I’m probably the only beauty blogger in the entire blogosphere who has never written a post about her skincare routine.
There are two reasons for that:
1. I Don’t Have A Steady Routine
As a beauty blogger and skin coach, I get to try lots of new skincare products all the time (who am I kidding, I was doing that even before I started blogging).
Of course I have my favourites, those trusted staples I keep returning to again and again. And there are a few ingredients who are ALWAYS part of my skincare routine (retinol, anyone?).
But the products do change. Every month, at least two or three new ones find their way into my skincare routine.
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2. These Posts Are NOT Helpful
There, I said it.
I totally get it why you like reading them. Fighgting with your skin and wading through an endless sea of skincare products trying to find that magic bullet that’ll help you achieve the flawless complexion you crave is hard.
We’ve all been there. So, when we find someone who has somehow managed to make sense of it all and created a skincare routine that actually works wonders, we want to know her secrets.
Problem is, everyone’s skin is different. Even if you were to use all the same products I use and do everything I do, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the same results.
A moisturizer my skin loves may be too rich for you and give you blackheads. Exfoliating every other day with salicylic acid works for me, but if you have sensitive skin, it may irritate it.
That’s why I prefer to tell you what tips and ingredients work and give you a bunch of products that contain those goodies to choose from. That way, you can find those that work best for YOU.
*gets off her soapbox now*
But after the 1000th person asking me to share my skincare routine, I’m giving up. Yep, I’m finally sharing what I’m doing AT THE MOMENT.
One thing to keep in mind before we start: I’m in my late 30s, my skin is combo (dry cheeks, oily t-zone) and my only concern is preventing wrinkles and removing blackheads. I have no pimples, dark spots, or breakouts to get rid of at the moment.
Mine is a great routine for anyone, younger or older, who wants to prevent and treat the signs of premature aging. The ingredients that work against wrinkles are the same for all skin types and a lot of them double up as skin-lighteners too, so they can help you reduce any dark spots you may have.
Ok, let’s get started (for real, this time):
I’m not fussy when it comes to cleansers. As long as it’s cheap and gets the job done, I’ll use it.
My absolute favourite for ages was Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser, which comes with washcloths to exfoliate skin while you cleanse. It’s so gentle, yet removes everything from the skin really quickly.
These days, I’ve switched to CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. For starters, it’s gentle, yet takes off everything, including makeup. I use it morning and night. Yep, I don’t double cleanse at night. Why use two cleansers when the one will do? Plus, the bottle is huge and will last you for ages.
Related: How To Pick The Best Cleanser For Your Skin Type
Glycolic acid was my first love. It exfoliates skin, hydrates it, and boosts the production of collagen – it’s the best for dry and sun-damaged skin.
But, it can’t do anything for blackheads. So, when they started to show up on my nose, I switched to salicylic acid (BHA). This oil-soluble exfoliant gets inside your pores, removing everything that’s clogging them.
It treats blackheads, whiteheads, pimples… And by exfoliating the surface of your skin, it prevents new dead cells from getting into your pores and causing more clogs.
My fave salicylic acid exfoliant is Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength 2% BHA Exfoliant. It has a lightweight, fast-absorbing texture that leaves no shiny or tacky residue on (unlike the brand’s best-seller 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.)
If I need both glycolic acid and salicylic acid in my skincare routine (for example, if I get a pimple that leaves a discolouration behind), I’ll use an exfoliant that has both, like Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Glycolic Night Serum.
Related:How To Choose The Best Exfoliator For Your Skin Type
I don’t use a toner. There, I said that too.
I don’t think you need one. You need to get your dose of all the goodies your skin needs to stay healthy and young, but they don’t have to come in a toner. They can come in a moisturizer. Or, better yet, a serum (I’ll tell you in a minute why that’s better).
To me, toners are just an extra step I can gladly do without (lazy bummer here!). Yes, I’ll try one if a brand sends it in the mail – and then ditch it once the review is up on the blog.
At the moment, I’m not using any toners at all. And no, my skin doesn’t miss it at all.
Related: Is Toner Really Necessary?
Serums are a must. Period.
They contain higher concentrations of active ingredients and a lot less unnecessary stuff, like emulsifier and thickeners, so they work better and faster than moisturizers and other skincare products.
As I’m 33 and my only concern is to prevent wrinkles from appearing on my face too soon, I stick to antioxidant serums. The more antioxidant they contain, the merrier.
