When it comes to skincare, I take my nighttime routine seriously. This means I even turn down invites to late night partying because I can’t think of anything worse than not treating my skin to a facial (this is probably why I am chronically single, too). After all, it is the best time to wash off a day’s worth of grime. And considering I spend all my time in the city, you can only imagine how dirty it can get.
After recently recovering from atopic dermatitis (eczema) on my right cheek bone, I had to re-evaluate my routine and go back to basics. While it can be easy to go mad with serums, lotions and creams, and even emulate a 10-step Korean skincare routine, less is always more. My eczema took a while for it to calm down as I have both combination and sensitive skin so I had to be patient. But with both combination and sensitive skin, nailing a skincare routine can be quite tricky.
I’ve been using a fantastic family of products over the last couple of weeks and my skin has soaked them all up. So I thought it only right to explain and share the products I have been using and how I use them.
Step one: the cleanser
Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil: 85ml for £16, Kiehl’s.
Firstly, I’d like to point out that this humble bottle of cleanser is actually a sample I was given by the lovely store assistant in the Kiehl’s store inside Embankment Station. I came in practically in tears because my skin was just awful and I pleaded with them to help me out. As a Kiehl’s addict, I know the products pretty well and I have used the Midnight Recovery range before (Midnight Recovery serum has cult status) so I was pleased to have been given a sample of the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil to trial. And I wasn’t disappointed.
I am a huge advocate of cleansing oils, mainly because they are lightweight and super easy to use. You can literally melt a whole face of makeup away with just one pump. Kiehl’s one is pretty much like it’s serum, in the way that it is non-drying (so great for people with dry skin) but also moisturising so you reap the benefits overnight. And I’m not surprised. The reviews online have been great, with customers praising the cleanser’s ability to melt away mascara and eye make-up, without the extra usage of eye make-up remover. I will definitely be going back to the store to buy a full sized product!
Step two: the toner
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner: 236ml for £15, Beauty Bay.
I had never come across Mario Badescu until very recently. Thanks to my day job, I am exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly. Luckily, this one falls into the good category. Glycolic Acid is a chemical exfoliant and is the smallest of AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids). It is designed to only exfoliate the surface layer of your skin and it does this by breaking down the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, as well as dissolving excess sebum.
Not only is this product great for oily and dry skin, but it’s also non-drying and less potent like other glycolic acids on the market. I have used other products that have ended up being way too strong and stripping too much of my skin, leaving it dry and flaky - no one wants that. And for the price, I’m willing to stock up pronto.
Step three: the serum (1)
Jurlique Rose Daily Moisture Balancing Serum: 30ml for £40, Jurlique.
If I could whittle on about how much I love Jurlique, I would spend all day doing it but I wouldn’t want to bore you. But to be quite honest, I think the products really speak for themselves. I don’t like rose-scented products because I am hyper-sensitive to it, so sometimes my skin or sinuses (mainly both) reacts badly to it. But this formula doesn’t - it’s perfect. The one thing I love about Jurlique is the fact that their products don’t have that artificial botanical smell. Amazingly, the Australian brand harvests their own flowers in the Adelaide Hills, ensuring all the plants are free from pesticides, herbicides and synthetic chemicals.
I love using this serum because it is lightweight, penetrates the skin in no time and smells absolutely gorgeous. If you’re someone who simply cannot use scented skincare - that’s fair enough - but this, I think - and personally for me and my hyper-sensitive skin - is fine. Plus, the packaging will complement any shelfie. Just look at it!
This product was a gifted sample.
Step four: the serum (2)
Glossier Super Pure: 15ml for £24, Glossier.
Your favourite millennial skincare brand broke the beauty world with it’s brilliant line of no make-up make-up and has even delved into the vast world of serums. While the market is already pretty saturated - with glass bottles labelled with words even you struggle to pronounce - I’ve been pretty impressed with this one in particular. At first I was skeptical, because, let’s face it. This is Glossier and it is the most hyped-up brand going.
