Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Review | Beginners Retinol

Vitamin A is considered the anti-ageing ingredient that everyone has heard of and everyone wants to incorporate into their routines. New products are coming to the market all the time promising incredible results, but as a beginner, it can be quite daunting and confusing to pick the right one for your skin. The Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 is styled as the ‘beginners retinol’, so let’s see how this beginner got on with it!

I’m trying to avoid saying retinol during this article because although retinol is the most well-known name for this type of product, vitamin A is actually the most accurate label for the group. There’s retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, tretinoin and tazarotene – all are different strengths and some are easily available while others have to be prescribed. The Crystal Retinal is retinaldehyde, so it wouldn’t be quite right to label it as retinol, despite the fact that this has become an umbrella term for vitamin A.

The Brand

Medik8 is best known for their vitamin A products – and they’re known to be very good. They offer many different types and formulas of vitamin A, catering for young skin to more mature skin that needs a heavier hit. The benefits of vitamin A are well known – it increases collagen production and cell turnover, which in turn helps to reduce the appearance of sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also been known to help reduce acne too.


Crystal Retinal 1 is known as the entry-level vitamin A in the Medik8 range. It’s billed as being super gentle and ideal for those with even the most sensitive skin, without compromising on performance. It’s perfect for those that are new to vitamin A and want to start exploring the benefits that vitamin A can offer, without the side effects that notoriously accompany retinol.


  • Visibly minimises fine lines and wrinkles
  • Firms and plumps to resurface skin texture and soften the face.
  • Hydrates to deliver supple, even-toned and youthful looking skin.
  • Reduces blemish-causing bacteria
  • Younger, smoother, more radiant skin in 4 weeks
  • Low-to-no irritation

My skin before starting

I am 25 years old and I wear suncream every day. I really don’t have a great deal of lines or wrinkles at all and obviously have quite young skin. I am at the age where I could start to consider using vitamin A but any younger wouldn’t really be necessary.

Since late last year, my skin had been very reactive and sensitive. I would get breakouts very easily, mainly around my mouth and chin, especially when using new products. I stripped my routine back to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF for four months. In early April, I added a face oil in at night time but kept my routine very basic. I was comfortable that my skin had become less reactive and decided to add in a vitamin A to deal with a few fine lines that were starting to appear on my forehead. My skin type is dry and I had been dealing with some dry patches and discolouration on either side of my mouth.


After cleansing, I apply two and a half pumps on to my face and leave it for around 30 mins before applying moisturiser. There is maybe the slightest tingling when I first apply it but this goes away by the time it dries down. It isn’t a tingle as such, but it’s quite clear that I’ve put something of strength on my skin. It didn’t leave my skin feeling dry or parched before applying my moisturiser. It does have a slight scent that I can’t quite put my finger on but it is pleasant and dissipates quickly.

I started using this twice a week as recommended to get my skin used to it for the first two weeks. After that, I have used it three times a week for a total of a month and a half now. Every morning after using this (and every morning in general), be sure to apply suncream as this will make your skin more sensitive to the sun and more prone to damage if SPF isn’t worn.

It’s important to point out that when it comes to anti-ageing benefits, it takes a long time for these visible results to come to fruition. That’s absolutely fine by me and I won’t be commenting on any anti-ageing results as I can’t say I’ve noticed any, but the other results I have seen are certainly worth mentioning.

Since using it

A common problem with vitamin A is that it causes some trouble for your skin, whether that be purging (lots of spots) or flakiness. However, Crystal Retinal promises to skip the irritation phase and go straight to the results. I didn’t really experience any purging or flakiness, which for me was an enormous plus! It’s these two side effects that can often put people off of using a vitamin A altogether, so if you’ve suffered particularly with either side effect before, this formula is definitely one to consider.

After a month and a half of use, the most unexpected result for me was that it has kept my spots at bay.Β After the first application, I did notice that an existing spot that had been dwindling came back to life. It was joined by another new spot close by and a very small spot on my chin and forehead. The forehead spot disappeared within a day and the one on my chin within two. The spot that I had before starting decreased in size pretty quickly and it’s new friend came to a very small head before disappearing into a puff of smoke. I would say that within a week, all spots (new and old) were gone. I could feel the pre-existing one under the skin for a little while afterwards but even that has disappeared now. The turnover was way faster than ever before. I had been struggling for months to get rid of them all for good, with many lurking under the skin, so to have them all completely gone is a great result for me!

