It feels really silly to blog about skincare during these times, but although I am struggling with this period of time due to changes to my work and personal life – one thing that has stayed the same is my dedication to do my skincare routine. If you’re like me and you haven’t been able to get out of bed before 11 am and breakfast is now lunch and lunch is now dinner and so forth, you’re probably either doing your skincare routine at a random time between meals or maybe not even at all. I get it, it doesn’t feel like a priority and as part of the smaller picture, it definitely isn’t but I will argue to the death that routine is incredibly important for your mental health, and skincare should be part of that.
Spending too many hours after getting up without at least washing your face means that any dirt that is sitting on your face from face-planting into your pillow is just staying there, getting further and further into your pores. Then you make breakfast and accidentally touch your face and tomorrow you have two spots so you start picking, but now there’s two more etc. I know this is probably happening to some of you, because it happened to me last week, ha. I’ve managed to get my skin back on track, and because I looked more glowy and smooth, I felt better about myself and started to be a bit more productive – it’s a weird sequence of events but I won’t knock it. I do my routines religiously, but there are many factors that might influence this not happening – and that’s okay. It really isn’t the end of the world, and there are many other ways to impact your mental health and productivity that don’t involve too much movement or effort – I’ll try to add some of mine at the end!
I have most of my routine the same, but occasionally add in something I’ve been gifted or purchased and it becomes a staple. I decided to compose a list of my favourite skincare products that take my skin from ashy to amazing (wow, that was bad). They vary in terms of price, and you absolutely don’t need them all – I feel that even adding one of these will make a difference in your routine. You may already have some of them but haven’t really put them to good use yet, but now’s your chance!
The price of this cleanser seems high, it lasted me 12 months exactly. £1.41 a month is a flipping bargain, to be honest. I use this cleanser every single morning without fail, it’s very balancing and never ever strips my skin. It also contains salicylic acid, which okay yeah is not in a high concentration but I can guarantee this helps keeps my skin clear at a certain level. You couldn’t convince me to swap to any other cleanser in the morning except this. It’s very gentle yet moisturising cleanser with a pH similar to the skins own. It’s in a gel form that lathers without leaving a tight feeling afterwards. It doesn’t matter if you have oily or dry skin, it’ll definitely love this cleanser.
Another cleanser that I use on a daily basis, but this time as part two of my double cleanse in the evening/afternoon. It also contains salicylic acid, but don’t worry about using either of these products on a daily basis – it isn’t enough to over-exfoliate your skin – I like to think of the level of acid in these cleansers is just a gentle buffer to keep crap out of pores on a surface level as opposed to really deep exfoliation. I love everything about this cleanser, including its innovative sugarcane packaging. It also contains prebiotics, which is definitely having a moment in skincare I feel. A lot of you have already purchased this on my recommendation; sensitive skin, dehydrated and oily and I’ve not seen anyone have a bad experience with it. It has a really lovely natural scent, so I can have my little spa moment before bed. I swap this out for another cleanser occasionally if I have a really bad breakout but I definitely reach for this the most.
I have been in love with this cleanser since it came out – I never tried the non-vegan version “ultrabland” but that’s it’s sister apparently. It’s a beautiful texture that melts into your skin and dissolves your make up. It’s better for me than more expensive cleansing balms such as Farmacy Green Clean. If you wore makeup during the day or even just spf, use this as your first cleanse and see how frickin soft and nourished your face feels after. It does leave a slightly oily film, but as I always say – you should be double cleansing, and after using something like Bybi Crystal Clear your skin should feel clean and ~balanced~. It looks like it’s out of stock right now which is a damn shame, and I would also love if it came in a bigger tub because 45g doesn’t last me long enough with daily use.
You can opt to use one or two serums per routine – normally I go for HA, followed by a brightening serum in the morning and in the evening it will be HA and then a serum for pigmentation or sebum reduction.
If there is one serum you have to be using in your routine, it’s a HA serum. It’s not an exfoliating acid, it’s a humectant meaning that it draws moisture into your skin. It can hold a lotttttt of water for its weight which gives you very hydrated and plumped up skin. Don’t apply on a dry face, it should always be damp – either from water or a mist or toner. pat it in and move on with your routine – you could also mix it with other serums to save time. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am really going overboard with my central heating seeing as I’m sitting at home not moving about very much, and it’s dry the f out of my skin. I use this twice a day after cleansing. For the record, I have tried cheaper ones like The Ordinary but I found it runny and tacky and didn’t get the results I wanted with it. A good cheaper alternative is The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum, 30ml, £5.99. (I’m wondering if there’s a shortage of HA, as both of these are currently out of stock long term….).
