Much like having a crisis over style and image recently, I’ve also found that since turning 40 I’ve been more interested in how to look after my skin properly and, much like deciding to get Botox last year, quickly came to the conclusion that I wish I’d paid more attention 10 years ago because the signs of aging aren’t reversible but they are preventable. Essentially I’ve been looking for a skincare routine that makes me not look like I’ve been tired since I was 25. I mean what else am I suppose to do? Drink more water and go to bed early?!
I’ve always been one of those people who can do the whole cleanse/tone/moisturise routine for a week or so but then get bored or lazy and never ever stuck with it. More recently though I’ve found something that actually works and is starting to show results so I’ve stuck with it more.
I’ve searched tirelessly online to find the right order to do things in and the advice varies quite significantly, so I thought I would break down, step by step what I do morning and night, what I use and why. For reference I have quite combination skin; an oily t-zone and chin which are prone to breakouts thanks to suffering adult acne in my early 20s but tendency to get a dry forehead and fine lines around my eyes and upper lip. I also need to say that I do get Botox every 3/4 months on my forehead, between my eyebrows and on my crows feet so any results you see need that factored in too and aren’t all down to products.
I’m going to start with my night time routine for reasons you’ll see in a bit:
1. Double cleanse
This essentially means washing your face twice. First with an oil based cleanser (I’m currently using the kind to skin hydrating oil from Simple – £6.99) followed by a water based cleanser. The oil cleanser will strip away everything you’ve been wearing that day; make up, SPF etc etc and also hydrate your skin in the process. The water based cleanser (currently using my old favourite Boots cucumber face wash – super cheap at £1.50 and does a great job) will wash off any access oil from the oil cleanser and leave your skin squeaky clean
Definitely one for people of a certain age but I wish I’d started using it sooner. It mainly tackles fine lines and wrinkles. You can get retinol as a serum or a cream, I prefer this retinol night moisturiser cream from Boots, it’s super reasonable at £7 and the cream just gives my skin that little bit extra hydration. A little goes a long way too and this tube lasts me about a month.
Locks in hydration and reduces any hyperpigmentation (I have a tendency to get slight rosacea on my cheeks). Works well sealing in the retinol. I alternate between The Ordinary serum which is 10% niacinamide and Make Up Revolution which is 15%. Mainly because I ordered one but it was out of stock so got another then the original one was shipped to me a day later. I would suggest starting introducing it at 10% into your skincare routine if you’ve never used it before to check it agrees with your skin.
4. Snail mucin
This is the one that sends everyone a bit cockley. It is exactly what you think it is; the goo collected from snails but it is so good for your skin! It’s got a bunch of antioxidants in as well as vitamin C and glycolic acid so it’s mega hydrating. It doesn’t smell of anything and has the consistency of a sticky serum so feels nice on the face. It’s one of the pricier things I buy at £24 but it lasts about 2-3 months so worth it and if you can get past the fact it’s snail secretion, I highly recommend!
5. Standard night cream
This can be whatever night cream you like. I’m currently using Nivea Cellular Expert Lift night cream – as it was on offer on Boots £10 Tuesday and I’m a fan of Nivea skincare in general but any will do. This final step essentially just locks everything in and keeps it working over night.
In terms of applying it all, I tend to try and leave a bit of time between stages (5/10 minutes is fine) so will do one step potter around a bit, do another etc then put the night cream on just before bed but if you don’t have time you can just whack it all on at once and it won’t do you much harm. You’ll just look like a bit of a glazed donut for half an hour or so!
Using only a water based cleanser. You don’t need to double cleanse in the morning as the oil cleanser you used last night will have cleaned your skin properly. The water cleanser will just removed any residual product from your night time routine, and generally just wake you up a bit. I prefer to wash with cold or lukewarm water in the morning just to wake myself up a bit but that’s just personal choice.
I alternate toners based on what is on offer at Boots and rate anything by Pixi or Thayers alcohol free toners but also find the Aldi dupe toners really good too. I tend to go with either glycolic or rose toner as they help with redness but again, they’re all good at giving you a bit of a glow. Just apply with a bit of cotton wool or a cleansing pad all over the face.
3. Eye cream
I can really tell the difference a good eye cream in my skincare routine makes to dark circles and puffiness. Current favourites are the Ordinary caffeine eye serum or the Aldi vitamin C eye cream (when you can get it!) And let that soak in for a few seconds before the next step. They also help hydrate your under eye so if you’re wearing concealer it doesn’t go too cakey.
4. Facial oil
Whether you use an oil with active ingredients or not in your skincare routine is personal choice, if you use retinol at night and a glycolic toner in the morning you may not need it but I alternate between Florena hydrating facial oil (no active ingredients just loads of good natural stuff in) and the Nivea hyaluronic acid serum depending on how I feel. Both give me a good glow without looking too oily and is great for under make up.
5. Moisturizer with SPF
If you only ever put one thing on your face for the rest of your life, it needs to be SPF of at least factor 30. I try and use fact 50 as much as possible with being fair skinned but also have a Nivea factor 30 day cream which I really like. It’s also absolutely essential of you use retinol as that can make your extra sensitive to the sun. You also need spf every. Single. Day. Regardless of whether it’s sunny or not. UV rays are the biggest factor in producing fine lines and wrinkles, not to mention of course skin cancer so SPF is an absolute must, bare minimum, not exceptions. I also rate the Eucerin mattifying sunscreen, which doesn’t sting my eyes as some sunscreens do, and doesn’t look greasy so perfect under make up.
I know that all sounds like a lot a bit like a right chew on (and it can be some days) but I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my skin since taking more time and care and I try and find products that don’t break the bank either. I find it really therapeutic putting everything on each morning or evening so it’s very much been introduced as part of my self care routine in general. The fact that it’s made me look slightly less tired every day is just an added bonus. This of course is a skincare routine that works for me and may not suit everyone but if at the very least it encourages you to wear sunscreen every day then that can only be a good thing!!