This is the most consistently clear my skin has been in 9 months. I have not had a single new spot since that initial flurry subsided. I had been struggling with a bit of pigmentation left over from a few of the bigger spots and they lightened up quite considerably too. My skin looks nice and plump, while also looking much more even-toned.

I’ve included some before and afters to show my results, see them below!

Before and After

Left side:

I had two reoccurring breakouts in the bottom corner of my face and a small spot in the crease of my mouth. After a month’s use, these spots (that had been near constantly coming and going for months) have finally gone for good. After a few initial spots when I first added this, I haven’t had a single new spot, nor an old one reappear.

Mouth and chin:


I had a few small spots on my chin which have now cleared up. The big dry patch on the side of my mouth didn’t get any worse or irritated, which I thought it would.

Right side:


This side of my face was already pretty good, but I believe that my skin has become more even toned. I had some dryness in the creases of my nose, which has since disappeared.

Full face:


These are both horrendous pictures, but looking purely at the skin, I am so pleased. My skin is more even, less spotty, less textured and weirdly less flakey.


This has been an absolute pleasure to use. I was quite nervous to use this at first because my skin was just coming to the end of being really reactive and I didn’t want to risk setting it off again. It honestly couldn’t have gone better adding this in! This was gentle enough for sensitive skin and didn’t have any negative effects on dry skin either. I think this is one of those products that actually does suit all skin types and I couldn’t recommend this more. The difference in texture, plumpness and spots all went above my expectations and made this so worth while. It might seem a bit odd to recommend an primarily anti-ageing product without testing its anti-ageing properties for 12+ weeks, but ultimately the other results I’ve seen have been so fantastic that I would continue to use this even if it didn’t have anti-ageing results too. I’ll obviously keep using it long term and I’ll definitely be repurchasing this once it runs out!

You can purchase Crystal Retinal 1 directly from the Medik8 website.

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Do you need to put yourself on a skincare diet?

Usually in the new year, people turn their attention to their lifestyle – to start moving more and eating better. But what about a skincare diet? Maybe you’ve tried every product under the sun and yet your skin goals remain elusive. Or maybe your 10 step K beauty routine just isn’t delivering the same results anymore. Perhaps it’s time you went on a skincare diet.

There are so many different types of products, with an offering from each brand, that the merry-go-round of trying out new products never ends. But do you really need them all? Let’s be real, every single one of us has bought at least one product based on someone else’s recommendation that was a total flop. Can you hand on heart accredit a change in your skin to every single product in your day-to-day routine, or do some of them just fly under the radar – not really performing but a ‘nice addition’?

The glamour surrounding the multi-step Korean routine that exploded a few years ago is starting to dwindle. The pendulum has swung back towards simplicity- the anti-thesis to the over-complicated K beauty regime. Even the Koreans have moved away from an excessively long routine, so surely it can’t be long before the rest of the world follows suit.

The premise of the skincare diet is simple: by having these long routines, we can actually cause more damage than good. We can overuse active ingredients, use products that don’t agree with our skin and cause irritation, be that in the form of redness, sensitivity or breakouts. The solution? Strip your routine straight back, to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.

Krave Beauty recently started the #PressResetChallenge which is exactly what has been mentioned above – streamlining the process to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF in order to better evaluate what your skin actually needs. The initial 15 days are to heal any irritation, regulate the skin and to take note of how it’s reacting to the minimal routine. After 15 days, you assess what your skin is craving (not what you want to add back, but what your skin actually needs in addition to the basics). This should allow us to have a much greater understanding of our skin, its needs, our goals and how we can reach them. This could also place greater emphasis and encourage greater education about key ingredients and the wonders they can work for our skin.Β 

Liah Yoo was always at the forefront of the skincare diet movement, so it’s great to see that she is using her brand’s platform to further educate her consumers and fans of the brand on the importance of stepping back from their shelfies and really focusing on what is needed. It encourages people to declutter their collections and donate products that are wasting away unusued to those that will enjoy them more.

