Do you suffer from lack of time, commitment issues, skincare overload or all of the above? Try a one-step* evening regimen that ticks all your skin’s boxes and responds to its needs timely, easily and on a budget. Here are my tried-and-tested one-product routines:
*Just to be clear, one-step regimens are to be performed on skin that has been carefully double cleansed from any traces of makeup, sebum and impurities, and the eye area gently moisturised and nourished. This is not the land of ‘I was tired so I just washed my face with shower gel.’ No excuses!
The low-maintenance retinol fix: A313 Pommade
For those times of the month when your acne is acting up or for that time of the month, there’s nothing better than a dose of the legendary French pharmacy staple, A313 Pommade. It’s stronger than any form of retinol that I’ve ever experienced before, and only at a fraction of the price (roughly 12 euros), especially when purchased in a Parisian pharmacy, preferably after a croissant break. It has a dense, greasy and Vaseline-like consistency that makes it harder to spread than a regular cream, but this also means that you don’t need more than a pea-sized amount for the entire face for optimal (and economical) benefits. Mind you, it comes with some simple, yet urgent warnings: only apply on dry skin preferably at least 20 minutes after cleansing, to make sure any water residues dry out completely. This is because it drastically interacts with water, causing sensations of tingling and itchiness, so severe that you might end up not being able to close an eye without washing it off. It only happened to me once though, and the results overall have been worth any discomfort so far. As with every form of retinol, avoid the orbital area as it can migrate into the eyes. Do not mix with any products, and use no more than three times/week on non-consecutive days.
The quick acid fix: Alpha-H Liquid Gold
This one right here is my all-time favourite acid obsession! I do love playing with acids and testing them in different strengths, types, combinations and applications, but I always come back to the aptly named Liquid Gold. It does everything all other acids do (smooths skin surface and tone, reduces pigmentation, clears congested pores, helps heal acne flare-ups etc.), but in a much faster, yet still gentle way without causing irritation or discomfort. Apply on clean skin three times/week on non-consecutive days and do not follow with any other products. Don’t mind the tingling, it goes way in minutes.
The moisture-quenching dry oil fix: Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil
My skin has this constant and exasperating love-hate dynamic with facial oils – I suffer from too much acne, oiliness and enlarged pores to be able to slather myself in beauty oils like all Instagram-worthy routines recommend, yet my skin is at times so dry and tight that it cries for something more than just moisturiser. I constantly experiment with oils and try pretty much everything that all other people rave about, yet with less satisfying results, but I am aware that I need a lipid-restoring session at least once a week to be able to cope with my retinol-acid alternations. Enter Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil, the prettiest oil out there, and one of the nicer options for combination and acne-prone skin, due to the anti-bacterial and clarifying properties of azulene in blue tansy extract. I also like to treat myself to a lengthy and relaxing jade rolling massage when applying the oil; I can’t vouch for its lymphatic draining or toxin removal benefits, but I swear there’s nothing better at the end of a very long day than rolling the ice-cold jade over my face and around the eyes (I keep mine constantly stored in the fridge), paired with a few drops of this oil. And as far as jade rollers go, I wouldn’t advise spending a fortune on the most branded ‘device’ out there, even an average-priced one offers you the same benefits, even though the metal bindings might give up a little bit sooner quicker.
There you go, three good quality and complex products to keep you and your skin going every night of the week. They all take seconds to apply (or five minutes at most, if you go for the jade roller), and pack all the actives that your skin needs before bedtime. Just make sure to use antioxidants, SPF and moisturiser before you leave the house in the morning.