This post is in collaboration with Charles James Skinhealth.
On an average day I reckon I wash my face at least three times, if I’ve trained more than once then I’ll be washing even more, getting rid of the sweat and gunk that builds up while I live my life. Sometimes I have the time to do a complicated (for me) multi-stage skincare routine, usually I don’t, most of the time I just about have time to splash water on my face and be on my way, smearing on moisturiser on my way to my next appointment. It’s not dignified, Caroline Hirons would squirm, but needs must…or at least they did, thankfully last month the team at Charles James Skinhealth took me in hand and sorted me out with skincare that’s perfect for my lifestyle.
In partnership with Bianchi Dama, one of the UK’s leading elite female cycling teams, Charles James have achieve what feels like the unachievable, skincare for people with demanding lives who want healthy, protected skin but are low on time/energy/inclination. It’s a unique partnership, no skincare development has ever been been established with such an active team, but who better to put it through it’s paces than the pros? Women who sweat a lot and are juggling not only their cycling careers, but jobs and lives too. It’s fair to say Bianchi Dama presented the team at Charles James with some serious challenges - probably more than they anticipated - when it came to developing their skincare line, but they stepped up and put the work in to delivering. Pretty much what Bianchi Dama do when they train and race.
Together Charles James and Bianchi Dama created two products that do literally everything. Two bottles to shove in your bag that’ll deliver the same benefits as hauling around multiple vials, tubes and pots. Perfect if you’re constantly on the go, aiming for a quick turn around in the gym changing room or off of an adventure and you need to travel light. Of course, this is all great, but a skincare product is nothing if it doesn’t live up to its claims, so I put Charles James and Bianchi Dama’s creations to the test for a month, and here’s what I thought…
Hands up if you reach for a wet wipe after your workout? Yep me too. They’re a quick, easy solution when you’re in a rush, but they’re also generally not that effective and can have a pretty horrible impact on the environment, which is why I was so excited to try Active Cleanse. Use with or without (!!) water to lift away ingrained impurities, surplus oils and dead skin cells to leave your skin fresh, clean and revitalised as if by magic! I’ll admit, the first time I used this product I didn’t realise you should wipe it off with a tissue if you’re using it without water and thought it was a bit too sticky, but now I know how to use it I can confirm it does exactly what it says on the tin. I love that it’s just one bottle for everything, and that comes in at a hand-luggage friendly 100ml, perfect for on the go. I’ve used it for more than a month and at no point has the formula irritated my hella sensitive skin, plus I’ve been breakout free! Winning! My only criticism is the smell, it reminds me a bit too much of hand sanitiser (it doesn’t help that its a gel formula too), which is a bit off putting when you’re putting it on your face.
Enhance and Protect
If you spend a lot of time training outside your skin is bound to take a beating, so it’s important to protect it, which is where Enhance and Protect comes in. This potion seems to do everything - it stimulates cell turnover, moisturises and firms the skin, while also protecting it from free radicals and the sun, and it contains a whole host of active ingredients including retinol, hyaluronic acid, hydrolysed wheat protein, DMAE, aloe vera, vitamins C and E and SPF 30 sunscreen. Normally you’d find yourself layering multiple creams and serums to get all this stuff on your skin, Charles James have managed to cram it into one cream! However, the big draw of this cream is that it doesn’t run into your eyes when you get sweaty - no one likes stinging eyes when they’re trying to perform, and it’s what sets this product apart from others that claim to protect your skin. I loved the texture of this cream, it was the perfect weight to feel nourishing without being heavy and I could easily apply it several times a day. Again, there was no irritation and I felt like it left my skin looking fresh and even, which is always a win!
I really admire what Charles James and Bianchi Dama have achieved here, the products they’ve produced are innovative and really thoughtfully developed, which sets them apart from other ‘sport’ skincare products I’ve tried. They realise that a multi-step routine with lots of bottles and pots just isn’t viable and focused on how to deliver the biggest bang for your buck in the most user friendly formats. Retailing at between £14 and £24 for the Active Cleanse and £22 to £38 for the Enhance and Protect these products aren’t the cheapest, but they’re good value as the pack so much in you should end up buying fewer products over all. Plus they last for ages. I’ll definitely be making room for these products when it comes to packing for The Speed Project next year!
*I was gifted both the Active Cleanse and the Enhance and Protect, but all opinions are my own.
**images care of Charles James Skinhealth