I used to spend a lot of money on luxury skincare products and have like a 15-step skincare routine. It was expensive, it was time-consuming and I would sometimes use too many actives which would lead to an impaired skin barrier.
My skincare goals are to reduce acne, acne scarring/pigmentation and reduce fine lines and wrinkles – all of which can treated by using products containing retinol.
After researching skincare advice from dermatologists, I found that they tend to recommend using a prescription-strength retinoid product, and then keeping the rest of your skincare routine basic and minimal.
I’ve been following this minimal steps maximum results routine for over a year now and can’t imagine ever going back to a long and complicated routine in the future.
My Skin Type: I have oily, acne-prone skin and some fine lines.
A super gentle cleanser that leaves the skin feeling clean and moisturised. I like to use this with a very soft face cloth in the morning for some super mild exfoliation, taking care not to scrub or rub too hard. I make sure to leave my skin damp for the next steps in my routine to lock in as much hydration as possible.
On damp skin, I apply this lightweight and non-greasy eye serum. The rollerball feels refreshingly cool when applying, which feels wonderful in the morning. The serum keeps my eye area feeling moisturised all day and sits well under makeup.
On damp skin, I apply 1-2 pumps of this gel-cream moisturiser depending on how much moisture my skin needs that morning. Although this moisturiser is marketed for the p.m. it’s perfect for a.m. use too – just make sure to follow up with an SPF after. As the CeraVe AM facial moisturiser is only SPF 30, I prefer to use the lightweight P.M. version, then layer a more protective SPF product on top.
This is an incredible physical SPF for oily, acne-prone skin and/or people who hate the greasy feel of some SPFs. This is a lightweight watery lotion that sinks in super quickly with no white cast left behind. The finish is a satin-matte that leaves the skin moisturised and healthy looking. In the summer months, I sometimes skip moisturiser and just use this SPF to hydrate my skin. Makeup applies and performs perfectly on top of this SPF, so there’s no need to worry about your products pilling or breaking down throughout the day. This is also one of the only SPFs I’ve found that doesn’t sting my eyes – highly, highly recommend giving this one a try!
PS. SPF is the most important step in your skincare routine, The sun is super damaging for our skin, even in winter. UVA rays can penetrate through clouds and glass causing photo-ageing even when it isn’t sunny!
The quickest and easiest way to remove makeup, SPF and general grime from the day is by using an oil cleanser. Massage this gel-cream onto dry skin and watch the formula turn into an oil which breaks down even long-wear makeup with ease. To remove, add some water and watch the formula transform again into a milk which rinses easily and cleanly leaving no greasy residue behind. This is my favourite and most repurchased cleanser – a must try.
Step 2 in the double cleansing p.m. routine is the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – the same cleanser I use in the morning. Using this water based cleanser after the oil cleanser makes sure my skin is properly cleansed before going to sleep.
For more info double cleansing, read this post: The Importance of Double Cleansing ft. Dermalogica Double Cleanse Duo
To target the texture and fine lines in my eye area, I use this hydrating retinol eye cream. This formula is super moisturising and plumping thanks to the hyaluronic acid and delivers the retinol slowly and gently into the thin skin around the eye area. This is a great place to start if you’re looking for a non-irritating retinol anti-ageing eye cream.
For the p.m. skincare routine, I use 2-3 pumps of moisturiser on damp skin for hydration and skin barrier support. I also use this over my lips before applying the Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm or ^Aquaphor as a lip balm – my lips are super moisturised and hydrated all night through ’til morning.
This is the step that really packs a punch – the personalised prescription from online dermatology service, Dermatica. A dermatologist reviews photos of your skin and the skin concerns you would like to address, then prescribes a custom mix of actives that will best suit your skin and needs.
My prescription reduces active breakouts and fine lines (tretinoin) and lightens hyperpigmentation from previous breakouts and sun damage/freckles (hydroquinone).
This must be applied on dry skin – applying to damp skin will increase irritation. I allow 20-30 minutes for my moisturiser to sink in, then apply 2 pumps to my skin avoiding sensitive areas such as the eye area, lips and nostrils. If my skin feels like it needs a bit more moisture or is a little irritated from the tretinoin prescription, I apply another layer of the CeraVe p.m. moisturiser on top.
(When using prescription strength actives, you must use a strong SPF every single day or you will damage your skin, worsening acne, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.)