A post all about turning 30 and adopting a skincare routine without all the frills. And, as always, my skincare routine is (almost entirely) cruelty-free!
There’s something that happens when you turn 30. Suddenly, the world seems more perilous. “Wait, I used to do what?” you’ll think to yourself in horror of your frivolous, carefree self with no sense of mortality. Suddenly, Saturday nights out seem like such a silly idea, and you discover the utter joy of donning a good quality pair of pyjamas, like a long-lost best friend.
And suddenly, you look at yourself in the mirror, and you think. “Right, well, this is as good as it’s going to get. Maybe I do something about it.”
Welcome to the story of How This Skincare Post Came to Be.
What happened next may or may not have involved a
glass goblet of wine, Google at my fingertips, and a lot of frustration. The majority of articles that my search returned were a lengthy shopping list of what types of product you must slather on your skin now that you’re ancient. “But when do I use them?” I began heckling to the computer.
This was then followed by posts, articles, and epic sagas with titles like, ‘The 2,000 Product Types You MUST Be Using on Your Skin if you Don’t Fancy Dying an Old Crone Surrounded By Cats, Eating your Long-Forgotten Corpse.” A wine glass was replaced with the bottle.
The articles continued. ‘Use so-and-so product once a week,’ it’d throw in, casually. I was instantly irritated by all the nonchalance. “BUT WHAT DO I USE THE REST OF THE TIME?” I shouted into thick silence. Also known as ‘the sound of Stag crunching tortilla chips as he sits beside me, quietly ignoring his wife.’
The wine glass (empty, discarded) may have been tossed. It was all a blur.
It then dawned on me: I can’t be the only one as confused about all this.
So, I started doing my own research and have come up with something useful. Helpful, even, if you (like me) just want to be told what to use and when.
In The Morning (Everyday)
1 / CLEANSE. Depending on what I’ve used the night before, I’ll either wash my face fully with my Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser (my HG cleanser), or I’ll just swipe it with the Botanics All Bright Cleansing Solution.
2 / VITAMIN C SERUM. Next up is a Vitamin C serum, the holy grail of exfoliation + brightening + making your face as close to Blake Lively as possible. I was a bit sceptical using this at first, but as it’s key to preventing pollution damage and to hydrate skin, I knew I needed to get it into my beauty routine ASAP. My favorite at the moment is Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum.
Drunk Elephant products can be notoriously pricey, but my cheap-ass ways have helped me learn a trick. Instead of buying full items, just buy their sample duo packs. Much better value for money, and the little pump lasts forever.
3 / DE-PUFFING EYE GEL. Some people say you don’t need this guy in the morning. Well, those people probably don’t look like an undead vampire in the morning. Needless to say, I need something to wake my peeps up. My fave is Sunday Riley Autocorrect, but The Ordinary Caffeine Solution is a more purse-friendly option. See my whole post on the best cruelty-free eye creams.
4 / MOISTURIZER. Something light and all-purpose will do. This is where you can skip buying into that fancy-pants moisturizer and stick with something light but good. My favorite of the moment is the Puristy Seaberry Moisturizer — apparently, it’s no longer available, but I also love this one and this one.
5 / SPF. It’s crucial that SPF is the last step in your skincare regimen. I won’t go into all the science behind it (clearly, I don’t even understand half of it, but this article explains it very well). It’s also supremely dupremely (<– a word) important that you incorporate SPF with this skincare routine. I’ve been rather blase about sunscreen in the past, but the Vitamin C morning + Retinoid night combo is making your skin extra susceptible to UV damage.
However, if you’re like me and loathe the smell and feel of sunscreen, look no further than Supergoop’s Everyday Sunscreen. Not too expensive, good for your whole body, cruelty-free, beautiful smell and applies like a moisturizer?
In The Evening (Alternating Nights)
1 / CLEANSE. None of this makeup-wipe nonsense (bad for the environment; full of preservatives). Have a full-on cleanse, ideally even a double cleanse if you wear a lot of makeup. I use my Indie Lee Cleanser at night — admittedly, I’ve grown fond of my lazy, one-step-cleanse routine — and this cleanser is the best I’ve found to remove makeup + cleanse in one go.
However, I have been highly tempted to try the Votary Cleansing Oil — namely due to rave reviews, but also to get me back into double cleansing again. What’s good for me and all. Sigh.
3 Times a Week
2 / RETINOID SERUM. Now, as I have only just turned 30 (that’s still young, right? wince), I’ve only just started using this anti-ageing wonder that seemingly everyone insists you need. There is science behind why you should use this — apparently, it can help boost the effects of your Vitamin C and your exfoliation — but I’m here just to tell you what I use. FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum is designed for those of us new to using retinoids or who have sensitive skin.
From the first use, my skin saw no irritation using this retinol, and I’d absolutely recommend. The trick is to build up your tolerance — so start with 2 nights a week and move up to three. Now that my skin is used to using a retinol, I think my next purchase will be the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil.
3 / MOISTURIZER OR OIL. Because your skin would be a dry, dry bone without something on top. I am a huge fan of Herbivore Botanicals, and their Orchid Oil has the most beautiful, jasmine-like scent that I relish applying in the evening. My next choice is RMS Beauty Oil — one of the best ethical, natural brands you can buy on the market.
3 Times a Week
2 / CHEMICAL EXFOLIATOR. Every other night, I swap out the routine above for an exfoliation, as using retinol can make your skin flake flake flake. (And yes, notice I said chemical exfoliation, because none of that harsh scrubbies here my friends).
My favourite is and has always been Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold. Although I was a little dubious about this swipe-and-go product at the beginning, it’s now become a staple in my medicine cabinet.
Something to consider with exfoliation is whether you should use a leave-on AHA, BHA, or both. Paula’s Choice has an amazing resource for determining what’s best for you. Liquid Gold is an AHA, and so I’ve considered swapping it out for Paula’s Choice BHA liquid when it runs out, just to see if it does any better with my skin.
1 Time a Week
1 / MOISTURE SLEEPING MASK. If you don’t have dry skin, I’d skip this step and just continue alternating the steps above. But, if you’re like me, an overnight moisture mask is like a well-deserved drink for your thirsty skin. Just apply this one on its own, and you’ll wake up like a rested angel (or, like you, but shiny).
Sadly, I absolutely adore Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, although I only recently realized it’s not cruelty-free. My luxury if-only-I-was-Beyonce wishlist item? Oskia’s Bedtime Boost is recommended by every blogger, and having tried Oskia’s daily moisturizer before, I know how amazing their products are.