Working on the assumption that many of us are unsheathing our complexions and giving them a much‑needed public airing, I feel it’s time for a good skincare routine. People are usually surprised by how unchanging and relatively straightforward mine is, but it remains so because I strongly believe the skincare industry has encouraged far too many to do far too much to their skin.
I start each morning with a light cleanser (a milk or cream, generally, but I don’t hold a face wash against anyone) removed with a hot cloth. You haven’t got any makeup to remove – only a little perspiration and last night’s skincare – so there’s no need to overdo it or splash much cash. I almost unfailingly follow with an all-over sweep with a reusable cotton pad soaked in liquid exfoliant, for smoothness and glow. My favourite of the new releases is Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Wild Rose AHA Toner (£18 for 200ml), but if you’re oily or acne-prone, opt for a beta hydroxy acid version such as Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, (£10 for 30ml), and use in the same way.
There are four things I can’t leave the house without: my watch, phone, perfume and vitamin C face serum containing some form of hyaluronic acid. The effect vitamin C has on my own dullness-prone skin (as well as on my uneven pigmentation) is significant, and it is beneficial to all ages and types. I have many interchangeable favourites, but if you’re new to vitamin C, Bright Idea Vitamin C Face Serum (£19.99 for 30ml) from the newly relaunched Bliss, is a good and relatively affordable place to start. In autumn and winter, I would follow with a moisturiser, but at this time of year, the humidity and shut-off central heating means I feel comfortable enough to proceed directly to a good sunscreen.
My most-used this year is undoubtedly Hello Sunday’s The One That’s A Serum Day Drops (£20 for 30ml) mentioned in a recent column on SPFs, but the single most important thing in an SPF is your willingness to wear it, and so for this reason you must choose the texture that most appeals to you. Give or take a slick of lip balm, a coating of self-tan and the odd afternoon spritz of something cooling, that’s it for daytime. No eye cream, wardrobe of separate serums, messy masks or elaborate cleansing rituals. All one need remember each morning is “Cleanse, exfoliate, treat, protect”. Five minutes and done.