Can someone please explain how it’s September, nearly October already? This year has honestly gone by like the click of your fingers hasn’t it, It’s scary! Although one perk is that the Christmas chocolate tins are in the supermarkets now… See, there really is a positive in everything eh ;).
Anyway, back to skincare. First of all, please don’t be fooled by the title of this post, it hasn’t got anything to do with guys (or to be sexist) whatsoever (sorry if that’s what you thought you were about to be reading…), this one is all about the more gentle approach to skincare, shall we say!
If any of you are like me; there’s nothing nicer than having a really SQUEAKY CLEAN face is there? That is of course, until you walk 2 steps out of your bathroom and realise your face is gradually tightening at the speed of light. Yeah, this isn’t ideal really is it? Noooo! What I’ve come to learn over the couple of years or so, is that there really is no need to dry your skin out and make it ‘squeaky clean’, especially if you are combination, blemish prone and even oily (okay, if you are super duper oily you may be exempt here, just as long as you’re not drying yourself out to the extent of then producing a tonne more oil to replace what’s lost, if that makes sense?). Put bluntly, the oil is there for a reason, to HYDRATE your skin! Please, please try not to strip it all completely.
As you may have gathered from what I have said above, I myself have been known to use foaming/gel cleansers for what I thought was my oily skin. Turns out, I definitely don’t have oily skin (and I’m sure a lot of you that think you do, perhaps don’t too), mine is definitely more combination/dry (Oily in the T-zone and dry on the cheeks) I’ve now come to realise. Anyway I’m getting completely sidetracked, what I’m trying to say is gentle cleansers (even sometimes the products that are specifically for sensitive skin) are often best and can work like magic (and even more so if you suffer from breakouts) because believe it or not; skin that is stripped from oil, will only produce more to make up for it! So sadly, you guessed it- that will only cause more oil/breakouts (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news there…). So pleaseee, try to go as easy as you can (man)!
That nicely brings me onto my next point… If you can, try to avoid cleansers with ‘SLS’ in (also known as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate). If you’re new to this ingredient, it’s mostly at the top of the list on most shampoos, hand washes etc and many face washes (*cries*), It’s wayyyy too drying for your face and to be completely honest; it’s way too drying for your hair too, but that’s a story for another day! SLS is a foaming agent and is what makes your face wash/shampoo foam up lovely (please don’t be fooled by how creamy and bubbly it can feel), it’s really not doing you any good (yes even possibly you over there with oily skin). A much more gentle gel/cream/milk cleanser will do you wonders, trust me! Hydration is key and especially if you are after more of a ‘glow from within’ feel/look or just a more youthful & supple complexion, this is a great step in the right direction. So keep an eye on that ingredients list if your face is feeling tight and your cleanser has SLS in, it may be time to hit the shop shelves! On the flip side, if you’re cleanser has SLS in, you are super oily and it doesn’t make you feel tight, then go ahead and carry on. I won’t judge, I promise!
Now lets talk about… Acids!
Again if you’re anything like me, up until recently I would honestly run for the hills as soon as the word ‘acid’ was ever mentioned. Mainly for the obvious reason of them sounding far more scary than they actually are (the right acids that is, please don’t go using just anything you would find in a vial in your local lab…). But believe it or not… if used correctly, they can be really gentle, soothing and most importantly they can make you glow! They really can be your de-clogging but calming bestie. I know, I hate to admit it but I’m actually just as shocked as you haha. But there does come a big ‘but’ here… please start easy & do your research people.
In my experience and my most favourite one to date is: Azelaic acid. Despite ‘acid’ being in it’s title, this ingredient is perfect for skin which is reactive and/or prone to breakouts or rosacea. (For a bit of a science’y insight here) Azelaic acid is derived from grains like: wheat, rye and barley etc. (FYI: as far as I know, it’s absolutely fine to use if you have a gluten intolerance as it is completely separated from the grain. But like anything use with caution if you are severely allergic). It is an amazing brightening but calming antioxidant when used correctly. Nowadays, there are lots of formulas which include it (and possibly lots that you didn’t even know they had it in!), but my all time favourite has to be – The ordinary Azelaic acid suspension 10%. I actually stopped using this a few weeks ago (because I had run out and tried to break my habit of “a parcel a day keeps the doctor away” and tried to make a conscious decision to not keep ordering things online, safe to say this didn’t last but anyway…), since stopping, my face reallyyy showed it and I really missed it! Not only did I get a couple more breakouts (this may or may not have been from this), but the marks they left took noticeably longer to vanish! Plus, I noticed my face generally looked a lot more red (not even the nice glowy kind of red of which a blusher gives you, the other kind), so it was well and truly safe to say – I was glad to have it back! (Side note- always make sure you use a good hydrator underneath/on top though).
