skincare confessions

7 Shameful Skincare Confessions (and what I’m doing to fix them!)

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.

Chanel UV essentiel moisturiser and sunscreen

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…
skincare confessions


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.

shocking skincare confessions

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…

superdrug cleanser

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…

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…


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:

Toner is an absolute mystery to me

using toner as part of a skincare routine

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…

Vitamin E eye cream

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.

sanctuary spa night concentrate

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?

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  • I can really relate to this post! Although I have ‘double cleansed’ for a long time now (without actually realising that was a thing!), I don’t buy into toner as I don’t think it does anything – and I also wash my face in the shower! I now think that I might need to start using eye cream too – I have used it a few of times in the past, but been awful at replacing it when it’s run out. I think it might have been over 6 months since I last had some! I also need to drink more water – I’m a complete tea addict. OMG, I’m gonna end up like a dried up prune in no time!

    March 17, 2016
  • Try dry face oils, they might help. I use rosehip oil around my eyes instead of a cream, it’s pricy but I think worth it. A few drops around the eye in the morning and at night keeps that area moisturised fairly well

    March 17, 2016
  • You should definitely try out the Clinique ‘All About Eyes’ eye cream – it’s so soft and in the morning my under eyes feel like literal silk haha! It’s a little expensive for how small it is but I’m not even half way through mine yet and I’ve had it for at least 4-5 months xo

    Char |

    March 17, 2016
  • Brenda


    I find that if I use an eye cream that is too rich, over time I end up with these hard white pimply bumps. Of course I hate that so I just use moisturizer instead… I change up my skincare lines once a year or so, mostly for my own interest. But as I age I am finding that I need to start looking for more anti-wrinkle and fine-line reducing products.

    March 17, 2016
  • I really pick and choose when it comes to skincare! I feel like some of it is true, definitely. What I live by though, is that a lot can be accomplished by just moisturizing well (because oily skin wrinkles less) and using SPF (to avoid the break down of collagen and skin cells or something). All skin care lines do is tell you that you look bad as an old person, so if you’re okay with aging (which I am, and that we all should be because we’re human beings and its beautiful), I really don’t believe that retinols, acids, etc are necessarily better for you to use if you already have good skin. They’re definitely beneficial if you have certain “problems” like dark spots, extreme acne, etc, but…… Yeah.

    All I do is double cleanse when I wear makeup (usually only single cleanse when I don’t) with Clinique’s Take The Day Off Balm (with wash cloth) and Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser. That’s at night, I actually don’t wash my face in the morning! I found it didn’t really make a difference, and I have pretty dry skin so it wasn’t helping. Then I just got Keihl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Keihl’s Creme d’Elegance or whatever, which is a super heavy moisturizer, and I’ve been loving both so far (I’ve only used then two days). I also wash my face in the shower sometimes, but I also don’t take the hottest showers ever.

    March 17, 2016
  • Sophie


    I am exactly the same. I rarely use anything at all on my skin, but I do use a toner… but I use it to remove my make-up and thats it! I also wash my face in the shower with some La Roche Posay (or something) *foaming* cleanser and use a Nivea moisturiser.. if I remember at all.

    Every new years I make a ‘Take care of skin better!’ Resolution, and never stick to it. Even remembering to put moisturiser on is a struggle so I don’t need any more steps thank you. I will continue to care for my skin badly!

    (I also don’t drink water, like, at all. Thinking about it now, the last time I had plain water was probably last week. I don’t drink tea, just coffee and fizzy drinks. So yeah, don’t feel bad for not drinking *enough* at least your probably doing better than me!)

    March 17, 2016
  • Sara


    Hi, interesting that you find toners a mystery. I do too and heard recently that they are an unnecessary step in skincare so I stopped using one and haven’t noticed any difference. I didn’t use an eye cream for years but noticed a few more lines appearing so thought I’d better start. I was given a sample of an Estée Lauder eye serum which was amazing but I wasn’t about to spend that much on an eye cream. After research I tried Boots sensitive eye cream which I use at night and I use their vitamin e eye cream during the day which has a hint of colour to it. Both I buy when they are on offer and cost about £3 each. I am quite impressed and my eyes look so much better. Just goes to show that the right product doesn’t need to be the most expensive.

