My Morning Skincare Routine

Happy Monday, my loves! It’s finally time to share my morning skincare routine with you and I’m so excited about it. I know I’ve been talking about this for a while and took a long time to post but I promise it’s worth it, there’s so many good products that I truly love! 

Lots of you will know I struggle with my skin A LOT – if not, you can read about my acne experience here – but right now I’m truly so happy with my routines and my skin. I haven’t had an active pimple in over a month, even when I got my period last week! I genuinely haven’t had skin like this since I started getting acne at around 19/20 years old so you can imagine how happy I am.

I think a huge part of my skin being happy recently has been due to the fact I’m only wearing makeup a couple times per week (gotta love that WFH life) and a solid skincare routine morning and night. I used to love switching products out, trying new things all the time and just messing around with my routine, but now I really don’t have a desire to do that. I’ve finally found a bunch of products that I LOVE and I’m so excited to share them with you all!

For reference, my skin is combination, acne-prone and pretty sensitive. I have a little texture that I’m working on clearing up but other than that I’m super happy with how my face looks right now. I do still have acne scarring and hyperpigmentation but no skincare product will ever change that, I’d need to have laser surgery to fix it. I like that my routine consists of products that are budget friendly (except one!) and even those that seem a little more money are great when I consider how long they last and how many uses I get out of them.

La Roche Posay Effaclar H Cleansing Cream
I love this cleanser so much it actually motivates me to jump out of bed and wash my face in the morning. That’s how good it is. I am generally an evening shower person so I like a cleanser that wakes me up and this really does! It’s so gentle, doesn’t irritate my eyes, doesn’t strip my face and is the perfect thing to take off my evening skincare and prepare my face for the day ahead. It’s super creamy and leaves my face so soft! My favourite thing about this is that it doesn’t leave a film or residue behind which is something I really dislike about a lot of ‘cheaper’ cleansers. It doesn’t make my face feel tight or uncomfortable, it’s just such a nice no-frills product that gets the job done, but feels a little bit luxurious.

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream
I’m aware this is the most ridiculously priced, bougie eye cream. I know. BUT, it’s amazing! I would have never purchased this full price but the deal in the Caroline Hirons Kit was incredible and I’m so grateful to have this eye cream, even just for a little while! It’s a pretty big size considering I use the teeniest amount of eye cream, but after realizing how much I love this product I’ve started to ‘save’ it. On my WFH no makeup days I’ve been opting for my trusty CeraVe eye cream (which is ONE FIFTH of the price of the Sunday Riley!!) as I really don’t want to waste the good stuff. But, on the Sunday Riley one; I can see why people who can afford to spend a boat load on skincare buy this. It truly is beautiful! It is very de-puffing – which is great if you’re not the best sleeper, like me! – and it looks almost iridescent when applied; my whole under eye looks brighter immediately, and I do think it helps my concealer to look better too. I often find my concealer under my eyes can look a little dried out by the middle of the day but when I use this I definitely don’t notice that!

La Roche Posay Ultra 8 Mist
I adore this facial spray! I mist my face before and after I use a Hyaluronic Acid serum as I find it absorbs better into damp skin. I’m pretty sure I learned this from a YouTube video a very long time ago. This mist is very hydrating and helps to keep my skin moisturised, it’s really refreshing and I especially feel the benefit from using it on super hot days. I also spray this mist throughout the day; back in the days I used to go into an office (remember them!?) I would keep a bottle on my desk to re-hydrate my face through the day. It doesn’t bother your makeup at all! As I’m home all day working I still pop up to my vanity able and spritz my face once or twice per day! The spray would be great for travel too as it’s pretty much hydration in a bottle. I’ve recently been trying out this Rosewater and Glycerin spray from The Heritage Store which does pretty much the same thing, except it’s half the price of LRP. I need to use it a little more to pick a favourite but I really enjoy using them both.

