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  • Writer's pictureLauren O MUA

start your skincare revolution

Bride smiling at her reflection in a mirror

If you’ve read any of my other posts on skincare prep or how you to get the best from your makeup, you’ll have heard me say that the key to great makeup is a good canvas. Now that doesn’t mean that your makeup artist expects you to have the skin of a Hollywood celeb with a facialist on speed dial, and there are also lots of reasons why your skin might not be ‘perfect’. From hormones to adult acne, rosacea, sun damage and ageing – we have seen it all and we definitely don’t judge! But we do also know how hard it is to see all the filtered and photoshopped pictures out there from Instagram to pinterest and wonder why we don’t look like that. Of course your MUA isn’t going to be able to replicate the magic of fillers, Botox, or a good old AI filter, but a reliable skincare routine is going to go a long way to helping you to not only get the best from your makeup but look and feel more confident without it. So if you want to invest a little time in getting to know your skin – read on!


First off, if you’ve read my special occasion skincare post you might be wondering how this is different. When I wrote that post I was trying to keep in mind a simple, suits-all set up that would help kick start your skincare routine and hopefully make some superficial improvements to help get a better makeup result for your big event, even if you hadn’t had a full skin type consultation or had left your skin prep to the last minute. Those are still great tips for any routine, but here I’m going to try and delve a little deeper. The realm of skincare can seem overwhelming with so many options, and whilst nothing beats an in-person consultation to help provide a personalised routine, here I’m going to break down the stages to start your own long term skincare journey – and the main thing you need to invest here is time. Get to know your skin, investigate and identify your main concerns, and spend a little time each day. If you choose to also spend on more expensive products that is entirely up to you, but this whole rule-book as just as accessible regardless of your budget. As with all my product recommendations my personal rules are only two – they have to be cruelty free and they have to work! My personal favourite skincare brands are Revolution Skincare, The Inkey List, and Beauty Bay as they all offer cruelty free, vegan friendly skincare that also happen to be affordable, but feel free to take the tips from this article and choose the products that work for you.

Step One and the rule I find works best is to keep it simple! Before you even buy your first product, narrow down your skin type and the key problem areas that you want to tackle and tailor you routine to include ingredients that are designed for that purpose. While creams, lotions and serums that boast to have all the bells and whistles can sound great, for a lot of people they are either too much, or don’t focus enough on specific areas. Scroll to the end and you’ll find a beginners guide to which of the most common ingredients tackle what skin concerns, and pick your products from there. If you’d like to go more in depth or would like more help in identifying your skin type and skin concerns, I’d highly recommend The Knowledge website section by The Inkey List including and Whilst they do obviously include recommendations for their own products, there’s lots of handy info, and they are a great cruelty free skincare brand if you want to build their products into your routine – you can even check out there skincare quiz for a customised recommendation list.

Step Two is building your routine itself, and whilst I’m the first to admit I find it very hard to stick to good skincare habits, if you can build this four-step process into your day you will definitely notice a difference! Pick your products for each stage and away you go!

1 – Cleanse. The first rule is that if your skin feels dry, tight, or ‘squeaky’ after cleansing, your product is too harsh. This can lead to irritating and dehydrating the skin, and even increasing oil production. Skin needs to be thoroughly cleansed, especially if you wear makeup, but shouldn’t be stripped. At this point you can choose to incorporate specialist ingredients for your skin concerns or keep to more suits-all products, but either way my top tip is to do a double cleanse. This may seem like being “extra” but most cleansers will struggle to properly clean your skin in one go, whether that is removing makeup, pollutants and day to day dirt and grime at the end of the day, or the build up of oils, sweat and skincare that happens overnight. Cleanse number one with a balm or oil cleanser to really break down and remove dirt, oil and product without stripping (believe it or not oil actually balances oil, so this is great for an oily or combination skin), and number two with a lighter product such as a gentle gel wash or micellar water to take off the final traces. The bonus of a balm or oil cleanser is that most will break down even waterproof mascara, so no need for a separate eye makeup remover.

