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

Beauty Spotlight: CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion

Hi, loves! Today’s post is a little short but a lot sweet, I just couldn’t wait to get this up for you guys 🙂 I shared my first beauty spotlight post a little while ago featuring this Garnier hair mask; in this series I talk about a specific product that I truly love. These are products that deserve a whole post dedicated to them because they’re just that good!

I very recently started using prescription treatment for my skin (thanks to this incredible offer from Dermatica and Caroline Hirons) so right now I’m using the most paired back, back-to-basics skincare routine. I’m using a very minimal amount of products – well, for me anyway – and I actually don’t think I’ll ever go back to using as many products as I used to. 

I have seen a lot of hype around the brand CeraVe over the past year or so, and honestly I’d never been drawn in to try it. I really think this was because the packaging is nothing to write home about, I hadn’t realised how much packaging influences me… stick something in a pretty bottle and I’ll probably buy it. I’m a marketer’s dream! The pretty packaging that looks nice by my bathroom sink or in blog photos is what I have always gravitated towards, but that didn’t mean those products worked best for my skin. I fell in love with Caroline Hirons and everything she teaches a good few years back, and ever since I’ve become more and more interested in skincare; from the ingredients to the story of the brand and everything in-between.

Let’s get one thing straight right now… this is a basic, no-frills moisturiser. And it’s also the best moisturiser I’ve ever used…

I’ve talked about this a few times on my blog, but my skin was VERY oily a few years back. I’ve struggled with acne since my late teens/early twenties, and over the past six months or so my skin seems to have finally evened out. My skin is combination and still (unfortunately) acne prone, but thankfully I definitely get a lot less cystic acne than I used to. I still get those horrible under the skin bumps on my chin/jaw line, especially around the time of my period each month – you’ve just gotta love being a girl don’t you?! – but overall my skin is the best it’s been in a long time. I whole heartedly believe my paired back routine, and in particular this product, has had a huge impact on that.

CeraVe is an American brand that was developed by dermatologists to be easily accessible and affordable. I’m not exactly sure when it made it’s way across the pond but I’m so grateful that we can get it so easily here in the UK! The CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion is specifically recommend for use in the evenings – which is when I personally use it – but I’d also happily use this during the day. I’ve tried it a few times after my friend said she used it both morning and night and it is such a great base for makeup, and super hydrating throughout the day. Next time Matt and I travel (whenever that will be…) I’ll definitely just take this to use day and night. 

I’m pretty sure the reason it’s marketed for evening use only is because they sell the same lotion formulated with SPF, for use during the day. I’ve tried that one too and although I used it up I wouldn’t re-purchase as I really love my La Roche Posay Toleraine Ultra, and I personally like to use a separate SPF after my moisturiser instead of using a two-in-one product. 

The lotion is not at all greasy, sinks into my skin so nicely and it’s never once caused me irritation. My skin is very sensitive and so many moisturisers can turn it red and ‘hot’. I just thought that was something that would happen no matter what I used, but now that I’m using gentle products on my skin I’ve realised how many harsh products I was using before. This lotion is super lightweight (which is why it also works great under makeup) and does not pill or feel thick on my face. I hate products that leave a ‘greasy film’ on my face and most moisturisers do this; it’s like my skin tries to overcompensate for the moisture levels or something!

I only use two pumps of this to cover all of my face and neck, so although the packaging is quite small one tube lasts me a really long time. The tube retails for £13 so its extremely affordable and a great option for good quality skincare on a budget.

I think the reason this lotion has been so great for my skin is because of the ingredients. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid which is great for retaining moisture in your skin and restoring/supporting your skin barrier. Niacinamide is another very important ingredient in the formula; this is formulated in my Dermatica prescription too and it has so many perks. The main things I want niacnimaide to do for my skin is to improve uneven skin tone and scarring (caused by previous acne) and minimize large pores on my nose. I seen a difference within a few weeks from first using this moisturiser, way before I got my prescription.

There’s only one con I can think of… it’s so good my boyfriend steals it. I’ve finally pulled Matthew away from the cheap crap (in quality, not pricing) he was using and now he likes to share my favourite products too. It’s my own fault guys! If I had one tip… maybe buy one for you and one for your partner?