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum / NIOD Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
I noticed the biggest difference in my skin around two years ago when I first introduced a Hyaluronic Acid serum. My skin is dehydrated, and although it gets worse during super dry or super cold weather, it’s a problem all year round. Using a HA helps to combat this a lot; it helps my skin to stay moisturised and soft. I typically alternate between HA’s from The Inkey List and NIOD because I love them both.I like a lot of other brands too, but these are the two best I’ve tried. Having said that they are very different ends of the pricing scale; I actually would say I prefer The Inkey List over NIOD if I had to choose. Hyaluronic Acid retains moisture in the skin and works to reduce the visibility of fine lines, I’m starting to see a few under my eyes so I always make sure to take it up to that area.

REN EverCalm Global Protection Day Cream
It took me a very long time to find a holy grail moisturiser to use during the day but it was so worth the wait, this stuff is incredible! As my skin is combination, sensitive and acne-prone I have to be careful when it comes to products that stay on the face for long periods of time (like serums or moisturisers). Moisturisers are often too heavy for me to wear all day/night and result in me breaking out and experiencing clogged pores. I truly adore everything I’ve tried from REN’s EverCalm range and none of their products have ever made me break out. This moisturiser is so lightweight but super hydrating; I use less than a full pump each morning and it melts into my skin beautifully. It doesn’t make me any more oily in my T Zone which I love, yet it keeps the rest of my face moisturised and hydrated. I also love how this looks under makeup; it’s the perfect base (along with SPF during the day) that helps my makeup to stay in place. I’m NEVER feeling – or more importantly, looking – shiny at the end of the day any more, that is literally magic!

The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF 50
I am going to write a whole post specifically about SPF in the next few weeks so I’ll try to keep this kinda brief! I wear SPF every single day which I think is so important, it’s not just for those hot, sunny days and I don’t think enough people know this. I have tried a ton of SPF’s and although I like others, this is my go-to and the one I’ve most used/repurchased. The formula was recently changed but I still really like it; a little goes a long way and I find it helps my makeup to look good too! I buy the 60ml size and a tube lasts me around six months (I do sometimes switch out to a different SPF but very rarely) and it’s got very high SPF 50 coverage. As the SPF is so high it does leave a little bit of a white cast but it sinks in quickly and goes away, it helps your skin to look glowy and fresh before and even after makeup application. I find lots of SPF’s I’ve tried are greasy and leave a weird residue on the skin but this doesn’t at all, I do try to leave at least 20 minutes between using this to applying my makeup so maybe give that a try if you struggle with SPF!

I’ll be sharing my evening skincare routine with you soon, but that’s everything I use on a typical morning! Have you tried any of these products? Do you love them as much as I do?! If you’re looking for any new skincare products I 100% recommend all of these, except maybe the Sunday Riley eye cream which is just the craziest price. What are your go-to morning skincare products? I’d love to hear your favourites, too! 

-G x

Three Lessons I’ve Learned From My Experience With Acne

Hi, loves! I’ve talked several times about my journey with acne on my blog, and today I want to talk about what I’ve learned from the experience. I first thought about writing this post months ago but I wanted to wait until my skin was ‘good’ so I was able to discuss it in more detail. Honestly, my skin has good days and bad days; I’m still experiencing acne and if I want to talk about what I’ve learned so far in my journey there’s not ever going to be a specific right time. It’s scary and I feel super vulnerable putting this post out there but I’m hoping if it can bring others comfort and reassurance it’s worth it, right?!

Here’s a little background for those of you who aren’t familiar: as a teenager I had near perfect skin, and it wasn’t until I turned 19 that I began getting any spots at all. As I moved into my early twenties I began to experience cystic acne that felt overwhelming and horrendous; I hated it with every part of me, and honestly hated the way I looked for YEARS. My skin became something I worried about all day every day and I’ve carried that with me for so long it’s probably always going to be part of me. I was very emotional about my skin, and I unfortunately still am. When someone mentions a breakout or really bad spot – even if they mean well – my defense mechanism is to ignore the conversation because it makes me feel SO uncomfortable. Honestly it’s so rude to point out something ‘wrong’ with someone else’s skin and I’ve no idea why people think it’s okay to do so.