2 – Tone and Treat! This is where those key ingredients really come in to play. Tone your skin based on your skin type and then apply a serum  to tackle your specific skincare concerns. Personally I prefer the targeted or single-ingredient serums by brands like Inkey List, and Revolution, and a lot of high street brands are also producing their own options. Because they tend to be lighter you can usually mix two together – for my own skincare concerns that’s a Niacinamide serum mixed with a Hyaluronic acid blend - but this is the stage that will be personal to you! At this point you should also apply your eye cream: remember the skin under your eyes is different to the skin on your face which is why it needs a separate product!

3 – Moisturise or Rehydrate. After your serum, lock in that goodness with a face cream based on your skin type. A traditional moisturiser helps add in oils missing in dry skin, a rehydrating product – also generically called a moisturiser but usually water based and lighter or more gel-like in texture – works best for oily or dehydrated skin. Hit up that Inkeylist link to determine which one you!

4 – SPF! All skin types need SPF and this is still the case all year round. SPF should always be your final step for best protection – whether your moisturiser contains it or you use a separate facial sunscreen.

Night time – this is where I like to treat my skin more. Traditionally it’s your chance to apply richer products that either need longer time to absorb into the skin or don’t sit so well under makeup so may not be suitable for your morning routine. My top tip is that I always recommend a face oil at night – even for oily skin! Putting ‘good oils’ back into your skin can actually help balance your skin’s natural oil levels, and this is also your time to perform a mini facial massage. Repeat steps 1 and 2 from the morning but follow with a facial oil rather than moisturiser – again you can choose a targeted oil such as a retinol or a hydrating blend but my personal favourite is a CBD face oil.

Extra treats – if you’ve got this far or have read my special occasion recommendations then you’ll see that there are extra treats I recommend as a part of your routine, just not one that you will need daily. These include exfoliation, face masks, and depending on your skin type or concerns there might be additional or occasional treatments for blemishes. What you use and how you use them will depend on your skin type – head over to my quick skinprep article for more depth information on exfoliation or check out this link from Trinny London

Still here and ready to start your skincare journey? Here’s a round up of some of the most common skincare ingredients to look out for to personalise your routine! Aim to include these in your targeted products and treats, or go the whole way and look for them in your cleanser and moisturiser too. For beginning a new routine I’d always start with just your targeting your serums and treatment products first, and always check for contraindications between ingredients (yes, hit up that Inkey List Knowledge again!)

  • CAFFEINE is thought to help with de-puffing the eye area helping eyes to look brighter and more awake. It is said to help with stimulating and energising properties. Great in an eye serum

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) has so many skincare benefits they’re hard to list! However, the main ones it's praised for are being anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, and anti-ageing. Meanwhile Hemp Oil (or Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil) also has loads of amazing benefits. It's rich in Vitamins A & E, regulates oil products, and is super nourishing and hydrating

  • NIACINAMIDE Niacinamide helps to even out skin tone and texture, reduce skin redness, regulate sebum production, reduce the appearance of pores and provide some antioxidant protection. It helps to increase ceramide synthesis in the skin and therefore improve skin moisturisation. Great for combination or congested skin, uneven skintone or enlarged pores.

  • RETINOL Has many functional properties including increasing cell proliferation and turnover, reduces the appearance of dark marks and pigmentation issues and regulates sebum production. It has a strong overall anti-ageing capacity and is also used in products for acne prone skin.

  • ROSEHIP OIL Odourless with a golden-red tint, rosehip seed oil is rich in vitamin C and trans-retinoic acid, a prescursor to vitamin A, making it good for problem or mature skin types. It is thought to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and it has a dry skin feel and is quickly absorbed so is liked by people with oilier skin types.

  • SALICYLIC ACID is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that has a keratolytic effect on the skin. It is oil soluble and so is able to penetrate into the pores and solubilise sebum and dirt build up, decongesting pores and preventing the formation of spots. It helps to control oiliness and reduce the appearance of pores.

  • Vitamin C. Renowned for its radiance-boosting abilities, Vitamin C can help improve skin brightness, fade dark spots and pigmentation, even out skin tone and protect against free radical damage. Often a key ingredient in eye creams.

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