I definitely have a few favourites from this brand, and I mean it’s about a handful or less – I will get into why I’m not a die-hard fan another time. Their niacinamide serum is likely one of their most popular products and for good reason – it actually works. Niacinamide essentially reduces sebum production and so can be really helpful for the days we don’t want to exfoliate (or can’t be bothered more like). It’s a bit drying for me, but I either mix it with my HA or just follow with a moisturiser quickly. I definitely credit this ingredient for reducing the redness and severity of my spots during the daytime – and for a fiver, it’s worth having a bottle of this on your shelf.
I posted about this on my grid recently; it was a random purchase that proved to be magic. It’s helped my pigmentation along like nobody’s business and one of my new staples. You actually use it in place of a moisturiser but you must wash it off in the morning. You can definitely use other serums alongside it, even exfoliating ones but this particular acid targets pigmentation and brightens the skin with added vitamin C. It won’t get rid of it completely, maybe not even 80% but it will make a difference and gives a great starting point for any peels or facials you have planned post quarantine.
Another great product for tackling hyperpigmentation and getting your skin out of that dull grey state. Ascorbic Acid is vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin and together they pack a decent punch. I don’t think it’s as strong as other versions of vitamin C, but it’s gentle enough to use quite a few times a week. It’s a water-free formula so feels oily when you put apply it but it absorbs well and is fine for oily skin types.
^A smoll bottle that packs a punch. I like to use these to help spots along, and it’s nice to use throughout the day now you’re sat at home probably not wearing make up most of the time. It won’t get rid of the spots but it definitely hurries them on their way out.
I don’t have much to say about this exfoliator except you need this little bottle of gold in your life. life-changing. beautiful. holy grail.
The small bottle will last you a decent amount of time because you don’t need to use it every day (i find it too harsh for that, and I get chemical peels ffs). 3 times a week if this is all you’re using to exfoliate and make sure to moisturise after! You’ll wake up to baby soft skin, an undeniable glow and start to see your blackheads and breakouts clear up quickly.
I don’t know why they’re called daily peels because my skin would fall off if I used this that frequently. Once a week is more than enough (a Sunday evening treat). I recommend these if the oily foods have caused your skin to freak the fuck out and you need to purgeeeeeee. When I go too long without using these I end up with a few ugly spots after that do go quickly, but if I keep on top of my weekly use then I have the best skin I’ve ever seen. If you have a spare £20 to spend on skincare and are looking to get or maintain a clear glowing complexion then you need to buy these. There’s nothing else like it out there in my opinion. (They also make a sensitive skin version and a regular strength if you would like to work up to this level).
Again, with the daily use? Forget that, I don’t think anyone’s skin needs an exfoliant every damn day – some days let it rest and repair. However, these are super gentle and a fun way to apply your acid. Glycolic acid is great for texture and brightening and even though they’re pads, they really do their job. I recall using the extreme version before but I think the difference was subtle. Annoyingly made with fragrance which is why I don’t reach for these very often. However if your skin likes glycolic, it’ll probably like these. Also sold in Superdrug which is handy!
^Okay, so this is a pricey one but you know I had to throw a little boujie somethin’ in there. Although the packaging and colour of this serum make for the perfect shelfie, it does more than just look pretty for the gram. I was pleasantly surprised by this serum, as some of their other exfoliating products didn’t do much for me although were always a pleasure to use. I find myself reaching for this when I’ve over exfoliated but don’t want to lose my glow. It’s plant-powered so not harsh or extremely exfoliating, and I feel like you could use it daily (it’s a *natural* alternative to retinol). A nice and effective luxury product that’s actually worth splurging on.
I use this moisturiser almost every day and although I’ve tried other alternatives, I don’t think I have anything as moisturising as this on my shelf. It’s perfect for those dry, windy and cold seasons and plays really well with my makeup and spf. No oily sheen, and absorbs well. I find myself not needing that level of hydration for summer so as the weather is sort of getting warmer, I will be reaching for this less (but it’s definitely a must for night time).
