I have had several requests to post about my skin-care regime - so here we go!
I have to preface this by saying that my skin has not always been in the best condition. I have very, very dry skin (largely due to an auto-immune disorder I had as a child), and it is quite reactive, so I have spent years flirting with different product lines and regimes. My skin was prone to redness and dry patches, and I used to get stress spots with alarming frequency. I had to wear concealer every day, and I longed for a clear, glowing complexion.
I think the breakthrough for me was switching to all-natural skincare products about a year ago - I read an interview with the lovely Abbey Lee in Vogue, where she raved about Lush products, specifically, their cult product Angels on Bare Skin. I thought, if its good enough for Abbey Lee, its damn well good enough for me, and high-tailed it to my nearest Lush store to pick up some sample products. And its just gone from there!
These are a few of my skincare staples:
Ultra Bland cleanser - I LOVE this cleanser so, so much! Its made of peanut oil and beeswax and yummy essential oils, and its absolutely perfect for my dry skin. I think we are too obsessed with the idea of a "squeaky clean" face, and the need for chemical cleansers that foam and bubble and strip our face of all its lovely, natural oils. This stuff is the exact opposite of that - it is gentle and nourishing and leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated but definitely clean.
Angels on Bare Skin - This product is definitely deserving of its cult status - it does live up to all the hype! Its one of the "fresh" products that Lush stock, meaning it contains absolutely zero preservatives - its essentially just kaolin clay, ground almonds, lavender and rose absolute oils, and lavender flowers. I only use it once or twice a week, as an exfoliant, but for people with oily/combination skin, I imagine it would be fine for daily use. It leaves my skin feeling exfoliated and softened, but hydrated at the same time. Gorgeous.
Skin's Shangri La moisturiser - This is a truly delicious moisturiser, packed full of yummy, rich oils. Its not excessively heavy, its actually quite light in texture, but its the first moisturiser I've ever used that leaves my skin feeling hydrated all day, and not in need of a top-up.
Rose hip oil - Hello, gorgeous. Well, you all know what I think about this stuff - people, it is LIQUID GOLD! Enough said.
My daily routine is pretty simple:
I don't actually cleanse my face in the morning - I use the water cleansing method. I just massage my face under warm running water, then pat dry and apply moisturiser. And I have a confession to make here - I don't use a sunscreen during the day *shock horror*! I used to, but after reading some of the medical literature out there on nanoparticles, I've come to the conclusion that its not advisable to be slathering my face in chemicals on a daily basis. I don't work outdoors, in fact I get barely any sun exposure in a normal day. So I figure sunscreen is not a necessity for me. If I go to the beach, or spend time in the sun, I will of course be reaching for the SPF30+. But otherwise, I just use a normal moisturiser during the day - and I have noticed no change at all in my skin.
I don't wear much make-up during the day, just liquid blush, so there's not a lot of make-up removal to do. I massage the Ultra Bland in to my skin and remove with damp cotton pads, then rinse. A couple of days a week I will follow this with a light exfoliation with Angels on Bare Skin. Then I apply Rose Hip Oil, let it absorb for about 15 minutes, and then moisturise with Skins Shangri La.
So I guess my top skincare tips would be:
1. Keep it natural - steer clear of products with 50 different ingredients, half of which you don't even know what they are.
2. Try to break the habit of over-cleansing your skin - its your body's largest organ, treat it nicely!
3. Avoid the sun as much as possible - obviously, if you have to go out in the sun, a good sunscreen is your best friend. But avoiding sun exposure is better still!
Disclaimer - obviously, natural is all well and good if your skin is relatively healthy and normal. But I fully understand that some people have underlying skin conditions, such as acne, which require much more serious treatment, and often the assistance of a good medical professional.