I recently posted a few parts of my current skincare routine on my Instagram Stories, as well as an image showing my skin and how happy I am with it lately. I had so much interest in this, and was asked to go through my current routine and explain it, so here I am with a post all about the skincare I’m using and loving.
I’ve been using more or less this routine for the last month or more, and I’ve noticed that my skin is less red and it isn’t as dehydrated as it usually is at this time of year. I’ve also noticed my pigmentation (years of being on the Pill) and breakouts are lessening, as well as the fine lines around my lips and the lines on my forehead. If you know me, you’ll know how badly I battled with acne in high school, and hormonal fluctuations ever since due to different medications and treatments I’ve been on to fight my endometriosis.
Before I run ahead and show you all the products I’ve been using, please note the following:
- I understand this is a lot of products for one face.
- I don’t use every single product at once or every day (I will explain this more thoroughly below).
- I enjoy doing my skincare, so this isn’t a hack for me. It’s me-time and I find it pleasurable and relaxing.
- I understand that a lot of women don’t have time/money/energy/interest in doing so many different steps. If you’d like some tips on ‘must have’s’ or would like to know what products you can cut out, just comment or email me, I’m happy to chat skincare or give suggestions!
- I’m also in no way saying that I’m a skincare expert. My mum is a beauty therapist by qualification (even though she doesn’t work as one anymore), so I’ve always had an interest in skincare. I read a lot on skincare, and love to try out new products.
I don’t like to over-cleanse my face in the morning, but I have to remove any products I’ve had on during the night. Some of the ingredients in my night time skincare can’t be on your face in the sun shine. Plus, you can sweat at night and your skin produces oils at night. I don’t want to be throwing makeup on top of that – euw.
I keep my cleanse light in the morning – either a basic, gentle cleansing milk or micellar water. A couple of times a week I’ll use a gentle exfoliating cleanser in the morning too.
This is actually my second tube of this scrub cleanser. It contains glycolic acid and has very gentle scrubby particles in. Even though this is stated as a ‘daily’ scrub cleanser, I still don’t like to use it every day, as I worry about over-exfoliating my skin. I already use a proper exfoliator once a week, as well as an exfoliating toner a couple of times a week. I save this mostly for mornings after I’ve used retinol, as this can leave skin a little flakey.
Great way to prep skin for makeup!
I use this on my face most mornings. After showering I’ll squirt a little bit of this micellar water onto a cotton pad and run it over my face and neck. This removes any dirt, oil or remaining skincare from the night before.
Super simple and very gentle.
I’ve never been a crazy toner lady. I usually prefer a hydrating facial spray in place of a toner, as I find that it just does the same job and is in spritz form – super easy and I won’t waste cotton rounds then. I often use a thermal water spray like THIS ONE from Avène, but lately I’ve been loving this offering from Mario Badescu.
This super-gentle facial spray gives my skin that burst of hydration and preps it for any serums or moisturisers I add on top. I love the soft rose water scent, and am shocked by how quickly I’ve gone through this spray. I use it morning and night, on top of makeup or during the day to just give me a refreshing boost. If you’re using a serum or moisturiser with hyaluronic acid in, it’s great to throw in a mist too. It gives the HA something to grab onto and pull into the skin.
When I was younger I did the basics – cleanse, tone, moisturise. It’s only been in the last 6 or so years that I’ve really started to add in serums and other treatments for my skin. A serum is basically a more potent product filled with actives, that you supplement your skincare routine with after cleansing and prior to moisturising.
I’ve been using this daily for a decent amount of time now and am so happy with it. It’s basically an all-round anti-ageing serum that works superbly under makeup. It has a tightening effect in that my skin feels smooth and much more even after applying this. The serum definitely leaves my skin feeling firmer and hydrated, although not quite hydrated enough around my nose and chin area – these are my problem areas and that leads me to the next serum.