I feel very very lucky that my skin has calmed down a lot over the years and the acne I experience now is much more manageable in terms of treatment and also pain level. I’ve no idea if that is down to a change in hormones, finally settling into a tried and tested skincare routine, a bit of both or something else entirely but I’m so grateful to have clearer skin. I no longer suffer from consistent acne, although I do have breakouts pretty much every week that sometimes can be cystic there’s a huge difference. At one point my cheeks and jaw line were covered in breakouts, and they were so bad I couldn’t hide them with makeup which made them seem even worse to me. Every time one breakout began to clear up another would appear and it was a constant cycle I couldn’t do anything about. Now I’m thankful that I generally have one or two small (by comparison to what I used to experience) breakouts at a time, which is easier to manage and doesn’t cause me as much anxiety or stress.

I think other than the ocassional cystic acne, the most irritating breakouts I get now are those under-the-skin-bumps that feel like my whole face is pulsing as they last for days or sometimes a week. The really frustrating thing is that there isn’t a way to draw them out or help them heal quicker which stresses me out a little. I don’t mean to sound negative about having acne, and I hope it doesn’t come across that way, I just really want to be transparent and help you to get the full perspective on how my skin has been (and still is). Don’t get me wrong; there are MUCH worse things in the world than having acne! But when it’s something that you deal with day to day and you can’t get a break from it can feel so overwhelming and almost debilitating at times. I lost so much confidence when I first started experiencing acne a few years back and I’m so grateful that I now feel so much better about myself. Matt tells me I’m beautiful every single day – even when I most definitely DO NOT look beautiful, hah! – and little things like that truly mean the world to me.

I’m sure I’ve got so much more to learn regarding acne but today I’m so excited to share a few things I’ve learned so far from my acne journey with you all. If you have suffered or are still suffering with acne of any form please know that I get how you feel, so many people experience varying forms of acne and it’s something I really think we should talk about more openly.

There is no such thing as a miracle cure. Oh how I wish there was. I’ve lost count of how many creams, oils, serums etc I’ve tried over the years – lots of them even on prescription or doctors’ recommendations – and not one of them has magically cleared my acne. Funny, huh?! I think in the beginning I was very naive and just assumed that one product would come along and make my skin smooth, even and acne free. I definitely assumed that expensive meant better when it came to skincare (and makeup, haircare, body care etc) but that is categorically not true. Some of my most used, very favourite products are from the drugstore – albeit some at slightly more premium prices – but you do NOT need to use an £80.00 serum to see results!

Something that is so important however is finding a good skincare routine for morning and night that helps your skin. This can be a frustrating and costly experiment, because not every product you try will work for your skin, your skin may change and something that worked for a while may not any more and you may have other skin concerns that you want to address along the way. I love skincare and I’m so invested in learning about it so for the most part I quite enjoy the trial and error of finding new products, but I’m so happy that right now I truly enjoy every single part of my skincare routine. I have introduced two new products fairly recently and after I’ve used them for a few more weeks I’ll for sure share my current AM and PM skincare routines with you!

One thing I’d like to mention as it’s something I’ve experienced several times is that people – especially those who don’t have any specific skin concerns themselves – may criticize the products (or amount of products) you use. Take this with a pinch of salt; once you find the products that work for you, you’ll be so pleased you took time to figure it out! What happened to “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” anyway?! Following a curated skincare routine is essential and any dermatologist or aesthetician will tell you that it is vital. Obviously, there are some things that products cannot help with too much; for example I have some pretty bad acne scarring that would need laser treatment to minimize, but that’s okay with me and I’ve just gotten used to it. Caroline Hirons is a wealth of knowledge for all types of skin concerns, and if you’re feeling a little lost for what to do to help yourself I would really advise checking out her blog and YouTube channel.

