Gone are those days when I comfortably avoided using anything on my skin, including moisturiser. I remember receiving complement for my skin from a woman I went to discuss some issues (mostly academic) that had nothing to do with beauty. Fast forward five years, the table has turned. An over-enthusiastic hairdresser tried to get me into something for my skin when I went for a haircut and someone selling makeup agreed with me without any hesitation that I looked way too tired, which I was. Although I did not look at mirror much, I realised pregnancy and motherhood has left a lot of marks on my skin. I thought all I needed was some makeup but when I have tried to apply concealer under my eye before foundation, I had to instantly wash my face as it was very painful. Similarly applying micellar water with cotton pads felt like I was peeling my skin with sanding paper. Since then, I started to research the ‘geeky side of skincare’ so that I can make a well-informed decision before buying any product for my highly reactive skin. After a few years of obsessing over skincare, I am confident with my skin related problem solving by trying a wide range of products and improving the overall look and feel of my skin. Enough of my past, let’s move on to the following stages of my evening skincare routine:
1. Cleansers: I double cleanse my skin when I wear makeup or sunscreen. For first cleanse, I use The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. This cleansing balm melts away makeup with a bit of facial massage followed by removing it with a face cloth. For second cleanse, I do some more massage with Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser. This blogger favourite, best selling, creamy cleanser has a subtle nice smell and is very effective at removing makeup. Just like the step before, I use the same face cloth (cleaner part) to remove it and then splash some water on my face. If I am at home with no makeup or sunscreen on my face, I just cleanse my skin with Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser like my morning cleanse.
2. Mask: I usually use face mask after cleansing my face, 2-3 times a week, while having a shower. My current favourite mask is The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution. It is a strong chemical exfoliant that I am also using on my arms for keratosis pilaris (harmless small bumpy chicken skin). My two other at shower face masks are Caudalie Instant Detox Mask (pink clay mask) and Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask (exfoliating mask) which are not drying, gentle yet effective. I also use Caudalie Moisturising Mask as a leave on night time treatment that nourishes and smells really nice. Let me know if you know any cologne with that smell. I know fragrance is not ideal for sensitive skin but somehow french brands like Caudalie and Decleor can get away with it (don’t ask me how, je ne sais quoi!) and with good skincare, my skin is a lot more tolerant than before.
3. Toner: I absolutely love Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme pads because this is a very effective exfoliating acid toner. It has some great ingredients like glycolic acid, mandelic acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid which are all great chemical exfoliants and also has niacinamide (Vitamin B3, used for large pores, acne, hyper-pigmentation, anti-aging and improving barrier function) and sodium hyaluronate(moisture retaining humectant). I do not use this regularly anymore but I am going to go back to it soon. I am less frequent with it not because I don’t like it, but because I am trying The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution couple of times a week alongside some serums with a few chemical exfoliants (lower strength) in them. So I do not want to over exfoliate my skin.
4. Spot Treatment: I use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion as my spot treatment. It works well but I do not use it very much because I do not get too many spots but I am sure it would suit someone with active acne.
5. Epilate: Like some women and all men, I get facial hair(a lot less than men though). I usually epilate or pluck my brows at night so that if I get any minor swelling or redness, it will look better by the next morning. I do not bother getting rid of the ones on my cheeks because they are more painful to get rid of but I epilate my upper lip regularly. This Braun epilator came with a face brush, a mirror with light that exaggerates all the imperfections and a cute little bag to keep them in. I love this battery run epilator but not the brush. I have tried the brush and realised it is not for me as I have sensitive skin. About a decade before, I tried a hair remover strip once and I am never going to try any such thing ever in my life again even if my face gets more hair than the hairy bikers and I cannot get any razor or epilator or thread. It was very painful and made my upper lip swell up awfully.
6. Serum: My nighttime go-to serum, straight after cleansing the face, is a retinoid/retinol/Vit A serum because it is highly effective and should be used at night. Retinoids increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen, reduce the amount of melanin, reduces acne and in a nutshell reverses visible signs of skin ageing whether it is wrinkles or hyperpigmentation. The main reason I use retinol is that I have uneven skin tone(much better now). I have almost finished this Indeed Labs Retinol Reface™ Retinol Skin Resurfacer. This has such great reviews but I did not see a massive change in my face. This does not necessarily mean it is a bad product. I have probably reached a plateau and not using retinoid regularly would possibly deteriorate my skin to show what this is really doing. I am not going to risk that and go through purging and flaking once again to pause and resume retinol. On nights I skip retinol, usually, after using an exfoliating mask, because they would be too strong together for my face, I use either The Ordinary Buffet, a peptide serum that targets multiple signs of ageing (in my case to slow down ageing) or Caudalie Moisturising Mask. I could layer serums(lighter to heavier) but I do not think I need that yet.
7.Face Oil and Moisturiser: I dab Yes To Primrose Oil on my face after a serum instead of a moisturiser. Some people use oil and moisturiser both in the same routine. I still don’t feel the need. Anyway, Primrose oil is mildly comedogenic but good for skin inflammation and has antioxidants, Vitamin C and Vitamin E so I decided to give it a go since my skin is not acne prone and I use a lot of products that prevents acne anyway.
For moisturising, I love Bioderma’s Hydrabio Gel Cream. It is lightweight, feels great and has niacinamide. Since niacinamide improves barrier function, I try to incorporate it wherever I can.
8. Lip balm: I uselush black rose lip scrub once a week before applying lip balm. Recently, I am so generouly using La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Lips every night that it looks like I am going to finish it sooner than I expected.
On an average day, my my evening skincare includes simply the products in the picture below:
+2 Hand and Feet: I end my routine with hand cream and foot balm at night. I am loving La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Hands that also has niacinamide, and Palmers Heel Repair Stick, concentrating on my dry heels.
Moreover, I always use all my face products on my neck as well. For more on my skincare routine, click this link to read my morning skincare routine. Finally, don’t forget to like, follow and comment below your skincare favourites that you would recommend me.