Looking at the #PressReset/skincare diet movement in a greater context, it links in well with the no buy/low buy movement and goes against the tide of beauty releases. It encourages you to follow a simple routine and stick to it, rather than trying every product just because your friend told you it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Even skincare experts like Susan Yara (see Mixed Makeup on Youtube) have pledged to streamline their routine – even they can recognise the excess! Beauty in general this year is taking a step back towards simplicity and it can only be a good thing.

So, does this sound like something you need? Now this may not be a solution to your problems depending on what they are, but it may offer an insight into your current routine. By slimming your routine down and slowly adding things back in, it can help to identify triggers of any irritation you might have.

This is actually something I’ve been trying myself and I’ve seen a reduction in irritation and breakouts. I’ve been using a moisturiser that’s packed with ceramides to repair my skin barrier and it’s been working an absolute treat. I’ve been doing it the whole of January I might keep it going for a little longer!

Do you think you need a skincare diet?


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Fresh brand overview

I discovered Fresh around this time last year and in that time I’ve accumulated a quite a few products that I want to share with you!


Let me give you a quick overview of Fresh – They are a luxury skincare brand that combines natural ingredients with modern science to produce beautiful skincare that give you a sensory experience. So far I have tried their Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner, Sugar Face Polish, Rose Mask, Vitamin Nectar Mask and the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream.

Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner – Β£34

My pic was shared on the Fresh insta in 2018!

I had never really used a toner regularly in my routine before and I was talked into buying this after a facial I had at Fresh. It contains real rose petals and hyaluronic acid which is supposed to boost hydration and minimise pores. I can’t say that I notice any difference in the size of my pores when I use this, but it isn’t something I particularly struggle with. It does definitely deliver on the hydration front – this toner is alcohol free (which can often dry out the skin) and is packed full of rose bi-products (rose water, rose oil) which soothes and hydrates the skin. It never leaves my skin feeling stripped like others had in the past but it is an extra that I feel I can be without. I’m currently working on ‘panning’ this. I find the price point a liiiiittle bit hard to swallow… Because I don’t notice a massive difference (not sure how anyone could see an enormous difference with toner really) and because the price seems steep to me, I wouldn’t repurchase this.

Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream – Β£42


After a few facials at Fresh, I wanted to keep my skin feeling this good and purchased this moisturiser at the same time as the rose toner. Let me just say that I have dry skin and this is a very thin moisturiser that doesn’t offer much for those of us that are a little drier… This cream smells very strongly of cucumber, which I personally hate. I’ve tried their Soy Cleanser before and couldn’t fall for it because of the scent. It is a very lightweight, thin cream that I thought would be perfect for summer (I purchased it in July 2018). I took this on holiday with me but felt like it just wasn’t delivering on the moisture front. Despite the heat, I was finding dry patches cropping up around my mouth that I couldn’t get rid of until I used a heavier cream. Since then, this has sat in my collection unused. It is not a bad moisturiser, it is just too thin for my skin type. I really want to pan this one too because I won’t miss it once it’s gone.

Vitamin Nectar Face Mask – Β£21 – Β£52

fullsizeoutput_2e5fThis is easily the best smelling Fresh product that I own. The Vitamin Nectar line smells absolutely UNREAL! It is a really fresh (lol) and citrus/orange scent that is a total, TOTAL win for me. This is a very gloopy mask that is supposed to brighten your skin, though I’ve never seen any visible improvements in brightness or clarity. This feels quite a lot like you’re spreading marmalade across your face (though it smells way better). This dries down pretty quickly and the chunks (which are apparently crushed oranges, lemons and clementines) stay as chunks on your face and look very attractive. I tend to leave this one on for longer than the recommended 10 minutes and find that my skin is really soft afterwards. This mask is supposed to offer a nice little exfoliation as well, and for my skin I’d say it offers more exfoliation than brightening. While I definitely want more of this scent in my life, I wouldn’t be too fussed in repurchasing. I just don’t find that vitamin C/brightening products do anything for me? Maybe it’s because I have the skin of an angel already…?

