It’s been a while since I posted about my skincare routine, and I don’t know how you’ve all coped, I really don’t.
OK, I’m kidding: I’m sure you’ve all survived just fine without knowing which lotions and potions I’ve been using, haven’t you? I’m not sure quite how I’ve coped, however, because as I mentioned in this post, skincare is something I’ve really been neglecting lately. In fact, to be perfectly honest, when the products I had ran out, I just didn’t bother replacing them, preferring to spend my money on dresses and other, more interesting stuff instead.
Well, as you know, I’m not doing that any more (well, I’m trying not to, anyway), and actually, writing that post basically shamed me into feeling like I should really step up my game a little in the skincare department. Don’t get me wrong, my skin hasn’t been BAD, exactly: I’m lucky in that I don’t get breakouts, and I don’t seem to be allergic to … well, ANYTHING, really… so for the most part my skin just EXISTS, and I just let it.
It has, however, been looking a bit dull, of late. Tired. Dehydrated, probably. And all of a sudden last month I was overcome with the urge to do something about it already. So here are some of my shameful skincare confessions, along with what I’ve been doing to try to make amends…
01. I don’t really understand skincare
I’m embarrassed to admit this, because I wasn’t always like this. I started wearing makeup in my mid-teens (mostly because I was convinced I was the ugliest person ever to set foot on the earth, and I thought makeup would “fix” that. I know, I know…) Now, I was the kind of kid who, when I was interested in something, I’d read everything I could find on the subject, so when I started to get into makeup, I went to the library and came home with a giant stack of books about it, which I proceeded to devour. (Not literally, obviously: I mean, I don’t expect they’d have tasted very nice, would they?)
The problem with that, however, was that our library wasn’t very up-to-date, so most of those books had probably been released in the 80s (that would explain all the blue eyeshadow, now I come to think of it), and the skincare advice was pretty much restricted to “always remove your makeup before bed, using cold cream”. So it might have been the 1950s those books were from, actually: whoops! Anyway, I diligently followed the advice given: I bought myself a tub of Ponds Cold Cream, and another one of Astral Moisturiser, which I chose purely because my mum told me it was what she used to use when SHE was a teenager, and it was REALLY good. (I’m actually going to buy a tub of that stuff, STAT: not because it was awesome, or anything, just because I know that one sniff and I’ll be 14 again…)
It didn’t occur to me that there were different types of skin, that there might be other products that would work better for me, or that, you know, it wasn’t 1952 any more. (I’ve always struggled with that one, if I’m honest.) So that was my routine, and although the products changed over the years, that’s basically been my routine ever since: I ALWAYS take my makeup off before bed, I ALWAYS moisturize, I ALWAYS use sunscreen (I learned that one at an early age, too), and… that’s it, really. Unlike my younger self, you see, I don’t really have the time or – whisper it – the inclination to read up on skincare. Any time I try, my eyes glaze over and I feel like I SHOULD know what hyaluronic acid is, or what a retinol does, (Yes, I could obviously Google this. No, I have not.), but I just don’t.
Anyway, I was supposed to be telling you what I’ve been doing to fix this issue, so, in a bid to work out what I should be using, but without having to spend the rest of my life on research, I hit up Caroline Hirons’ excellent blog, and made a list of the products she and her readers seemed to rate the highest. Then I went and added them all to my Lookfantastic basket, and it was something like £300 worth of stuff. So, yeah, I went to Superdrug instead, and bought what I’m thinking of as a “starter kit”, so I could start getting into a routine right away. I figured if those products work, then all well and good, and if they don’t, I can gradually start to replace them with other products when I can afford them. Here’s confession # 2…
02. I actually HAVE been using cold cream as a cleanser lately
I mean, I haven’t been doing this my WHOLE LIFE, I hasten to add, but a few months ago, I read a review of Ponds Cold Cream, where someone said it was really good at removing waterproof mascara. I always wear waterproof mascara, and I always have to use a separate eye makeup remover to get rid of it, so I thought a product that would take off the mascara AND the rest of my makeup would be just peachy – especially given how cheap it was. So, yeah, I bought the cold cream, and no, it totally didn’t remove my waterproof mascara. It seemed like a waste to just throw it away, though, so I just kept on using it, and here’s my next confession…
03. That was ALL I was using
I’ve dabbled with double-cleansing in the past, but I’d fallen off the wagon, because MONEY. Honestly? I didn’t really notice much of a difference when I switched back to single-cleansing, but then I started reading more about the theory behind double-cleansing, which, just in case you’ve never heard of it, is that you you use two cleansers, which have two different purposes. The first one is used to basically take the “day” off your face, by removing any makeup, sunscreen, and the accumulated grime and other fun stuff our skin picks up during the day, and the second one is what actually cleanses your skin.