After I’ve allowed the dr.dermal serum to sink in, I go in with a couple of drops of this serum around my nose and on my chin. These areas get dehydrated so quickly, so I use this daily just to help add extra moisture to them. This has become my holy grail hydrating serum, as it’s very basic and yet exceptionally good at saving my skin. I’ve made a concerted effort to do this every day, and so far I’ve had no hassle with my skin in the seasonal transition – for the first time in my life! My skin usually freaks out at the change of season, and I’ll get dehydrated, oily and break out badly. This year – so far so good!
TIP – If you are going to wear this during the day, know this:
- Less is more. If you use too much it will pill under your makeup. I literally take one drop around my chin and one drop around my nose and press it in rather than rubbing it in.
- Wait for it to sink in completely before going ahead to your next step – whether it be moisturiser or makeup. If it doesn’t dry completely it will pill under your makeup. My best advice for this is to apply it, and then moisturise your body – that way, you’ve ensured your body isn’t dry, and by the time you’re done the serum should have been absorbed!
I’m still on a quest to find the best eye cream. I thoroughly enjoyed using the Eucerin Hyaluron Filler, but it contained SPF, so I didn’t like to use it at night. Another one I also really liked the Clinique Pep Start eye cream, but it was also one that is more suited to daytime use. I really want to find one eye cream that will give me what I need both day and night and hydrate enough without causing my makeup to crease. Clearly that’s too much to ask?
Due to this, I’m using different eye creams day and night. This one from L’Oreal is my daytime eye cream, as it softens and blurs the under-eye area. It contains dimethicone, so for me this is basically like a hydrating and smoothing primer for under they eyes. It doesn’t cause my concealer to crease at all, and still hydrates decently.
Moisturiser & SPF
A lot of the time, even if my day cream has an SPF I’ll use one on top – most of these are no higher than SPF20 and I like a higher protection factor on my face. I won’t use anything less than SPF40. I’d love a one-stop-shop kind of product, but just haven’t found it yet.
Garnier SkinActive Rose Water Botanical Day Cream (I can’t find this online in SA yet, but I bought mine in Dischem for around R60)
I found this in Dischem recently and was so excited! I’d heard Estee Lalonde mention it before, and while I haven’t found it online locally yet, it is slowly rolling into stores. It’s a rose water based hydrating and soothing day cream for dry or sensitive skins and I love the gentle rose scent and how it feels super hydrating for my skin yet isn’t too rich. I’ve used it for almost two weeks and have had no oil-increase or breakouts from it, so I’m super happy.
The Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF 50+ Dry Touch Aquafluid has long been my favourite SPF. I recently finished up a bottle of Yungkin Sun Care (which took me ages to finish – I started using it in August and only recently finished the bottle, and Hubs and I were both using it), and while I liked it, I want to find more of a ‘dry touch’ formula like that of the original Bioderma one I was using. I do have a slightly oilier T-zone, so I need something that won’t have me obsessively blotting by lunchtime.
It was great that I lucked out and won this sun cream in a Bioderma giveaway (that included a mask and an arnica-based lotion), and I love Bioderma so much that I insisted on finishing it up, however this one is a little too rich for my skin. I find my skin gets a little too oily during the day when I use this, but I refuse to go without sunscreen, so I’ve finished it up. As you can see I’d already cut the tube open when I took this photo!
The evenings are where I go all out with a variety of different products. I alternate nights with retinol one night, then vitamin C the next. Some days, if my skin feels a little ‘overworked’ I’ll throw in one night in between there where I just apply hydrating and nourishing products to my skin. Most weeks go like this: retinol, vitamin C, moisturising, retinol, vitamin C, retinol, vitamin C. Some weeks I’ll lower the retinol usage, but the one I use is super gentle.
Makeup Remover & Cleanser
Even when I don’t wear heavy makeup, I do a double cleanse at night. This is something I only fully embraced last year, and when I stick to it I’ve noticed my skin is so much better.
I first take some of the micellar water on cotton rounds and remove the worst of my makeup. I love how gentle this cleansing water is, and it’s so great at getting even waterproof or heavy makeup off.
This is almost always my first cleanse.
My second cleanse is usually a balm or a milk cleanser. I hate any product that strips my skin of moisture, leaving me with that squeaky clean feeling. Lately I’ve been so obsessed with cleansing balms, as they work really well and feel indulgent on the skin at the same time.
