My entire life I’ve been one of those lucky people who seemed to be blessed with perfect skin despite doing nothing to care for it.
My teen years were a breeze skin wise, I was lucky if I had a single pimple in a year despite never consistently washing my face, sleeping in my make up and eating my weight in junk food. The only thing I did right by my skin was drink an adequate amount of water and that was mostly because I was living in a warm climate and carried a water bottle everywhere.
When I hit twenty four years old, something in my skin changed. My normally normal to dry skin was suddenly oily, my forehead completely broke out with little tiny under the skin pimples that I could not get rid of and I was beginning to get hormonal break outs on my chin. I don’t know what caused that changed but I knew I needed to learn how to get it all under control and fast.
As a student I don’t have the money to go and visit the dermatologist, so I did the next best thing – google. I found a lovely little community on reddit called Skincare Addiction who are not only extremely helpful but they have some of the best advice and recommendations for nearly every skin problem you can think of. Reading through this reddit was a literal ‘AHA!’ moment. I’d found some genuine recommendations, got some real answers to problems I was having and found products within my budget that are amazing.
Now that I’ve cleared up my skin, figured out a routine that works for me and my skin and have consistently used these products for several months now, I feel like it’s an appropriate time to share what’s worked for me and recommend some of my favourite skin saving products!
Disclaimer: All links marked by a * are affiliate links.
MORNING SKINCARE ROUTINE
My morning and night routine are vastly different. My morning routine is quick, easy and focuses mostly on prepping my skin for the day. I generally don’t have a lot of time to get ready so I don’t like to use products that need time between applications or steps.
For the longest time I was using Micellar Water as my morning cleanser because I felt like I had to cleanse in the morning since that what everyone told you to do. Only, using Micellar Water as a cleanser was drying my skin out big time and causing break outs in some of the weirdest places (let me tell you, a pimple in the corner of your eye is so uncomfortable!). When I cut the cleanser and instead started using warm water and the TanGo! tan and make up removing cloth, my weird break outs slowly stopped and my skin cleared right up!
This is a step that so many say is unnecessary but I love the Sukin Hydrating Toner* mostly because as I have drier skin, I feel like it’s important to squeeze in as much moisture into my routine as I can. I don’t notice a huge difference when I don’t use it but it makes my skin more comfortable, so I’m going to continue using it.
I had no clue what Glycolic Acid was or what it did when I was first putting together a skincare routine for myself. Now I can’t live without it. It’s basically a chemical exfoliant that get’s rid of dead skin cells leaving your skin brighter and smoother. It’s perfect for tackling common skincare issues such as acne, discolouration or fine lines. If you’ve never used an acid toner, make sure you slowly incorporate it into your routine, starting out with using it once a week or so and gradually increasing your frequency. Glycolic acid can be quite drying and damaging to your moisture barrier if you don’t use it properly. I currently use The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution* and love it but I’ve also used the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads* which are also great!
Vitamin C Serum
I use a Vitamin C serum for two reasons. Firstly, it’s meant to be good for dry skin, improving hydration and moisture content and secondly, it’s mean to help protect from UVA and UVB sun rays. I live in Australia, a country with one of the highest rates of Melanoma in the world. While I love that we get some of the greatest weather ever, I have pale skin, so anything I can do to boost my sunscreen and prevent sun damage, you can bet I’m going to do it. I’m currently using the Hylamide C25 Vitamin C Serum* which is nice but kinda of thin and hard to apply. I’m on the hunt for a nice, mid-price range Vitamin C serum, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!
Tip: If you’re going to be using a Glycolic acid and Vitamin C in the same routine, make sure the pH levels are compatible or leave a significant amount of time between steps as the high pH of Glycolic acid can make Vitamin C ineffective!
Despite having dry skin, I’m surprisingly not too fussy about moisturisers. As long as it’s thick, doesn’t go sticky when it’s dry and it’s not going to break the bank, I’m happy to use whatever. One moisturiser that I’ve found my skin loves is the Simple Skincare Rich Moisturiser*. It’s so ridiculously cheap but it works so well and it dries really fast, meaning I don’t have to wait forever before putting make up on top. It also layers really nicely with both my serum and my SPF which makes getting ready in the morning so much easier.