My favourite combo is vitamin C + vitamin E + ferulic acid. It can boost sun protection so I always use it in the morning under my sunscreen. By the way, this combo also fights free radicals, boosts the production of collagen, and can reduce dark spots too.
At the moment, I’m getting my fix from an old and trusted (and super pricey) favourite, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. A cheaper alternative I also use often and that does pretty much the same thing is Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster. If you have dry skin, Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum goes the extra mile and hydrates it, too.
In winter, or whenever my skin is dehydrated, I’ll also throw in a hyaluronic acid serum, such as Vichy 89 Mineral. Hyaluronic acid can bind to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water. So hydrating!
In case you’re wondering, I always use my antioxidants serums BEFORE hyaluronic acid.
Related: Why You Should Use A Serum (Plus My Fave Tips For Every Skin Problems)
5. Eye cream
I don’t use one.
Or better, sometimes, I do. If a friend buys me a skincare set with an eye cream or a PR sends me one to review, I’ll bother. If not, I’ll gladly do without.
Here’s the truth: eye creams don’t contain any special ingredients. They’re just facial moisturisers in small jars – but cost twice as much!
Sure, brands will tell you they have special ingredients for your dark circles and puffy eyes. But have you ever found one that REALLY works? Exactly.
I’ll keep using my facial moisturizers on my eye area. They work a charm.
Related: Do You Really Need An Eye Cream?
I’m a huge fan of the Olay Total Effects line. It’s one of the few that has niacinamide, an anti-aging superstar that treats dehydration, wrinkles, sallowness, dark spots, acne, and irritations. It does it all and without irritating skin!
Since CeraVe has landed in the UK a couple years back, I’ve now switched to their PM Facial Moisturising Lotion. It has Niacinamide + ceramides to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. Plus, all skin types can use it.
A few nights a week, I’ll also use a retinol cream. Retinol is another skincare hero: it accelerates cellular turnover and boosts the production of collagen, which help reduce wrinkles. At the moment, I get retinol from Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5.
This is advanced stuff, so if you’ve never used retinol before, skip this and get yourself something with a smaller dose. Also, at the beginning, don’t use it just after glycolic acid or vitamin C. All these ingredients are very powerful and may irritate skin, so it’s best to use them on alternate days when you’re just getting started.
By the way, if I’m testing a new night-time moisturizer, I’ll get my retinol from a serum. One of my favourites is Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum. Retinol is not optional, if you’re serious about anti-aging (unless you have sensitive skin that can’t tolerate it at all).
Related: What’s Strength Of Retinol Should You Use?
I love mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide. They may be thicker and, sometimes, leave a white cast behind. But, they provide broad-spectrum protection without causing irritations, or worse. Even sensitive skin can use them.
These days, I swear by Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense. It has the most lightweight texture out of all the mineral sunscreens I’ve tried and doesn’t feel greasy on the skin. Plus, it has a slight tint to counteract the white cast (but it won’t hide imperfections).
I don’t need to say that I use sunscreen religiously every day, right?
Related: Why Zinc Oxide Is The Best UV Filter Ever
Ok, that’s my daily skincare routine. But, sometimes, I like to use a little extra. Like a sheet mask. Or spot treatment. It just depends on what my skin needs at the time:
To hydrate: I like to use a sheet mask once or twice a week to give my skin some extra hydration and radiance. I don’t have a favourite, though. I like to try new ones all the time. I’m fickle like that.
To moisturize and soothe: Some winter nights, when my skin feels a bit dry, I’ll also use a facial oil. At the moment, I’m in love with Beuti Beauty Sleep Elixir, because it’s very moisturizing and soothing. It can fight inflammation, which is one of the main causes of premature wrinkles.
To get rid of spots: Whenever a spot appears on my face, I’ll get rid of it with sulfur. It’s in ZO Skin Health Oeffects Sulfur Masque, my face spot treatment (P.S. sulfur is quite harsh, so use it on pimples only!)
To absorb excess oil: My skin has been behaving recently, so I haven’t used a clay mask in a while. But, whenever my t-zone starts to get oilier than usual, I’ll cover my face in Elizavecca Carbonated Clay Bubble Mask. It does what every other clay mask does, but the carbonated water reacts with oxygen in the air to form tiny bubbles on the skin that turn your face into a cloud. So cool!
There you go, my skincare routine. I hope this is useful. Let me know if you have any questions.