Well, this post has been a very long time coming. It feels wrong even calling it a 2019 skincare post because we’re like 2 months deep into 2020 already, but oh well.
My skin improved so much towards the end of 2019 that i actually felt like i could go outside without any concealer or foundation on, which is totally unlike me. I’ve dreamed of this day, but never thought i would get there, and today i want to share the skincare that helped me get there.
*A lot of these items are gifted, but from brands that i know and love already. I wouldn’t include anything i didn’t genuinely see a difference in my skin whilst using.
I feel like face masks are the key to good skincare. I had pretty much dismissed them until a visit to The Ordinary store in Edinburgh, where i was given a consultation and sent away with a whole new host of products to get stuck into.
Amongst them was NIOD Flavanone Mud*, a scary looking pot of brown sludge that came with its own “coke spoon”, as my boyfriend likes to call it. It’s basically a little spoon you use to get the face mask out of the little pot. Not for drugs.
So, Flavanone Mud is used to completely freshen up your complexion and decongest your skin. It’s amazing at getting rid of spots quickly, and contains black Amazonian clay to help you get a really deep detox.
You use this once a week, all over your face in a very thin layer, as a normal face mask and leave it on for 10 minutes. Don’t leave it on for any longer! When you first wash it off, you’ll feel a really awful stinging sensation but it’s totally normal and i promise you, it fades. It’s worth it.
I’ve also used this as a face cleanser sometimes, which was a tip i got from Alex at The Ordinary store. I apply it to my face wet and leave it for about 2 minutes, then just rinse it off. There’s no awful stinging sensation but your skin still glows.
NIOD Flavanone Mud retails at £29, which i think is not bad for a miracle face mask. It will last you the longest time as well, as you don’t need a lot to cover your whole face.
AHA 30% + BHA 2% PEELING SOLUTION
The Ordinary’s products always sound so intimidating, and without someone else recommending them to me, i probably wouldn’t know what to do with them. The Ordinary’s AHA + BHA peeling solution* is now something i don’t think i could ever be without.
AHA stands for Alpha Hydrolic Acids, which exfoliate your skin to leave it brighter and clearer. Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) exfoliate even deeper into your skin, clearing your pores and eliminating spots from the source.
This peeling solution is my holy grail, a god-send for hormonal or Cheetos-induced spots. It stops your spots before you even know about them. I use this twice a week, apply a thin layer to face and wash off after 10 minutes or less. As it is two acids you’re using on your skin, always use an SPF.
AHA + BHA includes some good stuff to stop the acid irritating your skin too – Tasmanian pepperberry, hyaluronic acid, vitamin b5 and black carrot. All things combined makes for a perfect blend of that clear-skin, healthy AF glow.
My favourite thing about The Ordinary is that it’s so cheap. This literal miracle face mask is only £6.25 and is guaranteed to last you months and months if you stick to using it twice a week, which you really should. I feel so excited every time i use this.
It’s so simple, and yet i didn’t have it in my skincare routine until last year. Aloe vera is a classic skincare product that i believe everyone should use in their skincare routine as a matter of necessity.
Aloe vera soothes and moisturises your skin in the most natural way – it’s entirely vegan and and you could even use an aloe vera plant to get your fix. It’s amazing for dry skin and sunburnt skin, making it excellent for redness.
I bought my aloe vera from Holland & Barrett for about £6, and it has lasted me well over half a year of twice daily use. My skin feels a lot nicer and looks a lot more hydrated; i hadn’t even realised it was thirsty until i started using products to help with hydration.
A lot of the spot-zapping products i use are designed to dry out spots, often resulting in a few dry patches around my face. I’ve also found recently, my eyes have been getting a bit dry and although i cannot definitively say why, aloe vera has been amazing for treating it.
It truly is an amazing product that you wouldn’t think you’re missing out on, but i accredit a huge portion of my clear complexion to aloe vera. Sometimes, keeping it natural is the best thing for your skin.
PIXI GLOW TONIC*
Full disclosure; i used to really not get on with Pixi Glow Tonic*. I didn’t see what the big fuss was and preferred the stronger exfoliants such as Alpha H. However, i have now seen the light.
Glow Tonic contains 5% glycolic acid which gently exfoliates the dead skin cells on the skins surface to leave you with the most natural of glows. Aloe repairs the skin, witch hazel firms and tones and ginseng gives your skin vibrancy. It’s incredibly gentle for an exfoliating acid.
My tip for Glow Tonic is to bypass the cotton pad it advises you to use, and put one or two drops directly from the bottle onto each area of your face. I do one on my forehead, one on my chin and two on each cheek then pat in gentle with my fingers.
This way, i find the products sink into my skin as opposed to sinking into the cotton pad. It’s also better for the environment to bypass the single use products you would otherwise use twice a day. That’s a lot of waste!