^If you’re really a fan of a lazy routine and can’t be bothered with all the serums and fiddling about, I’d advise at least some HA and this cream. It contains vitamin c and caffeine, which both brighten and awaken the skin. It’s absolutely fine for everyday use, but as of late I have noticed that it doesn’t pair well with one of my foundations so I have to make sure to either wait for it to be fully absorbed or not use them together. My skin is super dry and I don’t find this overwhelmingly hydrating (but this is the case for me with almost every moisturiser I use), but I either mix it with their supercharge serum or another oil and it’s fine. A great and reliable option for not dry to moderately dry or oily skin types, add oil if you’re super dry like me.
^This is the most lightweight moisturiser I have, and I use it for when I’m staying at home and I plan to use it for my daily moisturiser this summer. It melts into the skin so fast and plays well with my makeup too, makes it a great basic moisturiser with easy to use packaging. Its formula actually works for the lips and eye contour too which is a must when you cannot be bothered to use an extra eye cream. They say you can use it for night time, but there’s no way I’d risk that level of dehydration (I mean try it if you’re oily but any dry peoples take caution).
^This oil smells so good I could drink it, honestly it smells of moisture and I don’t even know how that’s possible. I actually took a break from using it to use some other oils, but I rediscovered it again and now I can’t stop using it – both day and night. Sea Buckthorn gives skin the plump just finished my skin routine glow and shine, and lipids retain the moisture you’ve just fed your skin via your moisturiser. Using this at night and rolling in into our skin with a roller or your fingers is the world’s cheapest spa treatment.
Is it expensive? yes – and you don’t need it, but would I buy this with my own money? Yes, I would – It’s a top tier oil, the other girls simply cannot compete.
^This is a great alternative though. I wouldn’t say it’s a dupe as the ingredients are completely different, but it gives me the same glow and plumpness (just maybe for not as long). When I used epiduo my skin dried out like a grape in the sun, but I managed to bring it back to life with Bybi’s oils. I adore mixing this with any moisturiser for the dew without looking like a greaseball.
Bybi Babe Balm
The ultimate skincare treatment. I try to mask 2-3 times a week with different types of masks depending on what I need. These are three masks I find effective as well as enjoyable to apply.
^This mask will last you ageeeees because of how you have to apply it. If you’re a mask lover then you should probably think about adding this to your arsenal. It’s delicious in every way and becoming one of my firm favourites. Kaolin, Cacao, Turmeric, Coconut Milk, Vitamin C, Aloe Vera…so we have nourishing, hydrating, detoxing, brightening all in one mask? You mix the powder with water to create a mousse-like texture and slather it everywhere. Try not to eat it.
^So when I first tried this mask, it used upcycled blueberry particles, and the second one I got was coconut which I believe is their older formula and the one I have in the picture. They’re both good but the blueberry one was definitely better in my opinion so make sure that’s what you order. This is essentially a physical exfoliant, which normally I’m not a huge fan of but it works gently due to the size and shape of the particles. Once you’ve had it on for about ten minutes, you can add water to your face and start rubbing it in gentle circular motions before rinsing it off. Your skin will be glowing and soft – everything you want in a mask?
This mask is less for the glow and more for targeting spots and blackheads. I don’t need to use it that often and only apply to specific areas as opposed to my whole face. Their peeling mask isn’t really all that great and I think this mask needs to take centre stage if I’m honest. It is drying though, so make a deal out of moisturising and oiling afterwards.
AND ABOVE ALL OF THIS, EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE STAYING INDOORS YOU NEED TO BE APPLYING SPF.
As I mentioned before, you don’t need to buy more products by any means – you may have something similar at home already but you aren’t really using them properly or at all. Use this time off to establish good skin habits and wake up every morning to looking rested, moisturised and blemish-free. Using a roller or a gua-sha or your fingers to do a daily facial massage can help relax you before bed as well as set the day so you can get some stuff done (or not – because there’s no pressure to be productive!). If you’re not sure about how to do a skincare routine, I have another blog post here to help you understand what goes where what not to mix and how to get the best out of your skincare products.
I’ve also been playing a video game I haven’t played since before I was a teenager, shout out to Nintendo and Tom Nook and I’ve found the nostalgia very wholesome and relaxing. I also got given a great cookbook that I’m flicking through for inspiration, taking naps and advantage of the new Disney+ app, writing lists, snacking, meditation and reading. I’ve cleaned my room and bathroom multiple times and admired my new bedsheets before ruining them with my starfish sleep position. I am basically doing everything I’m always too tired or busy to do as small as they are. Most of us are battling some issue one way or another during this pandemic, and I’ve never been so grateful for my online friends, my skincare routine and facetime for keeping me sane.
Demi – Colleen x