Saturday 26 July 2014

Skincare 101

I've been doing a lot of reading and research recently about skincare as I know that I need to establish a good routine for my skin to give it a much needed boost and to keep young and beautiful - well, as much as I possibly can at least!

From my Aqua Sana Spa day to my visit to Destination Skin, I have had a lot of professional advice and this has helped me to overhaul my habits and to change my dressing table products for good.

Here's some of the things I have learned and the new products and techniques I have been trying - and trust me, I have seen a big difference in just a couple of weeks and a lot of the advice I have had just makes good sense:

CTM - it's the only way!
Cleanse, tone, moisturise. Twice a day. Every day. This is something we have all heard but for one reason or another, we don't always stick to. But, if you do, I promise you will see an improvement in your skin. 

Once is not enough 
So you've used your cleansing milk / micellar water / facial wash / cream cleanser and your skin is nice and clean, right? Well, maybe not. Some cleansers will melt away make up but only cleansing once may leave you with dirt and other daily grime still clinging on your skin. Cleanse your skin a second time to be sure.

I've been using the L'Oreal Micellar Water and my new Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser to double up on my cleaning and my skin looks and feels super clean afterwards.

Ban the wipes!
For too long, I have been lazy at nighttime and have relied on facial wipes to remove my make up and wipes alone. They're also a staple for when I'm staying away but this has all changed now. Wipes have a variety of chemicals in them, including alcohol and preservatives, and these can be very harsh on your skin, particularly with prolonged use. They can leave a film on your skin so if there's still dirt in your pores, it gets trapped underneath and can cause all kinds of problems like spots.

Check the ingredient list
Did you know that the first product listed on the back of your beauty bottle is the one which the product contains the most of whilst the last item is the one which appears in the smallest quantity? I didn't either but if you start looking at the products you use, you might start noticing a few things you don't want to see.

For example, sodium lauryl sulphate is a common foaming agent, but it’s also a harsh aggressor if you use it every day. Another example is fragrance, which is simply an unnecessary addition in skincare products such as cleansers. 

We need to rethink what we expect from skincare products - we expect a scent and for a cleanser or shampoo to foam, for instance, but this isn't an indicator of effectiveness, it actually usually means there's more chemicals in the product in question. 

Be savvy when you spend
It's easy to see why so many of us are reliant on brands that are available on the high street. Big marketing budgets mean that certain brands and their products are everywhere we look - on TV every day, on billboards on the way to work, in the magazines we read, in every shop we go in -  and usually with some celebrity telling us that this is THE product we need, because we're worth it. Such exposure means that certain products can be sold to us at an affordable price and how many mamas have lots of pennies spare now that we have little ones? Not many I'm guessing, so if you're like me, price has always been a deciding factor. And who can resist a good 3 for 2 offer or impulse till purchase?

The thing is, when we do treat ourselves to a spa experience, for example, we get to try higher end products and nearly every time, we're amazed or impressed at the results. We expect it, because of the price. Certain things are worth spending a little more on - moisturisers and serums in particular - and we'd all like to treat ourselves more if we had the money.

If you're like me, visiting a spa or department store is a pressured situation, where you feel compelled to buy something thanks to oh-so-smiley but still rather pushy sales assistants. 

Well, there's another way. Hallelujah! 

If you want to buy the best that the beauty world has to offer, you need to shop smart. I wanted to pick up some Elemis and Decleor products that I had tried at the spa to use at home and after shopping around, I soon discovered It's a fantastic online shop that stocks a wide range of high end beauty brands but with some really good product discounts. There's lots of great names to choose from and you're sure to be paying much less than the RRP.

The team at kindly sent me a couple of things to try from my two new favourite brands, so I could experience the kind of products they offer and the great prices they are available for. 

I've been using a luxurious Elemis shower cream which will now be my travel bag treat but the item I'm really loving is Decleor's Daily Defence 30SPF Fluid Sheild (pictured above, left). Applied after your moisturiser, it leaves your skin nice and matte whilst giving you a nice hint of colour to help your complexion. I love the extra protection this offers and it's a great skin treat, especially as we're enjoying the summer sun at the moment.

Just wearing the Daily Defence 30 SPF Fluid Shield, no filter

Exfoliate twice a week - and no more!
Your skin goes through a process of renewal and you need to exfoliate away dead skin cells to ensure your skin is looking as healthy as possible and that you're not just putting moisturiser on top of dead skin rather than letting it penetrate further where it actually be effective. Exfoliating twice a week is best, so your skin has time to renew itself.

I've just completed my first order and the Decleor Double Radiance Scrub (pictured above, middle) was at the top of my list following my spa day. It's a wonderful treatment which contains essential oils and natural exfoliating particles to gently remove dead skin cells to reveal radiant skin. Best thing of all. Thanks to, I got it for around £7 less than the RRP. Bonus!

Give your skin a treat
Whether you use a fancy serum or indulge in a hydrating mask twice a week, you must give your skin some goodness to help boost its health and appearance. My other new purchase from is the Decleor Hydra Floral Ultra-Moisturising and Plumping Expert Mask (pictured above, right). It starts off as a cream but melts into an oil as you massage it into your face and after 10 minutes, you simply wipe away any excess that remains - then enjoy stroking your baby soft face.

Get glowing
See this post from earlier this week about the wonder BB cream I'm loving - it's Decleor again but it's easily my most favourite product at the moment.

Facial exercises
Finally, I've been reading that we need to have a fitness routine for our faces. It sounds great in theory and there's some great tips from Cosmo if you do want to give your face a good workout.

What have you learned about skincare? I'd love to hear your top tips for tip top skin!

*Note: I was sent two products by to try out but I am a genuine customer and all other products mentioned are my own, as are my opinions.

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