Hormones plays a huge part in how your skin looks/feels. I was put on the pill by my doctor at a very young age – I had just barely turned thirteen – because I had horrendously painful periods. Side note: I’m experiencing them again right now at the age of 25 after changing my pill not so long ago… I just love being a girl. :). HAH. As my hormones were altered by a tablet from such a young age, I’m not sure if this might have changed the way my skin was or not, but it’s so normal to experience more spots or actual acne because of hormonal changes.

It’s very common around the time of your period to break out, pregnancy and breastfeeding throws off your hormones and causes all kinds of skin issues, and sometimes just generally if you’re feeling tired, anxious, stressed or just a bit run down your skin often has a reaction too. If you know you’re breaking out due to hormonal reasons there is still so many options of treatments for this, I’d really recommend speaking to your doctor. One tip I’d love to share with you regarding hormonal acne; from my experience these spots are usually angry, red, raised, and not always ones that have a whitehead. If this is the case and you’re looking for immediate relief, take an anti-histamine! Breakouts are literally an inflammation, so anti-histamines help to lessen the redness and swelling, and makes day-to-day life with spots just that little bit easier. I wish I knew this YEARS ago!

Your skin is nothing to be embarrassed about. How many times have you told your partner or friend that you just can’t believe the size of the spot on your chin? Maybe you’re calling it your ‘second head’? And how many times have you been met with the response “where?! I can’t even see it?” … we can all relate, right?! I truly believe that your skin looks and feels worse to you because it’s often a very personal and emotional thing, but like with most areas of life being kind to yourself is such an important factor in helping things to be easier. When he was a teenager Matt also suffered from cystic acne and I’m so grateful he understands exactly how I feel when I have a particularly bad breakout now – whether it’s cystic or not. I think it’s often really hard for people with ‘good’ skin to understand just how much skin issues can affect others, but just by being honest and opening the conversation up it helps to break down the taboo.

In my early twenties I spent countless social occasions making my excuses for why I couldn’t go and literally hiding away because I was so embarrassed of my skin, and it’s really sad because I never should have felt that way. I definitely think my acne linked to my anxiety, as when my skin was especially bad my anxiety was most definitely heightened. Even now when I have a particularly ‘bad’ breakout (I realise this is subjective) I still feel like I don’t want to be social, how silly is that? It’s something I can’t explain to people who don’t ‘get it’ but I’m working on changing my thought process slowly but surely. We’ve all heard this before but plastering foundations and concealers over any bout of acne, spots or blemishes is not necessarily the answer, we just need to find comfort in embracing our skin! *Makes note to self*

Thank you so much from reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and if acne is something that still affects you on a daily basis I hope you found a little comfort in it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a time in my life where my skin is completely breakout free but I hope I do, one day! Have you dealt with acne as a teenager or adult? What have you learned from your experience?

-G x

Skincare Saviours

Hi, loves! I am such a huge lover of skincare, it’s my favourite part of my beauty routine and I really enjoy trying new brands and products. That being said, I definitely have my favourites that I come back to time and time again that I couldn’t imagine being without. I talked through my skincare routine in this post back in March and I still love and use all of those products! I have added some new products into my routine over the past few months, but I’ll save those to share with you in an updated skincare routine during the Autumn months. Today I’m talking about my must haves that I like to use randomly during the week, and that are also reserved for those crappy skin days when my regular routine just won’t cut it.

My skin is firmly in the ‘combination’ category; it’s super oily in my T Zone, especially during the Summer months, but I also have dry skin that needs lots of moisture and hydration. I seem to have eczema (or something similar) under my right eye that appears out of nowhere, it’s there right now and it drives me crazy! I am so strict with my skincare routine and I never miss a morning or night; it’s so therapeutic to me and I’m really happy with the products I’m using right now. I am however very intrigued by the new Pixi Vitamin C range and I’m planning on picking up some of those products next time I’m shopping, please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried anything yet and what you think so far!