So, until recently, I’d only been doing step one – removing dirt and makeup. The more I thought about this, the more gross it started to seem to me, which is why I opted for double-cleansing with this new routine of mine, which involves using Superdrug’s Vitamin E Dual Phase Cleansing Oil to remove my makeup, followed by their Simply Pure Gentle Facial Wash – which I chose because it was the cheapest non-foaming cleanser I could find (Again, not saying that cheap = good, just that cheap = what I could afford at the time), and I’d read that foaming cleansers were invented by the devil, to make good skin go bad. Or something like that, anyway.
The oil-based cleanser does remove my waterproof mascara, but it doesn’t do nearly as good a job of it as a dedicated eye make-up remover will, so I’ve still been using Nivea Double-Effect Eye Makeup Remover for that. I use these three products every night before bed: in the morning, meanwhile, I don’t have to remove makeup, so I just use the facial wash. This step alone is a step up for me, because…
04. I was washing my face in the shower
I mean, I dunno, I just figured my face doesn’t get dirty overnight, I shower in the morning… two birds, one stone, BAM. According to the people who know about these things, however, by doing this, I’m basically guaranteeing that one morning I’ll wake up and I WON’T EVEN HAVE A FACE NO MORE. Seriously, it is THAT BAD for you. Or so I’ve read. I’ve done this for years, and so far I still have my face, but was it the BEST face it could be, that was the question? I actually don’t know the answer to that, because while I’m now diligently trying to keep my face out of the line of fire (by which I mean water) in the shower, and using my facial wash instead, I… don’t really notice much difference. Is it just me? Have I already done irreparable damage with my terrible showering ways? Do I just need to give it more time? (It’s been about 4 weeks, for the record.) I don’t know. But I would like to. Next up:
05. Toner is an absolute mystery to me
I mean, it’s not a literal mystery – I know what toner (allegedly) does. I just have a hard time believing it’s actually doing it, because I’ve gone through plenty of “I will use toner ever single day” phases, and I’ve never noticed one single bit of difference from it. Right now, as part of my bid to be better at adulting, I’m using Dr Jart’s Water Act Skin Mix which came free with a Birchbox ages ago. I’m still not seeing any difference from this, but I’ll use it up and see how I feel about it then. OR I’ll end up forgetting all about it again: time will tell!
The next stage in my skincare regime is moisturiser. Now, I’d been a bit better with this. As I said, I always moisturise at night in the morning, I always use products with SPF, plus a dedicated sunscreen during the summer/when I’m on holiday. One thing, though…
06. I haven’t been using a separate eye cream
This is a fairly new development, because my whole life until now, I’ve always used eye cream AND moisturiser (and sometimes serums, when I can afford them). A few months ago, though, my eye cream ran out and I just never got around to replacing it. “It won’t really matter,” I told myself. “Because I bet you don’t really NEED a separate eye cream. I bet it’s just one of those ways the skincare industry tries to get you to spend more money! It’ll be fine!”
Guys, it was not fine. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this, it’s that YES, I really do need a separate eye cream. Because, the thing is, my under-eye area had always looked not too bad for my age. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t high on my list of “things I hate about my face”. A few weeks ago, though, I took some close-ups for a blog post, and when I looked back at them, I died. Like, I LITERALLY died. My eyes looked rough as hell, seriously: like I’d been out all night partying or something – which I most definitely have NOT. My lifestyle hasn’t changed, and I’m not THAT much older than I was a few months ago, so I can only attribute this change to the lack of eye cream – which I swiftly tried to rectify by purchasing a tube of Superdrug’s Vitamin E Nourishing Eye Cream.
Honestly, I’m not impressed. Despite billing itself as a gentle option, I find this stings a bit when I put it on. It doesn’t cause any redness or irritation, but that slight stinging (and, to be clear, it’s very slight), is enough to put me off: as is the fact that, a few weeks on, I still look like that scary old woman from Insidious without my makeup. This is one I’ll definitely be replacing, and I’ve already started researching options: most of them seem to be hella expensive, but I feel I’ve learned my lesson, so if I have to spend a bit of money, so be it.
Which brings me to moisturizers, both of which I’ve featured here before (and both of which I received from sponsors, just FYI). I’m still using Caudalie Polyphenol Anti-Wrinkle Fluid for daytime, and Sanctuary Spa Night Concentrate before bed. I’ve no complaints with either of these – although obviously neither of them seems to be particularly good for the under eye area, as I’ve learned. The Caudalie fluid contains SPF20, which is normally enough for a regular day here in the UK; if I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the sun, however, I also use Chanel UV Essentiel, which has SPF 50 (and which I like more and more with each use: as well as protecting my skin, I also notice a difference in the texture, which becomes smoother and softer), with Peter Thomas Roth SPF45 for top-ups throughout the day.
And I think that’s it for the confessions. Oh, one more:
I don’t drink nearly enough water.
But you already knew that, didn’t you?