My “current skincare routine” feature is back! In typical Crilly fashion, I stopped doing my seasonal skincare videos and posts because I had bored myself with the same format. My skincare routine, four times a year, documenting any notable product discoveries or weird quirks with my skin – I felt as though I could still be turning out the same quarterly update in twenty years’ time. But it turns out that people like a familiar, regular video format and who am I to argue?
So after a brief hiatus (I missed out spring and summer this year) here’s the autumn skincare routine for 2021, focussing on the fact that my face had a brief meltdown and needed some gentle care and attention. This is why the theme of this feature is really; skincare SOS and creams that aid repair and recovery. I go into this more in my previous post – 3 Best Beauty Buys: SOS Skin Creams – so do take glance at that here for more details, but to summarise: I had a weird stomach bug, woke up afterwards and my skin had gone all strange and bumpy underneath. It was then dry and itchy. It felt rather like I’d overdone it with my retinol but I hadn’t done anything new or extreme.
As I mention in the post SOS Skin Cream post, the best thing to do whenever the proverbial shit hits the fan, face-wise, is to just pare everything right back. Gently cleanse and then moisturise with something that will help strengthen the skin barrier as well as deeply hydrate. Let’s do a deeper dive into the complete routine – it’s quite different to my default one:
My normal default skincare routine –
My SOS skincare routine –
My skin sorted itself out over the course of about a week and a half and now I’m pretty much back to the default routine, having cautiously reintroduced the retinoids every few days. Here are the products I pared back to – all of them great at any time, but especially if you’ve overdone it with your peels or intensive masks or retinol product or all of them at the same time (yikes):
I’ve been using a lot of the Kate Somerville DeliK8 Cleanser, £34 here*. It’s a beautifully soothing cream cleanser that’s great for angsty skin. The whole range is gorgeous but this is a particular treat.
You know that I love Emma Hardie’s Moringa Gel – I did a whole raving love post about it here. It gets my vote as best luxury cleanser because it’s so suited to both dry and oilier skin. Those who don’t get on with essential oils, avoid, but for anyone who wants a sense-tickling cleanse with something light then this is it!
Beauty Pie Hot Oil Cleanser – here* – is sumptuous and luxurious but (if you’re a Beauty Pie member) doesn’t come with the steep price tag. This is an unscented balm that removes every trace of makeup and dirt and I have nothing bad to say about it! You can find out more on Beauty Pie in this video I made recently.
Please refer back to this post for more details on these, but as a quick reference list:
No7 Hydrating Skin Paste (at Boots here*)
I love this “paste” – it’s actually a creamy, lightweight serum. More towards a light moisturiser than a runny, watery kind of serum but great to layer up under other creams and/or your sunscreen for an extra boost of hydration. If you don’t get on with sticky, tacky hyaluronic products then this is a nice change. Comfortable texture, housed in a metal tube like an oil paint (annoying lid), is fresh and cool on application.
Skinceuticals B5 Mask, online here*
I don’t tend to go in for a lot of moisturising masks – most of them just feel like a good, rich night cream except you then inexplicably flannel them off and rinse them down the sink. This one from SkinCeuticals, however, is one of the weirdest (yet effective) I’ve ever tried. It’s feels like what I can only imagine having a melted jellyfish stuck to your face would be like. It’s melted jellyfish in a tube. (It’s not made from jellyfish, calm down.) It almost seems to repel water so when you try to rinse it off it doesn’t just rinse away, you really have to use a washcloth or flannel. Marvellous stuff and the effects are noticeable.
SkinGenerics SPF30 – at Superdrug here
This sunscreen requires its very own post because it’s so groundbreakingly lightweight, but I want to do some comparison tests first with other weightless SPFs. Quite honestly, though, I doubt any will come out topping the Niacinamide + Osmo’city Moisturising Cream SPF30*. It feels like a water gel (nothing like a cream) on application and then simply disappears. No residue, no tackiness, and – equally as important – no feeling of tightness or dryness. It’s as if you haven’t applied anything at all, yet you have. Admittedly if it was SPF50 then it would be absolute perfection, but for those who want something for incidental exposure or who just hate the feel of other sunscreens so much they are willing to drop down to a 30, I can’t imagine you can beat this for invisible look and undetectable feel.
Just as a by-the-by, the retinol products I’ve been using since returning to the default routine are the Skin + Me (ultra powerful!) daily dose Tretinoin (find Skin + Me here) and the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream (find the range here*). Not together, I hasten to add!
Skin + Me Tretinoin
This one is specifically for me – Skin + Me make creams specifically for you once they know your skin type and skin goal. Which is ascertained via online questionnaire, filterless photos and any additional questions from the team. I’ve been doing some AD work with Skin + Me and so have tried them quite extensively – it’s a great idea and they make it very easy to form a simple, massively effective skincare routine. (Use code RUTH2 to get your first month for £3.50 instead of £19.99.)
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream
An old favourite, this is pokey as you like in terms of effectiveness and is hydrating enough that you don’t need to use any separate moisturiser over the top. There’s also a serum and eye cream in this range but I like the cream for its all-in-oneness for lazy nights! Find the whole range here* – at time of writing there are some good discounts going on!
I’ll be back in a couple of months with my winter skincare routine – until then, if you’d like to browse the historic back-catalogue of skincare routines then they are all here.
I’ve been experimenting with ways of getting more use out of the sorts of autumn dresses I’d usually “save for best”. Dresses that I’m happy to invest in, because they are more often than not bought for a work event or a special occasion, but that then tend to sit forlornly in the wardrobe waiting for their next outing. Which is a travesty. A travesty I tell you!