    March 17, 2016
  • Kerri


    Washing your face in the shower?! Huh?! I’ve always done that and I have pretty good skin. If your skin is on the dry/dull side and you don’t feel ‘spendy’ try waitrose baby bottom butter. Amazing night cream – I swear it keeps all wrinkles at bay and no eye cream needed. Plus less than £3.00 a pop! It feels oily at first but I’ve noticed a huge difference using it. Cheap and cheerful skincare is the way forward for me…

    March 17, 2016
  • I’ve always taken care of my skin, but in a very ad hoc way and buying products that were cheap and cheerful. Then Superdrug did their try our products with a money back guarantee, so I did and got on well with them. Then just after Chrostmas my skin flared up really badly and the ezcema under my eyes and on my eyelids worsened hugely, nothing seemed to work so I went to see the skin therapist at our pharmacy. Of course she said that nothing but their (very expensive) would fix my face. I bought a skin repair barrier cream as that would fix my ezcema and, upon discussion with friends I have moved onto Avene or La Roche Posay to cleanse my face but I still use Superdrug moisturiser and it seems to be working.

    I wash my face in the shower, but it’s the last thing I do so I turn then temperature down to tepid and gather water in my hands to splash my face. I’ve never liked the thought of dunking my face under the spray.

    March 17, 2016
  • Ida


    Best cleanser – Cetaphil. You can use it with or without water, and I prefer without as I have extra dry skin. I like CeraVe for moisturizers and sunscreens. And I find that I will drink water if I have ice and a straw. It’s much more festive that way.

    March 17, 2016
  • rachel


    Madame Hirons has saved my face….40 years of occasionally washing it and slapping on some moisturiser left me rather lizard like. I never understood toners until I discovered acid toner – not as scary as it sounds honest and has made such a difference to the texture of my skin. I do however still wash my face in the shower (shhhhh)

    March 18, 2016
  • anya


    Ha , i use the nivea one too! i completely embraced that i need a multi step cleansing since i do wear stuff on my face.
    For toners i really feel that the clinique mild one ( recommended by both beautypedia and caroline) works wonders for my skin texture ( it has some acid aha/bha something) . The others are just alchohol which i hear it’s the devil or smth

    March 18, 2016
  • Moni


    I confess: I don’t understand the purpose of most products. And if I understand it, I don’t feel the need to use them.
    Recently there was a step-by-step routine in a magazine that walked you through the whole “use serum- apply foundation- put on make-up- use highlighter- apply powder” stuff and I just asked myself “Why?”.
    I actually don’t do more than you, Amber. I use moisturizing cream in the morning, I apply sunscreen when it’s sunny outside, and I use eye make-up remover before I go to bed. I do use eye make-up, but nothing else.
    And my skin is totally okay. And I am okay with the way it looks. I don’t see any need to put stuff on it to give it a different colour or cover something.
    The only thing make-up does, is get sticky or runny when it’s hot and leave marks on your collar.

    March 19, 2016
  • Trudy


    Cetaphil is the best cleanser I have ever come across – and it removes eye makeup as well! I like that it is gentle, my skin doesn’t feel raw and ‘scrubbed’ after using it. I also only use it at night. I might be shot by skin police at dawn, but I read a while ago that people are overcleansing their faces, and if you cleanse it properly before you sleep, you don’t actually need to cleanse it again in the morning – you haven’t been doing much to get it dirty, after all! A splash of lukewarm water and then I use toner and moisturiser, and I’m good to go! It has cut down my skincare time in the morning by quite a chunk, and I have really noticed the benefit to my skin. And I totally wash my face in the shower too!

    March 19, 2016
  • Love this post! My main skincare confession is throwing wayyyy too much stuff on my sensitive skin haha. I just get so tempted and I’m like ‘yeah I’m sure this’ll be ok…’ and then it definitely. Is Not.

    I always wash my face in the shower, I think the reason some people say that you shouldn’t is that there are some schools of thought that say you should never put tap water on your face? But that’s where toner comes in handy, because if you tone after you use tap water you remove the drying minerals and impurities. Especially if you live in a city, if you live somewhere with soft water you’d probably be fine without a toner. I’m pretty sure all they actually do is remove tap water and the last traces of cleanser as well as being another vehicle for putting active ingredients on your face! xx

    March 19, 2016
  • Kat



    I wash my face – once – in the shower(!), with whatever face wash was on offer (currently Aldi’s own). Then I put some moisturiser on it, again, whatever’s on offer in the shop I’m in when I remember I need some. Again, currently aldi, but sometimes as posh as Clinique if I happen to feel fancy in the shop. I have been doing this forever and I promise I still have a face.
    I seriously can’t believe double cleansing and dedicated cream for your eyes is a thing…

    March 24, 2016
  • Catherine


    I do cleanse, tone and moisturise, because I too read about it as a teenager and now can’t break the habit. But actually, there are two things I really rate for my skin and DEFINITELY notice the difference if I don’t do. One is to drink water. The other is to take a dessertspoon of flax oil every morning. It tastes disgusting, but I have been doing it for 10 years and if I miss a day or two (because I can’t be bothered to pack it when I go away for example) I really feel the difference. My skin benefits tremendously and not just my face – the tops of my arms, for example, are much smoother and silkier.

    March 31, 2016