Naturally everything I say here is purely the opinion of myself and my skin, so I cannot pretend to know anything more than that. But I do love pampering my skin and I have used many products over the course of my life.
My mother had bright red hair, fair fair German skin in the cruel African sun (before the days of SPF!), smoked a lot, never used moisturiser and had a huge scar where a garden fork went through her cheek, so her skin was prematurely wrinkled and aged.
When I was 10, she handed me a bottle of Oil of Ulay and told me that if I did not want to look like her, I must moisturise my skin every day and look after it. That scared the bejeezus out of me so I have been zealous about skincare ever since.
Not just because I didn’t want to end up more wrinkly than I had to, but because I enjoy it. It is a moment in my day that is for me and me alone. It is therapeutic, relaxing, calming and soothing. Americans call it a beauty regime (strict, regimented), Brits call it a beauty routine (very mundane, has to be done) and the French tend to call it a beauty ritual (calming, relaxing). I identify with the last one most of all.
In the morning I wash my face in the shower, tone and moisturise. It wakes me up and prepares me for the day. In the evening as soon as I get home I change into my pyjamas and remove my make up with a wipe off cleanser, tone and moisturise. This small ritual separates my work time from my leisure time, relaxes me and allows me to empty my head and enjoy the ingrained ritual of cleaning my face.
My aim is that my skin feels comfortable when I wake up in the morning (not tight) and that it can go through an entire day without starting to feel dry and taut or oily and shiny.
I don’t believe in anti-ageing creams, or claims of miraculous removal of wrinkles. Nothing except surgery takes away wrinkles. And how many wrinkles you have depends on genetics, lifestyle choices (diet, the sun, smoking, alcohol). But you can keep your skin smoother and more comfortable. The wrinkles smooth out a little when your skin is not dry.
Morning (every day)
- face wash
- shower gel
- conditioner (I wash my hair once or twice week but I condition daily)
- body lotion
- deodorant (always an unscented stick).
- hair styler and leave-in conditioner in one
- eye makeup remover
- wipe off cleanser
I tend to change most products around regularly because I get bored but I stick to hair products that I like because I have long curly hair, which is very fussy. Some of my favourite products are:
- Philip Kingsley Extreme Moisture (this is my favourite shampoo of all time)
- Redken AllSoft
- Philip Kingsley Extreme Moisture
- Redken Curvaceous
- Redken AllSoft
Hair Mask (pre-wash)
- Philip Kingsley Elasticiser
- Sebastian Potion 7
Hair Mask (post-wash)
- Redken AllSoft
- Redken Real Control
Leave In Conditioner
- Sebastian Potion 9 (a one of a kind product. I will literally cry if this is every discontinued)
- John Frieda Frizz Ease Original
- Aussie Curl Definition
- Biosilk Silk Therapy
- GHD IV
- The Body Shop (my favourite is their Italian fig which is now, naturally, discontinued)
- Nivea Original Creme
- Neutrogena Norwegian Formula (you really do feel moisturised for 24 hours)
- HTH body lotion (Swedish brand)
- Nivea Body Milk for dry skin
- Body Shop Body Butter
- Schick/Wilkinson Intuition (I love this razor as it has the shaving cream and razor in one and does not slip.
- Microplane (I will never use anything else)
- Phillips Sonicare Diamondclean black
Eye Makeup Remover
- Yves Rocher Pur Bleuet Express (the best I have ever used)
- Lancôme Bi-facil
- Dermalogica Thermofoliant
- Freeze 24/7 IceCrystals
- St Ives Apricot Scrub
- Aapri Facial Scrub
- Clinique 7 Day Scrub cream
- Dermalogica Microfoliant
Cleanser (wash off)
- Astalift Foaming Cleanser
- Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm
- Kalahari Cleansing Gel
- Cetaphil Gentle Facial Cleanser
- Clarisonic Hydrating Cream Cleanser
- Erno Lazlo White Marble Double Cleanse (oil and bar)
Cleanser (wipe off)
- Lumene Hellä Moisture Replenishing Cleansing Cream
- Trilogy Cream Cleanser
- Clarins Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream
- Clinque Comforting Cream Cleanser
- Lancôme Galatée Confort
- Aromatherapy Associates Rose Skin Tonic
- Kalahari Toner
- Caudalie Eau de Beauté
- Bioderma Micellar Water
- Astalift Night Cream
- Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré
- Environ Super Moisturiser
- Placecol Shea Butter Moisturiser
- Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream
- Aromatherapy Associates Triple Rose Renewing Moisturiser
- Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream
- Benefit Total Moisture
Facial Cleansing Tools
Mascara (black or dark brown)
- Yves Rocher 360° length mascara
- Max Factor Masterpiece mascara
- YSL False lash effect mascara
Eye Shadow (browns and beiges)
- Clinique Chubby Stick
- The Body Shop Colour Crush powder eye shadows
Eye Liner (black)
- Dessin Du Regard Waterproof Eye Pencil
- Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey
- Elizabeth Anne’s Baby Shampoo
- Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream
- Försvarets hudsalva
- Egyptian Magic
- Lucas PawPaw Ointment
- Tigi Curl Jam
- Yves Rocher Anti-Ageing haircare series
- Bourjois Coup de Theatre mascara
Dermalogica is not a brand I use extensively or exclusively, but their products are brilliant and I would recommend them for sensitive or problem skin. They are also fantastic for men. They have very gentle products if your skin is sensitive and if you have problem skin there is nothing that will cause flare ups.