This cleansing balm from Pink Cosmetics comes in two fragrances (Pink Grapefruit and Ylang-Ylang), and I’ve tried and loved both. I have sensitive skin, and have had no irritation from them, although it can make my eyes feel a little ‘cloudy’ when I use the product to remove mascara – something I don’t get with my Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (another firm favourite). This one from Pink Cosmetics has a thicker formula (think a heavier oil once it’s melted in your hands) and does the exact same job, yet is much more budget friendly.
I apply the balm to a dry face, and massage it in to break down any remaining dirt or makeup. I then wet my hands with warm water (NOT HOT) and continue massaging. This emulsifies the oil into a milky lotion, and I then use a damp, warm cloth to remove it. You’re left with a clean face that isn’t tight or stripped of moisture, with no residue remaining at all.
I alternate between two toners depending on what serum I’m going to use that night. If I plan on using a vitamin C based serum or a salicylic based serum, I won’t go with any acid type toner, as this will leave your face over-exfoliated and it may compromise the barrier of your skin.
I use this toner a couple of times a week. It contains 5% glycolic acid, so it leaves your skin with a radiant glow and an even surface. It doesn’t irritate my skin at all, but keep in mind that my skin is already used to the dr.dermal Texture Correction Pads, which contain professional strength glycolic acid.
I only ever use this toner at night (it leaves your skin sensitive to sun), and only if I’m using a plain hydrating serum/moisturiser combination or if I’m using my retinol night cream. If you’re a newbie to both acids and retinols, I wouldn’t mix the two straight away, but I’m used to both and my skin doesn’t display any irritation.
When I know I plan on using any vitamin C or acid-based serums, this is the toner I opt for. It’s gentle enough to not compete with the serums, yet it still adds that boost of hydration to my skin, and soothes it.
I use this serum around 3 or 4 times a week. It’s jam-packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Previously I dipped my toe into the Vitamin C pool by using The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone and absolutely fell in love with the ingredient in my skincare. I noticed so many differences – my pigmentation started fading, any spots I had vanished quicker, my skin looked brighter and more radiant overall, plus the fine lines on my forehead lessened.
I loved that offering from The Ordinary so much that I did buy their Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% – I didn’t really enjoy the silicone feeling. Before I could even give it a go though, I started this one from dr.dermal and am OBSESSED. The Ordinary one did tingle slightly on my skin, which I had expected (it’s normal), and worked well, but this dr.dermal one is phenomenal. I saw a difference in my skin after ONE USE.
You all know I am completely honest in my reviews. This is a literal game changer. It gives less irritation than the previous vitamin C product I’d used, yet an even bigger improvement in my skin and much faster too.
I only have one negative thing to say – I do NOT enjoy the smell of this serum. However, I use it regardless as the smell does fade away once it’s absorbed, and it works so darned well I don’t care how it smells.
Any night that I’m NOT using the IntenCE serum, I use this, whether it be in conjuction with my retinol product, or just on a night off from the heavy anti-agers.
My mum bought this for me a while ago, as I’d complained I was battling to find a hydrating enough eye cream.
This is a light gel-cream, and even though it says it’s an ‘eye mask’ I’ve used it day and night with no issues. I prefer to use it at night though, as I sometimes layer a little extra on and go in with my jade roller – this helps with puffiness (I’m an allergy sufferer) and really helps the product to absorb.
Night time calls for a richer moisturiser, so that you wake up with plump, soft skin. I alternate between a retinol cream and this one from Clinique.
The first proper retinol product I ever tried, this is my second bottle. I have been using one of The Ordinary’s retinol offerings, but have put it aside to properly use this one.
This formula is so great for sensitive skins. Very rarely do I get huge amounts of flaking or irritation when I use this, as the team at dr.dermal formulated it to give a controlled release of the retinol. I noticed that while the one I use from The Ordinary doesn’t irritate my skin, if I use it two nights in a row or on nights too close together, my skin flakes quite a bit.
