I’m not sure if it’s the lack of London Tube fumes or maybe I’ve just really overindulged when locked in at home, but my skin went from clear the week pre-lockdown to ‘this shit is bananas’ the week thereafter. 12 weeks in and I think I’ve finally have this under control with some changes in my skincare routine. Something old, something new and something borrowed.
PIXI GLOW MUD CLEANSER (£18) + FOREO LUNA 2 (£149) — The first week of lockdown, my skin started to breakout in the worst and most intense way possible, the kind I've not seen since I was in my late teens. As it was in the worst way possible, I decided to try something to target my acne and to give Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser a go since I love the mask. I found that over time it definitely has helped calm my skin, the first few days it left it quite dry, but I balanced that out with adding more hydration into my routine.
It contains Aloe Vera, which has soothing properties and a bunch more of botanical extracts to soothe and calm the skin. The 'pore cleansing mud' kept my acne at bay, so less spots were appearing and the 5% Glycolic Acid helps gently exfoliate the skin and left my skin smoother and I swear that my skin is recovering faster and hyperpigmentation is fading faster. I like to dampen my fingers and massage this on dry skin for 30 seconds, to really let the ingredients do its work.
Then I use my trusty 'ol Foreo Luna 2 all over my face and neck in circular motions before I rinse it off. I love my Luna 2 and I always fall back in love with it. It's got anti-bacterial bristles and I only charge it about once a year, which is perfect as I love anything low-key and low-maintenance. I've noticed a big difference in the appearance of my pores when using my Foreo. Don't get me wrong, they're still there, but definitely less noticeable and less blackheads, and as a plus it leaves my skin super soft as well!
TONEREN READY STEADY GLOW DAILY AHA TONIC (£25)+ ROSE WATER (~£5) — In the past I've been pretty non-commital when it comes to toners. I used whichever one I had on the shelf and that was about it. However, with my skin changing for the worse the past couple of weeks, it really allowed me to identify where the cracks in my routine were. Aside from having my breakouts, my skin was very rough and felt super dehydrated, regardless of the layers of Hyaluronic Acid I put on. I had used REN's Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic in the past and when I did, my boyfriend always complimented how soft my skin was, so I repurchased it. Only 7 days in of using it twice a day, my skin has truly transformed itself and not only does it feel and look smoother, the hyperpigmentation caused by my breakouts have started to fade faster as well and has kept my blackheads at bay.
As it's an acid toner, it sometimes can be a bit much for my sensitive skin, so I double up with an organic Rose Water Toner. This one's from Jacob Hooy, but you can use any brand —I personally love Melvita or Sanoflore for an affordable, organic alternative. Rose water has great anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce redness and skin irritation as well. I use a cotton pad to swipe the AHA toner across my face and neck first and then pat on the rose water after, to soothe the skin.
TREATTHE ORDINARY NIACINAMIDE & ZINC (£5) + CLINIQUE ID (£36) + MEDIK8 BLEMISH SOS (£15.18) — Serums are probably my favourite part of my routine, just because it really allows me to mix and match and prescribe a concoction that targets the concerns of my skin at that point in time. Currently I've been heavily struggling with acne, dehydration, dullness and hyperpigmentation. To target my breakouts, I went back to my trusty The Ordinary Niacinamide & Zinc Serum. I stopped using it for a month, because I was testing another serum (more on this soon!) with high concentrations of Niacinamide in, but it just didn't do the trick, so I had to go back to my OG. I love this serum because it's affordable and for me it helps clearing acne faster, as well as preventing breakouts to come back —which is exactly what it did.
To tackle dehydration, I normally would reach out to my The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid serum, but I didn't bring that back home with me and I wanted to try something new, as I felt like my skin needed a bit 'more'. Ever since Clinique launched their iD range, I've been very intrigued by the concept, so I finally bit the bullet and ordered it. For my base, I chose Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly, which is a hydrating serum that also fights pollution. For the active ingredient, I decided to go for the blue cartridge, which is for skin renewal. I have loved their Turnaround range in the past, so was super excited to test it. The cartridge claims to help even out skin texture, as well as minimising the appearance of enlarged pores. It's concentrated with AHAs to really aid skin renewal.
I tend to pump 1-2 pumps in the palm of my hand and then mix the two serums before applying it all over my face. It feels super hydrating and light, which I find very important as I've got combination-oily skin. It leaves a very healthy sheen of radiance, without it looking oily or overly glossy. After just the first week, I noticed that my skin felt plumper and more hydrated, also my complexion looked a lot more even as well. I definitely think that this in combination with my AHA toner really sped this up.