Have you tried this moisturiser? Do you love it as much as I do? I definitely recommend this next time you’re looking for a new no-frills moisturiser, it’s so amazing and it’s so affordable 🙂 also, do you have any other CeraVe recommendations for me? I use (and love) the hydrating cleanser and eye cream, but I’d love to try more! 

-G x

My Current Skincare Routine: Winter Edition

Hi, loves! Today’s post is one I’m so excited about because I really just wanted to talk about all the products I’m loving right now. I should start by saying that my skin is combination, and like most people’s it leans way more to the dry side during the Winter months. My skin is also dehydrated, and that’s something I’m really trying to treat. Overall I’m pretty happy with my skin right now, and I’ve learned it’s never going to be ‘perfect’ which is fine! I recently talked about the things I’ve learned from my experience with acne, and I think it’s so important that we stop being so hard on ourselves for not having perfect skin. Nobody has perfect skin, and that’s okay! Also I’m sure this may seem like a lot of products to some (and possibly very little to others) but this is just what works for me 🙂

AM

I cleanse my face every morning with my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser which I absolutely love! This cleanser leaves my face feeling clean and is the perfect first step in the morning as it’s not at all harsh or stripping. It removes all of the skincare product residue from the night before easily and gently, and it has a really pleasant, light scent which I appreciate because I’m not a fan of highly fragranced cleansers. I really look forward to washing my face with this every morning!

Depending on how my skin is, I tone with Pixi Glow Tonic but I tend to only use this on the days my skin is feeling extra dry or if I have an active breakout/cystic acne. This is without a doubt my favourite toner as it is packed with glycolic acid which gently exfoliates your skin. I really think this makes a huge difference to the pores on my cheeks too, it definitely reduces the appearance of them and overall helps my skin look so much brighter. It literally makes you glow!

Whether I have or haven’t used my toner, my next step is always Hydraluron serum. As soon as the weather gets cold, my skin gets dry and dehydrated and this serum works to boost moisture levels in the skin, and hold on to all of the moisture from your moisturiser. If you’re struggling with dehydrated skin (a huge tell tale sign is your makeup breaking up/not lasting throughout the day) you should give this a go as it makes all the difference! It’s not a miracle worker and my skin is definitely still dehydrated, but it has improved so much since I started using this serum. I only use a pea sized amount across my whole face; it absorbs straight in and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky at all. Also, just an FYI, Caroline Hirons swears by this product so much it’s been coined Hironsluron by her loyal readers/viewers!

I’m not usually too fussed on which eye cream I use as I’ve never found a day time eye cream that makes much difference to me, but that all changed when I picked up La Roche Posay Hydraphase eye cream. I’ve been using this around two months and it feels so nice, absorbs into my under eye area quickly and is cooling which is lovely if your eyes can be a little puffy in the morning! My concealer always sits well on top of this which is also a bonus as I’ve tried several eye creams that pill under makeup and cause texture.

For my moisturiser I like to combine two products; I take a smidge of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and mix it with a bigger smidge of Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré. So technical, I know! If I have a bad breakout I apply a little Effaclar Duo directly over the area, but most days I mix them together with my fingertips and apply all over my face. Effaclar Duo has been a staple in my skincare routine for years and it’s something I’ve always kept in my collection, but with consistent use it’s made such a difference to my skin. I love love love Lait Crème Concentré – which is one of the best selling French pharmacy skincare products ever – as it’s very hydrating, but sinks into the skin so well and is a perfect base under makeup. Makeup artists worldwide swear by this as a must have product in their kit, it also doubles as a primer which is great for travelling!

My favourite ever lip balm is hands down Nuxe Reve de Miel – made by another fantastic French pharmacy brand – I just cannot say enough good things about this! It’s creamy, moisturising, non-sticky and keeps my lips moisturised for hours. I use this morning and night, and I also keep my Nuxe Reve de Miel stick in my bag which I re-apply several times throughout the day. Matt is a huge fan of these lip balms too!

