My summer facial skincare routine

19:44

This summer, in the run up to my wedding, I had to drastically improve my facial skin care routine. I suddenly realised a cold wash-and-go really wouldn't suffice! I have always had mild, acne-prone skin, that's combination (oily t-zone and dry elsewhere), always moving more towards totally dry during the winter months (thanks central heating!) I decided that while I'd invested most of my time worrying about the best ways to cover up acne scarring, now was the time to try to improve it before it got to that stage.

A make-up free me from this summer! (Ok, a touch of mascara, but that's it, promise!)
Wash your face twice a day!

I now commute by public transport two hours a day, as I work in a city. Each morning I would stinking jackets that have never been washed since they were bought (what's with that?), but there are so many more things in the atmosphere that you can't see that I found affected my skin. The fumes from the buses and the cars that whiz past my work everyday means I am constantly battling with pollution. This is why it is imperative to wash your face twice a day! I wash mine every morning, as soon as I wake up (I also like that this starts my daily routine) and every night, after I have used a make-up removing product. I use a clean wash cloth and my own towel that I only use for drying my face (my husband's band from using it!)

My two favourite facial washes this summer have been:
Witch Pore-minimizing gel wash - What I love about this product is that while it's a gel, it thickens up into a nice lather when you massage it into your skin. Another plus is that if you accidentally get it in your eye, you're not left in agony as you try to wash it out! It's also a great gentle cleanser, that doesn't leave your skin feeling dry or tight after you've used it.

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel - The travel size tube was perfect for my travel wash kit. It doesn't lather the same way as the Witch wash, but it leaves skin feeling cool and fresh and again, is kind to sensitive eyes.

Day cream

After my skin is thoroughly cleansed and dried, I then apply my day cream. This summer, I tried:

Nivea Refreshingly Soft Moisturising Cream for face, body and hands
A simple mositurizer, that also comes in a handy 75ml tube. I have to admit, the tube kinda sold it to me, as I thought it would be the perfect size for travelling, but found it was just too thick to use on my face in the summer. I now keep it in my drawer at work and use it for my hands during the day.

Garnier moisture match - shine be gone - By far this was my favourite this summer. It has an odd texture though, which at first I found quite off-putting as it felt like it was made up of tiny granules of sand - but persevere! It's oil-free, great for super hot days, and made my foundation glide on easily after it had been applied.

Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Day Cream - As I use Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation most days (bad, I know!) which has a SPF of 10, I don't actively seek an SPF in my day cream product. If I wasn't wearing my foundation, then I would make sure that I apply my P20 Factor 30 sun screen to my face, when in the sun. This Simple cream though does have SPF 15, which everyone should use if they don't use any other product containing sun protection. I am not a glam tan girl, and while I do enjoy sun bathing by the pool, I always wear sun cream and having a low SPF in my day cream is great for day to day wear.

I actually started using this product when I came back from my honeymoon, and didn't really want to give up on the Garnier moisture match, but one of the perks of this product is the pump-action dispenser. Don't get too over enthusiastic though - there's no way of putting it back in the tub, and a little goes A LOOONNNGGG way! I think this makes this product great value for money. 

Make-up remover
I hate to admit it, but this summer I erred on the side of convenience and opted for facial wipes. I have quite sensitive eyes, so have to be careful with the products I use on my eyes, whether that's make-up or make-up remover! The two I have used most are:

Simple Facial Cleansing wipes - these used to be my go-to staple for quick make-up removal. I don't know if I'm looking back with rose-tinted glasses to when wipes first came out, but I find the texture of the wipes themselves are much harsher now, particularly if you're trying to remove your waterproof mascara. It leaves my eyes quite sore now when I remove my waterproof mascara but I'm sure people without sensitive skin will find these still a great product.

Nivea gentle cleansing wipes for sensitive skin - Because of my previous comments, you won't be surprised to find that these are my new go-to staple for make-up wipes! I find they're much gentler on my skin and eyes, the wipes are soft and smell wonderful without being overpowering, but both the Nivea and Simple wipes, I would say, are equal in their make-up removal powers! 

