The Holy Grail: Products That I Can’t Live Without


I, Aanchal Bhojwani, am a self-proclaimed skincare junkie!

It’s officially an addiction: I change up my routine every season, pounce upon new products that are new in the market and know quite a few of the Sephora staff by name.

However, when the latest fad has my skin crying at me, below are a list of products that work year round without fail.  They’re my tried and true and I love them!

I presently have sensitive, combination-oily skin that is acne prone. I do use some acne products, but they tend to over dry my skin. Over the years, I have tried many skin care lines to see which non-acne specific products work to keep my skin moisturized and soft. For those of you with a similar skin type, here are my top 4 Holy Grail skincare products:

1. Sephora Triple Action Gentle Makeup Remover Gel – Available at Sephora for AED 79


Most makeup removers are tough on my skin, due to the harsh chemicals in them. It took me years to find a makeup remover that not only works for me but one that is also super gentle. With its gentle formula and “cooling effect”, this gel-textured makeup remover is suitable for the face, eyes and lips. The main ingredient is cornflower extract which helps moisturize the skin and the bubbles in the gel are micellar water which is a gentle cleanser.

The gel is great for removing all kinds of makeup and dirt, but also hydrating due to its gel-like texture. Even if I don’t have makeup on, I still use a cotton pad and use it once on my face to remove any residue on my skin. It has a very light, pleasant scent of cornflower, but it doesn’t linger for long.

Can’t lie, this product gives me the most bang for my buck, it comes in a huge bottle and I almost never seem to be able to hit the end of it!

2. Derma E Purifying Daily Detox Scrub – Available at Boots Pharmacy for AED 110


When it comes to skin care, Detox  and Vegan are my favorite words. This Daily Detox Scrub is the first product I ever bought from this brand.

Derma e claims that their daily scrub, which contains marine algae and activated charcoal, is “a natural exfoliant that scrubs away micro-pollutants and impurities for a fresh and healthy glow”. It is gentle enough for daily use. This scrub is ideal for oily to normal skin types. Since it is Gluten-Free, Sulfate-Free, Paraben-Free, Vegan, Natural, and oil free, it is very safe for sensitive or reactive skin.

My skin goes through a lot – from makeup everyday to late night burger cravings – which is why I like to detox as often as I can. I fell in love with this scrub from the very first use! The apricot seeds can be seen in the scrub and is what gives it that exfoliating feel. The activated charcoal is what gives it the unsightly grey color, but don’t judge this scrub by its look! I can feel the formula cleaning and scrubbing my skin, when I use it every night.

After I rinse it off, my skin feels brighter, smoother, refreshed and moisturized. My skin, as I mentioned earlier, is oily along my T-zone, and this scrub gave me a noticeable smoothness and eventually less pimples. I also have dry/flaky skin on certain areas of my face from using acne products and this scrub does a beautiful job in getting rid of that dead skin. I also do not get any blackheads since I have started using this product, which is a big plus!

3. Lush Tea Tree Water – Available at Lush for AED 100


I got hooked on to Lush products when my friend, Cheyenne, raved about them 6 years ago. Ever since then, Lush has become one of my favorite, all natural range brands and I don’t think anyone was more excited than I was when it finally opened up its first branch in the UAE.

Lush Tea Tree Water is a toner water. It contains Tea Tree Water and Grapefruit water, which helps keep the skin fresh and balanced. Not only, does the Tea Tree ingredient help combat my oily/combination skin type, it also helps keep my skin blemish-free. To note, this toner is alcohol free.

I usually spray about 5-6 pumps all over my face once I’m doing washing my face (twice a day). You can also use a cotton pad to apply the product over your face which helps to take off your leftover makeup that you might miss when you cleanse your face.

I primarily used it as just a toner to tighten my pores after cleansing my face, but it does so much more! I have the travel size version in my bag to spritz for a cooling effect on my face during the day or during a plane journey. I also use it to set my makeup, but make sure you don’t hold the bottle too close to your face.

I will not only recommend this product, but I INSIST you buy this toner if you have oily/combination skin that is acne prone.

A Skin Care Junkie Tip: Store the toner in the refrigerator for a more refreshing effect. The kind saleswoman at Lush let me in on this pro secret and it absolutely works! Perfect for those heated cheeks come summer!

4. Shahnaz Hussain’s Shaclove – Available at Shahnaz Husain Salon for AED 60


Shahnaz Husain is an international brand that has only all organic, ayurvedic products.

ShaClove is a herbal formulation specially designed for pimples, acne, rash, oily and sensitive skin. It claims to reduce oil and soothe problem skin to make it appear smooth and healthy over time. This uses the natural essences of castor oil, rose and clove extracts which have anti-microbial factors and eliminates blemishes by removing excess dirt within the pores. The cream is smooth in texture, pale pink in color, and has clove oil’s fragrance.

I was very apprehensive when I first started using it 4 years ago, as with any herbal product my mother forces me to use. But now, it is the product I absolutely can’t live without!

I have pimple prone, sensitive skin and this cream has been a miracle worker in drying out pimples and making them vanish. I use it every night all over my face or just on the pimples. The next morning the pimples are significantly dried out and smaller. I also noticed that the blemishes or spots left behind from previous acne scars are disappearing over time to give me a more mattified and even skin tone. It even helps to reduce redness from sun burns or cooking burns. I also use it as a clarifying and refreshing mask (leave it on for about 20 minutes) just before I put on my makeup. Compared to other acne products, this does not over dry the skin at all.

Over time, it has reduced inflammation, cleared blemishes and keeps the oiliness around the t-zone at bay, which in turn reduces any acne. It can be used as a cure or a preventive measure against acne or any other kinds of problems that may occur.

To anyone who needs a herbal, natural alternative to acne spot treatments that over dry your skin, or if you get rashes very often; add ShaClove to your daily skin care regime. You will definitely see your skin glowing and mattified over time.

Now that I’ve shared my Big Four, what are yours? I’d love to hear what you use and if you have any recommendations for me. [Gives me an excuse to finally hit Sephora’s Gold Class with my points!]

Please leave all recommendations in the comments below.

Here’s to all our faces looking bright and radiant this holiday season!


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