Sugar Face Polish – Β£21 -Β£52


This is easily my favourite product I own from Fresh. I had never had a physical exfoliator before and I was a little weary of exfoliating my skin because I thought it would end up damaging my skin instead my causing micro tears. This is definitely not the case with this. Because it uses brown sugar and strawberry seeds as the exfoliants (which are tiny), it is really gentle on the skin. Brown sugar is softer than regular sugars and is actually a natural humectant so it absorbs moisture – making it okay on even the most sensitive of skin (though you still might want to have a little test before you put it all over your face). When you apply this and start to buff it in, you can actually feel the sugar dissolving away into your skin – it’s amazing! I usually like to apply a few blobs on my cheeks, forehead and chin before spending a minute or two buffing it in. It’s actually really relaxing to just take a little time to massage this in to the skin and take a little time for yourself. As soon as the sugar begins to dissolve, you can feel how smooth your skin is underneath and for me there is something really satisfying about feeling the dead cells be buffed away. I much prefer this form of exfoliation over chemical exfoliation. The only down side to this product is the price. I got a mini of this as a free gift when I bought the moisturiser and the toner, but the full size is Β£52 which is steep. I think I’m going to try and find some cheaper alternatives and if they don’t live up to my expectations then I’ll bite the bullet.

Rose Face Mask – Β£21 – Β£52


This rose mask quite forgettable. The scent of rose is very strong with this, which isn’t a positive for me as rose often can smell a little dated. I never reach for this mask and can’t remember the last time I used it. As it’s packed with rose petals and rose water, this mask is supposed to hydrate, restore radiance and soothe the skin. I don’t suffer from any inflammation these days, but I didn’t notice any visible difference in my skin in terms of calmness or radiance.

Overall, Fresh as a brand is awesome for a sensory experience if you’re okay with fragrance. If you are sensitive to fragrance, this probably isn’t the brand for you. Most products are pretty heavily scented, especially with cucumber which I personally find unbearable. In terms of the efficacy of products, they’re a bit hit and miss for me. That is not to say that these products won’t be amazing for you but I think I’ll just stick to my Sugar Face Polish for the meantime.


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The double cleanse – is it necessary?

If you speak to any skincare addict, they will laud ‘the double cleanse’. What is this mystical ‘double cleanse’? If you’re already a skincare addict, then I’m preaching to the choir. But if you’re a skincare newbie, then lean in a little closer…

Well, the practice started in Japan and Korea and has made it’s way over to us in the J and K beauty crazes. Much like everything else in Asian beauty, the double cleanse has exploded in popularity within the beauty community – and for good reason.


The idea is pretty straight forward – all you have to do is cleanse your skin twice, but (usually) with two different cleansers. The first cleanser tends to do the heavy lifting and and removes the bulk of your makeup and SPF, while the second cleanser removes any residual makeup and actually functions as a more traditional cleanser (aka to clean the skin rather than to remove makeup). If you’re new to skincare and want some more info on cleansers, check out my post on Skincare for Beginners!

Is this mandatory for everyone? Absolutely not. If you’ve worn no makeup or SPF that day, you should find that just one cleanse will sufficiently clean your skin and no further cleansing action is required. However, if you wear fairly heavy makeup (i.e. more than no makeup makeup), wear SPF or have very oily skin, then you will probably benefit from a double cleanse. If you’re wearing SPF (and you should be), you need to cleanse twice to fully remove it. If you’re super oily, then cleansing twice with cleansers suitable for your skin type can really help to keep oils at bay.

How do you know which cleanser is suitable?

For a first cleanse, oil cleansers or cleansing balms are preferable as they will break down makeup, SPF, oils and pollutants the best in one go. To add a bit of exfoliation, but also to remove the makeup easily and quickly, lots of people like to use either muslin cloths, softer cleansing cloths or Konjac spongesΒ (check my post I just did about them!) If you have super sensitive skin or active acne, I would personally recommend using the konjac sponge as they are really gentle on your skin. When I used a muslin cloth on my cystic acne, it became much more inflamed and was really painful. The konjac sponge was able to remove every bit of dirt/makeup and give me a bit of exfoliation while being gentle on my skin. These days I tend to switch between konjac sponges and softer cleansing cloths depending on what I have around. For your second cleanse, you should use a gel, milk or jelly. There are hundreds on the market and you just need to be sure that whichever cleanser you choose, it’s catering to your specific skin type and skin concerns. If you have oily skin and choose a rich cleansing milk, this might not have great results for your acne.

