My summer skincare routine is here and it’s slightly juicier than usual because a couple of months ago I had to do an almost unprecedented SOS u-turn on my whole beauty routine. I know you’re ready to hear about it. We all love a bit of a disaster.
Actually it wasn’t quite a disaster, but nearly. And anyway it was all the weather’s fault – who knew we’d have a month-long heatwave IN SPRING? There I was, merrily spending all of my time in the garden (from dawn til dusk, almost), not really tweaking my skincare routine to suit my environment because IT WAS STILL SPRING. It simply didn’t occur to me that I should have been shelving all of my usual spring products (that I was using because…it was spring) and adapt a routine more suited to a four week trek through the Sahara. I just don’t really associate my garden with high-high temperatures and dangerous levels of sun exposure (classic Brit mistake, I think) and so although I was always slathered in SPF, something untoward happened: I started getting bits of pigmentation on my upper lip and along my cheekbones.
I realise that was something of an anti-climax for those of you waiting for stories of skin blisters, ice packs and a trip to A&E, but no – just some pesky pigmentation beginning to creep over my face. Which isn’t something that’s ever really happened before. And I was slightly bemused until it occurred to me that I’d been carrying on with my usual retinol-hydrate-retinol-hydrate drill, using a strongish retinoid one night and then giving my skin a real moisture boost the next, without really thinking about what was happening in the daytime.
It’s not like me to overlook this sort of thing, especially when it comes to my face (once a model, always a model: your face is what pays the mortgage) but I have to say that I was a little distracted during lockdown, what with the world ending and supermarket shelves being emptied and the fear of death and also having two small children tearing about the place 24/7 with no relief in sight.
Anyway, as soon as the little freckly patches appeared I did a total 360 on my skincare routine and for the first time used my “big guns” antioxidants twice daily in an attempt to stop the discolouration in its tracks. I pulled back on the retinol, mainly because I can’t cope with thinking about more than one thing at once, and AHAs were temporarily abandoned.
It’s important to note that I didn’t reduce the retinoid usage because of the dark spots – I’m not suggesting that one caused the other – it’s just that it has always been a natural reaction for me to simplify things if I run into any kind of beauty bother. And although I’ve read dozens of articles quoting dermatologists who say that it’s absolutely fine to use retinol during periods of increased sun exposure (aka “summer”), there are others who warn to tread carefully. Who tell you to wear a LOT of sunscreen. (This post by the experts at Medik8 is good.) And if the caveat to using an ingredient is that you need to be really, really careful and slather on your SPF repeatedly and preferably move to a dark cave then it’s my instinct to retreat from it temporarily. I think that I probably play things fairly safe and boring in these days of needle-covered rollers and peels that require fans so that you don’t self-combust and competitive acid percentages and imaginative actives layering. I just really, really don’t enjoy my face falling off.
But back on topic: my antioxidants of choice were from Skinceuticals, a brand well-known for its antioxidant power players. Although their CE Ferulic is perhaps their hero product in this category, I actually chose the Resveratrol BE for nighttime use and the new(ish) Discoloration Defense for the morning. I’ve used the Resveratrol BE before with great results, so it was a natural choice and I’d been meaning to try the Discoloration Defense since its launch, but had never really had any discolouration to test it out on!
(Before I continue, I must say that these serious serums come with a serious price-tag – the Resveratrol BE is £135 here* and the Discoloration Defense is £85 here* – but Skinceuticals always really impress me with their meticulous clinical trials and their ability to formulate ultra-potent stuff without making my skin irritated. And although I have dozens of antioxidants waiting to be tested, I would purchase the Discoloration Defense serum when this one inevitably runs out. Always a good sign. And please note that I have suggested an alternative antioxidant in the product list below.)
So the BE at night at the DD in the morning, although I could have used the DD serum both day and night, which would make the routine a hell of a lot cheaper than adding the Resveratrol in! Did I bring back my skin from the brink? Yes, most certainly. And it looked brighter, more radiant, too. I’ll tell you what I did notice, though, after abandoning my retinol-moisture-retinol habit: my skin didn’t feel quite so bouncy and plumptious and elastic. Glowing, yes. More even-toned, definitely. But there’s a real boing quality to skin that’s loving its retinol products and I must admit I miss it.