Note about wipes
I do have a theory on using these wipes. Have you ever left a damp wash cloth on the sink and two days later it smells god-awful? That's what happens if things don't dry properly, and we generally accept that clothes (and wash cloths) will need a good wash to get them fresh again. Make-up remover wipes can't do that, so next time you leave the pack slightly open and find they're still wet and not stinky, ask yourself why is that? It's because of the agents they are packed full of. And if you don't wash your face after using these wipes, those agents or chemicals are left sitting on your skin for HOURS. And that's bad, people. If you don't believe me, check out what Wikipedia has to say on one of the chemicals listed on the back of one of the above packets.

When I was trialing my wedding make-up, and packing for honeymoon, I decided I needed a make-up remover that was gentler on my eyes when trying to remove waterproof mascara.  Though I usually hate the oily texture some have, I have to say I was super impressed with Nivea's Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-up Remover.




I found that it easily removed my waterproof mascara without stinging my eyes, or making my vision blurry, as I've found some other oil-based removers to do - very frustrating when you can't see if you've actually taken it all off or not! Sadly, on the second day on honeymoon, I hadn't pushed the lid down properly an its entire contents spilled into my suitcase. Thankfully, it didn't ruin my clothes, but it meant I had to forgo waterproof mascara for the rest of the trip as I couldn't find a store that sold this abroad.

In the meantime, as I was hunting it down, I started using Clinique's take off the day make- up remover for lids, lashes and lips and while this did make my vision slightly blurry, it was smooth to use and pretty quick, which meant I wasn't scrubbing away or aggravating my eyes when removing my eye make-up.

Eye cream
I have tried three types of eye cream this summer and while I didn't find results drastic, L'Oreal Collagen Filler Eye Illuminator was by far the best at smoothing the skin around my eyes, and created a great base before applying my primer and foundation.

As I mentioned, I have quite sensitive eyes, so trying to find one that didn't cause irritation or puffiness was tricky. I found both Clinique's All About Eyes and the Body Shop's Elderflower Cooling Eye Gel sadly, did cause me to react, however, my Mum loves the Body Shop one!)

Night cream

The best night cream I have used this summer is actually the counterpart to Simple's day cream, that's listed above, Simple's Regeneration Age Resisting night Cream. It has a different texture to the day cream, is much thinner and I feel absorbs more quickly into the skin - perfect for when you're dashing to your pillow!
Acne treatment
This is my love-hate product! When I'm having a breakout, I use Quinoderm Benzoyl perozide 10% which I apply just before bed, after the above routine. PLEASE NOTE if you do use this product, make sure the wash cloth, towels, and even bed linen you might come into contact with is old/white as it does bleach the colour out of anything it comes into contact with - a lesson, thankfully, my Pharmacist warned me about before I started incorporating it into my routine. I apply it using a cotton bud to make sure I'm not rubbing it unnecessarily onto parts of my skin that don't need it, and to protect my hands from its effects (I'm so cautious of it, I make sure my hair is off my face with a bandanna, too!)

Exfoliation

Twice a week I exfoliate my face using St Ives Gentle Apricot Facial Scrub. I find this product fantastic and keeping my pores clean and removing dry skin so it' left feeling fresh and soft. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how much or how harsh a scrub you should use on acne-scarred skin. Because of this, and that I'm prone to dry patches too, I take the (probably terrible!) approach of 'the harsher - the better'. I thought it would make sure my skin was healing and renewing itself, but let me know if you have any experience of this is/isn't the case.

Every 10 days

 Ole Henriksen Lemon Strip Flash Peel. Originally, I was a bit suspicious as to whether or not it was appropriate for someone to be using at home, but after I did a patch test and found I didn't react, I added it into regime. And I'm SO glad I did! It  really helped improve the texture of my skin, and I noticed an improvement in healing some of my acne scars. It has also been awarded a Star Beauty Award for 2013. It contains lactic, glycolic, and fruit acids – work to exfoliate and resurface the skin, algae extract – calms and soothes the skin and licorice extract – brightens, reduces dark spots. The only downside, it is pricy ($48 a pop!) and if you are allergic, it would be a costly purchasing mistake.

Moving into autumn, I'm going to need to boost my routine with a more hydrating moisturizer and perhaps consider trying a different wash. If you've got any recommendations, or have reviewed some products on your own blog, please leave a link the comment below and I will check it out!

Laura x

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