When would you double cleanse?

You would normally do this in the evening when removing your makeup and preparing for your evening routine. You would not need to double cleanse in the morning as you don’t apply makeup or SPF to bed. It would be excessive to double cleanse twice a day for most skin types, but I suppose it depends on what works for you. Often people will use their second cleanser as their morning cleanse as it is lighter and will remove any sweat or oils that have built up over night. Balms and oils tends to be more of a makeup remover, so a jelly cleanser or cleansing milk would work much better in the morning.

Will I notice a difference?

I love how clean my skin feels when I do double cleanse and how noticeably smoother and softer it feels. When I only do a single cleanse, I always feel like I still have makeup on. You should definitely notice a difference if you usually use white towels to dry your face as you’ll no longer get little orange marks from around your hairline or black smudges of mascara where you didn’t quite get it all off! If you use a toner, you will generally notice that the pad will emerge less dirty too.

First Cleanse

For your first cleanse, stick to a balm or an oil. Makeup wipes and micellar water do not count here. My current favourite first cleansers are Kiehls Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleanser (oil) and Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm. Both of them are really gentle, melt makeup away easily and don’t sting your eyes like some cleansers do. I’m actually preferring an oil cleanser at the moment because it’s just so easy to get everything off!


Second Cleanse

For a second cleanser, you should use either a gel, milk or jelly. If you have any specific skin concerns (acne for example), this is where you would address it with targeted cleansers. My favourites at the moment are REN Evercalm Cleansing Milk and the Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser. I think I prefer the Pretty Athletic one at the moment because I really enjoy the cooling sensation and The REN one seems to leave a little bit of a residue which I’m not a massive fan of.


Some people might say that double cleansing is excessive, but really it all depends on what works for you. If you use a balm or oil as your first cleanse instead of wipes or micellar water, I honestly think you’ll notice a world of difference, not only in how much makeup you remove in one go, but the look of your skin, the texture of your skin and how your skin feels post cleanse. Try it out! You’ll never regret taking care of your skin.


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Skincare for beginners

Everyone has to start somewhere! If you are a skincare newbie, then you’ve found yourself in the right place. I’m going to give you the info you need to create your own skincare routine.*

If you follow the beauty community, you’ll know that lots of people’s skincare routines are very long and comprise of loads of products. When you’re starting out from scratch, you don’t need to include all of these! I’d say to focus on the basics: cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.

First things first: know your skin type. Oily, dry, sensitive, normal or combination. This will help you to choose products that are more catered for your skin.

  • If you find that by the middle of the day that your face is pretty shiny and you have blackheads and larger pores in the oiler parts of your face (generally the T-zone – across your forehead and down your nose) then you’re probably oily.
  • If you have dry patches around your face and need to use a lot of moisturiser, you’re probably dry.
  • If you skin is quite prone to irritation, blotchiness and redness, then you are probably sensitive.
  • If you don’t have any particular skin concern, then your skin is pretty ‘normal’.
  • Lastly, if you have a combination of these (e.g. an oily T-zone and dry cheeks), then you are combination.



Generally there are two types of cleanser: one that takes your makeup off and one that actually cleans your face. Sometimes they can do both, but more often than not they are separate. If you are still using makeup wipes or micellar water, put them down and step away from them now. Makeup wipes don’t do a good job of cleaning your skin, which is why you probably need to use a few to get all your makeup ‘off’. You’ll probably be tugging on your skin too, especially around your eyes to remove stubborn mascara, which can lead to premature ageing. There’s even been research to suggest that instead of cleaning the skin, wipes just spread dirt and bacteria around your face and push bacteria further in to your skin. Micellar water is also not a great makeup remover. Like makeup wipes, it can be incredibly drying and you have to use a lot of product to get makeup off. Micellar water was originally only to be used when you have no access to water, like backstage at a runway show, so don’t be lazy!