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
This is my absolute holy grail mask, and I’ve spoken about it A LOT on my blog! I use this once per week, usually on a Sunday evening, and my skin loves it. Matt almost always joins in with my little pamper evenings when I use this mask, because it just makes your skin look incredible. The ‘glow’ part is so true – my skin feels light and glowy, and my makeup always applies better the next day. As I mentioned in this post, I always apply with The Body Shop’s face mask brush which ensures it goes on evenly without clumping, and is not at all messy. It is slightly tingly when applied but that subsides pretty quickly, and although I leave the mask on for around 10 – 15 minutes (pretty much just until it hardens) it never leaves my skin red or puffy. I also swear by all of the sheet masks from The Body Shop as they always leave my skin looking and feeling great! When Matt and I are travelling I always pack a few sheet masks as they’re so travel friendly, and really quick to use! Also, they’re biodegradable and environmentally friendly, doesn’t it just feel good to be in David Attenborough’s good books?

Pixi Glow Tonic
It’s a cult product for a reason, right? A must have in my routine, a product I always travel with and one I recommend to anyone and everyone who will listen, but I have stopped using this every day. Shocking, right? I now use this roughly four to five times per week; I’ve experimented with using it when I felt like my skin ‘needed’ it, every day use, and eventually settled somewhere in-between that. I take this toner on a reusable cotton pad, wipe over my t-zone and take whatever is left on the rest of my face, then once my skin is dry I apply my serum(s), eye cream and moisturiser. I never use this during the morning but I always notice the following day how glowy my skin looks, it’s a genuine miracle worker. It has reduced hyper pigmentation and acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw line SO much, and I love how my makeup applies the next day. Also, I really feel like this isn’t talked about enough when it comes to Glow Tonic; but you MUST use SPF religiously if you use this product, especially during the Summer months.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion *gifted
This product hasn’t been in rotation in my routine very long, but oh my gosh I just love it! It was very kindly sent to me by The Body Shop and I’ve been using this exfoliator two to three times per week since I received it. This is another product Matt ‘borrows’ from me – he’s obsessed with this and how much it clears the blackheads from his nose! I don’t find it harsh on my skin as the exfoliating pieces are so fine and not abrasive, and it never leaves my sensitive skin red or feeling sore. My skin always looks and feels so much brighter in the evenings I use this, and it works very well on acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, it seems to fade/lighten the scars which is amazing. This exfoliator works so well on dry patches, and I know this will be a staple going into the Autumn and Winter months when my skin needs all the TLC it can get. It smells gorgeous and is such a treat to use in the evening, I really look forward to it. I always make sure to use a nourishing serum afterwards – my favourite is of course the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil from The Body Shop – which helps to hydrate my skin.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
I bought this product for the first time way before I heard any hype about it, and I feel like it was one of the very rare times I was ahead of the ‘trend’! I ordered this on a whim back in 2016, and after trying so many products for persistent acne I have to admit I didn’t have high hopes. By this point I’d been prescribed various creams by the doctors and even they hadn’t worked, but I was still willing to give anything a shot. I applied this as I’d read online; dipping a cotton bud into the bottom of the bottle without shaking the mixture; and went to sleep. Fast forward to the following morning and the horrible under-the-skin spot that was taking over my chin had almost gone, I literally couldn’t believe it! I’ve always gotten on well with the formula, and I’ve re-purchased several bottles over the years. I only use this now when I have a particularly bad spot and it still works a treat. I apply onto a spot before bed (Matt’s a lucky guy!) and the next morning the spot is always way less red, reduced in size and less painful.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it helpful, I loved sharing this with you because skincare is just my thing. When I was younger I definitely was more interested in makeup products, but the more I learn about skincare the more I love it! What are your skincare saviours that you reach for throughout the week or turn to when you’re having a bad skin day? Have you tried any of the products in this post?

-G x