I am a bit of a purist when it comes to what goes in the hands of my clients, and I try absolutely everything on myself before it ever gets into the studios. So while I keep abreast of what’s available, I know what’s good for my skin, and find myself remaining loyal to certain products. I have a core routine that is quite streamlined, and not complicated.
In the mornings, I always cleanse any residual product and sweat from overnight, usually with one quick sweep of Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution, or for extra nourishment in winter, I’ll use a balm cleanser. Then it’s always an antioxidant, perhaps Augustinus Bader The Serum, No. 1 de Chanel Revitalising Serum, or SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum. When it comes to ageing, free radicals and environmental aggressors are just as bad as UV, so it must be a serum with antioxidants which provide that protection. Next, a quick dab of eye cream, as I have really fine skin around the eyes and can get quite dark under the eyes. My final step is moisturiser and SPF, which I like to find combined in one product.
I listen to my skin as to which particular products to choose for each step – for instance, if it’s winter or I am a little drier I might go for the C E Ferulic, whereas if I want something lightweight or to go under makeup, I might choose the Bader or Chanel. It’s useful to have a little skincare wardrobe, so that you can gauge your skin, and adjust your products each day or by season. For example, I will switch between a rich, occlusive crème when it’s cooler, and gel crème or lotion when warmer, but I am not just constantly bouncing from one new product to the next.
It can take some trial and error to get to know what your own core products are, but once you’ve found them, you’re set.
When you finish a product that has worked well for you, don’t go and buy something new for the sake of it; there’s no point. You only need to do that if what you have isn’t working. Get to know the ingredients and products that suit you, and equally, those that don’t.
I have very fine-textured skin that is reactive and prone to redness. You need to remember I have access to every laser possible, which is why it may not look like I have difficult skin!
I am incredibly lucky to have access to so many treatment options, so if I am looking a little flushed, I can just do a quick IPL session, which isn’t an option for most people. My skin is also very sun-sensitive, which makes antioxidants even more important. Vitamin C can be irritating to some skins, including mine, although I think it depends on the specific vitamin C. The SkinCeuticals one never does, and I think that is owing to its nourishing components. Vitamin A is important, of course, but the old school of thought of using (prescription-strength) Retrieve and having your face flake off is very outdated. There are excellent slow release products now that don’t cause that sort of reaction. And of course, if you’re using these sorts of actives, you must be extra aware of sun protection.
Remember to always apply your skin care to the face, neck, decolletage and all the way over the bust.
We used to be trained to stop at the décolletage, but now we say to include the whole bust, all the way over, as you want that skin to look beautiful, too. You can always just do that with your final couple of steps, if it feels a bit too generous applying your more expensive serums that way.
I never wear any base during the day, ever. Firstly, I hate the feel, and second, it’s really for camouflage, and my face – yes, from all those lasers! – is pretty even.
I have always had dark circles, though, even since I was little, but when I got to my thirties, I found I didn’t mind them. So many of my girlfriends have filler there to mask that, but to me it always looks puffy. I like to look real and natural, and at a certain age filler anywhere in the face sort of just sits there anyway.
I opt for a dewy moisturiser and SPF, mascara, occasionally blush, and I can’t live without brow pencil. I am comfortable both with or without makeup, though I do feel I look younger with a bare face, and have kind of come full circle accepting that. It can be nice for a change to add some definition, concealer, contouring, liner, or a bright lip, but I don’t feel that I need it. Makeup should be fun, and about trying something new, not a must-have. Sometimes when you’re using makeup to hide something, all you end up doing is amplifying it, so I prefer to use it to accentuate.
I like the tubing mascaras by Kevyn Aucoin and Victoria Beckham Beauty, which I can just pull off in shower and avoid rubbing at my eyes. I use Chanel Baume Essential everywhere, including as lip balm. I have them in every shade and in every bag and drawer. I like Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh blush, especially in the shade Knickers, as it’s not fake-looking and is still nice on clean skin, without base underneath. I very rarely wear lipstick, so I often do a Victoria Beckham Beauty Lip definer in shades 1 or 2, with lip balm applied over the top.
