Saturday, 25 February 2012

Updated Skincare Routine

Several readers have emailed to ask what my skincare routine is, reminding me that it was time for an updated winter edition post. So here goes: loooong but hopefully interesting to those of you who like perving on other people's routines (I know I do).

Skintype: DSPT in Baumann terms (Dry, Sensitive, Pigmented, Tight):
  • dry: very, and prone to dehydration too. My face has actually cracked and bled on long-haul flights / during very cold winters so staying moisturised is top priority.
  • sensitive: though it's much less sensitive and less thin compared to a few years ago, I'm still prone to eczema and rosacea. 'Bad' ingredients I've learned through experience to avoid include: alcohol and alcohol denat., aloe, witch hazel, geranium and eucalyptus oils, avobenzone.
  • prone to pigmentation: freckly, and every single spot, scratch or insect bite I get leaves a livid red mark for at least 6 months and then contributes to skintone unevenness thereafter. The potions that tempt me out of my skincare comfort zone are usually ones that address this.
  • tight: daily sunscreen is my only anti-ageing thing right now (late twenties). I do have some fine lines and enlarged pores but they only become visible when my skin is dehydrated (likewise nasolabial...foldiness).
All face products are fragrance-free and alcohol-free and I've used almost all of them regularly for over three years without irritation. I order the Japanese products from, and ebay seller alphabeautyuk. For Ducray and cheaper Avene,, and have all proved reliable.

Nighttime Routine
skincare review Kiss Me Heroine Make Mascara Remover, Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil, Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Moist, Mandom Beauty Barrier Repair Super Concentrate, Sisley Sisleya Global Eye and Lip Contour Cream, Avene Trixéra+ Emollient Cream, DHC Olive Virgin Oil

If wearing an apocalypse-proof Japanese mascara, I'll swipe (1) Kiss Me Heroine Make Mascara Remover through my lashes, leaving it for a few minutes before cleansing my face with 1-2 pumps of (2) Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil, which removes all traces of makeup, suncreen and London ick and rinses clean. (It also melts off waterproof Western mascaras on its own).
A few drops of (3) Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Moist patted on with hands helps to lightly hydrate and normalise skin pH after cleansing -- functioning like a moisturising toner. Followed up with 2-3 pumps of (4) Mandom Beauty Barrier Repair Super Concentrate, a lightweight and instantly-absorbed serum containing squalane, hyaluronic acid and glycerin, incredibly effective at boosting moisture levels both short- and long-term.
About half a pea size of the ridiculously expensive (5) Sisley Sisleya Global Eye and Lip Contour Cream smoothed around eyes and onto lips works bloody miracles, un/fortunately. Having tried dozens of cheaper and even one or two pricier options, this remains worth every cent of the €80-odd I pay every five months. Luckily my face prefers no-frills Avène moisturisers to the luxe stuff and I rotate them seasonally. For winter, (6) Trixéra+ Emollient Cream in its large body-lotion-sized tube is perfect for slapping on profligately, topped with a drop or two of oil to seal everything in. Currently, it's (7) DHC Olive Virgin Oil because I got a bottle for Christmas -- it is both lighter and richer (and easily absorbed, almost like a dry oil) than 'normal' cooking or medicinal olive oils, with almost no scent -- but my skin also likes rosehip, almond, squalane and avocado (I've found no difference between 'branded' and cheaper versions of these).

Morning Routine
skincare review Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Moist, Mandom Beauty Barrier Repair Super Concentrate, Sisley Sisleya Global Eye and Lip Contour Cream, Avene Trixéra+ Emollient Cream, Olay Regenerist Fragrance Free serum, Ducray Melascreen SPF50+, Clarins Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF30, La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF50+ Sensitive Areas Stick

Because of my dry skin, I don't wash my face in the mornings; splashing with warm water does the trick, followed by (1) Hada Labo lotion and (2) Mandom Beauty serum to provide a weightless hydrated base again, and (4) Sisleya eye cream with (5) Avène Trixéra+ as more traditional moisturisers.
In between, two pumps of (3) Olay Regenerist Fragrance Free serum provides a daily shot of niacinamide (Vitamin B3) in a bland silicone base, which helps with moisture-retention, skin barrier repair/strengthening and pigmentation-fading. Once my Olay 'stash' (I usually stock up during Boots offers) is finished, I'll be trying a DIY version of niacinamide powder mixed into my Hada Labo lotion (cheaper and one step fewer.)
I'm religious about sunscreen because the effects of skipping manifest immediately on my sensitive, pigmentation-prone skin; I've actually gotten a sunburn (peeling and all) sitting by a window on a cloudy day in London, while wearing SPF15. -____-  So it's 5 pumps of (6) Ducray Melascreen SPF50+ Cream all over my face, a dollop of (7) Clarins Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF30 (all-physical, never stings) around eyes and (8) La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF50+ Sensitive Areas Stick on awkward bits, like ears, hairline and for touch-ups after handwashing.

