The internet has told you. The magazines have told you. Your favourite celeb has told you. Your nan has probably told you too. Looking after your skin is SO important, yet it’s the one piece of advice that people always seem to skip over. We all know that skincare is vital in order to keep breakouts at bay and to prevent aging, but many people don’t realise just how much of a difference it will make to your makeup if your complexion is in check. I always say that you can make an average foundation look incredible on amazing skin, but it’s almost impossible to make a luxury foundation look good on neglected skin. By the way girls, this isn’t about spots or breakouts – we all get them and sometimes there’s nothing you can do except ride it out. It’s about keeping the skin polished, fresh and smooth.
There are so many different things that you can do to ensure that your skin is in it’s best possible condition – diet, hydration, sun protection, vitamins, exercise and professional treatments can all improve your skin dramatically. But this post is specifically about how to look after your skin every day at home, the types of products you should be using, and how it’ll benefit your skin.
This is the skincare routine that I’ve been following consistently for the past year, and the texture of my skin has improved so much. My makeup application is smoother, my skin is never dry or irritated, and I break out so much less than before. I’m in no way claiming to be a skincare expert, but this is what has really worked for me. If you feel like your skin looks dull and flat, and your foundation just doesn’t seem to ‘work’ for you, try adopting some of these skincare tips and I promise that you’ll notice a difference!
Step 1 – Remove Makeup
As we all know, it’s so important to take your makeup off and let your skin breathe as much as possible. As most of my clients know, I barely wear any makeup when I’m working (even though I’m sure that’s breaking some sort of MUA law), as looking after my skin is a priority for me now I’m getting older. I’ll take my makeup off as soon as I can and I’ll never wear it unless I’m socializing or at an event! I’ve found that the most effective way to remove my makeup is using coconut oil and face wipes. I’ll take a pea-sized amount of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and let it melt in my hands and then massage it into my skin, my brows, my eyes and my lashes. It’s so gentle on the skin and the oil breaks down all the product so that it wipes off really easily. It’s amazing for removing mascara or matte lipsticks! I then wipe away the evidence using the BEST face wipes ever, Tesco Everyday Value Facial Wipes (60p, what?!). This method is also great for sensitive skin, as the coconut oil shields the skin from any harsh chemicals in the face wipes and makes the whole process a lot more gentle.
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Tesco Everyday Value Facial Wipes – RRP £0.60
Step 2 – Cleanse
This next step is obvious, but really important! When you remove your makeup, your skin may ‘look’ clean, but there is still so much dirt and oil deep in your pores, and when these stay clogged up for too long this is when spots appear. I like to cleanse using my Simple Facial Wash Gel. It’s super affordable and you can find it in pretty much any supermarket. I’ve used it for years and it works really well for me, so I’ve never felt the need to try anything more expensive!
I cleanse my skin twice – the first time I’ll apply the face wash with my hands, lather and rinse off, to ensure that any makeup I might have missed is washed away. The second time, I’ll apply it onto my Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush and really work the brush into my skin for a couple of minutes. This brush ensures that the cleansing wash gets really deep into the pores and cleans everything out. I’ve been using this cleansing brush for about a year now, and I can’t even explain how much my skin has improved! I used to suffer from really dull skin and I would constantly have to exfoliate to try and add some life back into my face. Since I’ve been using this cleansing brush, I think I’ve only ever felt the need to exfoliate my skin once or twice! My skin is so much smoother in texture and has much more of a ‘glow’ about it, which really translates when I’m applying my makeup. I really recommend investing in a facial cleansing brush if you haven’t already. There’s so many out there, and whilst they may seem pricey they’re such a good investment if it means you’ll have amazing skin!
Simple Facial Wash Gel – RRP £3.45
Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush – RRP £79
Step 3 – Exfoliate and Tone
This is another step that I’ve been following religiously for the past year. When I was younger, I never used to bother with using toners or clarifying lotions, I always thought they were unnecessary. But since I’ve been doing this every morning and night, the change I’ve seen in the texture of my skin has been incredible! After I’ve cleansed, I take a small amount of my Clinique Clarifying Lotion on a cotton pad and wipe it over my skin, avoiding the eye area. I feel like it really purifies my pores, which is great for me as I suffer from oily skin. It also gently exfoliates the skin and removes any further impurities. This step is vital for me now and I definitely notice my skin start to deteriorate if I don’t use it for while! A substitute for this clarifying lotion would be a Glycolic Toner which does the same thing in terms of exfoliating and removing impurities – I’ve heard great things about Glycolic Toners by Pixi and Mario Badescu, and I’m definitely going to try them out soon!
These products may feel a little harsh on the skin at first if you’re not used to using them, but after a couple of applications it feels a lot more comfortable. I wouldn’t recommend any of these products to someone with sensitive skin, however Clinique do make products specifically designed for dry and sensitive skin so they may be able to recommend a less irritable toner to you if you don’t want to take the risk!
Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 – RRP £16.50/£26.50
Step 4 – Hydrate
I’m literally obsessed with moisturizing my skin. I love that feeling of fresh, clean skin and letting all the goodness soak in! For the past 2 months I’ve been sneaking in some additional hydrating products to my routine and my skin has really thanked me for it.
In a moment of despair when I noticed a wrinkle creeping up around my eye area, I immediately purchased a tub of Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. I apply a very generous helping of this to my entire eye area, and let it just sit on the skin and soak in overnight. Ensuring that your under eyes are well hydrated makes a huge difference to your makeup application as well, as concealer and foundation will blend in much more flawlessly and won’t look ‘cakey’.
I’ve also recently been using Intelligent Cosmetics Rosehip Oil, which benefits the skin in so many different ways. The internet says that Rosehip Oil ‘is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots and hydrate dry, itchy skin, all while reducing scars and fine lines’. Sold! I suffer from some discolouration around my mouth that I wanted to correct, and I’m always game for anything that prevents fines lines. I massage 2-3 drops of the oil into my face and neck and let it soak in overnight. It’s also excellent as an emergency treatment for dry under eyes and lips – I’ve been using this on my lips throughout winter and when I wake up in the morning any dryness has completed disappeared!
If you have oily skin like me, it may seem counteractive to layer on the oily products, and I admit this does ring true for me in the daytime if I’m about to apply makeup, so I save this step a special place in my night time routine. However, if you do follow this step in the evening and let these products sink in overnight, it can do amazing things for your skin, whether it’s normal, dry or oily. Adding oil to your skincare routine actually restores the balance in your skin – usually when the skin produces excessive oils, it’s because the skin isn’t hydrated enough and goes into overload, producing even more oil than usual to make up for it. But if we ensure that the skin is already well hydrated, the skin will be totally satisfied and produce oil at a steady state.
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado -RRP £20
Intelligent Cosmetics Rosehip Oil – RRP £10
Step 5 – Moisturize and Protect
Because I treat my skin with oils at night time, I prefer to use something much lighter during the day. Once I’ve cleansed and toned, I’ll apply some of my Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Energising Day Cream all over my face and neck. This was another panic buy following my wrinkle paranoia meltdown, but I loved it so much that I’ve been repurchasing it ever since! It gives my skin just the right amount of moisture without feeling too heavy, and it feels really fresh on the face. It also contains SPF 15 which should be non-negotiable in a day cream. It’s so important to protect your skin, and if you start now you’ll thank yourself later!
I’m also constantly applying my Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Original Ultra Moisturizing Lip Balm throughout the day. It’s by far the most moisturizing lip balm I’ve ever used, it contains that all important SPF, and it smells delicious!