This is my last step in my routine before make up. As I said before, sunscreen is so important to me because I do spend a fair bit of time in the sun. I personally prefer to use a separate sunscreen instead of having SPF in my moisturiser only because that way I know I’m getting adequate protection and I can reapply if I need to. I love the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL range, particularly the non-perfumed cream in SPF 50+ as it doesn’t have that gross sunscreen scent and it doesn’t leave a white cast across your face in photos.
NIGHT TIME SKINCARE ROUTINE
My night routine is a lot more focused on cleaning and hydrating. Unlike the morning, it is a little longer and includes a few more steps only simply because I have more time to do so.
I double cleanse every night. I do this simply because I need to remove my make up & sunscreen and then clean my skin. For my first cleanse I’ll either use Micellar Water, if I have a lot of make up to remove or my TanGo make up removing cloth again. Then I’ll go in with either the Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter* or the Sukin Cream Cleanser*. I don’t have a particular reason for choosing one over the other, other than I keep the Sukin one in my shower and the Body Shop one by my sink, so it all depends on where I feel like washing my face.
Same as in the morning, I use the Sukin Toner again to add some hydration. I do tend to let it dry into my skin for a little longer than in the mornings, though, since I have the time.
At almost 25, I’m becoming aware that my skin’s already showing signs of ageing. Not anything super obvious or noticeable to anyone else, but it’s something that I can see, so I want to prevent those fine lines from turning into wrinkles. Enter Vitamin A or as it’s more commonly called, Retinoid. Retinoid is a form of vitamin A proven to slow down signs of ageing, it’s also used to help with discolouration and blocked pores and I have seen such a difference in my skin since I started using it. There are so many forms or Retinol and Retinoids, that I really recommend you do your research before adding it to your routine to find what will work for you. I’m currently using The Ordinary’s Advanced Retinoid 2%* (which has been renamed to Granactive Retinoid 2% emulsion) but will be moving up to the Granactive Retinoid 5%* when this bottle runs out.
This is another step a lot of people say is kind of useless but I find that removing my eye make up and rubbing my eyes makes the skin around my eyes really dry and painful. The only solution I’ve found to ease this is a really thick eye cream. For me that’s the Elizabeth Arden Millennium Eye Renewal Cream but I’ve also used the Simple Skincare Soothing Eye Cream* in the past and highly recommend that as well!
Quick Note: After trying to find a link for you guys to find the Elizabeth Arden Eye Cream and coming up with nothing, I’ve come to realise that it’s probably been discontinued! Such a shame since it is seriously so nice!
Again, I just use the Simple Skincare Rich moisturiser. I don’t really feel like I need a specific night time moisturiser, when this one works just as well!
Sometimes when the weather’s turned or I haven’t drunk enough water, or I’m experiencing a hormonal break out, my skin will just get ridiculously dry. When that happens, I add an occlusive on top of my moisturiser, to stop the air from basically stealing all of the moisture I’m trying to add in to my skin. This is a little tip I found thanks to reddit and I’ve noticed such a vast difference in my skin since using it. The go to Occlusive for most people is Vaseline but I personally use Lucas Paw Paw Ointment* because I have a huge tub that I don’t really use (and one of it’s main ingredients is petroleum jelly!)
I generally use my spot treatments at night, straight after cleansing, as per the directions on both.
I often get little under the skin ‘hidden’ pimples. They’re colourless, painful and never really come to a head, so the only solution I’ve found is Benzoyl Peroxide. I use the 2.5% Benzac AC treatment and dot it onto a spot to help dry it out and bring it to the surface so I can treat it faster.
These are my saving grace for getting rid of pimples. They’re these magical, clear, plastic little sticky dots that you stick on pimples after cleansing your skin before you go to bed. When you wake up that pesky pimple has either completely disappeared or has halved in size and is no longer, red, painful and oh so obvious. I don’t know how they work or what they do exactly but all I know is they’re great and everyone needs to know about them. I highly recommend the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches* but if you’re on a budget, the hydrocolloid bandages for blisters do the exact same thing (you’ll just need to cut them to size yourself!)
What is your current favourite skincare product?