My morning skincare routine | January 2019

morning skincare routine

Given that I haven’t done a skincare update in a good couple of years, I thought that it would be pertinent to start off my blogging year with a little glimpse into my current morning skincare routine.

I turned 32 last year and for the first time ever, I really started to see the effects of ageing on my skin. I have pigmentation from too much time spent in the sun, congestion below the surface of my skin (thanks to using all the wrong skincare products), and I’ve even noticed my first few lines and wrinkles… though these bother me less than the blackheads and breakouts, to be honest!

2018 was all about learning to take my skincare seriously – I started going for regular peels to help combat pigmentation and an uneven skin tone, and I even tried micro-needling for the first time. (Let me know if this is something you’d like me to write about!) I started reading up on skincare, and found a treasure trove of information over on Kiss, Blush & Tell. If you aren’t following Tori’s blog and Instagram account yet, I strongly urge you to do so now – she shares the best skincare information, and as a qualified skincare therapist, she really knows her stuff. She’s also partly to blame for my current tendency to use up to three or four masks per day!

While prepping and priming my skin for the day earlier this morning, I thought I’d snap a few quick photographs and show you some of the products I’ve been using lately, along with some of the tips I’ve picked up over the past year. I’m really enjoying the little routine I’ve got going at the moment, and I’ve noticed a massive improvement in the appearance of my skin.

Cleanse… then cleanse again!

Double-cleansing is nothing new and I’ve dipped my toes into its skin-loving waters several times in the past, but it’s never quite stuck – for various reasons. Top of the list? A lack of time, not to mention the effects on my already-too-tight budget. Now I have to buy two cleansers?

While I prefer using a balm cleanser to take off all the day’s makeup first (I swear by Lulu & Marula’s Balancing Cleansing Balm) before using a cream cleanser, I’ve found that using the same cream cleanser twice does the job equally well. I’ve been using SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser Cream for the last little while, and I doubt I’ll ever use anything else!

It’s a very gentle, non-foaming cleanser that’s suitable for all skin types – and yes, that includes sensitive skins. It contains orange oil, a known antiseptic oil that soothes and calms your skin, and which also gives the cleanser it’s gorgeous, citrusy scent.

Despite it’s gentleness, I find that SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser Cream lifts even the longest-wearing foundation with ease. I like to double cleanse using this cream cleanser – the first time to remove makeup, impurities, and excess sebum, and the second time to really get into my pores. (I usually leave the cleanser on my skin for a couple of minutes during the second cleanse).

I find that this simple adjustment (switching to a good-quality, gentle cleanser, and double-cleansing) has had the biggest impact on my skin. Blocked pores are the root cause of congestion, breakouts, and skin that feels bumpy to the touch, so it makes sense that a thorough cleanse to ensure that all impurities are removed would make all the difference. Better yet, cleansing your skin properly prepares it for any treatments or products to come, ensuring that your serums and moisturisers are properly absorbed and can work their magic.

Hydration is key

As someone who is prone to breakouts, I’ve been guilty of staying clear of moisturisers in the past, falsely believing that they would only exacerbate breakouts. How wrong I was! As it turns out, an over-production of sebum is actually caused by dehydrated, dry skin – so the more your deprive your skin of moisture, the more sebum it produces, resulting in even more spots…

These days, I like to keep my moisture levels topped up at all times – I’ve even started carrying a hydrating facial mist (I’m currently using Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Miracle Hydrating Mist) with me everywhere I go. I mist this over my skin straight after cleansing (and before applying my serums and moisturiser), and frequently throughout the day. It keeps me cool and feeling refreshed on hot days, and it also gives me a quick boost when I start to feel my energy levels dip. Another great benefit? It adds some moisture to your skin, and refreshes your makeup to boot! It’s a must for every beauty lover (and an absolute essential for those who travel often!)

Treat & correct

I have a real soft spot for these two beauties, as they have made such an incredible difference to the state of my skin since I started using them about a year ago (and yes – I’ve been using these two serums for well over a year, and I’ve still got a teeny tiny bit left in each bottle. A little goes a long way!)

I started incorporating the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic into my skincare routine after reading up on the benefits of Vitamin C for your skin, and it’s completely sold me on this wonder ingredient.

Some of the benefits of Vitamin C for your skin:
  • It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your skin against free radicals caused by the sun, pollution, stress, and more.
  • It has a brightening effect on the skin, and helps to reduce and prevent the appearance of dark spots.
  • Vitamin C is essential to the production of new collagen in your skin, so using a product containing Vitamin C will help keep your skin supple.
  • It helps prevent the formation of lines and wrinkles.

My main reason for introducing Vitamin C into my skincare routine was to help treat pigmentation, as well as for its antioxidant benefit. I was living in Johannesburg at the time and wanted something to help combat the damaging effects of stress and pollution, and even though those two factors are no longer such a huge issue here in Greyton, I definitely need all of the help I can get when it comes to reducing damage caused by the sun’s damaging rays!

