labels through my late teens and into my early twenties and ending up irritated in all senses of the word, I've become really rather loyal to the more niche brands which cater specifically for sensitive types. Pai, Eau Thermale Avene and Cetaphil are my everyday heroes. But now that I'm delving deeper in my search for sensitive skin-friendly skincare, I've stumbled across a secret weapon - and it proves there's more than meets the eye to some of the more distinguished beauty brands.

Clarins prides itself on its ethos of using plant-based extracts and raw materials as much as possible, which given my difficult history with essential oils has previously raised alarm bells. But Clarins' gentle range is far more considered than some of those potent 'aromatherapy' lotions that I've encountered before. The brand has researched the triggers and treatment of sensitive skin in detail and developed a few key products which calm the skin beautifully, even when mid-reaction.

MORE GLOSS: The sensitive skin first aid kit

The aforementioned weapon that I've found in this range is the Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate , £40, which by its own admission is an 'SOS treatment for sensitive skin'. A light but super nourishing oil containing only plant extracts, the formula holds a dream team of ingredients for anyone whose skin is playing up or has a tendency to do so.

Lavender, marjoram, mint and licorice phytosome are incredibly soothing and give the oil its gentle botanical, minty scent while the fatty acids of soy and avocado calm irritation. This, topped off with vitamin A which is proven to repair the epidermis, makes it the perfect cocktail for those whose skin is crying out for help.

Applied before bed, this little oil is comforting, soothing and leaves skin feeling wonderfully soft. As soon as it's sunk in my skin looks happier, plumper, and any redness or reactions are calmed into submission. Clarins recommend using it at any time of day as an emergency treatment for sensitised skin, or as an intensive treatment every one or two days depending on what you need - it's a skin saviour whether you're sensitive or not.

Now that it's summer I'll probably only reach for it once or twice a week or whenever my skin needs a pick-me-up, but it's good to know it's there to rescue me should any other products cause havoc; best of all I wake with skin that looks healthier and dare I say it, glowing. The bigger brands aren't the big bad wolves when it comes to sensitive skin; it's what's inside the bottle that counts.