Skincare. Honestly, I’ve never really been into it. You know how some people relish the opportunity to get knee-deep in a 45 minute skincare routine, whereas some people pretend to be happy about micro-beads being banned without really knowing what they are? Yeah, well, I’m the latter. Skincare to me is a bit of a chore. If I could melt away the day with a wipe and be left with an Bondi beach glow, then I’d be happy, but unsurprisingly, a packet of ASDA’s own cleansing wipes doesn’t lead to poreless perfection.
With that being said, over the past two or so months, I’ve been injecting a little more care into my daily routine. Whereas previously I was a moisturise-and-go kinda gal, I’m now trying to actually give a shit and prioritise a clean and hydrated complexion over really not wanting my fake tan to come off or just being a lazy human being.
As I’m sure we all are, I’m forever in pursuit of that Instagram-glow. We’ve been promised it by highlighters, by foundations, and by every kind of goat’s-milk-infused-natural-unbleached-sun-drenched-jelly on the market, but the unfortunate truth, my friends, seems to be that nothing is as good as the real thing. If we want to look like we’ve fallen straight out of a Glossier catalogue, we need to spend more than 3 minutes tending to our skin everyday, so that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.
I guess I became disenchanted with skincare previously because so many products I’d been using were fairly ineffectual. Sure, my skin felt a little smoother and my pores unclogged, but these results were fleeting so it didn’t feel like investing time into a skincare routine was really worth my time or money. It seems I’ve finally found a few items that ~ work ~, however, and I’ve been religiously practicing my routine day and night to see if my complexion improved in the long-run. So here we have it: the skincare pieces that have converted a non-believer, and are worth more than a grain of salt.
Enjoy lovelies, and let me know your favourites and any unsung heroes that I’ve yet to discover. x
I’ve heard so many differing opinions on exfoliation. I’ve been told by skincare experts that you shouldn't use scrubs because your skin sheds itself naturally, but I’ve also been told by other experts that gentle exfoliation helps to banish grit and grime and leaves the overall texture much smoother.
Whatever the truth is, exfoliation absolutely works for me. I have very large pores, I’m a devout fake-tanner and I wear make-up nearly every day, so using a medium-strength scrub in the shower every morning leaves my skin feeling clean, fresh, and a much better surface for make-up application. I also feel like my breakouts have minimised. I don't suffer from acne - I usually have one big spot at a time, and then a few minor irritations - but I feel like my hormonal flare ups around my jawline have certainly calmed down, as well as blackheads that previously would have festered and grown into whiteheads. A morning scrub feels as preventative as it is remedial.
I was sent three St. Ives Scrubs as part of a collaboration towards the end of summer last year, and they quickly became firm favourites. Particularly the Green Tea Scrub; it’s a medium consistency which targets blackheads (a.k.a. the bothersome tenants on and around my nose) and calms uneven skin tones, which is particularly great for me as someone who has areas of redness on my cheeks and around my nose and chin.
I honestly can’t rave about the Green Tea scrub enough. I’d kind of given up on exfoliation products because I thought they were all the same - promised a lot, but really just made your skin marginally smoother for a day or two - but this one has made a real, noticeable difference in the appearance of my skin. When I forget to use it for a few days, I can tell, which is testament to the fact that it does what it claims to. I’ve included the St. Ives Oatmeal variation too as it doubles up as a hydrating mask as well as a cleanser, eradicating the need for multiple products in your already overcrowded skincare drawer.
With that being said, after years of trialling face mask after face mask, I think I've finally found the golden duo. Hallelujah.
Again, face masks were products that I'd all but given up with. Oddly, masks seem to be the things that I'm sent as PR samples the most (that and hairbrushes - not sure if someone is trying to send me a message here), and for a long time, they all kind of did the same thing. Yes, they made my face feel cleaner, but only for a few hours before I inevitably oiled up again like a Thanksgiving turkey. If I'm invested in skincare, I want to see proper results, and pretty quickly too.
First up we have the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask (£24.99). The reason it works for me is because of the Manuka Honey; this gem of an ingredient soothes redness, tackles blemishes and deeply hydrates, the holy trinity of a S.O.S. face mask, if you ask me. But that's not the only reason I love it. It's almost like a cream as opposed to a gel-type texture, and you can either layer it on for a quick 15 minute boost, or apply it to blemishes and leave overnight for a noticeable reduction in redness and size. Oh, and it smells ~ beautiful ~.
Then we have my latest discovery, the Manuka Doctor ApiClear Purifying Facial Peel (£30). Wow, this one knocked my socks off. This is a facial peel as opposed to a wash-off mask (MAJOR bonus points - I hate the faffing of sinks and flannels), and the difference it makes in dissipating redness and improving the overall tone of my skin is incredible. My pores appear minimized (I know they can't actually shrink, but I'd like them to look as small as possible, even if only temporarily), the texture is baby-butt smooth and blackheads - what blackheads?
I am lucky enough to say that I have found my perfect moisturiser. Bold claims, I know, but I cannot recommend the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (£34) enough. Yes, it is pricey. £34 for a moisturiser is heartbreaking. That's the equivalent of an okay jumper from Topshop. But stay with me here. Rather than a thick and heavy cream - the likes of which often leave my skin feeling congested and clogged - this little wonder applies in a thinner, gel-like consistency, and oh sweet Mary and Joseph, my skin has never felt smoother. I have no idea who created this pot of magic but thank you, and thank you to your parents as well. If you're looking for super smooth make-up application and deep, but not too heavy hydration, this is the one.
And of course, I couldn't not buy into The Ordinary hype in my pursuit for the ultimate Insta-glow, right? Let's start with the two I'm not particularly keen on. 100% Plant-Derived Squalane was suggested as part of a routine for tackling redness, and I have no idea if I'm using it incorrectly or if it's not the right product for me, but it almost bunches up on my skin and doesn't do anything other than make me look a bit greasy. Then there's the Hyaluronic Acid 2% with B5. It definitely hydrates my skin and I don't mind the consistency of it, but it's not moving mountains by any means. I'm still using them at the moment to see if they contribute to any wider skin changes later on, but those are my first impressions nonetheless.
Then there is the Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, which is now out of stock pretty much everywhere because it's become such a cult product. And with good reason, too. As somebody who has big 'ole chubby cheeks, and in turn, thick eye bags and dark circles, eye creams never work for me. They might de-puff slightly, but I have to rely on concealer to do most of the heavy lifting. After application, my bags are visibly reduced, and rapidly too. Bloody hell, it's so nice to find something that simply does what it claims to, isn't it? After that I've been applying the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, designed to reduce the appearance of blemishes, brighten skin tone and regulate sebum activity. I'm a huge fan of this little baby - the consistency isn't too greasy, it soaks in easily and I've noticed a real, tangible difference in the evenness of colour and aggressiveness of blemishes. If you fancied trying any two The Ordinary products, I would definitely go for this and the Caffeine Solution.
There are two things which I’m beginning to appreciate are in very limited supply: my time, and my energy. Time...