INSTEAD:Β Consider switching to an oil or a balm to remove your makeup in the evening! Apply these to your hands and rub them gently into the skin. They will both melt your makeup away really easily and will remove your eye makeup with ease. You don’t have to use much product to get really good results either. Go with the less is more approach and add more product if necessary. You can either use warm water or a soft flannel to remove it. Let me tell you, your skin will feel so much more hydrated than when you use a wipe or micellar water! These products don’t need to cost a bomb. Yes they will cost more than makeup wipes, but the results should be far superior and they’re way more gentle on the skin. Here are a few different options for different price points:

Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil – Β£12
Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish – Β£10
Clinique Take the Day Off Balm – Β£24
Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter – Β£10

BONUS: If you have ever heard of someone ‘double cleansing’, this is when you use one cleanser (usually an oil or a balm) to take off their makeup followed by another (thinner) cleanser to actually clean the face. If you have any skin concerns like acne, this would be when you address this. These cleansers usually are more likely to be a gel (for oily skin) or a milk (for drier skin). You can often use this ‘second’ cleanse as your morning cleanser too.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – Β£14 – GREAT for acne prone skin (my personal skin saviour when I had cystic acne). DO NOT USE EVERYDAY.
REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk – Β£20 – Great for dry or sensitive skin.


Regardless of whether you have oily or dry skin, you should be using a moisturiser. Probably not with the same one, but your skin will need moisture even if you have very oily skin with bad acne. Quite often when our skin is dry (usually from stripping the skin with aggressive products) all the natural oils that the skin produces are removed. In a panic, your skin will actually produce more oils – not less – because it’s so dry and theΒ  natural reaction is to try and re-moisturise with oils. You should be applying moisturiser in the morning and evening. They don’t have to be the same – you might prefer a thinner one for day time and a thicker one for night time depending on your skin type, but this is all down to preference.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat – Β£16 – Oily skin
Clinique Pep Start Hydro Rush Moisturiser – Β£25.50 – Dry/Normal skin, morning moisturiser
Nivea Soft – Β£4.29 – Even with all my other expensive moisturisers, I ALWAYS have a tub of this around. This is a good all rounder that may be a touch too thick for oily skin, but great for normal-dry skin.


SPF is your absolute best friend. YOUR BEST FRIEND. Whether you are at work all day in an office or walking out in nature, you need to be wearing SPF. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean that you are not exposed to UV rays. Quick rundown of UV rays – there are two main types: UVA and UVB. UVA penetrates more deeply into the skin and causes aging, while UVB penetrates less deeply and causes the skin to burn. Just because it’s the middle of winter and cloudy all the time, doesn’t mean that UV rays don’t exist. They penetrate through the clouds and come through windows just as strongly as when you’re outside, so you need to be covered! This would be the last step in your skincare routine before you apply your makeup. SPF that is included in your foundation or moisturiser is not sufficient cover – you need an extra line of defence.Β SPF should be applied 15-20 mins before you go into the sun and you should roughly apply half a teaspoon to your face for sufficient coverage. The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50Β is a really nice SPF that isn’t too much money on Amazon. It’s a really watery consistency and is much nicer to apply than regular sun cream. It’s also factor 50 so will give you all the protection you need. I really like the Beauty Pie Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF 25Β because the consistency is amazing, but you have to be a member so if you really do want to get into skincare you might like to take the plunge. Ideally you would go for something between SPF 30-50 (I just love the consistency of the Beauty Pie one too much). If you’re out in the sun all day, be sure to apply every 2 hours or so, otherwise it’s your makeup base.

You can add in extra products to your routine with time, but these are the main steps that you should include. These steps are vital to ensure that your skin is kept clean, moisturised and protected from any sun damage.

I hope this run down has been useful for any skincare beginners reading – I have a few people in my life that I’ll be sending this article to! Please let me know in the comments if you have any product recommendations for various skin types and hopefully it can help someone else!

