Skincare; it’s one of the few facets of our lives that doesn’t have a ‘one size fits all approach’. What works for my skin, won’t necessarily work for yours, and vice versa. So, when I had the opportunity to learn about the recently launched fully customisable skincare brand*, hop & cotton, I jumped at the chance.
As someone who loves to try out new beauty products as much as the next girl, I have to tackle most additions to my skincare and beauty regime with caution – the wrong serum can have me breaking out in areas I’ve never had acne before, and a new lipstick that doesn’t agree with me is enough to flare up dermatitis on my face.
ABOUT HOP & COTTON
So, let’s talk a little bit about the brand, before I delve into the actual products I’ve incorporated into my skincare regime over the last month. At its very core, hop & cotton doesn’t compromise; it’s a brand that aims to deliver a fully customised skincare routine that is going to be just right for your skin – it’s a little bit of a Goldilocks approach. Founder Ee Ting is a molecular biologist, whose obsession with finding the perfect skincare products for her skin eventually led her to develop her own products which gave her the results that she had been chasing for years from traditional beauty brands.
Each product from hop & cotton is made to order, based on the results of a relatively quick online skin test, where you detail things such as your age, skin type (and any sensitivities) and texture preferences, which allows Ee Ting to formulate the most suitable products for you. It’s also worth noting that the entire range is free from ingredients such as sulphates, paragons, alcohol and artificial colours – many of which act as irritants for those with more sensitive skin. Also, while you can have natural fragrances such as jasmine added to your products, Ee Ting recommends a fragrance-free option, which is exactly what I chose for my customised regimen.
The immaculate cream-to-foam wash (RRP $58)
Key function: Cleanse, clarify and hydrate
This is a very gentle cream-to-foam face wash that is soap-free, fragrance-free, pH-balanced and non-drying (wow, that is a mouthful!). As much as I love a good balm cleanser, it always feels like a foam cleanser is doing more work, and the foam party cleanser from hop & cotton has proven to be a hard worker, without stripping the natural oils from my complexion. While I previously used to double cleanse, I find that this works a charm at removing all makeup residue from my face, including my signature cat-eye flick. I’ve been using this both morning and night as the first step in my skincare routine.
The indispensable skin retexturiser and perfector (RRP $88)
Key function: Renew, retexturise and refine
I’m a huge fan of toners, or facial exfoliants, as I feel that they tend to have the biggest impact on my skin. Now full disclosure, in the lead up to trying out these products from hop & cotton, I’d been road testing a few things from The Ordinary, many of which didn’t exactly agree with my skin, so it was in huge need of some TLC. The ‘smooth operator’ is essentially an exfoliating acid, similar to products like the Pixi Glow or BHA Skin Perfecting Acid from Paula’s Choice (both of which I love), so I was pretty sure from the get go that this was going to be something that got on well with my skin. It essentially works to alleviate blocked pores and retexture your complexion, and after using this three times a week since receiving it, I’ve noticed that my skin looks fresher, and the breakout I was experiencing across my cheeks is completely gone. My personal formula includes a mix of glycolic acid and salicylic acid (among others) – two ingredients that I’ve personally found have worked wonders on my skin. Another thing to note? The product is dispensed using a really neat push down pump which definitely comes in handy and means that you don’t waste a drop.
The fabulous face brightener (RRP $168)
Key function: Brighten, strengthen and prevent the first signs of aging
Finally, the ‘brilliant moisturiser’; the third and final step in the routine. I love the fact that this is an all encompassing product, acting not only as a moisturiser, but also as an eye cream and serum, though truth be told, I do still find myself reaching for my HG serums on the daily, even if purely out of habit. Perhaps the only gripe I have is that it doesn’t contain SPF, and living in a country where ensuring that you apply SPF to your face daily to protect against sun damage is a must, I generally like to use moisturisers with SPF in them. In saying that, this does protect against environment damage and works to prevent the first signs of aging, and depending on your personal formulation, can include niacinamide, a multi-tasking vitamin that improves skin tone, sallowness and the skin’s capacity to absorb moisture (unfortunately as chance would have it, it’s an irritant for my skin!).
THE CUSTOMISED SKINCARE APPROACH
As someone who has seen their own skin become more and more sensitised over the years, I’ve spent countless hours trying to self-diagnose my own skin concerns, and track down products that I think will resolve them. While I can never be entirely sure, it’s possible that some of these ‘off-the-shelf’ products I’ve introduced into my beauty routine over the years have done more harm than good.
One size doesn’t fit all, and being able to tailor my skincare to my complexion’s unique concerns has proven to be a huge asset. And while I love a good cult beauty product as much as the next girl, a little bit of customisation can be the difference between good skin and great skin.