I have a skincare routine! (does this make me an adult?)
Despite having an absurd makeup collection and being big into cosmetics since I was about 16, I have always been rubbish at the counterpart – skincare. I think part of it is that I’m very lucky with my skin, although it’s very fair and a bit sensitive, I’ve never had to deal with acne or any other big problems. I’ve had rosacea (red bumpy bits on my cheeks) since I hit puberty, but it’s not too bad and with a decent foundation, it just looks a tiny bit textured so I never really cared about it.
Recently though, I’ve been a bit more conscious that my skin might not be this easy to deal with forever, and also that I could maybe reduce my rosacea a bit more so I don’t even need foundation (I don’t wear makeup every day anyway, but it would be nice to be able to wear less of the all-over face stuff). I’ve also been trying to look after my hair more, and just generally take care of my body. So I’d been looking for an easy-to-use, effective skincare routine that wouldn’t break the bank and also maybe that I could buy ethically.
Enter Aisling, who has been writing about skincare on her blog. She asked on facebook what people might like tips on, and I said I was looking for a cleanser that would remove difficult things like gel eyeliners and waterproof mascara, without killing my skin. In her “Current favourites – product reviews” and “Cleansing – what exactly is it and why do we do it?” posts, Aisling mentioned the Suneeta Cosmetics Mandarin and Calendula Cleansing Balm as one that is really good at taking off awkward makeup. It’s an oil-based cleanser, which I was a bit hesitant about because I’ve tried using coconut oil before and it’s turned into a big greasy mess, but Aisling has badass eyeliner a lot of the time, so I trusted her judgement.
In April, I got a reimbursement of some money, so I decided to save most of it and treat myself with a bit of the rest, and one of the things I treated myself to was the Suneeta Cosmetics “For Her… Deluxe Get Started Kit for Normal Skin” which is £27 (worked out about £35 because their website pricing doesn’t include VAT, and postage was a few pounds). To be honest, I don’t know if I have “normal skin” – I get dry patches around my rosacea where the skin gets flakey and I have eczema anyway, and sometimes I get oily, but I liked the products in this set the best so I got it anyway. There’s 9 products, along with instructions, to form a full skincare routine, which is basically exactly what I wanted! I knew when ordering it that I couldn’t use one of the products, the Aloe Vera Eye Gel, because I have a skin allergy to aloe vera, but it’s still a pretty decent deal and I figured I could give that to someone else (which I still haven’t done, but if anyone wants it, let me know!). Suneeta Cosmetics are a black-owned London-based company, and are a very small business, so buying from them means the money goes directly to the people running it, which feels a bit better than giving money to Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, or one of the other massive companies who own the majority of products in Boots and have dodgy business practices.
I’ve now been using the products for almost two months and have more or less run out of a lot of them because they’re smaller sample sizes, and I LOVE them. In particular, there’s 5 that I’ve been using a lot and that my skin has been enjoying, which I’m hoping to repurchase in full sizes if/when I can spare the money again:
Mandarin and Calendula Cleansing Balm – Aisling was totally right with this, it’s great for removing even really stubborn makeup, and it doesn’t dry out my skin like most “makeup removers” do. It smells nice and it’s really easy to use. I really love this and I have barely used any other face washes or cleansers since I got it. Thank you, Aisling!
Flower Toner – This is just a basic toner with some nice oils in it, and it smells lovely and fragrant. I use this with a little cotton pad or a washable cotton cloth to get rid of the last of the oils from the cleansing balm, and it leaves everything nice and clean for moisturising.
Rose Geranium Argan Facial Oil – This is an argan oil with a few other essential oils in it that is used as a moisturiser, and it’s way better than I expected it to be! It smells gorgeous, and it sinks into my skin pretty quickly, and actually acts as a pretty good base for makeup going on top. It’s made my skin feel a lot more supple and soft than my previous moisturisers, and I get the bonus of smelling nice for a while after using it!
Argan Oil Night Repair Serum – Another oil, this time aimed at anti-aging and repairing the skin. I don’t really know how well it does at that, but again, it smells great and it feels lovely to put on the skin before bed.
Rosy Cleansing Powder – I love all things rose-scented, so I knew I’d like this, but it also makes a great exfoliator! I’ve been using it once or twice a week, to just give my skin a good scrub. Makes a better option than apricot scrubs (which can give you tiny cuts on your skin with their sharp edges) or synthetic microbeads (which stick together in the sea and cause lots of environmental problems).
If I’m being good about my routine, I use the cleansing balm, the toner, and the rose geranium oil in the morning, then the cleansing balm, toner and night serum in the evening, and the cleansing powder a few times a week. But most of the time I just use what I feel I need, making sure to clean my skin before putting any oils on (otherwise they’ll trap the dirt in my pores – ewww).
Another few products I use regularly are from Lush:
Kalamazoo Cleanser – Connor and I both use this in the shower, I spread it on my face before I shampoo/body wash, and then wash it off after. It uses pineapple enzymes to break down dead skin, so again it’s a really good exfoliator option compared to a lot of other commercial products. I find it dries my skin a little bit, but nothing the oils from Suneeta can’t reverse. We’ve just finished a big tub of it so we need to get some more!
Brazened Honey Mask – I got this free for returning a bunch of empty pots to Lush and was a bit hesitant to use it because I have had skin reactions to a few different Lush masks, but I gave it a go anyway. My skin really loved it! I actually noticed a visible difference before and after using it – my skin was less red, a lot smoother and just generally looked way better. I try to use this once a week or so but I’ve forgotten the past few weeks so I might do it again this evening! I’m also a sucker for anything honey scented (I have honey scented soap bars from Lush too, yum), so it’s definitely a favourite.
Handy Gurugu – Hand cream doesn’t really feel like it belongs with skincare, but I thought I’d throw this in as well while I’m talking about Lush stuff. I use a LOT of hand cream – since I have eczema and am generally pretty rough on my hands (rubber gloves? pfft. gardening gloves? too much effort.), my hands can easy get like sandpaper and I don’t like that at all. I also knit a lot, and if I have hangnails or dry patches on my hands, the wool can catch and it feels AWFUL so I like to keep my hands as soft as possible. I’m also awful for buying lots of hand creams when I’m out and about because I forgot to keep one in my bag, so I’m a bit of a hand cream connoisseur at this stage. This is my favourite one to keep at home – it’s very thick, and smells a bit like Sudocream (which I like, personally, but I get why that might put some people off), but it sinks in really quickly and leaves my hands feeling great. Unfortunately the Lush tubs aren’t the handiest for travelling, so I usually have a Superdrug hand cream in my bag, but I’ve gone through a few tubs of Handy Gurugu because of how much I love it!
That’s the end of my somewhat budget-friendly, ethical skincare routine! My skin is all soft and happy, and it’s nice to buy things from ethical companies who use good quality ingredients, so I recommend trying them out. If you do try any of these, let me know what you think, or if you have any other recommendations, give me a shout!
Thanks for reading