* I am by no means a skincare expert. In my opinion, these are the essentials. If you want to look into anything in more detail, go to Caroline Hirons’ blog, read The Skincare Bible or visit the expert advice section on Paula’s Choice. The products mentioned may not work for you – it happens. What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. It’s a trial and error process, so make sure you do research on the products, read reviews and make sure the product is made for your skin type.


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Pampered skin routine

After a long hard day of smashing life, every so often I like to come home and really go to town on my skincare routine as a treat. This usually happens over the weekend and is one of my favourite ways to unwind and prep my skin for the week ahead.

Here is my step-by-step routine for perfectly pampered skin:


If I have makeup on then I’ll double cleanse, otherwise I’ll just use my second cleanser. For a more luxurious first cleanse I love using the Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Cleansing Balm. It’s a super rich texture that feels beautiful when massaging into the skin to break down your makeup. It feels super smooth and washes off really easily.

To carry on the facial massage, I love using the Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser. It is a gel cleanser that cools down the skin and feels amazing. You’re supposed to massage it in for 30 seconds before rinsing off. Because of the soft gel consistency and the cooling sensation, it feels so luxurious and leaves my skin completely clean and my mind relaxed.


I always see exfoliation as a treat to myself. My favourite at the moment is the Fresh Sugar Face Polish. Made with brown sugar and strawberry seeds, it’s strong enough to exfoliate away any dead skin cells but gentle enough to not feel like the exfoliants are ripping into your skin. As it’s made of sugar, the grainy particles will eventually exfoliate away into the skin, leaving you with baby smooth skin. There’s something super relaxing about not only massaging the face but feeling the grains dissipate away to nothing…


My favourite mask to use is hands down the Sjo Skin Happy Honey Mask. This brand is all over Instagram and is a firm favourite of influencers because it is the ultimate multi-tasker mask. I use this mask mostly to calm my skin and to make it smoother. I usually keep this on for an hour at least (if I can) and my skin emerges smooth as anything and feeling really rejuvenated. If I’m feeling really boujee then sometimes I will double mask and use something like the Farmacy Honey Potion Mask before the Happy Honey Mask (Clearly there’s something about honey that I like!)


This might not be an essential product for everyone, but it’s become a step in my evening routine that I don’t like to go without. Essences prepare the skin for the next products you apply to your skin and helps them absorb more easily. I find that it is just a good base to have that makes my skin feel more hydrated and makes it easier to spread other product out across my skin. I use the Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.


If I’m treating myself, I will always use my Kiehls Re-Texturising Hydro Plumping Serum. This is very gel like in consistency and makes my skin feel unbelievably smooth and as though I’ve had a big glass of water.


This one is a bit of a tricky step. If I weren’t to apply an oil after the moisturiser, I would hands down use Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream because it is the most beautiful, thick moisturiser. I love thick moisturisers because I have fairly dry skin and I don’t find that the thinner moisturisers give me any long lasting moisture. The only problem with this one is that it pills sooooooo badly. One I have been enjoying recently before I apply the oils is the new Dermalogica Intense Moisture Balance. It’s quite a thin moisturiser, but still is thick enough to really back a moisturising punch and more importantly doesn’t pill when I put oils on top of it.


Because I’m extra, I really like to apply two oils. The first is The Ordinary Rosehip Oil and the second is Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I ran out of the rosehip oil recently and noticed that my skin was not as soft as before, so quickly repurchased it. I probably saw the biggest change in the texture and feel of my skin with the Kiehls oil, so I’ve never turned away from this product. It makes me feel so relaxed to massage this oil over my face (it’s a very smooth oil, the rosehip oil is a little thicker and sits a little heavier on the skin) and I like to hold my hands over my nose for a few seconds and breathe the lavender scent it. Lavender aids with sleep so this is always my last step before turning in for the night.

To add to the pampering mood, I love to burn candles. My favourites are super budget friendly – they’re from Home Bargains and cost just Β£2.99 for a massive one! They do various different scents, but my favourite hands down is the Gingerbread one. It makes me feel all cosy and ready to relax.

I hope you found my pampering routine useful. Let me know how you wind down and treat yourself!


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