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Ad hoc and extras - skincare products you don't need (that are nice to have)

21 Feb 2024
Ad hoc and extras - skincare products you don't need (that are nice to have)

Take a stroll around your local Boots, Superdrug, or even Sainsbury's, and you'll find skincare aisles crammed with products. If you have your baseline routine down pat, you definitely don't need ad hoc and extras. Whatever some brands might lead you to believe, your face won't fall off if you don't have a 10-step routine. But sometimes, a bit of pampering is good for the soul. In fact, it should be mandatory.

Many of these stem from Korean skincare brands since they launched most, if not all, of these types of products. They keep pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and new technologies. What are some ad hoc and extras you might want to include in your routine to treat yourself?


Essence is a hybrid of sorts - it sits between a toner and a serum and should be used as the last step in your cleansing routine. Consistency-wise - some are watery, others more viscous-y in texture. The primary ingredients in many essences are fermented (tea, rice, or ginseng, for example). They are often combined with other skin-beneficial ingredients like vitamins and botanical extracts. Brands claim essences can do almost anything, from brightening the skin to restoring elasticity. We wouldn't go that far. But they do hydrate and plump up the skin instantly.

Sleeping mask

Sleeping masks are another hybrid - think of it as a night moisturiser on steroids. The idea is to use them as the last step in your nighttime routine. Either instead of your regular moisturiser or, if you are feeling extra, on top of it. There are all sorts of sleeping masks - some are more emollient (and more suitable for drier skin types), while others have gel-like textures. Do you need a boost of hydration? Or something to brighten the skin? Pick one based on your skin type and what you would like to treat.

Lip masks

All the mask-wearing has been hard on the skin in general and lips in particular. The skin on our lips is thinner and more prone to damage and lines. Likewise, the skin on the lips has no sweat glands and is more prone to dehydration and dryness. Lip balms (with an SPF) are always good to have on hand. But lip masks are a great product to have when your lips need extra care. Packed with skin-replenishing ingredients, they'll boost hydration, soften, soothe, and plump up your lips.

There are two types of lip masks - sheet/hydrogels and cream/gel jar ones. The sheet/hydrogels you stick on your pout and leave on for the recommended amount of time. Cream/gels ones you apply in a thick layer all over your lips and leave on overnight.

Hydrating mist

Is a hydrating mist a necessity? Heavens, no. But on a hot day as a pick-me-up, it sure does feel nice. Use a hydrating mist in-between your skincare steps for an added boost of hydration, before and during masking, or when you travel. Also, if you are peri-, pre-, or post-menopausal, they can help alleviate hot flashes.

French pharmacy brands like Avene and La Roche Posay are known for their thermal water sprays. But you will find a whole crop of new hydrating mists packed with skin-replenishing ingredients, antioxidants, and vitamins, so you are getting more than just hydration.

Eye patches

Sheet masks are everywhere. And don't get us wrong, from time to time, they are lovely. But, sometimes even a wash-off mask can feel like too much faff, you know? If your under-eye area is problematic *waves hand in the air* eye patches can make a world of difference and give you noticeable results quickly. Think of them as sheet masks only for the eyes. Given the results are not permanent (to borrow from the legend that is Paula Begoun: "only a surgery can do that"). But if you want something to brighten, depuff, and soothe the under-eye area, slap an eye patch and leave on according to instructions.