CONFESSIONS OF A SKINCARE JUNKIE

31st October 2020

5 minute read

Journal

Flashback to October 2019:
There is a beautiful, younger boy I see regularly, and like a lot, who dates equally beautiful, skinny blonde girls exclusively. I’m the sometimes funny, and mainly just kind one that his mother could get along with if I spent more time with her. I’m not the girl that looks effortlessly cute in a white tee shirt and jeans with no make-up and bed hair. 
 
I had recently gone through a personal crisis, and in an attempt to have one exterior thing in my life ‘perfect’ paid what some might spend on a small car to have Russian waist length tape extensions glued into my anxiety induced thinning blonde hair. 
 
At a dinner party with his friends he pronounces harshly to the table; ‘don’t touch her head, her hair is glued in and will fall out’ as I battle to cover the acne scared part of my face that even the best stage-worthy concealer was unable to camouflage. I’m so aware that he is sitting close enough to see my skin for what it is. A hideous, blotchy, red mess. I’m not cute, I’m not pretty. Even the areas of my face that aren’t breaking out feel puffy and swollen. Make-up makes me look cheap and dirty. 
 
I go home and try to relieve some of the pressure by squeezing my face in all directions. It makes it much worse, so I cry a little and go to bed. I am convinced that the boy I like is kissing someones cheeks and neck while I listen to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Audible. 
 
12 months later I have not had a single breakout in as long as I can remember. I choose not to wear foundation to let my skin breathe, and also because I can’t be bothered to apply it in the mornings. (Where am I going these days anyway?)
 
Skin care has played an important part in my journey to clearer, better skin, and I love gossiping about new products and sharing tips and tricks with girlfriends over a glass of wine. Nothing brings me greater joy than receiving links to stuff I can buy online from friends via WhatsApp.  Along with products that suit me and my lifestyle however, I changed my outlook on life itself, which evidently was the main catalyst for clearer skin and thicker, natural hair. 
 
Meditation, mindfulness, taking up running, tennis and ballet and quitting my job. That’s what cleared up my skin. 
That and getting rid of things in my life that no longer served me. Including the boy I so desperately admired. 
I am every
beauty sales counter girls
dream come true. 
I will buy whatever is recommended 
to me and love nothing more than the thrill
of trying new make-up and beauty products.
 

STEP ONE: CLEANSER

A girlfriend ordered the Rosen Super Smoothie Cleanser, and gifted me over spaghetti at La Famiglia this summer. Our table was next to Sir Tom Jones’ and it was pretty romantic. 
 
I used the smoothie cleaner in the shower that evening to take my make-up off (I know it’s not technically a make-up remover, but I don’t wear a lot of make-up (these days) and have never used a real remover, so I figured it would do the job)
Rosen say that the cleaner is like having a smoothie, but for your face, so meant to be good for you.  The Rosen Super Smoothie Cleanser is packed with active fruit powders to help brighten and smooth your skin. The fruity cleaner helps balance oil levels and fade dark spots, so is great to smooth out texture and works wonders on any discoloration. 
 
My spaghetti-date-friend is a beauty expert, and sought out Rosen as an emerging skin care brand that she wanted to give her support to. Jamika Martin, the founder, dealt with acne for most of her life and after being sick of using product with questionable ingredients, medications and repetitive formulas, decided to formulate natural skincare that brings confidence with cleaner, more thoughtful ingredients for people with acne-prone skin.
 
I’ve always thought of a good cleanser as a way to wash all the strain and stress from the day off my face, massaging the formula into my neck, cheeks and forehead in circular movements for as long as my attention span allows, before I wash it all away with warm water. 
 
Another Rosen favourite, and one that I first tried out when my said spaghetti friend stayed over for a movie night sleepover and brought her beauty bag with her, is the Rosen Earth Cleanser. The smell is so fresh, calming and invigorating all at once, to say I’m obsessed is an absolute understatement. (If you’re reading this; I’m sorry. I used your stuff) 
 
This is a creamy, slightly foaming cleanser that makes for a powerful wash. Inspired by the Earth, this cleanser contains Fuller’s Earth Clay, Zinc Oxide and Eucalyptus Oil to use their natural anti-bacterial and astringent properties to help fight acne lumps and bumps. 
The only reason I initially bought this face mist, is because I got sucked into the Glossier hype during New York Fashion Week two years ago, waiting in the rain outside the store on Canal Street, and subsequently purchased pretty much one of each item the brand had to offer.
Glossier initially began  with Into The Gloss, a beauty website devoted to people sharing the products they love, which became Glossier’s source for inspiration and information.
 
The Glossier Rosewater Face Spray Soothing Face Mist is a hands-free way to moisturize your face throughout the day. I like to spray it right after cleansing my face, and spray it again if my face is feeling a little bit tired throughout the day, or before I go out for dinner in the evening. 
Essentially it is a hydrating face spray that soothes stressed skin, and smells so beautiful and floral. 
It is formulated with Rosewater to soothe, Aloe to hydrate, and Glycerin to lock in moisture and so helps seal hydration when applied immediately before serums and moisturizers. 
 
