If you’ve been avidly reading my blog posts for a while (then first up, you can have a really loud high five), then you’ll know that back last September I decided to really ramp up my skincare routine.
I did a six-week trial of using a lot of recommended hero products – acids and serums and double cleanses and lots of words and ingredients that made me feel a bit like I’d accidentally wandered into an A-level chemistry class. I took before and after photos and wrote about it here.
I wasn’t convinced by it at all. I’ve suffered with mild acne since I was a teenager and have previously used a whole range of prescribed ointments and creams to help clear it, and was struggling to find anything long-term that would give me lovely clear glowy skin without a trip to the GP.
I stripped it right back to basics using just a double cleanse and a moisturise and then slowly added products back in. I did a little more research (by way of the legend that is Caroline Hirons). I completely and utterly fell for the hype surrounding Drunk Elephant. And well, my skin is actually looking better than ever.
I haven’t had one of those painful under-the-skin spots for at least a month. Maybe two. Maybe three. And yes, there’s still scarring and discoloration from my previous spots which haven’t entirely faded, but I’m over the moon with where my face is headed, so thought I would share the products I’ve been using.
Everything listed below has been used for at least six weeks, if not longer.
I am on my third bottle of this stuff. It’s not particularly sexy, it doesn’t have a phenomenal smell and it doesn’t leave my skin looking like I have been on a wheatgrass retreat in Bali. But what it does do is leave my skin feeling super fresh and squeaky clean without making it sticky or congested – it’s the perfect morning cleanse or second evening cleanse. And at £15 a bottle (which lasts a good couple of months), it’s not outrageous on my bank balance either.
Also on my second bottle of this stuff. There are a couple of other oil cleansers I’ve been using to take my make-up off as well as this – including one from Bobbi Brown and another from bareMinerals. I prefer an oil cleanser with a pump rather than a balm in a pot (like the Clinique one), but I guess that’s down to personal preference. I adore the smell of this one, it’s really almond-y and rich which is why I keep going back to it. I simply rub a couple of pumps in my hands, and apply straight to my face. I massage it onto dry skin and into my lashes to remove all make-up and then clean off with a warm flannel. Before doing a second cleanse with the Glossier cleanser.
I didn’t get on with the Pixi Glow Cleanser or The Ordinary’s Salicylic acid, but this has really helped transform my skin. I apply it morning and night after I’ve cleansed (although I started by using it once a day to build up my skin’s resilience to it) using a cotton wool pad. It gently exfoliates and removes the dead skin which has helped reduce acne and also made my skin look much brighter and ‘glowier’.
I bought this vitamin C serum on a wild whim after seeing a few people recommending it on Instagram. It is expensive, but fuck me, it is GLORIOUS. I apply once a day, in the morning, after I have cleansed and used my BHA exfoliant. It is a bit of a weird texture, not too dissimilar to washing up liquid, and I’m not entirely loving the smell, but I cannot get over how much it has evened out my complexion and really helped reduce the spot scaring on the bottom half of my face. I think it might possibly be the best skincare product I have ever used. I will be repurchasing if my bank balance will allow.
I had a lot of recommendations to add a retinol into my skincare routine following my blog post last year, so opted to try the Drunk Elephant one. Whilst my skin wasn’t at all sensitive to BHA acids, it’s been much more sensitive to this retinol. I currently use it once every three evenings (and then skin the BHA part of my routine on that evening). It’s hard to say how much difference it’s made and whether it’s worked alongside the C-Firma Day Serum and BHA to transform my skin, or whether it’s made little difference. I will continue using and will try to up to using every other day if my skin will let me.
And finally, another old fave I’ve been using on and off for the past couple of years (alternating with the Origins Gel Moisturiser). I much prefer a gel moisturiser to a heavier one as my skin can get very oily and congested and I find this is a great base for make-up too. I apply it every morning and night as the final step in my skincare routine and it leaves my skin feeling fresh and hydrated.
I have also started using the Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum (as an evening serum as I know Liv Purvis and Alex Steadman are HUGE fans of this) and The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF50 but haven’t been using these long enough to review.
Disclaimer: Some of the Drunk Elephant products as well as the Caudalie cleanser were gifted products but it doesn’t impair my reviews of them.