Finally, if I have any spots that are either coming up or just there, I've been using Medik8 Blemish SOS, which contains a high concentrate of Salicylic Acid to spot treat any blemishes. I've noticed that it helps the spot come to surface or just dry up faster without drying out the skin on my face, which is a huge plus. I like to also put it on spots I've just squeezed (yes, yes, I know) and it really helps it to recover quicker and is less likely to leave hyperpigmentation on the skin.
MOISTURECHARLOTTE TILBURY MAGIC CREAM (£75) + AURELIA CELL REVITALISE DAY MOISTURISER (£58) + CHARLOTTE TILBURY MAGIC EYE RESCUE (£42) + AURELIA CELL REPAIR NIGHT OIL (£62) — To be really honest, ever since I've added the Clinique iD serum to my routine, there's not a massive need for moisturiser, so in the morning I tend to just add a thin layer of either Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream if I know I'm leaving the house, as it has hydration, glow and SPF 15 in one pot. Or if I know I'm just moping around in the house all day — which in fairness, is most days — I just slap on a bit of Aurelia's Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser. It leaves a healthy dew to the skin, but has a natural matteness to it as well. It's very lightweight and super easy to work into the skin.
Eye creams is something I've only started to apply religiously since 4 months ago. I saw the first fine line creeping up underneath my left eye and I think I finally accepted that I am getting older and I can't take skin for granted. I quite like Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Eye Rescue, as it's really hydrating and it has a richness to it, without it feeling really heavy. I can't say that it does anything for puffiness or dark circles, but I do believe it plumps the eye area. And, I've not noticed any additional fine lines appearing since I've been using it, so that's good enough for me.
For evenings, I like applying oils regardless of the season. I think it's so important to pick the right oil for your skin type, as otherwise it will just feel uncomfortable. As I've got slightly oilier skin, I tend to go for face oils that aren't too heavy or nourishing, as that doesn't work for me and will only result in an uncomfortable night of sleep and a pillow case seeped in oil. The one I've really been loving is Aurelia's Cell Repair Night Oil, which contains BioOrganic botanicals, such as Kalahari Oil that contains fatty acids, Mongongo Oil to restructure and regenerate the epidermis, Kigelia to firm and tone and Baobab (a super antioxidant) to help repair, renew and hydrate the skin. It has the most beautiful smelling blend of Neroli, Rose, Lavender and Mandarin essential oils, making it the perfect night time oil.
I like to warm the oil in between my palms and pat this onto the face and neck before I use circular motions to work it into the skin. It leaves the skin super hydrated and glossy (my boyfriend used the word "sweaty") and I wake up with a fresh and radiant complexion the next morning.
MASKCHARLOTTE TILBURY GODDESS CLAY MASK (£38) + PIXI GLOW MUD MASK (£18) + KOREAN SHEET MASKS (£5-10) — Anyone who has ever lived with me or spent more than 3 days with me knows that I love my face masks. Depending on how my skin is behaving, I stick to 1-2 masks a week. As I've been battling acne since I was 15, I've built this love for clarifying masks since then and I think I've finally found my go-tos that work. Charlotte Tilbury's Goddess Clay Mask I love because it smells gorgeous and is very nourishing on the skin, whilst also cleaning the skin. It applies like a thick cream and unlike most clay masks, it doesn't dry up so it super comfortable to wear for a longer period of time. Sometimes I like to use this when I've washed my face right after work and leave it on till I finish cooking, or when my skin has mild breakouts, as it's gentle and effective at the same time.
That being said, when I'm dealing with a massive breakout (or just a singular massive spot) that doesn't seem to budge, I bring in the big guy —Pixi Glow Mud Mask. It's a grey clay that dries up once it's sucked out all the gunk from your pores and you can see where it's worked hardest, as the mask dries a different colour in those areas. I do think it helps keeping my pores clean and when I've got a big spot, sometimes I just use this as a spot treatment for 15-20 mins and wash it off. The next morning, it's either less angry and shrunk in size, or it's ready to pop.
When it comes to hydrating the skin, I like to use sheet masks, as I find them much more effective vs. cream masks. The serum / essence each sheet is soaked in is super packed in active ingredients and I instantly notice how my skin drinks it up. I tend to use Korean sheet masks almost exclusively, just because I've tried them in the past and they work best for me. Favourites include, Papa Recipe (Honey based masks, great for hydration and anti-inflammatory. The yellow and rose ones are my favourites), LEADERS (I love their Aloe Vera, Acne and Hydration one) and MediHeal (their Hydration Ampoule and Pore Stamp are my go-tos). That being said, I'm always up for trying new sheet masks!
So there we have it, my quarantine skincare routine. Hopefully this post won't jinx it, but my skin legitimately has been behaving so, SO well after making these tweaks and sticking to this routine and I hope it'll stay this way. What is your skincare routine and have you made any tweaks during the lockdown period?