There are many products claiming to contain Vitamin C on the market at the moment, but SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic comes highly recommended by me – and the rest of the world (it’s won over 24 recognised beauty awards!) I’ve tried just about everything for my pigmentation, but nothing has had quite the effect that C E Ferulic has. Yes, it’s pricey – but wouldn’t you rather spend more on a product that truly works, than try four or five cheaper products that end up not working (and costing you the same in the end?) And as I mentioned above, one 30ml bottle will last you a really long time – you really only need about three or four drops to cover your face, neck, and chest. (A quick little heads up before we continue – you should be wearing sunscreen daily anyway, but if you’re using Vitamin C in your skincare routine, you absolutely cannot mess this up or go even a day without sunscreen – unless you want your pigmentation to get even worse! Vitamin C is very sensitive to light – hence the amber bottle that C E Ferulic comes packaged in – so it’s best not to apply this before prolonged sun exposure, and make sure that you keep your Vitamin C products out of direct sunlight).

Even more moisture

Another holy grail product I simply can’t live without (and that I need to replace soon – someone send me some more work so I can start saving!) is SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5. It has a very watery consistency and is best used after C E Ferulic (or whichever serum you’re using), but before your moisturiser and sunscreen. I find that Vitamin C tends to dry out my skin a little, so I always apply Hydrating B5 afterwards to help lock in moisture. It’s oil-free, so it’s a great option for those with oily or combination skin types. As someone with a normal to oily skin type, I can vouch for this: it doesn’t block my pores and isn’t overly rich for my skin type either. I use it all year long – both in summer and in winter – and I love that it contains hyaluronic acid to help draw moisture into my skin, leaving it looking plumper and more supple.

The final step in my moisturising routine is in the form of a nourishing moisturiser that leaves my skin feeling soft and looking dewy. Although I don’t have very dry skin, I’ve been using Nuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Global Anti-Aging Replenishing Rich Cream most mornings, and I’m loving it. It has a gorgeous texture that’s immediately absorbed into the skin and it smells utterly divine (but not overpowering). It’s said to help fight the signs of premature ageing while ensuring that your skin is well moisturised.

Is an eye cream really necessary?

Using an eye cream seems rather controversial these days, as so many people seem to think that’s it’s not a necessity, and that your usual moisturiser will do. Given that the skin around your eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face, I beg to differ: I believe that an eye cream is an essential, and as someone who rarely wore eye cream prior to turning 30, I can vouch for the massive impact it can have.

One of my favourite local skincare brands, Optiphi, recently launched a range of medical skincare solutions formulated specifically for use by plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and physicians. I was immediately drawn to Optiphi Delta Eye Gel, which was designed specifically for use after dermal fillers and therapies targeting aging around the eye. It features a lightweight, easily-absorbed gel formulation that boosts moisture levels levels, increases collagen formation, reduces fluid retention (ie puffiness) and the appearance of dark circles, as well as targeting epidermal regeneration and thickness. I’ve found that I need less concealer under my eyes since I started using this product, and when I do use concealer, it doesn’t cake or crease like it once used to. (If your concealer has a tendency to cake or crease, you may want to try applying a moisturising eye cream and letting it settle into your skin before applying your eye cream).

A beauty must-do

As I mentioned somewhere above, if you aren’t already wearing a sunscreen every single day, this is your wake up call. UV rays are the single biggest cause of premature ageing, and they’re also responsible for those unsightly dark spots and pigmentation. But that’s the least of your worries… skipping on sunscreen could also result in skin cancer, so it’s pretty clear that sunscreen is an absolute must-have.

I have a bunch of favourite facial sunscreens and will be sharing further details in a separate blog post soon, but I’ve been using Optiphi Delta Sun Protection SPF30 most days and it is lovely! It’s described as a climate-adapting daily sunscreen, and although I have no idea what that means, I like the fact that it offers broad-spectrum protection, as well as protecting against the damaging effects of pollution, high-energy visible light, and infrared radiation protection. It also offers defense against reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive nitrogen species (RNS), reactive carbonyl species (RCS) – things I didn’t even know I had to worry about!

It quickly sinks into your skin and doesn’t leave it feeling greasy or looking shiny (or ashen). It also sits beautifully underneath my makeup.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into my morning skincare routine, and that you’ve found it helpful! Let me know if you have any further questions (whether related to a skincare concern or one of these products), and I’ll help where I can.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve learnt a ton about skincare simply by following Kiss, Blush & Tell over on Instagram, so be sure to check out her feed (and her blog, too) for some great skincare tips and insights.

Thanks so much for reading along – I’ll be back in the next couple of days with a little life update (and possibly a list of things I’ve learnt since moving to the ‘countryside’ – let me know if you’d be interested in reading that!)