Why do we always seem to spend the most money on the items we wear the least? The “only for best” shoes that we can’t even walk in (guilty of this many times over, seduced by the red soles), the ridiculous dresses that require tit tape, Spanx and someone to hold the hem as you make your way perilously from taxi to wedding reception…
So, how to get more use out of the dresses you’d usually save for best? It’s really quite easy – so much so that I’m almost embarrassed to write it out. Just add knitwear. Oh, and flat footwear. With some welcome warmth on top and a newfound ability to run for the train as the doors start to shut, the “save for best” dress becomes a daily staple – and one that’s effortlessly chic and pulled together at that.
The striking all-over print that has always felt a little much for a quick run into town suddenly takes on a new role when it’s paired with a chunky cable-knit jumper – it offers a flash of bold pattern to lift an otherwise unremarkable bit of autumnal dressing. Because what would I have on otherwise? I’ll tell you: pale blue skinny jeans. My autumn-winter uniform. Jeans and a knit, white trainers and a big coat. Isn’t it a nice change to have something bright and perky going on downstairs?
(Not to mention the fact that the maxi skirt part of the special occasion dress is a hell of a lot kinder to the undercarriage than a daily sartorial diet of tight, restrictive denim with ill-placed crotch seam.)
I’ve picked out three different autumn dresses here that all look snazzy and special for an evening out but are equally great under woolly layers and with wintery boots or trainers on the feet rather than skyscraper heels.
Autumn Dress 1: Leaf Print Shirt Dress, £39.50 at M&S*
This is a real winner, this dress, but I feel it only comes into its own when you cinch the waist with a belt.
It has been made with reams and reams of fabric and so initially I felt a little swamped when I tried it on (I think it runs on the large size) but with a belt gathering the waist, the volumes of fabric suddenly felt highly luxurious rather than unshapely.
With a V-neck jumper thrown over the top (this one is from Reiss here*) and some boots in autumnal brown (these are Carvela, here*, and supremely comfy despite the heel) it becomes a throw-on dress for everyday wear. I’d probably stick to a navy cable-knit jumper in future but was trying to be snazzy with my styling here.
(I also decided to use a stick from the woods as a prop and I’m not sure whether it’s all a bit Lord of the Rings for my liking. You live and learn.)
Autumn Dress 2: Floral Printed Midi Dress, £198 at Reiss*
This was something of a departure from the norm for me: the high-neck, the clinging fabric, the print-from-a-nineteen-sixties-sofa-set. However the gathering across the chest and back seduced me and I have no regrets: it’s “gothic heroine meets Hen Night in the West End” and I’m here for it.
On a sidenote, there were so many dresses in Reiss that I loved. I’m definitely adding them to my list of “places to always check when you need an outfit in a hurry”. The tailoring is really good and the styles are sharp and feel somehow professional. Like what I’d wear if I was the daughter in the TV show Succession.
Actually if I was the daughter in Succession and potential heir to billions of dollars then I’d probably be in head-to-toe Tom Ford and Dundas and Saint Laurent but let’s not split hairs here. Or heirs. Hohoho.
So, heroine from a gothic novel but then – what’s this? Stompy boots to bring things back down to earth:
I’ve had a good old rave about these Russell and Bromley boots already but here we go again: beautifully made and absolutely worth every penny. I’ve wanted to invest in a pair of R&Bs for decades and don’t know what took me so long, to be frank.
I particularly love that I don’t have to do up all of these laces each time, because they are fake ones. What a tease and a thrill! Every time I look at the boots to put them on, my heart sinks a little because I see the laces, but a split second later my brain kicks in and reminds me that there are zips up the sides…
It’s the ultimate emotional rollercoaster, let me tell you.
The pretty little pink cardigan is from M&S* and is made from the softest cashmere – it looks great buttoned up and tight, twinset style, but equally good thrown over a dress to keep out the autumn chill.
Autumn Dress 3: Flower Field Tiered Maxi Dress, £295 at Me+Em*
I mentioned in my last try-on post (for Reformation dresses, here) how I thought that Me+Em were quite literally a cut above when it comes to finish. This was the dress I was referring to. It just slipped on like a dream and hugged all the right places.
The zip-front and side stripe give it the sport-luxe feel that Me+Em are so good at and the floral print is gorgeous. It’s also incredibly easy to dress this down, perhaps because of the dipped hem which gives a less weighty feel to the front of the skirt.
The dipped hem is a clever trick, really; it stops you looking like one of those knitted dolly toilet roll covers. Do you remember those from years go by? Anyway, with many long dresses your feet completely disappear so that it looks as though you’re floating. With a dipped hem, you get the sense of luxurious length at the back but it shows your feet and a bit of leg at the front. Very smart.
I’ve dressed this one down with my trainers of longtime habit: Adidas Stan Smiths. These, however, are Stan Smiths with a difference: from a line called Primegreen, they are vegan and made with 50% recycled materials. If you’re looking for a leather alternative. People rave about Veja but I found them a little uncomfortable and I don’t like the yellowed sole on them…
So, Primegreen Stan Smiths on my feet (these are £75 here*) and a navy textured cashmere jumper from M&S (£79 here*). Navy jumpers seem to be my jam, these days – black feels so harsh by comparison and I feel as though it tends to wash me out. I’ve relegated all the black knitwear to the shelf, cedar wood balls sandwiched between the layers. I should get some of those vacuum storage bags really, shouldn’t I?
Which is your favourite dress? Let me know. Along with any handy tips for dressing down the dressing up dresses.
(Sizing and shoot info: I am 5’8″ and hover between a UK10 and a UK12 in most brands. Here I’m wearing all size 10 or small. Shoe size UK6. Images shot whilst away this summer, the house was amazing – it’s here at Kate & Tom’s.)