On one rainy day in January, I took a good look at my skin. What I saw wasn’t pretty: some parts of my face were covered in eczema, others in acne. A clear result of the excesses of December (the combination of wine, sugar and lack of exercise isn’t ideal), I harboured fears that my skin wouldn’t ever fully recover. I embarked on the only sensible course during moments of skin irritation and pared back to the very few products that didn’t agitate it further.
By February, the results of my more sensible, vegetable-rich diet, exercise sessions and gentle skincare were beginning to show: my skin had stopped flaring up and started to look smoother and clearer.
Having navigated those troubled waters my concerns are now twofold: I’m trying to repair the damage and scars from December while keeping everything calm so no further irritation occurs. The routine I’ve established is perfect for this purpose – soothing, with a focus on renewing and turning over cells efficiently.
This routine (or incorporating some of the products within) would be ideal for anyone with sensitive or dull skin that needs a little boost. Take note of the order in which products are used, too, as this is key to their efficacy. If you’re happy with your routine but have noticed as springtime is dawning that your skin looks a little tired, I’d direct you towards the gentle exfoliating products.
Finally, a word to those of you who might feel this is high maintenance and unmanageable – this routine takes five minutes in the morning and five in the evening. A total of ten minutes daily. Also, while the products aren’t cheap, when you use formulas that contain high-concentrations of good ingredients, a tiny pump will suffice and this routine, bought new, would last about four months.
Cleanser: S5 Neuralise Cleanser – I rub this onto dry skin and splash off with cool water. It’s a great morning cleanser as it doesn’t strip skin but does remove excess oil.
Toner: Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist – I spritz this twice into my hands and pat onto my skin to moisturise and calm (the calendula and camomile within is excellent for this purpose).
Serum: Jurlique Calendula Restorative Treatment Serum – I’ll plump for the Jurlique serum if my skin is red and sensitised, or the SkinCeuticals one if it looks a little like it may break out. The SkinCeuticals serum’s active ingredients includes AHAs, which will also exfoliate gently (ideal for skin that’s had acne and is left with some scarring/pigmentation).
Moisturiser: Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser Dry/Sensitive and S5 Renew Eye Cream – both gentle as can be and moisturising enough to impact dry skin that’s a result of the heating and wind outside. The Liz Earle moisturiser, by the by, is a serious contender to any of its dearer peers.
SPF: SkinCeuticals Mineral UV Defense SPF 50– this is a high factor but necessarily so as I’m putting a lot of focus on exfoliation at the moment and don’t want the new skin underneath to be damaged. It provides a little colour so I use it in place of a primer.
Eye Make-Up Remover: Liz Earle Eyebright – I am fastidious about taking all my make-up off properly. As I don’t want to damage the skin around my eyes by pulling off make-up, I soak two cotton pads in this and press them onto my eye to remove excess eye make-up before moving onto step two. If I haven’t worn much make-up that day, I skip this step.
Pre-Cleanse: Su-Man Purifying Cleansing Gel-Oil – This aromatic, gel cleanser needs a little kneading into the skin. I try to spend a minute really working it in before emulsifying it with water and rinsing off. Part of facialist Su-Man Hsu’s skincare range, this has impressed me as much as her facial did.
Cleanse: Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser or Espa Nourishing Cleansing Balm– I choose between these two depending on how my skin is behaving that day. The Intelligent Nutrients cleanser is a cream that you rinse off (I always use a muslin cloth to remove it) that works well when my skin is a little cross. The Espa balm is a little thicker and more nourishing, so I use this when it’s erring towards dehydrated or sore.
Toner: Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Toner and Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist – I often tone twice, not only because I like the refreshing sensation, but because toning is the best way to help moisture bind and can also be a treatment.
The first toner I use is the Clarins one to gently remove any dead cells and brighten up my skin. As this contains (teeny amounts) of glycolic, salicylic and tartaric acid, it’s great on spot-prone skin that is also sensitive – it will remove potentially clogging dead skin without drying the surface out. I use this about three times a week (on the days I’ve used the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age, I skip it so as not to overdo it on the exfoliation front) and follow with the Jurlique Mist.
Serum: Jurlique Calendula Restorative Treatment Serum or Nubo Equalaser Blemish Control Treatment – Again, I choose depending on how my skin is behaving. If it is looks prone to spottiness, I’ll use a (very thin) layer of the Nubo treatment – as it stays on overnight, its active ingredients have scope to really calm and unclog skin blockages. If everything’s a little calmer, on goes my Jurlique Serum.
Moisturiser: Estee Lauder Advanced Repair Night Eye Serum and Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser Dry/Sensitive + Karmameju Soothe Face Serum or Darphin Purifying Balm – In case you hadn’t already gathered, my skin is prone to changing in an instant. I tailor my moisturiser accordingly. I use the Estee Lauder nightly and then decide whether I need a moisturiser to help work toxins out (Darphin), or a whammy of hydration (I mix a pump of the Karmameju serum oil into the Liz Earle moisturiser and smooth it on).
I am currently using these as and when to boost the day-to-day regime:
– Una Brennan Tea Flower Deep Clean Clay Mask: This is a relatively cheap and excellent mask that draws out impurities.
– Vita Liberata Skin Respect Gradual Build Untinted Face Tan Lotion: When I’m looking too pasty, I swap my evening moisturisers for this nourishing organic tan.
– Dr. Alkaitis Organic Universal Mask: This is a good all rounder mask that’s organic and doesn’t irritate skin.
– Nude Miracle Mask: I use this twice weekly to really exfoliate properly – it is powered by AHAs and rice beads so lifts dead skin without damaging the delicate skin barrier. I also use this before a night out to ensure my skin is even and glowing.
– QMS Medicosmetics Hydro Foam Mask: Rich with hyaluronic acid and jojoba, this is a moisturise-boosting mask that I tend to apply whenever I’m in the bath. Ideal for spot-prone skin, this adds moisture without overwhelming the skin.
– Sarah Chapman Facialift: It is vital to stimulate the circulation and lymph drainage to diminish jaw break-outs. This is the easy way to do it. I use this at least twice weekly (and it also helps firm slackened skin around the jowl).