PM

My favourite time of the day apart from snuggling up in bed with Matt is taking my makeup (and bra) off. As soon as I’m home for the evening I like to take off my makeup, get showered/bathed and throw my pj’s on, and then I’m cosy for the night! Over the past few weeks I’ve been reaching only for the Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm which is an old favourite of mine. This balm takes off every. single. scrap. of makeup on your face and doesn’t cause any irritation to my sensitive skin. I apply to my dry face, and massage in to start to break down my makeup. I then wet my fingers and carry on massaging in the balm, which turns to an oil-like consistency when water is added. I take my flannel soaked with warm water to remove everything. It literally takes less than a minute! I’m also a huge fan of these flannels from M&S; they’re inexpensive, wash so well and make the world of difference to my cleansing routine.

I always always always double cleanse – because Caroline Hirons told me to – and nine times out of ten I reach for my Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser that I use each morning. I just love this stuff! It’s also very boyfriend friendly; I’m forever trying to get Matt into a set skincare routine and this is one of the few products he actually enjoys using.

Each night I tone my face with either Pixi Glow Tonic or Pixi Retinol Tonic on a cotton round. I choose which one to use based on my skin that day; if I’m suffering with an acne flare up or a bad breakout I reach for Glow tonic, and if I’m having a good skin day I reach for Retinol tonic. This is such a low dose of Retinol that it is safe to use every day, so I often use this several nights in a row, and I love how it makes my skin feel.

My next step is to apply The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid serum which is fantastic for dehydrated or dry skin! I personally prefer Hydraluron for during the day, but I love love love this product for the evening. I find this is a lot more runny in consistency and you have to be careful not to pump too much out, but it is such a bargain and really has made a difference to my skin. It leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated, and is the perfect product to be sandwiched between cleansing and applying the rest of my skincare products.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you will know I am obsessed with The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask and nothing will ever replace this for me! I’ve used this product for around two to three years and it is just so hydrating. I especially love that this eye cream is cooling on application and as it’s a gel-like texture it sinks straight in. I really love this eye cream and it’s a product several people have told me they tried because I rave about it so much… it’s so worth the hype, I promise!

Before I apply my my moisturiser, I use Pixi Glow Tonic serum followed by Botanics Restoring Overnight facial oil which is my perfect evening combination. The Pixi serum is just beautiful! I apply two to three drops across my whole face and it helps to exfoliate (like the toner) and hydrate. My skin always looks glowy and fresh after application, and if I ever skip this step I feel like my skin really pays for it the next day. The Botanics facial oil was something I picked up on a whim in Boots – we’ve all done it, right? – and it is the most luxurious facial oil I’ve ever used! I love the scent so much, it’s packed full of essential oils and is really calming. I am so impressed with the quality of the oil and I’d really advise anyone wanting a little luxury in their skincare routine to pick it up! One thing to note is that I don’t apply the oil to any areas affected with an active breakout!

My holy grail skincare product this time of year is Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser, it’s truly the best hydrating moisturiser I’ve ever tried! I feel like it just layers so well on top of my serums and oil, and makes my skin feel so soft and plump. I love that it’s such a light texture but a little really does go a long way, and it is a great product if you have combination skin. It definitely doesn’t make my face feel or look oily, but it concentrates on any dry patches and just makes things so much more hydrated!

Just like I do in the mornings, I always finish off my evening skincare routine with my Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. I generally tend to do my skincare routine early in the evening so I often apply several times more before I go to sleep, and I always put it on just before Matt and I get into bed.

I of course use various treatments – sheet masks are a personal fave – throughout the week/month, and I just see how my skin is doing and what it needs at that time. You can read all about my favourite treatment products here, I still use and love all of those products, I just have a few extra faves now too! I love trying new beauty products but these days I’m slightly more hesitant to try new skincare products as I’m really happy with the ones I’m currently using! I would love to try more from the Botanics range though, and the Clinique Moisture Surge hydrating water gel has been on my ‘to try’ list forever! What are your go-to skincare products for the colder months? Have you tried anything I talked about in this post, or are you adding them to your Christmas list?

-G x