But the formula lives up to the hype. The mix of niacinamide (vitamin b3) and zinc are the key ingredients to use if you are experiencing redness and excess sebum. Perfect for unclogging the day, the gel-like formula glides on like water, so it doesn’t leave any unnecessary residue and gently penetrates the skin. I actually prefer it to The Ordinary’s version. There, I said it.
This product is a gifted sample.
Step four: the moisturiser
Ageing is something we skincare addicts are very much aware of. Unless you are gifted with impenetrable genes, you will be victim to the effects of time. But worry not. If you act fast - by being a whizz-kid when it comes to ingredients, you should be fine. Enter: The Works no wrinkles midnight moisture. I’m not entirely sure that this product can 100 per cent claim to prevent wrinkles, but it could certainly help slow down the process.
It’s formula of hyaluronic acid - an ingredient already present in our skin - helps to hydrate and plump the skin, while the holy grail of anti-ageing ingredients, retinol, helps to boost collagen production and cell renewal. I’ve just started using this so I can’t tell you whether or not it has made me look 20 years younger. That said, I am 25. However, I do love the silkiness of this moisturiser and it doesn’t make my skin feel too clogged when getting ready for bed.
Step five: the eye cream
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado: 14g for £26, Kiehl’s
As part of my very exaggerated meltdown in Kiehl’s, I purchased this eye-wateringly expensive eye cream. I don’t know if I bought this cream because it was going to be beneficial for my very dry and crusty area under my eye, or the fact that the millennial inside me was screaming at the word avocado. Nevertheless, I prayed to the lords that this cream was worth the £££ I subsequently spent.
And it was, thank God. But I do feel like eye-creams need attention. They are often left out of skincare routines, but they are incredibly important as the eye area is very delicate. Dehydrated skin around the eye can cause eye-puffiness and because the eye ball is frequently moving around, the movement can cause wrinkles. If this area is kept hydrated, the skin will remain plump and bright. Sometimes age can get in the way, but that’s where eye-cream comes in.
This one, I have to admit, is really good. It feels like you’re slathering avocado under your eye. And a little goes a long way, so I definitely don’t regret opting to buy the smaller version as I think the XL pot would be a bit excessive. I reckon this little pot will last me at least a year. But please do check the expiry date as it is no good using products that are off.
Step six: the lip mask
Kiehl’s Buttermask for lips: 8g for £22, Kiehl’s
You know when you’re at the till waiting to pay for your items and you catch a glimpse of a tray of chocolates for only £1? You can’t resist it, can you? Well I literally did the same thing, but in Kiehl’s. This buttermask was at the till when I was about the pay and of course, I threw it down and said, “and this please!” - I have zero willpower when it comes to shopping.
However, I’m glad I bought it. Thanks to my anxiety, I incessantly pick at the skin on my lips, which makes them bleed and subsequently scab over. But because they scab over, I pick at them again. I’m really trying not to, but in the process, I needed to find some kind of overnight treatment so it would prevent me from picking at my lips in the morning. At night I apply a generous amount of this mask, which is packed full of coconut oil and wild mango butter, which is said to hydrate and soften the lips while you sleep. I have noticed a difference in the morning, but I do have to remember to re-apply during the day so I’m not picking at the flaky skin.
Was it worth the £22? I think so.
Step seven: the spray (optional)
Cowshed Knackered Cow Relaxing Room Fragrance: 100ml for £14.95, All Beauty
This is entirely optional, but is absolutely key to my nighttime skincare routine. It’s so important that I hate staying around other people’s houses without it, and if I do bring it along, they think I’m a total freak. But honestly, I cannot sleep without it. Think of it as the oil or spray your yoga teacher massages into your neck during Savasana. It makes you relaxed and ready for a snooze, doesn’t it? This is exactly why I love this stuff so much.
A few spritzes around my bedroom and on my pillow and within minutes I’m snoring like Pumbaa. When I was little, my mother gave me a pillow which she sprayed with lavender before bed and I cuddled it until I fell asleep. That’s probably why I cannot sleep without it. This spray is infused with lavender and eucalyptus which are both great for restoring harmony and clarifying the mind respectively. Sadly, I don’t think Cowshed stock it anymore, but All Beauty does. Hurrah!