I am in no way an expert . I stress that first for anyone who may have stumbled on this seeking grand wisdom and enlightenment.
Jump over to Caroline Hirons, the Acid Exfoliant Queen, or Nadine Baggott or the like. They are the best of the best, the cream of the crop, Mary Poppins of the beauty industry and there we stop!
However after years of battling problem skin, I’m now in a place where texture is smoother, redness is minimised and acne is minimal. I wanted to share my skincare journey with the hopes that maybe some of you would relate. Likewise some may find solidarity with me.
You might even discover new things about your skin, the industry and products that you were completely unaware of.
I’ve always had an interest in beauty. I grew up as a typical “girlie girl”. Pretty dresses, skirts and heels.
I was more interested in make up and my hair when I was younger; skincare took the back foot. A basic cleanse, maybe toner and moisturiser. I thought at the time I was doing everything I could to look after my skin, but constantly struggled with spot coverage.
However I was doing what we all did in the 90s and 00s – I went for the Clearsil. The St Ives scrub (Skin Freaks breath a sigh of relief. Its long gone!). Tea Tree oil *GASP!*.
As teenagers we were taught by the industry, by marketing and PR that the way to tackle our issues was to strip our skin; scrub our skin and apply an ointment (damn tea tree!) which felt like hell fire on toast! Ouch. I lacked the know-how of what my skin needed and gave it the exact opposite. No wonder my skin hated me so much!
My The Body Shop At Home Experience
When I became a Body Shop at Home Consultant in 2017, I dived into all the training, product insight and guidance I could. To begin with I expanded my basic knowledge of skincare types and issues.
It was important that I was able to assist customers in the best way to utilise The Body Shops extensive skincare options, and help myself at the same time. I loved it. And I was good at it. Being able to try different things such as serums, essences, peels, masks and a whole abundance of products meant I could recommend great regimes as well as understand my skin more.
A draw back was that I felt restricted to only using Body Shop and as fabulous as their ranges are (their Camomile Butter is still my holy grail balm!) they don’t and can’t treat everything that is wrong with the abundance and variation of skin issues there are.
What Am I Doing Differently?
Most importantly, Acids. That is the biggest expansion to my product repertoire, and before you call me a psycho for putting ACID on my skin, fear not! It’s no where near as terrifying as it firsts sounds. It is rather tricky to navigate at first.
Glycolic, Salicylic, Hyaluronic, Lactic, citric, BHA, AHA: Theres a whole world of terms and names that filled me with complete confusion initially.
Its not something I jumped straight into as it more technical than just slapping on a cream and hoping for the best. I wanted to know what I was putting on my face and why. How it would help me & what I could expect from it.
What Do Acids Do?
Well short answer, firstly, they exfoliate. Its pretty darn simple. And they are bloody good at it too. Put down the physical exfoliants people – these are your new saviours!
Secondly, They are amazing for helping reduce signs of ageing as they give a kick start to collagen production, which as we get older, slows down leaving skin not quite as bouncy as it once was.
My top 3 so far are Glycolic (for smoothing my skin surface), Salicylic (this Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is oil soluble so penetrates the skins pores, helping to exfoliate the pore itself as well as the surface skin layer. This acid is particularly helpful if you suffer with blackheads and Acne) and Hyaluronic (for hydration).
Where Should I Start with Acid Exfoliants?
PIXI GLOW TONIC
My first adventure into the world of acids was with the wonderful Pixi Glow Tonic. It’s a great starting place for anyone who hasn’t used acids before. While being very gentle on the skin, it delivers a good hit f 5% Glycolic Acid. As a result dead skin cells are shed quicker, Cell renewal is stimulated and pores are refined.
The added benefit of Aloe Vera in the inci list means its super gentle and suitable for all skin types. It’s also Alcohol Free and Not Tested on Animals! Use AM or PM after cleansing; simply dampen a cotton pad and swipe over your face, or press into the skin if you prefer. Don’t rinse but continue with your usual routine.
I immediately noticed a difference in the texture of my skin. Subsequently with continued use, my skin is definitely smoother and brighter than it had previously been when I’d used physical exfoliants.
To sum up; BIG recommend from me! You can find it easily In Marks and Spencers (big stores) Or in most Boots. Personally, I’d take Boots any day as I’m a sucker for loyalty points!
It’s always on my repurchase list.
I shopped around for ages before investing in Sunday Riley’s UFO Ultra Clarifying Facial Oil. According to their product description the UFO oil is an ‘Exfoliating oil with rich and non-greasy moisture which Balances complexions that are prone to blemishes, Nourishes and smooths skin, Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and Combats redness and irritation’.
I got it on offer through Cult Beauty and have to say it is a lovely Oil. It sinks in quickly and makes my skin feel nice. I’m not 100% convinced it has really been helping my skin as much as it proclaims although its nice enough and I love the packaging.
NEW My Clarins Range
Now I’ve also introduced the NEW My Clarins Clear Out gel into my regime, infused with Salicylic acid and I’ve seen great results within just a couple of days. at £15 its a super affordable treatment to help tackle blemishes and breakouts.
I’m not sure I’ll repurchase UFO as its quite a pricey product with lack of earth shattering results. If the Clear Out continues to be as good as first impressions appear then it will defo be a re-buy when I run out.
