Like many women I like to periodically review and update my skincare regime, to make sure I’m using the best products for me. However, also like many women I do not have money to throw away on this stuff so I always do loads of research before I buy a single thing. I want a hard working, capsule skincare collection, that gives me optimum care for minimal cash.
At the same time I do not want to be bombarding my body with a cocktail of chemicals just to look slighty younger, nor do I want any animals to suffer so I can get a ‘healthy glow’.
So here it is! The ultimate, recommended skincare routine, the ingredients that work and the natural, vegan, cruelty-free products that really deliver, guilt-free.
(Allergy note – all of the products mentioned are also nut-free and soya-free)
Recommended skincare regime
Micellar water (maybe)
If you have normal or dry skin you don’t need to cleanse in the morning. But if you have oily/combination skin and want to remove some of that shine this is a gentle way to do it. Even though I do have combination skin I’m just happy with a splash of water to freshen up, so I skip this product.
This is where your serious skincare ingredients come in. Look for antioxidants to brighten and fight free radicals, and hyralauric acid to plump, hydrate and encourage collagen production. The most raved about antioxidant is vitamin C. Check out REN Keep Young and Beautiful Firming and Smoothing Serum, £46. REN is fast becoming a new skincare favourite of mine, with lots of clean, vegan, allergen-free options, and the latest ingredients that any savvy beauty would be looking for.
Use religiously day and night. Go for one with hyralauric acid, peptides and antioxidants. I use Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream, £20 – another award winner, this rich yet light cream has skin brightening ingredients, hyralauric acid and antioxidants that soothe, brighten and lift whilst hydrating and plumping. Perfect! People have asked me what I eye cream I use and this is the one I’ve been using for years now.
This is an absolute must to prevent further damage. It is also very important if you use an acid exfoliator/peel (see below) as this can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. In winter I like to use a SPF 30 tinted moisturiser / BB / CC cream so that I’m getting a moisturiser, sun protection and coverage all in one product. In spring ramp this up to a dedicated facial sunscreen product. Also, wear great big sunglasses whenever outside.
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30, £28 – this product is beautiful! I didn’t used to get on with liquid foundations and tinted moisturisers, I didn’t like the way they looked on me and I could never find any pale enough. But this product is gorgeous on the skin, giving a lovely glow whilst being intensely moisturising (which I really need in winter). The coverage is very impressive for a tinted moisturiser and yet it looks so natural. I love that it comes in 16 shades – ‘opal’ suits me perfectly, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a well matched base. I had a photo taken whilst wearing this and I LOOKED 10 YEARS YOUNGER than I had looked in other recent photos – I couldn’t see any wrinkles and my skin looked so clear and bright. I also love that this is a multitasking product – moisturiser, sun protection and coverage in one. Just can’t praise this enough!
I’m finding that a serum and tinted moisturiser are enough moisture for my combination skin in winter (my skin does get quite dry this time of year). But if you need more you can add in a plain moisturiser and/or facial oil before your SPF. In general keep to light lotions/serums as heavier creams can be too much in your 30s and may lead to breakouts.
Non foamy cleanser
Foamy cleansers are just too drying. Use a cream, lotion, gel, oil or balm instead. Try to find one that is safe to use on the eye area so you can also remove make-up with it. Sadly, many of the more budget-friendly options I looked at said ‘avoid eye area’ on the box which is no good for me. Always double cleanse, once to remove make-up and again to clean the skin.
Odylique Creamy Coconut Cleanser, £18 – I really struggled to find a creamy cleanser that was vegan, nut-free and suitable for removing eye make-up, but finally I came across this gem. By Odylique, a company that specialises in sensitive skin, this organic, gentle cleanser actively soothes, make-up just melts off easy peasy, and it’s simply a joy to use. I like how it’s impressive ‘free from’ list is clearly displayed on the box – very refreshing! Oh, and this is also another award winner!
Retinol/Retinoids (vitamin A) night cream/serum
The gold standard ingredient for fighting the signs of ageing, it encourages collagen production and cell turnover, and is the only ingredient proven to reverse skin damage, minimising wrinkles and age spots. Admittedly natural products will not be as strong as the hard-core retinol products available, but on the flip-side that means less irritation.
Check out Pinks Boutique Anti-Ageing Serum, £39.50 – Soil Association Certified Organic oil-based serum with natural retinoic acid, vitamins C and E, omegas 3, 6 and 9. Winner in the Green Beauty Bible Awards. I saw results in the first few days – waking up with more balanced, radiant, calmer skin and noticed an immediate improvement in my neck lines. I can’t wait to see the longer term benefits.
Another long-time love of mine is Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, £31.50. Needing no introduction for many, this a beauty hero product. Rosehip oil is naturally high in vitamins A and C and omegas 3, 6 and 9. This particular formulation has been boosted with super antioxidants to provide deep hydration and free radical protection, reducing wrinkles and age spots and increasing elasticity and firmness.
Eye cream – as above
Gentle fruit enzyme Exfoliator/peel – fruit acids, AHAs and BHAs gently remove dead skin cells without scrubbing. Use 3 times a week to speed up cell turn over (which slows down as we age) and reveal more radiant skin. Check out the Madara Active AHA Brightening Peel Mask, £20
Treatment mask(s) – chose one or more masks to treat any skin issues you may have. A hydrating mask is always a good idea in your 30s, especially in winter. I’m using Absolution Certified Organic Youth Activator Mask, £35
Instant beautifier – not essential but nice – something you can use to give your skin an instant boost before a big occasion when you want to look your best. REN has lots of these. Try REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot, £36
Massage – at least 2-3 times a week give your face a massage (daily if you can, take only needs to be a few minutes if that’s thats all you can spare). Use facial oil, or a cleansing balm (anything that gives you some slip). Facial massage helps to de-puff the face, and really work that skincare in.
To finish off your fabulous new complexion, if you like to wear make-up, switch from powder to creamy formulations, especially in winter. Check out my Natural, Vegan, Cruelty Free Makeup Brands post for some makeup inspiration.