My current skincare routine and products - dehydrated/dry, acne prone skin

My skincare routine changes constantly. Not only because I like trying out new products, but also because I am reading and learning more.
After believing, for a very long time, that I have oily skin I have now realised that my skin is dehydrated - probably because I have used products aimed at oily skin for too long!

This winter I have really changed my routine and increased products containing hyaluronic acid, retinols and overall anything that has the word hydration in it.

Let's have a look at my routine and dive into products later.

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Morning:

  • Cleanse and pat dry
  • Toner/acid
  • Serum
  • Moisturiser (sometimes oil)

Evening:

  • Double cleanse with hot flannel (need to get better at the flannel part!)
  • Toner/acid
  • Serum
  • Oil
  • Moisturiser
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Now, let's talk about products.

My double cleansing method:
My favourite products to remove makeup is the Bodyshop camomile cleansing oil and Vichy waterproof eye makeup remover, the latter if I've worn heavy makeup. I find that the oil melts whatever makeup I have on but struggles with waterproof eye makeup. It is vegan, cruelty free and affordable (£12 for 200ml) - what more can you ask for?
I use about two pumps, rub it between my hands to warm it up and literally rub away my makeup. I then rinse my face with warm water before going in with my second cleanse which is a must after using a cleansing oil. The eye makeup remover is relatively new to my routine and I only use it if I've had lots of layers of eye makeup. I use two cotton pads, drench them with the remover liquid and pop them on my eyes before gently rubbing everything off.
For my second cleanse and morning I use either No7 Nourishing melting gel cleanser or Pixi glow mud cleanser. I've used the Pixi cleanser for about 2 years and it's an absolute favourite of mine, combined with the tonic which will we get to soon. I always use these on its own, meaning I'll massage it into my skin first and then add a bit of water, then massage some more. Most days I use a wet flannel/small towel to remove the second cleanse as that is without a doubt the only method to truly cleanse your skin. It is also a more gentle way to exfoliate your skin and I promise you won't have a single trace of makeup after using this entire method. 
Phew. Let's move on!

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Toners, acids and serums:
Two items I didn't understand until a few years back is acids and serums. When I had cystic acne I made an appointment to see my GP (doctor) to get medication and advice. I followed her treatment plan which included antibiotics and staying away from oils in skincare. The cystic acne improved slightly with the antibiotics but I was nowhere near happy. I was absolutely desperate to get rid of my acne and started doing my own research, and after many many hours of reading Caroline Hiron's blog I realised that I need to 1. Do the double cleansing method and 2. Use acid!

Acids sounds scary af, I know. Let me break it down a little:
Acids used in skincare has an exfoliating effect. Glycolic acid works for uneven texture, congested skin, pigmentation and dryness (which can cause acne!). It penetrates the skin easily because it has the smallest molecules. Salicylic acid digs deeper into the skin and helps by reducing bacterial growth (acne), hence why you can find it in loads of spot treatments. Hyaluronic acid, my babe, attracts and retains moisture, boosts firmness and plumps skin. 

The first toner I bought was the Pixi glow tonic (£18 for 200ml). I have used it religiously for a long time and basically consider it a holy grail, a must have product. It contains Glycolic Acid which exfoliates and purifies whilst the aloe vera soothes the skin. I use the toner on a cotton pad and swipe it across my face and neck every. single. night. In addition to the glow tonic I recently bought The Body Shop Aloe Vera toner that I'm still trialling. I bought it to simply mix up my routine a bit.
I also have exfoliating pads from Clearasil that I use if I'm breaking out and Pixi Glow Peel Pads that contains a stronger percentage of glycolic acid (20% compared to 5% in the tonic). The latter I only use every now and again as it's very strong. Another intense acid I use is the Peeling Solution from The Ordinary which contains 30% Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Glycolic/Lactic/Tartaric/Citric) and 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid). This is not your every day acid and I wouldn't recommend it if you're new, cause this is some strong stuff. I use this every other week for literally a couple of minutes. It says to have it on for 10 but I chicken out as it stings so much, haha. My personal review of it is that I think it has helped improve my skin texture, scars and overall colour (pigmentation).

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On to some less extreme products.
The acid serums I currently use are Hyaluronic acid from The Ordinary. I use this nearly daily and massage it into my skin after cleansing. I also use Salicylic acid from The Ordinary and usually pop this on spots as a treatment. Then we've got the famous Caffeine serum (again from The Ordinary) which is my go-to product to beat puffy eyes. I dab it around my entire eye area and this stuff is just magical. 
The Environ Youth+ Avance Elixir helps combat the damaging effects of UV radiation and pollution and is also anti-aging. This serum feels like water on my skin and I love putting it on in the evening for extra hydration. 
I've got two Retinol products which I alternate between to help keep my skin young. Retinol is basically Vitamin A and a power ingredient for skin renewal and wrinkles and skincare brands love this - I do too. I've got a Retinol booster from Paula's Choice which I mix into whatever serum I have, and Retinol Reface from Indeed labs. The latter is super rich and leaves my skin glowing and it feels amazing underneath my moisturiser. 
The Super Facialist Miracle Makeover Facial Oil is another new product that I absolutely love. It smells like a spa (?) and is meant to be both a pre-cleansing oil treatment and a face oil. Now personally, I just can't be asked to do a 3 step cleansing routine so I use this on top of a serum, on it's own or on top of my moisturiser underneath makeup for that extra glow.

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Masks:
I'm genuinely not that into masks. I simply forget or just can't be asked but I do have these ones at home, for that rare occasion when I do feel like slapping one on, haha. 
These are all very affordable and easy to use. The Detox Mask from L'Oréal is a clay mask combined with charcoal and is great for cleaning out impurities. It detoxifies the skin without drying it out. The Glow Mask in the same range is also made with clay but mixed with red algae extract which is meant to brighten the skin. It also has tiny little beads which exfoliates the skin.
A favourite during the summer (especially when I've burnt myself) is the Bouncy Sleeping Mask from The Body Shop. I massage it into my skin and leave it on throughout the night and it's just very very hydrating. 

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Moisturisers: 
I've got a couple that I alternate between and think they all have similar properties.
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream is probably my favourite. It's super hydrating and recommended for people with extra-dry skin. I also frequently use the Super Facialist Hyaluronic Acid Super Lift Day Cream and Night Cream. They smell amazing and leaves my skin glowing. I also have a Firming Day Cream from The Body Shop but haven't used it enough to comment on it. It's nice so far, so let's wait and see!
Every now and again I want a thicker night cream and then I go in with the Dr Organic Coconut Oil Night Cream

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With every product that I've written about it's worth mentioning that I also use this on my neck and sometimes decolletage and shoulders. The skin on your neck and decolletage is very fragile and sensitive so I treat it similarly to my face.
I also moisturise my entire body religiously and try and use only natural products to do so as my skin seem to prefer it to stay soft and smooth. I usually make my own body oil but have actually completely run out, so here are my other options! Dr Organic has an amazing range of body lotions and I've tried most of them. My favourite is Coconut Oil and Manuka Honey. The Moroccan Argan oil has a pretty strong scent that I'm not a massive fan of - but it still does the job as a lotion. 
The Red Musk body lotion from The Body Shop smells amazing and as you can see I haven't used it very much yet. The Aesop Geranium leaf hydrating body treatment oil is meant to be a massage oil but I don't have anyone on site to massage me whenever I want, haha! 

WELL, that was a long one wasn't it? Are you still with me? ;)
If you have any questions about skincare or any of the products I mentioned feel free to comment or email me!