- I have used one of their gentle toners in the past when I had an allergic reaction to something I had eaten and another time when I had really bad sunburn.
- Their polishing grain exfoliator is fascinating and the gorgeous feeling of your skin after having used this is actually addictive.
- I love their Thermofoliant exfoliator as well. It heats up as you used it and it leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth but not try.
- They also have sun protection that you can mix into your regular moisturiser, and a range of boosters that you add to your regular skincare. These I use regularly.
- I love their facial masks as well. A nice combination of a clay mask and a moisturising one that does not dry on your skin.
Remember always that you are the person who lives in your skin 24/7. You know how it feels, what it responds best to, which products make it look and feel your best. Do not let sales assistants pushing particular brands on you for commission tell you what to/what not to buy if you are happy with your skin and what you are using. Do not let them force entire ranges on you without offering you samples to take with you and try first. Don’t let them insult your present products if you and your skin are happy with what you are using.
You don’t have to use an entire range if you do not want to
- Everyone’s skin is different. What suits you may not suit the next person. If you are happy with your cleanser but would like a new moisturiser, don’t feel you have to switch to an entire range to get the best effect.
Expensive is not necessarily better
- Many of the cheaper brands and expensive brands are owned by the same company (for example L’Oreal owns Redken and Kerastase) so the expertise and ingredients trickle down. Once again, it is always down to your particular skin. My skin loved Superdrug’s copy of Clarins Beauty Flash Balm way better than the original. The Superdrug version was called Instant Radiance Balm and my skin lapped it up, even though it cost £1 against Clarins which cost about £25 at the time. Another example is that when Nivea Brought out its Nivea Q10 moisturiser, the only other brand containing Q10 was a La Prairie one which cost about 100 times (yep, really) what the Nivea one did. The Nivea one was very very good. One of the few times I could actually see a huge difference in my skin when I used it. It is also one that I always go back to.
- Remember also that only a small part of the budget actually goes into the product. The rest goes into advertising, packaging, branding.
Some brands you don’t like may have good products for you
- I avoid Yves Rocher moisturisers like the plague and many of their products are not good at all, but they have good shower gels and makeup, and their eye makeup remover is the best I have ever used.
Use them as you feel suits you best
- I don’t use the Clarins method of applying my moisturiser, I don’t subscribe to Dr Hauschka’s belief that you should never moisturise at night, but I love their products. In fact, my skin loves it when I slap on their magnificent Rose Cream as a night cream. Sorry Dr Hauschka!
Don’t be scared to ask for samples of products you wish to try
- If someone is aggressively trying to flog me a product or entire range of products, using fancy words about new ingredients, nanosomes, microscopic capsules and miracle herbs they often don’t understand themselves, then I expect samples. If they do not have sample sachets, I carry small empty pots with me (unused ones from travel kits or little pots of products I have finished and then sterilised) that I ask them to fill from their testers (which are usually hygienic). If they say no, then hell, I DEFINITELY don’t want their product.
Read the ingredient labels
- if the amount of the ‘miracle ingredient’ (yes there always seems to be one, doesn’t there?) is minuscule (i.e. last on the list) then it is not likely it is very active.
- if the product is made mostly up of (i.e. the ingredient is first on the list) an ingredients you skin does not like (petrolatum, mineral oil, glycerine) then avoid.
Nothing can make you younger or remove wrinkles
- But well moisturised, calm skin looks smoother, because the depth of the wrinkles is reduced. It feels nicer too.
Be sceptical of advertising and articles about products
- the photographs in advertisements are always retouched
- the groups these advertisements mention in their claims of X% noticed a significant improvement in their skin are often very small
- the language of advertising beauty products is very creative (see link below)
- the magazines who write so-called impartial reviews of the products rely heavily on advertising revenue from these giant corporations so they are never negative about the products. If you want to find honest reviews, find sites where people who paid for the products give their opinions, read opinions from all ends of the spectrum, and believe the end where most votes lie. It is not 100% accurate but it is better than believing a magazine advertorial for a product they received for free from one of their advertisers. Word of mouth is always best.
Read more of my posts here
- Which beauty brands are owned by the same umbrella company
- Yves Rocher product recommendations
- How beauty brands fool you into believing their hype
- South African beauty brands
- Swedish beauty brands
- The best international beauty brands
- This is how many beauty products I have at any one time
My skin has always been good. My mother was very fair with flaming red hair and freckles and my father had olive skin so I am fair but I go very brown in the sun (see photo below, you can’t miss me!). When I lived in South Africa I had freckles but not anymore. I have never been spotty and I don’t have sensitive skin. The only two things I have ever been allergic to have been Dior Diorshow and Maybelline Great Lash mascaras.
I used to suffer from rosacea – my face would go really red if I consumed dairy products. But luckily I have not had a flare-up in at least 15 years.
I do have more and more lines now I am older but people often comment on the skin around my eyes. For some reason it is unusually smooth when I am not smiling. Which is strange because I have never used eye cream. Sunscreen I only use if it is built into a moisturiser or if it is the Dermalogica booster mentioned above. I don’t like the chemical smell and feel of sunscreens on my face, or the film they form.