My Current Skincare Routine & Essentials

My skincare routine has changed significantly since my original post on the subject over four years ago. While I think my routine was right for me, my skin and my budget at the time, I’m actually much happier with my current routine and line-up. If you’re looking to shake things up, you might be happy to implement some of the changes I have made.

Double Cleanse

This is definitely a big beauty trend, but one that makes so much sense. I only do it on days where I’ve been wearing foundation though. I use an oily cleanser, like my favourite Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm or The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, to remove my make-up on most days. Then I follow that by washing my face with a soap-free non-foamy cleanser. I really like the Yves Rocher Sensitive Cleansing Cream, a highly underrated French pharmacy brand as it is so gentle and calming on my skin. Unfortunately it isn’t available in South Africa, so I’m still seeking alternatives. Another cleanser I’ve recently loved is the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, which unfortunately also isn’t available locally. The latter might be better suited to oilier skins but still works for my dry skin as it isn’t stripping, it just isn’t as nourishing as the coconut oil based Yves Rocher wash.

Chemical Exfoliation

I’ve read up so much about AHAs and BHAs over the last year and to be honest, I think I got a little scared of AHAs as my skin is quite sensitive and I’ve diagnosed myself with a light case of rosacea. I am still curious and will eventually try something like the Pixi Glow Tonic or the Ordinary Peeling Solution, as soon as I can get my hands on them at reasonable prices.

In the meanwhile though I am supplementing my manual exfoliation (this one from The Body Shop) with the Oridinary’s Salycilic Acid (BHAs). It works wonders on my jaw line which tends to be bumpier and I’ve also been using it to spot treat pimples to great effect.

Active Ingredients

These are typically touted as the ingredients that deliver real results and of these retinol has been the biggest buzz word. If you haven’t heard of it before, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and has been scientifically proven to reduce the signs of fine lines (read make the tiniest noticeable change). I don’t expect my products to deliver drastic results, that simply isn’t possible. But I am all ears for something that could improve my skin texture and possibly help me fight the sun damage I have already. If you want to read more about it, Paula’s Choice has done a great post to which I’ll link here as I am definitely not qualified to give you anything more than a regurgitation of what I’ve read elsewhere.

The Ordinary have about seven different options when it comes to retinols, including retinoids, but I chose to go with the original in the second weakest formula so as to get some of the benefits without aggravating my skin. The Retinol in Squalane 0,5% did leave my skin feeling slightly itchy and burning after my first application, but since then I haven’t had any side effects. My skin is quite pink naturally, but I didn’t notice any particular flare ups. It does leave my skin feeling extra smooth, plump and helps my texture feel more refined. I haven’t noticed any change to the fine lines I have on my forehead or my laugh lines, but then again I didn’t really expect to. They are however less noticeable when I moisturise properly. Which brings me to one of my final changes.


I’ve used various moisturisers in the past and as I have quite dry and sensitive skin, I’ve always just piled it on and left it at that. What I’ve realised though is that there is only so much that a moisturiser that hasn’t been designed specifically for the face can do. Since my last post, I’ve gone back to the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion +. The reformulation has made a noticeable change and through consistent usage along with me discontinuing my skin aggravating use of soap (and SLS), I’ve managed to restore my skin barrier. This in turn has left my skin feeling less tight, no more burning sensation after a wash and has noticeably improved the redness in my skin. On occasion, when my skin feels like it needs a boost, I’ll layer in a hyaluronic acid from The Ordinary to help my skin retain moisture. Then I’ll follow this with the Clinique, which usually feels like a tall glass of water for my skin and then proceed to lock it all in with my favourite The Body Shop Vitamin E oil.

The only thing I haven’t mentioned in this post, is my sunblock which I now use daily as the first step in my make-up routine. This does mean that I skip it on no-makeup days when I stay home, but also that I rarely forget to apply. I use the Body Shop Skin Defence which also claims to fight pollution, but I mainly like it as an affordable sunblock that doesn’t feel oily, mattifying or noticeable at all.

My skincare routine is still fairly simple, low cost and fairly affordable. Although I’m definitely spending more money on it than I did four years ago, there is a limit to what I’d spend on what is essentially my own vanity. Taking good care of your skin, your biggest organ, doesn’t and should have to cost you a lot of money.

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