At the end of 2016, when I invested what I then believed to be a small fortune on Alpha H and a retinol serum, my mind was pretty set on one ultimate skincare goal that I had been dreaming of since I can remember: to give up foundation. This would, obviously, involve having close-to-perfect skin or enough confidence in my complexion to take off the blurring cover of the foundation. It was a gradual process of adjustment, negotiation and the five stages of grief until I managed to reach this goal, but here I am standing here before you without a trace of foundation – just a bit of concealer under my eyes and a touch of highlighter and blush on my cheeks for a bit of colour. On a side note, my eye makeup hasn’t changed, although I’ve mostly reduced it to mascara and eyebrow powder, with the occasional brown eyeliner.
I found that the less makeup I wear, the better my skin looks in the long term. And it became almost addictive to see it evolve and get better every month, despite the hormonal setbacks around certain phases of the moon. Let me share my ultimate secrets with you…
First of all, I became really anal about my skincare routine. Like so anal that life simply stops for a few minutes every day while I perform my care tasks, be it double cleansing, toning, face masking, massaging in treatments or moisturising. I found that sticking to an elaborate morning routine involving a simple cleanse, light acid toning, applying a hydrating serum and finishing with a lightweight moisturiser works best for keeping my skin in check all day, even without foundation. It does add 10 extra minutes to my busy mornings, but it’s definitely worth the effort – even when this means carrying my whole skincare arsenal in the gym bag (products in 30-50ml packs seem to do the trick).
I’ve made double cleansing a priority. Some days it feels like the nicest treat to massage my skin with nice-smelling balms, but other times all I want to do is jump in the shower and just shampoo off my face in seconds! This inner struggle occurs more often than I like to admit, but I do my best to stay strong and stick to the double cleanse.
I listen to my skin. Just as you should be listening to your body to give it what it truly needs – rest, water, workout etc., so you should pay attention to what is happening to your skin. Given on the time of the month, days of the week and even hours of the day, I found that my skin needs different cares. Some days I use acids and other days retinol, but a lot of times I take a break from intense treatment and massage my skin with rich oils or layer it with hydrating essences and serums.
I made masks part of my skincare routine. A few times a week, I like to apply a mask that answers my skin’s needs that day: a clay mask for when my complexion feels congested, especially after a long day spent running around in the polluted London air; an acid mask once a week when I want to remove all signs of dullness; an oxygenating mask for tired days and so on.
I embraced the glow. How did your skin survive through those years of mattifying concealers, followed by mattifying foundation, topped up with sebum absorbing powder and slapped with blotching papers? Honestly, how?! I’m loving the new glowing trend, even though the highlighters that shine brighter than the sun on some girls’ cheekbones are not really my style. I like to achieve my glow naturally, with good skincare and healthy foods – plus a touch of makeup when and where needed.
This blog has been, so far, the diary of my skincare journey. Thinking about the next year, I want to take my goal one step further and focus on achieving not only healthier skin, but an overall healthier self, with better food, smarter supplements and constructive habits.
Have you achieved your skincare goals this year? What are you planning for 2018?