Friday, 1 November 2013

My current clear skin regime

I've been using the routine described below for a couple of months now after seeing some initially impressive results. I wanted to carry it on consistently for a while before I starting extolling its virtues to you, so that if and when I did, I could do it with total confidence.

After years of battling with never-perfect (sometimes terrible) skin, putting my faith and salary into seemingly "miracle products" which occasionally made improvements but more often didn't, I am almost amazed to be able to feel like I've finally settled into a routine that works.

As someone who is as equally concerned with anti-agening as anti-blemish, I feel like the regime below takes care of both these factors, as part of a routine which is fairly streamlined and simple, and not too pricey.

The four main components which I think have made the most difference in terms of clearer skin are the REN toner, Cetaphil cleanser, Effaclar Duo and Clarisonic, and I would urge any of you who are struggling with blemishes to consider these products, with the Effaclar Duo being my absolute top pick. I would even go so far as to give this the over-used and over-promised "miracle" label. It probably deserves its own individual post, but I'll just slot it in here for now.

{morning routine}

Top row, left to right (in order of use)
REN Clarifying Toning Lotion, £18 REN (don't forget your 20% discount code, valid until 7th November 2013)
- this toner exfoliates as it tones using natural acids (lactic, citric, tartaric and glycolic), removing dead skin and unclogging pores which means less congestion, clearer and brighter skin. It is also antimicrobial which means it kills bacteria lingering on the skin and will therefore reduce any future breakouts. Although this product does contact some alcohol, I don't find it drying at all.

Clinique Repair Wear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream, £30 Boots
- there are several eye creams out there which I think do a good job, but I am currently favouring this one because a pot of this lasts so much longer than many other eye creams I've tried, which makes it  good value for money. It keeps my eye area moisturised without being greasy, so any fine lines look diminished and it makes a good base for my under-eye concealer.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, £13 Boots
- this product delivers immediate results which is continues to consistently deliver. I use it like a serum, but I believe you can use it as a moisturiser alone. I definitely need to use a separate moisturiser on top. You can use it morning and night, and I did this at first which really delivers results, but I now use it only first thing, as it can be a little drying applying it twice a day. Its approach is two pronged: targeting individual blemishes and unblocking pores.
It targets blemishes using the ingredients niacinamide and piroctone olamine which purify the skin and prevent the blemish for developing into a full-blown breakout. It unblocked pores by removing dead skin cells, using a combination of LHA (a derivative of salicylic acid) and Linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid also known as vitamin F.
So there's a lot of science, with great results, and what's even more pleasing is the price. And look out for the regular money off and 3 for 2 offers on this brand at Boots.

Bottom row, left to right (in order of use)
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, £65 John Lewis (this limited edition version is in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation)
- I've reviewed this product before on this blog, it's a classic. I don't use it ever morning (and yes, you can use it in the morning as well as the night), just when my skin feels like it needs some extra moisture.

Origins Plantscriptions Oil Free Face Cream SPF25, £46 John Lewis
- after trying lots of different moisturisers, this is closest to my quest for perfection. With a good SPF of 25 and the right level of delivering moisture without any grease or shine, this makes a good base for makeup. In terms of its anti-ageing benefits, it improves the appearance of lines and wrinkes by strengthening the structural fibres in your skin, and includes, fibrilllin, collagen and elastin to plump up the skin. It boosts the renewal of skin calls making them act younger for longer. So far so good. Interesting, I don't usually go for the oil-free version of a moisturiser but I tried the standard version to start with and it was far to greasy and heavy for my skin, so try a sample first. And if you're after a brand which (like REN) is paraben, mineral oil and synthetic free, then Origins is a good brand for you.

Just a few words about my morning routine - the biggest difference here is that I don't cleanse my face in the morning. It's important not to over cleanse the skin, and this can be a culprit in why your skin is intolerant or over sensitive. So when I have a shower in the morning I just rinse my face with water - but if you suffer with dry skin you should try to avoid contact with water.

{evening routine}

Top row, left to right (in order of use)
Bioderma Sensibio H2O - Solution Micellaire, £9.99
- this is a great makeup remover, and I always use it to remove makeup before then using a separate cleanser. I've mentioned it on this blog before. It has minute drops of oil suspended in the water, which gives it real power when it comes to deep-cleansing and makeup removal, whilst maintaing the balance of the skin. 

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, £8.99 Boots
- the most quick and effective cleanser I've used in ages. Removes all traces of makeup and grime, and leaves you skin feeling neutral, natural and absolutely not irritated. Many cleansers over cleanse the face, but this makes sure that your natural protective oils and emollients are left intact. Very comforting.

Clarisonic Mia 2 Cleansing Brush, £125 Space.NK
- it's been an interesting few months with my Clarisonic, which maybe deserves its own separate post, so to summarise: after the first few days my skin was initially amazing, followed by a full-on 'purge' (which I'd read about so I was expecting it), followed by a period of the best skin I've ever had and I was its biggest fan. Then things started getting worse, so I changed the brush, and went from using it twice a day to just once a day, and things are now going well. I've seen better results with this brush more quickly and painlessly than with Roaccutane. Be wary of the No.7 or Olay versions - yes they are cheaper, and may achieve some results, but they do not use sonic waves.

REN Clarifying Toning Lotion (as above)

Bottom row, left to right (in order of use)
Clinique Repair Wear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream (as above)

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum (as above)

Clarins Face Treatment Oil - Blue Orchid, £30 John Lewis (or the Botanics alternative, depending on how frugal I'm feeling)
- I love this product which really improves my skin. I've already reviewed it on my blog here, and it really suits my dehydrated skin. It contains Rosewood, Patchouli and Blue Orchid to add radiance to the skin and improve skin tone. And Hazelnut oil works to combat moisture loss and the appearance of any new fine lines.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum, £14.95 Boots
- I realised a few years ago that glycolic acid helps control my blemishes. I'll use this if I think I'm suffering with a few blocked pores, because the corkscrew action of this acid really works to unblock them. The plus side of this product is that it also works on fine and lines and wrinkles, and so works to improve overall skin texture.

Just a note about my evening routine - if I've not been wearing make up that day, I'll skip the Bioderma. And I never use the Night Repair Serum, Blue Orchid Oil and Glycolic Fix Serum one after the other. I'll usually just use the Blue Orchid Oil, but if I'm feeling a little dry, I'll use the Night Repair Serum before the oil. And if I'm feeling a little congested, I'll use just the Glycolic Fix Serum.

So, that turned into quite the epic blog post - hope you're still with me? I just feel like, after being on an eternal quest through the vast world of the skincare industry, I've finally struck gold, and I wanted to share that with you in case you're still looking for solutions. I'll do another post soon on supplementary products I sometimes use such as face masks and spot treatments. Hope somethings here works for you.


  1. Love clarisonic, its amazing, what brush did u change to? Traynee I love this blog x teague x

    1. Yes it is isn't it? I honestly couldn't get over the results when I first started using it. Still confused why my skin then went bad, but the brush I changed to was the deep pore cleansing brush. I think it's important to change the brush every three months, even though they're fairly expensive. To be honest not sure what real difference the different brushes make - the sensitive one didn't feel much different and still got great results.

      Why do you love yours? Noticed a big improvement?