This may or may not be the answer to all your prayers (like I maybe make out above) and it may not work for everyone, BUT if you have skin like me (breakout prone & sometimes red and sensitive) please don’t do a me previously and run for the hills, this may be worth a shot! And did I mention, this particular product is under 6 quid? But like anything there are more expensive product versions from other brands, it just depends how ‘Boujee’ (hate that word but anyway haha) you’re feeling.
I hope by this point I haven’t made you want to completely change you’re whole routine (unless of course it’s completely wrong and your skin hates you at the moment), I hope its made you think a little bit more into what you do use. One of the important points I wanted to make in this post was; please don’t overload your skin with 101 different active ingredients all at once! I’ve said this before, and i’ll say it over and over. I personally, am very guilty at loading it all on (and I did this very exact thing last week actually and it didn’t end well, that’s all I’ll say…) because I quite frankly am just a massive skin care nerd! But sometimes it can be too much and your skin can really be like ‘what the fuck!’ (excuse my french there). Please take it from me; do your research and experiment, but GO EASY, especially when introducing new products. Skin care albeit is extremely confusing but when used correctly, it can work wonders. Anddd if you’re a sad’o like me (wouldn’t have it any other way by the way) it can be the most relaxing/enjoyable part of the day, just make sure you are using your products in the right order!
That nicely brings me onto… How to layer!
This can be another mind field in itself – ‘which product do I use first?’ ‘Which should be used at night and which should be used in the morning?’ Etc. Etc. Let me explain my understanding (some people do vary/have very strong opinions against certain orders, everyone’s different peeps!), but here’s mine…
To simplify it… Think of it as a cheese toastie, (cheese & onion, plain cheese, cheese and ham, whatever you like): the bottom slice of bread is your cleanser (important to keep everything as it should), the cheese is your serum/treatment/acid etc., (if you like being a little bit extra) the ham for example, is your second serum (one thing to remember here- the cheese when melted is runnier, so analogy wise, runnier serums always come first, they’re designed to go deeper into the skin so you don’t want barriers. Then the slightly thicker serums come second (ham)), Then you have the top layer of bread, this is your moisturiser. Then you have the optional (but highly recommended) layer of butter over the bread to toast it better, this is your SPF (in the day time, please don’t worry at night). So when all together, you get the perfect toasted sandwich (or skincare routine!). Okay, please don’t judge if you make yours differently, just use mine for the purposes of remembering this ;).
Hopefully that makes a little bit of sense and didn’t just make your tummy rumble? If it didn’t, here’s it put even simpler…
- Cleanse (your cleanser of choice, SLS free or not I won’t judge!) & ideally rinse off with a clean flannel/muslin cloth.
- Toner (if you use it).
- Serum (if you use this and however many you like to apply, just remember to use the liquid’est one first).
- Eye cream (if desired).
- SPF! (I would strongly recommend using a specific SPF product here, as opposed to a moisturiser & SPF in one, a separate one is more protective) (refer to my ‘Sun Protection Factor’ post for more details!).
- Makeup remover (if you wear makeup).
- Cleanser (depending on what makeup remover you use first, a double cleanse of some kind in the evening is very beneficial for removing all makeup and SPF). Again, ideally remove with a flannel/muslin cloth.
- Toner/acid (if desired).
- Serums/treatments (similar to morning, use none or as many as you like, just not too many to confuse your skin and be careful particular active ingredients are okay to use together!).
- Eye cream (If needed).
- Moisturiser (make sure it doesn’t contain SPF).
- Face oil (If desired, but highly recommended for all skin types).
Now I have to admit; all of the above is not always necessary, just use as much or as little as you like! As long as you use the very bare minimum at least (if you can) of a cleanser and moisturiser, that will start you off just fine. Just please try and ditch the wipes if you can, they’re not good for your face or the environment (Sorry!) and a cleanser is often around the same price, will do much more for your face and will last you longer! So it should be a no-brainer 😉
All in all, I hope that has made a little bit of sense. Trial and error is the best way, just always please proceed with caution initially and treat your face with respect and it will love you in return (hopefully!). Happy glowing!
Stay safe & take care,
Lots of love, Ella x