Of course the organised person would do antioxidants in the morning, retinol at night and wear a great big hat in the garden. Easier said than done – my hat invariably gets used as a fairy village (filled with soil and weeds and shells), picnic basket (filled with food) and dog’s emergency water bowl in any one day. But once I get into the Antioxidant-Retinol-Hydrate groove this autumn I genuinely think I’ll have hit the skincare sweet spot…
For now, here’s my full skincare routine on video. I’ve also listed the products I’ve been using below, for those who hate video – it’s pretty self-explanatory, but do let me know in the comments if you have any questions.
Curel Foaming Facial Wash*: http://tidd.ly/f83e3054
Inkey List Oat Cleanser*: https://bit.ly/30h50pf
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser*: http://bit.ly/2rjRByY
Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum*: https://bit.ly/3bMhLMV
Paula’s Choice Triple Algae Pollution Shield*: https://bit.ly/3jbO2kP
Skinceuticals Resveratrol BE Serum*: https://bit.ly/32o7NQ1
Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Eye Cream*: https://bit.ly/3gwo9dg
Toleriane Fluid*: https://bit.ly/30iglW4
Dr Roebucks No Worries Face Cream*: https://bit.ly/2Cj42AD
Retinols (occasional) –
Kate Somerville +Retinol Vita C Serum*: https://bit.ly/2DGHDxw
Murad Retinol Serum*: https://bit.ly/30esN9j
Rich Night Creams –
Lumene Nordic Hydracare Rich Day Cream, £26.90 here*: http://bit.ly/2PQ3aqS
REN Overnight Balm*: https://bit.ly/30jxfn1
Kate Somerville Delik8*: https://bit.ly/3hesvWV
Three Favourite Sunscreens Video: https://youtu.be/f4pzGoALxlU
Elizabeth Arden Great 8 SPF35*: https://amzn.to/32sIUTh
Beauty Pie Fruitizyme Five Minute Fix Mask*: https://bit.ly/3j6uCO6
I completely forgot to post up my May Favourites video and when I gave it a quick once over to see what it was all about, because May feels like a century ago, it was like travelling back through time. Travelling back to an era when I hadn’t hacked off my own hair with paper scissors, when I could still fit into my shorts, when I didn’t have a problem with beard and moustache growth. (See my Instagram page.)
Oh, life seemed so much more carefree, back in May!** You didn’t have to make up excuses not to see people, the doorbell never rang. It was zoom this and zoom that, you could mute yourself and carry on typing emails or you could pretend that turning the camera off was an accident – “oops, sorry everyone, I’m still a dinosaur with these things – can anyone see me?” – so that you could eat lunch during a client meeting.
(**Apart from the obvious health hazards, impending economic disaster and stressful homeschooling situations.)
Now it’s all “let’s meet up for garden drinks” and you have to de-beard yourself and get dressed. I got halfway around Sainsbury’s the other day before I realised that I hadn’t even done up the buttons on my shirt properly and that my baps were proudly presenting themselves in all of their manky-brassiered glory.
It’s a (re)learning curve, this social skills thing.
Anyway, here’s the May Favourites. It’s going to be closely followed by June Favourites in the next couple of days, which will make you feel as though I’m messing with your head, but it has to be done because if it isn’t recorded on here for posterity then it never happened. One day this blog will be an important historical research, mark my words! Few people have kept up an online documentation of their life with such dedication and attention to detail. OK, quite a few have, but apart from them, not many. I’ll be like the Samuel Pepys of the 21st Century, except I’m writing about face creams and social distancing mishaps rather than great fires and plagues. We’re virtually the same guy.
Products mentioned are below – interesting that the Futurist foundation was a favourite, I’d forgotten that I’d popped that in! You can read the full and proper review of it here if you’re interested in more info.
Hush Shorts, £45 here*
Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Foundation, £36 here*
Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Bronzer here*
Guerlain Terracotta Nude, £38 here* – I didn’t realise that this only came in one shade. It states “universal” but honestly I don’t know how far that would stretch, it’s pretty subtle on me and I’m fair-medium. Sorry, I should have checked this before posting.
Real Techniques Powder Brush, £8.84*: https://amzn.to/3djqffl Pixi Eye Palette Natural Beauty, £24 here*
Sanctuary Moisture Miracle Body Lotion Extra Rich, £10 here*
Rimmel 60 Seconds Shine Nail Polish, £3.49 here*
Curel Foaming Face Wash, £12.50 here*
My shirt is a really old one from H&M.
