Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Beauty Routines

Part One

When I was younger my routine of cleansing my skin was a lot more simple than it is now. I didn't wear much make up, so a flannel,water and moisturiser was all that was used for years.

Unfortunately I also come from that era of people whose parents didn't apply much suncream as a child and my skin has definitely suffered because of it. My Mum used to apply olive oil to her skin and sit in the sun - the equivalent of roasting a turkey. 

However, through my 20's I realised how important it was to protect and treat my skin with care and since then have always cleansed, toned, and moisturised  my skin. I enjoy it. It is a bit of me time at the beginning and end of each day.

A number of people have asked and e.mailed about what I use on my face and what my daily routine is .

So, I thought I would share my routines with you over a series of posts called, would you believe it.......

"Beauty Routines". 

To address the elephant in the room before I start .

I do use a lot of products. 

I know. 

My skin is important to me. 

If I spend money on any area it will be skin care

The end.

I follow Caroline Hirrons blog and advice on skin care . I love her no nonsense approach to products, routines and brands. A lot of what I do comes from advice I have picked up along the way from her. 

I will do 6 posts:

  1. Cleansers and Toners
  2. Moisturisers and Serums
  3. Morning Routine
  4. Evening Routine
  5. Masks
  6. Wishlist and Favourite No Nonsense Beauty Blogs

Part One - Cleansers and Toners.

I do change my cleansers depending on how my skin is doing, the season and what I have discovered on various blogs. I find it is good to have a few cleansers on the go in rotation. Each cleanser  does something different for my skin. 

Don't be afraid to ask for samples from brands to try out.

At the moment these are the ones I am using. 

Cleansers - Ritessens, Clinique, L'Oreal, Priori

  • Ritessens Milk Cleanser 
  • Clinque Take the Day Off Balm
  • Clinque Take the Day Off Milk Cleanser
  • L'Oreal Micellar Water 
  • Piori cleanser 
I am coming to the end of my L'oreal Micellar Water and my Ritessens cleanser( which I got free in a Birch box) and have replaced them with a Clinique "Take the Day Off duo" - a balm and a cleansing milk. I will repurchase a micellar water as I find it useful for tidying up make up mistakes.

Clinque Take the Take Off Cleanser and Balm

Clinque Take the Day Off Balm - a rich balm - you only need a tiny amount.


In the morning I cleanse just once with the Ritessens creme cleanser or the Clinque Take  the Day Off creme cleanser. These are  moisture based gentle milk cleansers that I remove with a flannel and water. I then apply Ren's clarifying toner with cotton wool. It prepares my skin better for make up. 


In the evening I double cleanse. I start with the Take the Day Off Balm to remove all my make up. This balm is amazing. You only need a tiny amount and it removes everything! I will do a full review when I have used this for a few weeks. It has no alcohol or perfume so is not drying either. My skin is then ready to be cleansed. I then use the Clinque Milk cleanser and remove this with warm water and a flannel. If I feel my skin needs a really deep clean I use my Pirioi cleanser.  This is a deeper cleanse cleanser and I really see a big difference when I use this cleanser over  a period of time. However, this range starts at £36 so it is a bit too expensive for every day use for me. I believe the moisturiser is over £80.

The L'oreal Micellar water is also useful for a first cleanse or for removing make up mistakes gently. There are a lot of Cleansing Waters on the market now to try. Most brands are bringing one out as part of their ranges. Bioderma , of course is a big favourite, but I would give some drugstore variants a chance too if you are in the market for one.  However, for me, I don't find it to be that effective at removing waterproof mascara.

I have also reverted to using a flannel. Muslin cloths just don't do it for me. They aren't big enough, strong enough or absorbent enough to do the job I want them to. A traditional flannel is fine thank you. I use Christy flannels - they last for ages. I also find Cath Kidston flannels are thick and absorbent and last wash after wash. This is one of those times when I feel I prefer to spend a bit more on a product that will last the many washes it will get! I use a fresh flannel each time I was my face. As Caroline Hirrons says - same as knickers, don't wash your face with a dirty cloth, clean one every day please. 

I have one toner on the go at the moment.