I really like how easy to use and effective this dr.dermal one is, and it’s a lovely nourishing night cream too. Plus, it smells delicious!
I received this as part of a press drop from Clinique, and while I wasn’t overly enthralled by it during summer (it was a little too rich, even at night), Hubs has been happy using it.
I started using it at night, either when I just want a basic hydrating night cream, or over the vitamin C serum. It provides the kind of no-frills nourishment my skin needs on nights like this, where it won’t interfere with anything else on my skin. I have the bigger bottle, and at R545 for 125ml of product, this is a great option, as the bottle will last for ages.
Another product where I’m not impressed with the smell – it almost smells clinical – but it does a fab job and apparently will also strengthen your skin’s barrier too.
Facial oil and Jade Roller
I wait for a while to allow my moisturisers sink in – each product does need a small amount of time to absorb before you move on to the next. Then, it’s my favourite time of night!
I was always so damned scared to use a facial oil – surely it would break me out? Nope! Not only do the different oils all carry great benefits, but they can actually help balance out the skin as well.
I attended the launch in KZN of the Nikel products in South Africa. This is a Croatian-made brand, and is absolutely incredible. I used up a whole thing of the Nikelhidris hydrating moisturiser, and am seriously debating repurchasing it despite the hefty price tag (it’s R995 and available HERE on Beauty Worx).
This facial oil is suited to dehydrated skin types (hello there!) and helps your skin retain moisture right down to the deepest layers. It contains a blend of delicious oils (the most prominent one being evening primrose oil) and smells like sweet oranges, yet it doesn’t irritate skin nor does it leave you feeling sticky or greasy. It sinks in so beautifully, and using the tool I will mention next to massage it in feels wonderful. One of the nicest oils I’ve used in ages, and you can see I’m going to need a new oil soon too!
This tool has been around for ages. I have seen them pop up all over the internet, yet they seem to have increased in popularity lately. At first, it seems pretty gimmicky, I’ll admit, and I had my doubts. Doubts that were shattered after a week or two of using this nightly!
On my Instagram, I posted a picture of my jade roller towards the end of April – you can see it HERE. I have been using this most nights since then, and my skin has just improved constantly.
Yes, while you could probably reap just as many benefits by using your own hands to give your face a massage at night, I find this little tool does the job so well and possibly better.
Jade rollers go back as far as 17th-century China, and this stone is said to have healing and protective properties. As with other stones, it varies in colour from a darker green to an almost white (like mine). You roll the tool using gentle pressure, from the centre of your face outwards, and it an be used on it’s own, with oils or serums, or even over a warm, damp cloth for an extra indulgent feeling. I use it almost every night, and on mornings when my eyes are a little puffy (I use the smaller end for my eye area, and the cool stone really does de-puff).
The benefits of using these tools are:
- Better absorption of products
- Reduced inflammation
- Less redness
- Encourages collagen production
- Decreased puffiness and under-eye circles
- Minimises fine lines
- Drains lymph fluid
- Relieves facial tension
- Increases circulation.
So yes, while you could get the majority of these benefits from massage, this tool does help the puffiness as well. A lot of these benefits are brought about by the massage of the tool and the way it pushes the product into your skin better. However, my best benefit? The relaxation it brings. I suffer from anxiety and battle with sleep, yet the routine of using this to massage my face, and taking that extra couple of minutes to myself at night is so soothing and pampering that I find my anxiety to be greatly relieved. I feel that if I was using a facial oil with lavender (like the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate), this would also help send me off to sleep better too.
Also, I have an added extra – if you’re keen on trying ANY dr.dermal products, I have a discount code for you. When you order online with them HERE you get free shipping, AND on checkout enter the code SUGARANDSPICE5 you will get 5% off on the products you order.
So that’s it for my current skincare routine! This doesn’t include any additional treatments like masks or exfoliators I use, so if you’re keen on seeing a post on that, please let me know. I’m happy to go through a range of different ones for each skin need. I love to multi mask especially!
Disclaimer – Please note that while some of these products may have been sent to me, all opinions are always my own and I am always honest about whether the product works or not.