Laura Mercier makes a slim crayon, the Caviar Stick Eye Colour, and on my skin tone the shade Au Naturel is such an easy way to make you look like you’ve done your makeup, when all you’ve done is drawn a tiny bit under the lower lash line and into the socket for definition. I love Victoria Beckham Beauty Satin Kajal Liners, or if I’m using a liquid liner, Lancôme Art Liner [Ed. note: this product has been discontinued. Try Lancôme Idôle Liner.] The brushes I use are Rae Morris’, with the clever magnetic stand.
My night time routine is important, as it’s where I make a proper effort.
I always do a double cleanse, which really turns into a triple cleanse, but saying that makes people nervous. First, to remove SPF, which is designed to be difficult to remove, I go in with a balm cleanser on dry skin. My pick is Augustinus Bader The Cleansing Balm, which is so nourishing and beautiful. I apply it neat, and then add water and emulsify.
I use a face washer to take it all off, which makes me feels nice and clean, and gives my skin an extra buff. Resorè is my friend’s brand of face cloths and towels, and is so clever. They are designed to be reused for a week or two without washing! Not that I can quite bring myself to do that, but it does mean I don’t feel the need to change it every day. They’re antimicrobial, super fluffy, and designed for sensitive skin, so even for me and my reactive skin, buffing doesn’t produce redness. Fluffy, plush towels always feel like a treat, too – honestly, the older you get the more you realise it’s the little things!
Next, I do an active cleanse. I use something containing lactic acid which is hydrating, purifying and brightening, all those fun things, without being harsh. Then comes the third cleanse, which is really just to pick up any traces of product not yet removed, and I also do so that I’m not wiping at my eyes and dragging the skin there. I get a cotton round nice and wet with micellar water, and gently sweep over the eyes and rest of the face. I am really funny about my eyes, as there’s very little elastin there. Even during professional treatments, I am always saying to the therapist “don’t pull at my eyes”!
I haven’t used a traditional toner for years, but I quite like an essence or lotion.
The Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is a staple, though not necessarily every night for me. It makes me turn red immediately, even after using it for all of these years, but that’s because it’s boosting the blood flow and I like the afterglow! I’ll use an essence if I’m in need of hydration, like the No. 1 de Chanel Revitalizing Serum-in-Mist, and Augustinus Bader does a good one. Chanel’s new No. 1 range has been ten years in the making, and it’s game changing to see such a big house really pushing the envelope, being creative, and focusing on sustainability. I think the serum mist is super unique and is the most overlooked of the products. You can layer it if you’re a skincare aficionado, or in the mornings before a workout just spritz it on to refresh yourself, add SPF and go. It’s an easy way to top up on hydration and antioxidants, and is so versatile.
Of course, I do use retinoids, but again, not necessarily every night. It depends on how my skin is feeling as to which serum I will use on any giving evening.
I take a very gentle approach to retinoid use – there’s no denying their results, but for me it’s about marrying the right formula with the right skin type. I’ve used Cosmedix Elite Serum 24 on and off for years, as it is a really hydrating, antioxidant-rich formula containing a microencapsulated retinol that releases slowly into the skin. Medik8 has an innovative range of Crystal Retinals that deliver results really quickly and are available in a variety of strengths, making it great for both the first time user and seasoned professional alike. Lately, my favourite retinoid has been Noble Panacea’s The Absolute Intense Renewal Serum. It also contains teprenone, rooibos and black tea to boost collagen, brighten, refine and firm the complexion. It’s clean, considerate and the results speak for themselves.
If I am a bit sensitised, I might want a soothing, calming serum, or even an oil. Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum is a favourite; I often feel like I must secretly be drinking it, I go through it so quickly. It has the most decadent scent, too. With eye cream, again, I will sometimes use one that’s retinoid based, or something really rich, depending on how that area feels that day. You want to apply it in a tapping motion around the orbital bone. When you apply it here, most eye creams travel a little bit to the lid anyway and keep it moisturised, but putting cream directly on the lid usually means it’s likely to travel right into the eye and cause irritation. With this new No. 1 de Chanel Revitalizing Eye Cream you can apply to the lid and even apply to the lashes, which is very clever, and speaks to a smart, gentle formula. Cosmedix Elite Eye Doctor is another one of my favourites. I like to warm it a little between my fingers, to get the viscosity up, then tap it on. Using this technique helps to boost blood flow by encouraging micro circulation, and it’s so easy that anyone can do it at home. Then as a final step, I usually opt for a heavier crème to seal everything else in.”