Necklace is Jennifer Meyer here*
Here’s the skincare routine I’ve been following for most of the season and I have to say that it has kept my face looking quite spectacularly fresh and bouncy, considering the stress levels and overarching sense of fatigue that has dominated the past few months. (And the fact that I’ve been gorging on Mint Magnums with ever-increasing frequency.)
So the tweaks I’ve made seem to have seen me through spring without any significant dramas – though I think it’s also pertinent to note that I’ve been taking my Vitamin D every day, which always makes a huge difference to my skin, hair and nails. (To be more accurate, I took Vitamin D tablets for the first few weeks of lockdown, but when the weather turned glorious and stayed that way, I ended up spending most of my time outdoors and so I haven’t been quite so diligent at taking the supplement. Regardless, I always find the difference remarkable. My default state, in terms of vitamin D levels, seems to be “chronically deficient”.)
Anyway, no more blathering on: here’s my current routine. There’s a product list as long as my arm for this particular update (below the video pane), but not because it’s complex; I just wanted to give a few options for each step – something spendy, something sensible. Favourites old and favourites new.
My Current Skincare Routine: Spring 2020
In a nutshell:
Morning: Cleanse + Antioxidant + Moisturiser/SPF
Evening Night 1: Cleanse + Retinol
Evening Night 2: Cleanse + Hydrating Serum + Rich Moisturiser
My morning routine remains relatively unchanged. In fact I never really do anything funky or different in the morning, mainly because I don’t have the time to spare. Or even the time to think things through properly. As such, it’s usually a cleanser-serum-moisturise situation, although I’ve been outdoors a lot and so you can tag “sunscreen” onto the end of that list.
The cleanser tends to be light and splash-off and I love the Curel Foaming Wash* at the moment. The antioxidant du jour is Paula’s Choice Triple Algae Pollution Shield* and you can find out about my current most-used sunscreens here.
My evening routine alternates between two versions, neither of them very difficult or lengthy. After a thorough cleanse with a balm, usually twice, I’ll either apply my retinol product (see list beneath the video pane) or I’ll go in for the hydration marathon. Well, not really a marathon – just two steps. More of a hydration sprint. In the Dads’ race at school sports day.
The sprint consists of a hydrating serum and then a rich moisturiser, just to get things juicy and plumptious.
That’s it. The odd glycolic peel pad, but not so much at the moment because I’m outside for most of the day, and now and then a face mask, mainly because I’ve started drinking a herbal sleepy tea in the bath before bed and a face mask just feels right.
There’s a lot more in the way of explanation for everything in the video, so you should absolutely watch that. I don’t even waffle, which is nothing short of a miracle, especially as being locked in with two small children has completely melted my mind. Locked in? Locked down!
You can find all my cleanser reviews here
Sunscreen reviews are here
Link to Vitamin C Products featured here
It’s Best Budget Beauty time again and who better to join me in my bargain-hunting exploits than the self-confessed dupe-obsessive Nadine Baggott? Nadine has decades of experience as a beauty editor and presenter and spends an unholy amount of time chasing down high-performance products that cost a fraction of the luxury versions.
In this little duet of videos (is that even a term?) we unearth our favourite makeup and skincare finds in the under £20 bracket. I think that it could quite easily have been an under £15 challenge, really, as most of the products featured hover around or under that price – a few are currently available for under a fiver.
As with last week’s, I have captioned my video using a real-life transcriber so that the subtitles make sense. On the skincare video you can get this to appear by clicking the CC at the bottom of the video screen. I’ve listed the featured skincare products at the bottom of this page – for the makeup finds, click through to Nadine’s video and all of the listings will be in the description box!
Right, get watching if you want to find out which cult (and notoriously hard to get) skincare brand will soon be in Superdrug or which eyeshadow pencil is as good as the designer ones yet costs less than a fiver…
Here’s the Best Budget Skincare video:
and the Best Budget Makeup video on Nadine’s Youtube channel:
Products Featured in the Skincare video:
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser*: http://bit.ly/2rjRByY
Curel Makeup Cleansing Gel*: http://tidd.ly/6b72c794
Inkey List Collagen*: https://amzn.to/2SIY2Xr
Hada Labo Hyaluronic with retinol + collagen*: https://amzn.to/2SWx4dP
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluid*: http://tidd.ly/f6b3539f
The Body Shop Aloe Day Cream*: http://tidd.ly/53ff3fb0
Simple Calming Moisturiser*: http://tidd.ly/852f4075
Eucerin Vit C*: http://tidd.ly/e9074e01
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