My “slight” obsession with skincare ensures that I am constantly surrounded by dozens of products at any given time, resulting in my skin being slathered, smeared and sometimes, plain assaulted, by new skincare products. I thank my stars that my skin, despite the odd tantrum on occasion, cooperates uncomplainingly with my ceaseless experimentation.

Today, however, as I sit amid all the chaos, I want to try to wade through my mountain of skincare products and come up with a collection of products that have stood the test of time and, put quite simply, truly work!

After trawling through my skincare cabinet, I have gathered the five products that are, in my opinion, ‘desert-island’ worthy. In other words, these are the skincare products that I would want with me if I was ever stranded on a desert island. 


Effaclar Duo [+] by La Roche Posay: This light gel has been a part of my skincare routine for a good couple of years now and is my go-to treatment on nights when my skin is misbehaving and suffering from breakouts and inflammation.

Effaclar Duo [+] is a newer formulation and contains an added ingredient – procerad, which is a patented ceramide that prevents dark spots and marks from forming in the aftermath of a spot. Apart from this ingredient, this treatment also contains niacinamide (anti-inflammatory ingredient) and zinc. 

This treatment does a stand-up job when it comes to tackling spots, inflammation, and clogged pores and on nights when I use this, I wake up with clearer, calmer skin. Any blemishes that I have are significantly smaller and after a few days of using this product, they are completely taken care of.

The reason that I adore this product so much is that it does not dry out my skin, no matter the season, and that it leaves the texture of my skin looking absolutely beautiful.

The light gel consistency of this product also allows it to be easily absorbed by the skin, making it a lovely primer under makeup as well.

Note: I use the European version of this product and not the version that is sold in the United States. The formulations of the product sold in Europe and the United States (contains benzoyl peroxide) are different so please keep that in mind. 


T-Zone Pore Refining Serum by Murad: For us oily skinned, blemish-prone girls, large pores and uneven skin texture are almost a given. Saying that, smoothing out the texture of my skin is high on my priority list and this is the just the product for the job. 

The consistency of this serum is tacky and sticky which makes it a little difficult to spread over the skin but once you work the serum into the skin, it sinks in quickly leaving no residual stickiness. I use this serum a couple of nights a week and wake up with clear pores and a lovely texture to the skin.

This serum by Murad contains Retinyl Palmitate, which is a less irritating form of my favourite skincare ingredient, retinol (this product would be wonderful for those of you who want to try something milder). Other ingredients in this serum are glycolic and salicylic acids, which act as exfoliants, and essential fatty acids which help normalize sebum production.

I find this serum to be a good all-rounder as it addresses nearly every skincare issue that is associated with having oily, blemish-prone skin and combats breakouts,  large pores and pigmentation. 

An absolutely brilliant product to have in your skincare arsenal. 


Midnight Recovery Eye by Kiehls: Before blogging became my passion, I used to practice law in Singapore, which often saw me working late into the night most of the time. Apart from being constantly tired and stressed, my skin was always worse for wear and I battled with skin issues ranging from breakouts to dullness and terrible skin texture. It is amazing to see what the lack of sleep can do to your skin! 

While makeup took care of most of these issues, it was the dark circles under my eyes that were the most difficult to deal with – no amount of concealer was enough and I always looked tired.

After reading some wonderful reviews of this product, I decided to go pick this eye cream up and, at the risk of sounding over-dramatic, I must say that this eye cream has changed my life. A week into using this eye cream, I noticed my dark circles become much lighter and my under-eye area looked fresh and hydrated. I finally looked like I had had a full night’s sleep.

This eye cream is enriched with squalene, which helps to restore the skin’s natural moisture balance, lavender essential oil, which stimulates the skin’s repair process, and evening primrose, which boosts radiance.

This is, by far, the most effective eye cream I have used to tackle dark circles. To all of you who suffer the same fate as me, this eye-cream is your savior.  


Drying Lotion by Mario Badescu: I have professed my love for sulfur as a brilliant blemish-buster on my blog before and is the ingredient that makes this product so effective.

While this product doesn’t make for the prettiest picture at night (I can hear my husband laughing in the corner) due to its method of application (use a cotton bud to dot the pink liquid on spots), I am willing to look past this minor inconvenience for its sheer transformative power.

This treatment contains a powerful mixture of salicylic acid, calamine, camphor, sulfur and zinc oxide, which work together to bring down blemishes overnight. I find this product works especially well on those hideously large hormonal spots that tend to rear their ugly heads at only certain times of the month. A few dabs of the drying lotion really makes life so much easier to deal with during those few miserable days.

This stuff is truly magic in a bottle!


Rose Hip Oil by Renew: I have raved about the magical powers of this facial oil in an earlier blog post and feel that this product definitely deserves a little more love.

This product gives me the best of both worlds as it tackles blemishes as well as dryness, which is an issue that I am having to face more often as I am getting older. On nights that I use this oil, I wake up with skin that is calm, less inflamed and very hydrated. Despite being an oil, this product does not leave the skin tacky or slick and sinks in quickly after application.

Rose hip oil is chock full of essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene (vitamin A) and is a wonderful substitute for those of you who are unable to tolerate harsher retinoid creams.

While I do love a lot of my fancier facial oils, this simple oil, in my opinion, blows the whole lot of them out of the water.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting my ‘desert-island’ companions and I would love to hear your thoughts on your ‘desert-island’ worthy skincare products. Please leave me a comment below or get in touch through Instagram or Twitter.



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