Saturday, 4 July 2015

My Fail-Safe Skincare Routine - Exfoliating and Moisturising

'Sup Beauty Nerds,

Probably the best thing I've ever done for myself was to develop an exfoliating and moisturising routine. I mean, I've seriously become a skincare fiend; I can't stop, it's just so great. There's nothing nicer than having a bath or shower and covering yourself in exfoliant and then getting out and slathering on a big blob of moisturiser...I'm doing a stellar job of making it sound like the most attractive and enticing thing in the world, right?

and moisturising is not, I repeat, NOT just for people with dry skin. No matter what kind of skin you have, it will thank you for it. As well as making you smell nice, exfoliating removes all the dead skin cells that are currently chilling out on your bod and moisturising helps your skin retain (can you guess?) MOISTURE! It's important to do both year round, especially in the extremely hot or cold months, when most of us are subjected to either central heating or air con, both of which can dry out your skin. I mean, nobody likes feeling dry and crusty, do they? Show of hands? Yep...thought not. 

The issue I've always had with moisturising and exfoliating, is finding products that I love so much that I want to use them again and again. The easiest way to get into a routine is to enjoy applying the products you're using, after all. It's taken a while, but, by George, I think I've finally done it! So, for no other reason than sheer smugness, I'm sharing my little victory with you all today.

Now, I'm no professional, but I think I've got what they would probably (definitely don't) call skin that suffers from a crisis of identity. Certain parts of my body, namely my legs, feet, arms and (randomly and completely unexplainably) brows are prone to getting dry, whilst the rest of me could be accurately described as a 'grease monster', especially the rest of my face. Whilst I'm hoping the oiliness keeps me looking as young as possible for as long as possible, it means I have to use different  moisturising products on different parts of me. Exfoliating, however, is the easy part. My current favourite exfoliator, which I picked up on my last holiday, is Bath & Body Works' Tahiti Island Dream White Sand Body Scrub. I cannot put into words how this product makes me feel. It's DIVINE. For all you reading this across the pond in the U.S. of A, you can pick this up for around $15, but sadly for my Euro nerds, Bath & Body Works don't ship outside of North America. SOB SOB SOB! #inconsolable #startapetition. A nice alternative for those of us outside the U.S., however, is Palmer's Cocoa Body Scrub. It's a great brand that specialises in skincare, so you can trust it to do the job.

I apply a generous amount pretty much all over my body, usually once a week, leaving out my face, and then scrub away using a basic and cheap as chips shower sponge. I should warn you now, for those of you that plan on exfoliating and shaving: exfoliate first! Shaving can irritate the skin, so the last thing you want to be doing is scrubbing it into oblivion when you've just brutally attacked it with a razor blade. Am I making this too dramatic?  

When it comes to the rest of me, I use my regular face wash (my Clinque 3 Step Liquid Facial Soap) along with a facial exfoliating brush, which I bought on the cheap from Primark. My dream is to get a Clarisonic, but I currently lack the funds and so I must just continue to just dream about how fabulous it must be and make do with my hand-powered one. To be fair, it does a good job and isn't too harsh on my skin, which is often prone to irritation. For my feet, I make sure the skin has been softened in the bath and apply a smaller amount of the exfoliator before using my scraper (god, doesn't that just make you shudder?) and pumice stone, which I also got from Primark. Super cheap, but super effective, I promise. I've tried a battery operated skin buffer on my feet before, but it's never worked as well on my feet as a bog standard scraper and pumice stone. There's obviously a reason why they've lasted the test of time, jus' sayin'.

So, once your skin is scrubbed and softer than a baby's backside, it's time for the moisturiser!

For my body, including my legs, arms, torso and chest, I use Treacle Moon's My Coconut Island Body Butter. This is a pretty small, UK-based brand that I found in my local Tesco store. I picked it up because it was cheap (£4) and was so pleasantly surprised at how well it works, considering the cost. It smells delicious, like, to the point where I have to restrain myself from eating it and absorbs into the skin better than any moisturiser I've ever used before. A lot of other brands I've tried sometimes leave a tacky feeling on your skin and hands, but this one really lives up to its name because it seriously glides on like butter.

For my feet, the absolute best product I've ever used and will continue to use until the end of time is The Body Shop's Peppermint Intensive Foot Rescue. This. Stuff. Works. I'm not lying, it's the only thing that has continually succeeded in keeping my feet super soft and not gross. I apply this every day, without fail and whilst it's a little pricier than Treacle Moon (around the £9 mark), it lasts ages, smells incredible and actually does the job it's designed for. Foot moisturisers have never really impressed me all that much and I've never really rated them, but this one changed my mind.

I'm extra kind to my face. I have to confess that I've only recently gotten into a moisturising routine with my face because, like I said before, my T-Zone is like a Slip N' Slide. The weird thing is, my brows and the sides of my face are actually prone to being quite dry, so I figured that I'd better do something about it. As my face is the part of me that's exposed to the hot and cold the most, I figured I may as well go all out and put something a little pricer and (hopefully) more effective on it, so I invested in some Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream. In hindsight, given the oiliness of my face, I should have bought the oil-free version, but you live and learn. There's always next time. This cream is still pretty damn amazing though; my face has never felt better. I apply a small amount morning and night and find that I never suffer with dryness anymore. Whilst it's pricey, the fact that you only need to use a small amount means that the product goes a long, long way.