Wednesday, 24 January 2018

My Evening Skincare Routine

Skincare. What was once a chore has now become something I absolutely love.

Lets throwback to my early teens for a sec - I'd just started wearing makeup (dream matte mousse and kohl eye pencil, teens of 2006 I know you all remember) but was never properly educated on how to correctly remove my makeup and keep my skin clean. By the time I was 15 my skin was a riot! Clogged, congested, red and angry and no matter how many baby wipes I scrubbed my face with, my skin just wasn't improving. Now, don't get me wrong, coming out of puberty definitely helped, but it wasn't until I started taking care of my skin and developing a proper "routine", that I actually started to notice a difference.

Flash forward to today, and that simple three step routine of cleanse, tone and moisturise, has turned into a whopping, Korean inspired, 9 step nightly extravaganza - complete with peels and potions, oils and acids and sheet masks and retinol (to list a few). Lost yet? Don't be! Let me break it down for you.

1. Pre Cleanse

Keeping it real here, this usually involves a Johnson's face wipe on the train home after work. The ones in the purple packet are my favourite because they don't leave my skin feeling dry, and there's enough moisture in the wipe that it doesn't feel like I'm just smearing my end of day makeup around my face! Remember, using a wipe DOES NOT remove your makeup - it breaks down the harder to remove products such as eyeliner and mascara however most if not all of your makeup residue is still on your skin. Which moves us on to the next two steps...

2. Oil Cleanse

Because I wear an SPF and makeup daily, I ALWAYS double cleanse. I start out with an oil cleanser which breaks down the the remainder of my makeup, plus it keeps my skin feeling hydrated  (I find foaming or soapy cleansers make my skin feel really tight and dry). My go to oil based cleanser is Lush's Ultrabland. I've tried a few in my time, but this is the one I always go back to!

3. Milk / Cream Cleanse

Next up is a cream cleanser. This step is what actually cleans and rebalances my skin in preparation for everything else I apply. Bobbi Brown's Cleansing Milk is a strong favourite, however I've recently been using Pixie x Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse and I've been LOVING it! Plus my oil and cream cleanser is in the same tub! So handy.

4. Acids

Next comes the acids. I like to use a toner containing glycolic acid (Pixie Glow Tonic is my ultimate fave) to help exfoliate my skin without having to use beads or a scrub. Glycolic acid helps to increase cell turnover, evens skin tone, aids collagen production and helps fight signs of ageing (yay science!). My skin really thanks me for this little guy, it's one of the only products I've used where I've noticed a difference in my skin pretty much instantly - bright and glowy and really smooth - I really can't rave enough about this toner!

I follow this with a few drops of hyaluronic acid - although it's had mixed reviews, I've been loving this one by The Ordinary. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it draws water to the skin helping to prevent moisture loss. As well as giving me a hydration boost, this nifty little serum helps repair the dry and damaged areas of my skin, leaving it looking smooth and instantly plump!

5. Sheet Mask (weekly)

Ahh the sheet mask - a Korean cult favourite! If you're new to the world that is Korean skincare, let me give you a quick sheet mask 101:

Sheet masks are cotton-based sheets infused with serums or essences that can contain a variety of different ingredients to target different skincare concerns. There's no need to wash your face after, just pat in the remaining essence and continue your regime! Easy as that!

I like to use sheet masks weekly - my boyfriend Steven bought me a whole bunch of Tony Moly masks for my Christmas (all with weird and wonderful ingredients) and i've been loving working my way through them. After a sheet mask, my skin always feels so soft, looks bright, hydrated and glowing. What more could you want?

6. Eye Cream

Next I follow with an eye cream - no matter your age, you can't forget eye cream! The skin around the eyes is more fragile, more prone to dryness, and quicker to show signs of age and fatigue, so it's super important to treat those peepers! I'm currently using Bobbi Brown's Hydrating Eye Cream - I love how cooling it feels around my eyes and my skin feels so moisturised and de-puffed - excellent!

7. Retinol

I know what you're thinking, but I promise we're almost done! As I move to the end of my skincare routine, I like to use a retinol based serum.  
Retinol is a form of retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A,  commonly used to give your skin a healthy boost by minimising fine lines and wrinkles, smoothing texture, and reducing hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Now, I know I'm only 23, and luckily have yet to see a wrinkle or dark spot on my skin HOWEVER, thats the whole reason I'm starting to use anti ageing products now - to slow down the process and keep my skin looking youthful and radiant for as long as possible. Trust me, you'll thank me when you're in your 50's and you have the skin of a 30 year old! Note, you MUST use an SPF in the AM if you decide to use a retinol based product - retinol encourages skin cell turnover; this new skin is delicate and should not be exposed to the sun without adequate protection.

8. Serum

Ok, we're almost there - second last step! Penultimately, I go in with a serum. Serums contain the highest concentration of active ingredients that you can get without a prescription - ergo, they work, and they work well! My absolute ride or die, stuck on a desert island can't live without serum is without a doubt Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Sweet lord it's divine! It feels so luxurious on my skin and I have to admit, for me, it definitely lives up to the hype. My skin feels more hydrated, my redness is significantly reduced and it's SO soothing! And, because you only need a few drops per night, the bottle lasts forever - win/win! Side note - this product is heavily fragranced with plant/essential oils therefore it may aggravate sensitive skin.

9. Moisturiser

Ahh finally, the last step! The very final product I slather on my face before snuggling down under the sheets is the humble moisturiser. You wouldn't deprive your body of hydration, so likewise, you mustn't deprive your skin of moisture. Proper hydration keeps skin looking healthy, eliminates rough or flakey patches and keeps your face looking smooth, soft and fresh. Plus it fights signs of premature ageing, so don't skip out on your moisturiser! I chop and change between different formulas, but right now i'm loving Origins Make a Difference Plus for no other reason than it does exactly what it says on the tin!

Ok, have I lost you? I hope not!

This isn't something I put in practice overnight, I've developed this routine over the past year, adding in new products once my skin got used to what I was already using. Now, I'm not saying everyone should have, or develop a routine similar to the above - everyone's skin is different and i'm incredibly lucky that my skin isn't sensitive and can handle all of the different active ingredients I throw at it! If anything, I hope you've learned a little thing or two about skincare and it's inspired you to ditch the baby wipes and start taking proper care of your face!

Until next time,

S.B x 


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