Pixi is known for being good skincare at an affordable price, and the Glow Tonic retails at £18. It lasts a whole lot longer without using cotton pads too, so you’ll feel like you’re getting more for your money. It’s the best natural glow you could ask for.
MULTI-MOLECULAR HYALURONIC COMPLEX*
One of the products i use to get some moisture into my skin is NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex* (MMHC2), which sounds scary but is one of my holy grail skincare products for a very good reason.
MMHC2 contains twelve different hyaluronic compounds which prevents moisture loss and hydrate from the top layer to the deepest layer of your skin. It goes HARD. It also contains anti-inflammatory products to tackle that pesky redness that i know all too much about.
Not only that, but it stimulates your skins own hyaluronic producing machines to maintain the effects even when you’re not using it. Similarly to the Glow Tonic, i use a few drops all over my face and then pat in with my fingertips.
MMHC2 retails at £25 which can be quite a lot for a little bottle of moisturising juice. So if you want similar benefits without the slightly large price tag, The Ordinary have a hyaluronic acid for £5.90* which gives you similar results for a fraction of the price.
I’ve actually already purchase the cheaper hyaluronic acid as my MMHC2 is on its last legs, but i think hyaluronic acid has helped bring out a more natural glow from the deeper parts of my skin. I feel a difference long-term with this.
BIODERMA SEBIUM FOAMING GEL
My acne prone skin would normally run a mile at the words “foaming gel”, but this one is different. Sebium Foaming Gel* is a wonderful, wonderful product for acne prone skin.
The Bioderma Sebium range is specially designed for blemishes and oily/combination skin. A lot of blemishes come from clocked pores due to oil build up, and the Sebium range limits sebum production directly, resulting in less oil build up, less clogged pores and less spots with continued use.
I use the foaming gel once a day, in the morning, and it has really helped control my oiliness throughout the whole day. It’s not drying at all, as so many “oil-control” foaming gels are notorious for being. Bioderma understand oily skin and what ingredients to avoid.
The formula is completely soap free and respects the natural pH balance of your skin, something that is way too technical for me to understand but it does this magic thing where it stops you being oily but doesn’t dry you out and also keeps you moisturised.
There is some crazy science behind it but for someone who has been through their fair share of acne-zapping face washes, this one is right up at the top of face washes i’ve seen the quickest results with.
You can get the Sebium foaming gel for £10.80, and overall Bioderma are a wonderfully affordable brand that have a lot of different product ranges that cater for all skin types. And whilst i can only vouch for the Sebium range, i can tell you, it works.
MY GENERAL SKINCARE TIPS
- I switch up my skincare every day. Just a little bit, not like my entire routine. But there are certain products that don’t mix well together, or sometimes i feel like keeping my routine simple. If i’m using Flavanone Mud, i only use aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and moisturiser due to how it stings afterwards. If i’m using any other products with acid in, i avoid using Glow Tonic as i feel it would be too much on my skin. I find switching it up often stops my skin getting complacent and getting used to the products i use – i’m not even sure if that’s a thing but if it is, i don’t want to know about it!
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day. This makes the biggest difference to my pores that i’ve ever seen. I aim for at least 2, if not 3, litres a day but i don’t always get there. If i’m on my period, i have more of a taste for fizzy juice than i do for water. I try to challenge myself at work by making it a game – drink one bottle an hour. One bottle is 500ml. On my four hour shifts, that’s 2l done by 1pm, on my six hour shifts, thats 3l done by 3pm. It makes me feel better and improves the overall texture of my skin. Don’t let anyone tell you drinking water doesn’t make a difference!
- Pay attention to what you eat. I’ve learned over the years that food has a big impact on my skin, mainly salt. If i eat salt, i get a spot. It’s as simple as that. It’s just a shame that i’m more of a salt fan than a sweet fan – i could devour a big bag of crisps daily but easily go weeks without touching chocolate. I’m quite lucky and haven’t noticed dairy affecting my skin – i know a lot of people love chocolate but break out really badly when they eat it. It’s always the things we love that hurt us?! So, if you get awful breakouts but it’s not acne, try to keep track of what you’re eating and work out if there’s anything in particular that might be agitating your skin.
My skincare favourites change all the time. We’re a few months into 2020 and there’s already some new products that i’m obsessing over, but this post is strictly 2019 and i’ll maybe look at doing an update in a few months.
I am not a skincare professional. These are the products that work best for me, and i don’t want to hear anyone telling me that i “use too many products” or i “shouldn’t change my routine so often” because, quite honestly, i don’t care! I’ve found products and a routine that works for me, so that’s what i’m going with.
If you decide to try any of the products i’ve included, let me know how you get on! Skincare is a huge passion of mine as i believe it’s the foundation for everything else (it literally is for makeup but also having good skin improves your confidence by a million percent) and i’m so happy that my skin and i are getting on a bit better.