skincare review lip balm Blistex Relief Cream, Jack Black Intense Therapy, Lanolips Original, Rouge Bunny Rouge Kiss Elixir, Kiss Me Moist Lip Natural SPF15, Fresh Sugar lip tints
Lip colour is probably my favourite part of makeup, so I am a wee bit obsessive about keeping my lips in good enough condition that I can wear them.
In 'emergencies' (cracking, peeling, bleeding and other attractive symptoms of leprosy dehydration), thick layers of (1) Blistex Relief Cream topped by a lipbalm -- currently my trusty (2) Jack Black Intense Therapy Lemon&Chamomile -- finally sealed in by (3) Lanolips Original (or Vaseline, whatever's to hand) usually heals me up after a night or two.
For upkeep, my current overnight balm is (4) Rouge Bunny Rouge Kiss Elixir, a thick, glossy, honey (well, it tastes, smells and feels like it, but mainly consists of jojoba, macademia and avocado oils, and importantly, no water) which is one of the only balms that I can still feel on my lips in the morning -- and it leaves them lastingly plump and smooth. Will see how long the tiny tube lasts me before I declare HG.
(5) Kiss Me Moist Lip Natural SPF15 is a light-as-water, clear and unscented hyaluronic-acid-containing lipbalm which works excellently under makeup -- no waxiness or over-creaminess, white cast or waiting for it to sink in. Japanese brands seem to do these 'bases' best -- DHC Lip Cream is a pricier but also wonderful option and to add a bigger moisture/gloss kick to drier formulas without turning them into slippery messes, Maquillage Lip Essence is a deservedly cult bestseller.
Despite all this assiduity, some days my lips will just be too hideous to inflict on a poor innocent lipstick, even a Suqqu Creamy Glow, and (6) Fresh Sugar lip tints are the only possible option; my favourite shade is Honey, pigmented and warm enough to be the perfect neutraliser for my cool mauve-pink lips.


  1. Thank you for this! We have very similar skin types, and I'm always a bit of a voyeur when it comes to others skin routines!

    I am looking for an essence to add to my routine, so I might give the Mandom Beauty one a burl.

  2. Thanks for your post... I have oily-combination skin, but I have dry lips and completely love Jack Black lipbalm. I'm also intrigued by Olay Serum. :)

  3. A HA! I see products that the both of us use! Hada Labo, Avene, Clarins, LaRoche Posay - excellent!

  4. great post! i'm so curious to try a lot of these products!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. I have somewhat similar skin -- dry, rosacea (mild luckily), very sensitive, and pale (NW10). Your blog is a constant source of lemmings...I'd love to know how you manage to put on all of these products and then makeup! 4 creams/serums and then sunscreen and then primer/foundation? Tell me what I'm missing! I slap on some light moisturizer and sunscreen, and then struggle to add foundation.

  6. Thank you so much!!

    We have similar skin types, and this article really helps. I was still on the hunt for a good serum and I never thought of trying Olay :)

  7. Marti: I don't know a single person who doesn't love the Mandom serum. It's such a drugstore gem.

    Anne: then you'll understand my obsession with lip care :D

    Jamilla: woohoo! I know you have dry skin too :D

    Amanda: thank you for making it through the whole essay, lol

    Anon: I think this is the difference between dry and VERY dry skin, which I have. All of these layers sink right into my skin and leave nothing behind. Anything less/lighter and I start cracking and peeling. Listen to your skin -- if it's happy with your current routine, stick to it.

    Sandra: I'm so glad :) Olay does fly under the radar a bit... it's like the Shiseido of the skincare world.

  8. I love reading about other people's skincare routines to get ideas. The sunscreen stick, La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF50+ Sensitive Areas Stick, sounds genius! I have been wondering about my ears etc since I'm very conscientious about apply sunscreen to my face, neck, and body.