I’ve struggled with bad skin all my life: on my body, my face, my scalp – you name it, I’ve got it. I’ve had skin so dry it flakes off, skin so dehydrated it splits in two at the slightest touch, as well as heinous breakouts and oily spells. I’ve been through it all. So I’m here to impart what I’ve learnt over the years, and what has helped my skin, in the hope it may help someone else who may be in the same position. I’ve put together some tips below – enjoy!
1 – KNOW YOUR SKINTYPE
This seriously helps you, in terms of your purse strings. Most counter assistants (especially the ones you get a bad vibe from) are just trying to make a killing, by which I mean a sale. Sometimes, if the brand is worth it, you have to converse with rude and conniving counter assistants who will try and sell you products for EVERY skin type. The seriously important thing to know, when buying for cracked/itchy/tight/flaky skin, is if your skin is dry or dehydrated. Sali Hughes explains the difference between the two in detail, in her book Pretty Honest – which I can’t recommend enough – but the simplest way of describing it is that dry skin find it difficult to hold onto oil whilst dehydrated skin finds it difficult to hold onto water. So, serums that are ‘hydrating’ will help a dehydrated complexion more than they would a dry one. Something like Clarin’s Double Serum, formulated as an anti-ageing serum for combination skin, will do absolutely nothing for either dry OR dehydrated skin, but poorly-trained counter assistants will still try to offer it to you, as it is their ‘best-seller’ and ‘works wonders for most people’. You are not most people, you have complicated skin with issues, and you need to treat it like a Queen. If you buy a product to fix one certain problem, you need to make sure it’s up to the job, or you may as well be throwing your money down the drain.
2 – Invest in Products
I fought against this for a long time, and I got away with it as my skin wasn’t too bad until a few months ago. But the truth of the matter is that, in skincare, you get what you pay for. I’ve managed to balance my spending by budgeting myself an allowance to buying one skincare product that I need per month. Last month, I bought a Clarins HydraQuench Rich Cream for very dry skin (£36 for 50ml) and this month I will be buying a bareMinerals Prep-Step primer (£26 for 40ml). Eked out this way across time, it doesn’t feel as if I’m spending all my money on little pots of white goo. Prioritise the order in which you buy things. I went for a face oil first, as that was what my skin needed the most, plus it was the most expensive (£60!!! EEK!) so everything after that felt much easier!
3 – It’s OK to Break Rules No. 1 and 2 for the Right Product
Your skin will not always obey the rules. Whilst my skin is usually dry, occasionally it will become oily and I’ll have a breakout. When this happens, I switch up my routine for around 3 weeks (it takes that long for your skin to actually react to the products you’re using. Likewise, when you stop a problem product, don’t expect overnight miracles). During a breakout, I will stop using ‘cosmetic’ products and go back to basics, usually via Lush products, which all have totally natural ingredients. They are, however, drying when used in large concentrations over long periods of time, and I try to remember to use products such as Greased Lightning, Lush’s spot gel, sparingly, dabbing it on the affected areas with a cotton bud no more than three times a week to try combat this. Likewise, expensive doesn’t always mean better. I’m currently writing this article wearing a 99p face mask (Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask – 99p in Boots on offer, usually £1.49). This particular one contains hyaluronic acid, which has been proven to re-hydrate and plump the skin when applied onto the skin directly, although most people who want to feel its full affects will have it injected into their skin (another thing I learnt from Ms Hughes and her brilliant book). I can’t afford needles right now, and my skin always feels noticeably smoother and less tight for a few days after using this mask – for 99p I’m sold!
And finally, a list of products I have found to be a HUGE help for my eczema-ridden, itchy, dry face:
- Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase – £57 for 100ml
- Clarins Santal Face Treatment Oil – £33 for 30ml (this is the price quoted on the Boots website, I’m certain I paid £56, so maybe grab this deal/size)
- LUSH Ultrabland Facial Cleanser – £12.95 for 100g
- LUSH Angels on Bare Skin Fresh Cleanser – £7.95 for 100g
- LUSH Dream Cream – £12.95 for 240g
- Vita Coco Coconut Oil – £5 for 500g (SUCH a bargain!!)
- Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes – £16.99 for a lifetime bookshelf companion on skincare and beauty and general wisdom. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you only buy one of the things I’ve mentioned, buy this!
Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow for Day FIVE of my #7daybloggingchallenge!