As crazy as it may sound to use an acid, something many of us think of as being harsh and stripping, to boost hydration levels this beauty really does work wonders. You’ve probably started seeing it appear in Ad Campaigns on TV/Social Media etc in recent weeks/months.
Our skin naturally produces HA which gives us the lovely plump, juicy look and feel we all crave, but as with anything, lifestyle and environment have an impact on the levels of HA in our skin, leading to… you guessed it! Dehydration and along with it, sensitivity, dullness, fine lines and uneven tone/texture. But why is it so good I hear you ask? Why do I NEED it (trust me… you need it!) in my routine??
Here’s the Magic: a single gram of HA attracts and holds up to SIX litres of water! And it “knows”exactly how to distribute this water between cells to ensure plump, perfect skin.
It’s taken me a few go’s to find a HA product that I like and enjoy using while also seeing great results. Firstly was Skin Facialist’s Hyaluronic Acid Firming Intense Facial Serum £14.99 in boots.
First impressions were good with instantly smoother skin, however with continued use I didn’t see any long term difference and I think the smoothing aspect was down to the silicone in it rather than the HA – Dimethicone (silicone) is 4th on the ingredients list with Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic acid) being much MUCH further down the list. Not worth the money in my opinion.
Second attempt was a cheeky offer direct from Nip+Fab’s website in one of their £5 sales. Normally £24.99 I jumped at the chance to get the DRAGON’S BLOOD FIX HYALURONIC SHOT for a cheeky fiver and again loved it to begin with.
Over time though, applying it directly to skin, I found it left a tackiness. Even when sandwiching between Mists* this didn’t go away. It’s Nice, and I still use it from time to time however, now combine a couple of drops with my moisturiser instead.
Third times the charm as they say! Finally! And boy are they bang on the money. As is The Hirons – I will bend the knee! After my first two disappointing attempts I decided to give the much raved about Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Booster Face Serum normally £24.99 you can normally find it on offer somewhere (current offers I’ve found are 1/3 off at justmylook.com). I LOVE this one!
I love its short ingredient list which has Sodium Hyaluronate as the third ingredient. I love how it feels on application. I love how it feels after application. And I LOVE how smooth, plump and hydrated my skin feels. Consequently, this is 100% going to be repurchased when I finish it!
Where Can I Slot Acid In?
I’ve listed my full AM/PM routines below as an example of where these products can fit into your routines.Any questions jump in the comments and I’ll try to answer then.
Finally, I just want to add, I love my routine at the moment, that is to say it’s working magic for ME. Hopefully giving this post a whizz through has been food for thought and got you eyeing up some treats to incorporate into your own skincare regimes.
Cream Cleanser or Wash (At the moment I’m running down both my Body Shop Vitamin E cleansers
Pixi Glow Tonic
Toner Either Pixi Rose Tonic (toner) or Body Shop Vitamin E Toner (again Running them down)
Essence Lotion to boost Hydration
Face Mist (Again Body Shop makes an appearance here. Lots of ex stock! Coconut is my go to at the moment as its calming which is great after using an acid.
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Booster Face Serum
Sunday Riley UFO
Body Shop Drops of Youth Youth Cream (I like this though I’m just using it up. Probably won’t repurchase as there are others I need to try)
SPF (really important if you’re using Acids or Retinols in your regime as they can make your skin more sensitive. Though… I’ll admit I’ve been naughty and not got one yet!! I know I know! It’s on my to do list)
Cleansing Balm (I love a balm! Will be repurchasing The Body Shop Camomile Butter in March but for now I’m running down the balm side of Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse. Sadly thats not on my repurchase list as I found the cream too thick and the balm too greasy for me)
Cream Cleanser or Wash
Dr Jart+ Milk Peel (Bought this week for £12.99 in TK MAXX! It’s RRP is nearly £30 so bargain! This is a lactic Acid treatment, super easy to use with a ph of 5 so its very gentle and great for sensitive skin. Instructions say to leave on for 1 minute but I leave on for up to 5 as I don’t have any sensitivity. Loving it so far! Using 2/3 times a week)
Eye cream (Currently using The Body Shop Bouncy Eye Mask. I sometimes use a thin layer in the morning too if my eyes are super puffy)
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boost Serum
My Clarins Clear Out (I apply topically on blemishes and redness)
Sunday Riley Luna (My first introduce to Vitamin A or Retinol. WHOLE other post, coming in the future!)
Night Cream/Night Mask (I alternate between The Body Shop Vitamin E Night Cream and Drops of youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask)**
And So Now You Know About Acid Exfoliants
And that’s all folks! Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed it (and haven’t dozed off infront of your screen). I loved writing this post as I love skincare so much. Now you’re armed with a bit more info of what to look for and try out to tackle those problem areas you’ve been struggling with too.
Have You learned something New? Which Acid do you think would benefit your skin? Perhaps you’ve already tried some and have your own Holy Grail. Let me know if the comments!
* By sandwiching HA between a good mist I.E. spraying your face before & after applying HA, you’ll see much better results, as the HA will then be absorbing moisture from the mist instead of directly from the skin which can cause further dehydration instead of the desired moisture boost
**While I like The Body Shops products, many of them I’m using probably won’t be repurchased simply because I want to try so many other things that I think will be more beneficial to my skin. This doesn’t mean they are in anyway bad, just that I have massive LUST over other stuff!!