Ren Clarifying Toning Lotion

I use the Ren clarifying toner. Gone are the days when toners were there to try and remove what was left of your make up and tighten up your skin unnaturally with a splash of alcohol! Now toners can be exfoliating and clarifying. They exfoliate, decongest and smooth the skin as well as giving it a wake up jolt with all the natural based acids they contain . This prepares your skin to take in all the moisture and products you then put on and makes the full use of them. Since using this my skin has really improved in it's texture. I plan to add a rosewater in to hydrate my skin after toning, but it is difficult to find a reasonably priced rosewater that does not have alcohol or perfume in! Any suggestions?

I am also tempted to try the Liz Earle instant boost skin tonic since reading about it on Jen's blog. She uses it in her morning routine that you can read about here.

I was also using the Botanics toner from Boots until I realised that the second ingredient on the list was alcohol denat.  Aways check your product for contents . I try and avoid as many products as I can that have alcohol and perfume in . My skin just does not need it.

 Why do so many products have alcohol denat in? There are alternatives and it  can be so drying on the skin, especially when used in high quantities. The higher up the list the ingredient is, the greater the quantity. If alcohol is second on the list you can bet  that product has a high alcohol content. 

Botanics Rosewater Spritzing Spray

I stopped using Alcohol based products when I read what denatured alcohol actually is and to be honest I don't fancy applying it to my skin. What are your thoughts?

Here is a brief excerpt:

Denatured Alcohol is : "Ethyl alcohol to which a poisonous substance such as acetone or methanol has been added to make it unfit for consumption." 

However, as with all things of course I know it is not as simple as that. Alcohol in the forms it is used in cosmetics and the small amounts in which it may be used, affect the purpose and the effect it may have on your skin. In some cases it is just used in small amounts to emulsify or to thicken or simply being used to bind other ingredients together. Different types of alcohol have different purposes and they are not all the "poisonous ethanol alcohol" that we associate with it. Cetyl alcohol for example, is actually conditioning .

Here are some links if you want to read more.

Denatured Alcohol

Beauty Myths

I still have chosen to avoid alcohol in my skin care products when I can. It is personal preference . If I can find products that have alternative ingredients in that do the job I need, then I'll choose that. Thank you.

I always check the contents of products if my skin is misbehaving. I react to too much cocoa butter or Vitamin E in products, although a small amount is beneficial.

So the first part of my routine is:

Cleanse, cleanse again , tone.

Once my skin has been cleansed and toned throughly morning and night it is then ready to receive the products I have to apply - serums, oils, moisturisers, suncreams etc. 

My next Beauty Routine post will be on the moisturisers and serums that I use.

Do you use products that have alcohol denat in?

Do you think it is important to avoid it or would you be discounting amazing products if you did so? 

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  1. Ooh I'm so interested to see what you use as I'm in desperate need of some new products as current ones are about to run out! Xx

  2. I like the look of the Clinique cleansing balm Claire, and the Ren toner. Looking to introduce an exfoliating toner into the regime soon. I was browsing the Nuxe website the other day and think they do a 'rosewater' based toner - not sure about any alcohol content though. Don't think my skin particularly likes alcohol heavy products - dries it out! Thanks for the mention - really enjoyed reading this and looking forward to more in the series! xx

  3. Claire I also love the description of the Clinique balm and have it on the list for my next cleanser. I also have a few cleansers on the go, always have as sometimes my skin def needs different things. I tend to use oil to remove makeup. Recently I've been using a pure jojoba oil and what I really love is how it melts all my eye makeup away, waterproof or not, as my first cleanse. Do u think the 'take the day of balm' would be useful as a second cleanse or the single morning one or is it more for makeup removal?? Great write up!!! ( maybe I love it as though we use dif products I have the same routine!! ) :)

    1. The jojoba oil sounds lovely! I was using a pre cleanse from Dermalogica which is an oil based cleanser and is great for eyes too, but fancied a change! The Clinque balm works for me better for removing make up/ first cleanse. I think I would find it a bit heavy in the morning, but second cleanse in the evening would be great as it feels so deeply cleansing! However they also have the milk Take The Day Off cleanser that I am using in the morning and that is lovely - nice and moisturising but not too heavy. I really am a product junkie!

  4. Btw I have very sensitive eyes and don't get irritated by oil as opposed to even gentle eye formulas. Even when I was using apricot kernel oil. I have been reading rave reviews on coconut oil as a makeup remover, have ed this Claire? Xx