Growing up my eldest sister used to have every lotion and potion going and I remember making fun of her for having so many products just for her face! However, I think there’s a direct correlation with the fact she’s looked after her skin since she was a teenager and people often asking if I’m older than her (which doesn’t impress me when I’m 6.5yrs younger!).
So, I do believe, in MOST cases, you have to put in a bit of effort to reap the rewards. There are, of course, always exceptions to the rule; I have, on occasions, done make-up ladies whose skin is smooth, soft and radiant and I assume they must really look after it with a meticulous daily regime. However, there have been times when the answer is “I don’t do anything to it, I just wash it with water and put E45 cream on!”. That is not the norm, my friends, so my recommendation is to not leave it to chance!
I only started my own, half-decent, skincare regime in 2014 and whilst I’m lucky to have been blessed with reasonably good skin anyway the difference was immediately apparent. Adding new products and steps to your morning and evening routine does take a bit of getting used to and yes, it may take slightly longer than you’d like, but I can honestly say it becomes second nature and it will soon become the norm for you. What I’m saying is, if I (one of the laziest people I know) can do it, anybody can! Follow these basic tips, as a starting point, for smoother, more radiant skin:
The best place to start is at the beginning! If you don’t cleanse your skin adequately, your pores will become blocked, meaning breakouts will be highly likely, your skin may appear dull and make-up won’t look nearly as good as it could. After all, if your skin is at its optimum, and is radiant and glowing, it makes sense that anything you apply on top will look even better.
I’m a huge fan of balm/hot cloth cleansers. These eradicate the need for cream make-up removers and toners (which have never left me feeling as though I’ve really cleaned everything off anyway) as they do everything in one – most will remove make-up, give you a deep cleanse and leave your skin feeling fresh but not stripped of essential oils. If your skin is excessively oily or dry, you may want to look for products specifically formulated for you, but there are lots that will be suitable for all skin types. Also, if you wear lots of waterproof mascara or very heavy eye make-up, you may find it beneficial to remove it first with a specific cleanser for eyes.
Anybody who knows me well will have heard me bang on about my favourite one (and go-to) called Blue Moon by Sunday Riley. Among other benefits it’s great at removing all make-up, it gives a very gentle exfoliation, it’s hydrating and I can’t put into words how amazing it makes my skin feel afterwards! The added bonus is that the company is cruelty-free, it comprises of a natural ingredient base and offers great results. Not cheap, but a 100g pot lasts me for weeks and weeks. Use a muslin or a microfibre cloth to remove – you don’t need to spend lots of money on these, I think I got some from the £1 shop!
Another great one is by Emma Hardie and it’s called the Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm. This works in the same way as Blue Moon, but it doesn’t have the exfoliation properties. It does, however, double as a hydrating/soothing face mask and can also be used as a rescue balm on dry areas of the body, such as elbows, knees and even as a lip balm. You also get a free double-sided cloth when you buy it! This one is probably better for normal/dry skin types.
If you’re not keen on switching to a balm, you can use a cream cleanser and cotton pads, but for a beautifully clean complexion after removing make-up, be prepared for it to be a 2-step process as the cream alone isn’t enough to remove all residual dirt etc. I’d recommend a really reasonably priced brand called Sukin – an environmentally conscious, natural-based brand that is free from sulphates and parabens. Follow that with something like the Gentle Cleansing Foam by Weleda – another natural-based brand. This will remove impurities and with its antioxidant properties, it will help to protect your skin from environmental pollution and leave you with a fresh face.
Everybody, no matter what your skin type, will benefit from gentle exfoliation. It’s not something you want to do every day, maybe twice a week, but buffing away the dead cells will brighten the surface and appearance of your skin and it will also help to unclog and minimise pores, reduce blackheads and stimulate circulation (among other benefits).
Try Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant. It’s a liquid, and non-abrasive, exfoliator, but don’t be put off by this as it still does the job of a traditional scrub by removing old skin cells and it leaves the skin soft and supple. Alternatively, opt for an organic exfoliant from a small, local (to me) brand called Pink&Green Skincare, which is really reasonably priced and the products are lovely.
Once your skin is beautifully clean you now want to keep it hydrated. Bear in mind that if you’re doing this routine in the evening your skin can take a slightly richer moisturiser than you’d wear in the day.
There are multiple other steps you can follow prior to moisturising, but I will leave that for another day (I don’t want to bore you to death!). This is supposed to be a basic, easy-to-follow process that everybody can make time for!
Combination/dry skin: try something like Natural Moisturizing Factors +HA by The Ordinary. It’s non-greasy and offers immediate hydrating results, plus it’s sooooo affordable at only £6.80 for 100ml!
All skin types: Another wallet-friendly one to try is Lait Crème Concentre Nourishing Moisturiser by Embroylisse. A little goes a long way and whilst I’ve only ever used it as a moisturiser, the French brand claim it can be used as a cleanser and primer too!
Combination/oily skin: If you suffer from excess oil, Clarimatte T-Zone Balancing Gel-cream by REN will help to mattify those areas, without stripping the skin, and it will also minimise the appearance of pores.
And that, my friends, is it! I’m personally very conscious about trying to use cruelty-free skincare brands that comprise of a natural ingredient base so I’ve done my best to suggest suitable products that fit those categories and don’t cost a fortune (although if any I’ve suggested breach that ideal please feel free to let me know!).
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