I’ve since gone back every New York Fashion Week to stock up, and although they opened a boutique in Covent Garden early 2020, have been shopping online throughout the pandemic. 

STEP TWO: SPRAY 'N' TONE

STEP THREE: SERUMS

SkinCeuticals H.A. (Hyaluronic Acid) Intensifier is a multifunctional serum proven to amplify and maintain the skin’s hyaluronic acid levels to help restore the natural appearance of plumpness, smoothness, and firmness.
 
The H.A. Intensifier is a powerful corrective serum that helps amplify skin’s hyaluronic acid levels to improve appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin texture. It effectively delivers surface hydration to the skin, whilst improving the appearance of crow’s feet area, nasolabial folds and marionette lines for a more refined complexion, and helping restore the natural appearance of plumpness, smoothness, and firmness.
 
The Ordinary Buffet is also a real find, and a product I buy again and again and don’t use sparingly.
 
They describe the product as an opulent feast for the skin, which I like the sound of! From anti-ageing to multiple peptide complexes, this serum combines a multitude of benefits, including Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate collagen synthesis and hyaluronic acid to offer the heroic hydration that ‘plumps up’ fine lines and diminishes depth of furrows.
 
The point of this blue serum is to make you look youthful and nourished, and because of its tiny price tag, I use a lot of it.  Every single day. 
SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3 | Corrective Cream and serum is a water based emulsion specifically designed to address early signs of photo ageing. I was recommended this moisturiser about a year ago, and haven’t used anything else since. It delivers a high concentration of niacinamide (vitamin B3), firming tripeptide concentrate, and pure glycerin to the skin. It also promotes skin renewal by increasing epidermal cell turnover, strengthens skin’s moisture barriers and reduces the appearance of blotchiness and dark spots. 

I love that it is very effective, but incredibly lightweight at the same time. The cream almost turns into a serum-like feel when applied and with that helps improve the appearance of skin’s firmness.

STEP FOUR: MOISTURISER

STEP FIVE: SPF

I underestimated the Spanish sun in March about two years ago, and burnt my face in Barcelona. The look my dermatologist gave me when I got back to London the following week has been one of the most shame-inducing moments of my life. I believe the receptionist even said ‘you’re not 25 anymore’ shaking her head with disappointment, as she took my payment. So I have not spent a single day – rain or shine – without SPF 50 on my face since. 
 
I’ve tried a few, but love the SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defence SPF 50, which is formulated with 100% mineral filters. It’s a mattifying fluid, which I like to mix with a bit of a highlighter stick on my cheekbones throughout the day, and provides high UVB and UVA broad spectrum protection for all skin types, including sensitive skin. There is a clear version, and one with a little bit of tint, which is what I use during the day- and I haven’t used foundation when the sun’s out since finding this total gem. 
 
Another SPF I love, and perhaps prefer to wear with a little bit of make-up in the early afternoon or evening are the Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF50. They are known as an intensive hydrator that protects skin against the harmful rays. Made in Germany (like me) I somehow feel the formula is superior. I may however be biased. 
The serum contains a range of active ingredients such as vitamin E and cassine extract to support the regeneration of skin cells. Combined with a moisturiser or applied alone, this serum forms a protective layer against the skin and has an SPF of 50.
My lips are sometimes fine, and sometimes so dry that strangers ask me if they are sore. I don’t need lip fillers, and am still getting over the traumatising childhood experience of being called a red rubber dinghy at my sailing club when I put some red cherry lipgloss on my lips during sailing camp. 
 
What I did do about a year ago was line my lips with permanent make-up in an attempt to make my face look more symmetrical. It didn’t work. It hurt like birthing a demon. 
 
I came across the La Roche-Posay Transforming Care for Very Dry Lips during quarantine this March, and have re-bought about six or seven times now. This lip balm transforms very dry and sensitive lips to feel soft, smooth, and soothed.
 

STEP SIX: LIPS

OCCASIONAL AT-HOME ADD-ON: CBD Oil

I go in and out of phases of taking CBD capsules along with my morning vitamins, but have really been finding joy using the Kiskanu Balancing Face Oil in the evening, or on days working-from-home.
 
With roots deep in the the cannabis industry of Humboldt County, CA, the brand recommend using CBD Face Oil as a daily moisturizer on clean skin, as a makeup base, makeup remover, beard oil, or anywhere on your body that needs some extra moisture and TLC. 
 
Personally I wouldn’t use it as a make-up base, and find it a little bit too oily to wear out-out. But I love the feeling of it on my skin when I’m at home, and it really hydrates and moistures deeply. 
 
When applying the CBD face oil, I like to work it into my skin with the Herbivore Botanicals Rose Quartz Facial Roller, which in my opinion allows the moisture to sink into my tired skin more efficiently. Corresponding to the heart chakra, it can be used to calm mind and spirit, while the act of massage soothes the senses.
My facial roller lives in my freezer, on top of the new white chocolate Magnum tub, and also comes out when I am particularly hung-over and puffy looking. 
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