My Quest For An Age-Appropriate Skincare Routine: The Nighties


I’ve received so many messages from you guys about the cleansers, serums and oils I have on high rotation at the moment, as well as lots of questions about acne and prevention. Not to be a buzz-kill but I am not going to be giving out any advice on acne. Acne isn’t a one-type-affects-all condition. It varies in severity and treatments as well as the emotional damage it has on people, and I don’t think it would be fair to cystic acne sufferers for me to sit here dishing out my tips on getting rid of a singular forehead pimple. Like, can you imagine?

But when it comes to my night time routine (!!!), I definitely have a few products that I believe are worth the hype and the price. These are products that have unequivocally changed the quality of my skin. Because that’s all we want, isn’t it? Skincare that actually does what it says it does? The reason I became so interested with night time routines in the first place is because that’s when all the magic happens. Truly. From the moment you turn your light out to the time your alarm goes off the next morning, your skin has a very small window where it isn’t fighting the effects of makeup, dirt, pollution and the environment. And when it isn’t fighting and defending itself it has the opportunity to heal, so it only makes sense that if you provide your skin with a few tools to encourage said-healing, you’ve got the greatest possible chance at having amazing skin.

Okay! So! All night time routines should start with a makeup remover – I keep this simple with either Garnier Micellar Water or Lancôme Bi-Phased Micellar Water  followed by a cleanser, and it’s no secret that I’m a diehard Eve Lom fan. Click here to read my love letter. When it comes to choosing a cleanser it’s important to know what kind of skin you have, for instance if you have naturally dry skin then you should never use a foaming cleanser because it will remove any small amounts of moisture you have left. In particular I wouldn’t recommend using a foaming cleanser in winter when your skin feels like sandpaper from constantly moving between a warm home to a cold work-commute and then from central heating to air conditioning, and back again. Your skin needs all the moisture it can get.

Recently I’ve started incorporating Malin + Goetz Glycolic Acid Pads into my routine which I use after cleansing. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid which means that it works on the surface of your skin rather than beta hydroxy acids which works underneath the skin. Glycolic is everybody’s favourite acid for oily skin and clarifying your skin in general. The acid essentially buffs away dead skin to encourage new cell turnover and collagen production (Toot! Toot! Collagen!). These pads are quite reactive during the first few weeks so start by wiping your face, leaving it for 20 minutes and then washing it off, and slowly build up to leaving the acid on over night and washing it off the following morning.

I once read on that it’s good to have a few serums/creams in your beauty cabinet that you use on rotation depending on what time of year it is and what your skin is doing. How much and when you use all of these products depends on your skin but a general rule of thumb is if it’s still absorbing, keep going.

The Cosrx Advanced 96 Snail Serum is my summer serum. Since it feels non-reactive I wasn’t sure if it was doing anything when I first started using it, but it’s one of those products that as soon as you don’t use it you realise how much you like it. It heals pimples faster and reduces redness almost overnight, plus I really shouldn’t have doubted anything that comes out of the Korean beauty market.

Side note: don’t waste time warming up your serum for twenty seconds between your fingers, all you are doing is wasting precious product and making your fingers hydrated. Serums don’t need “warming” or “activating”. Period. Plus if you’ve spent half your pay cheque on a product then you don’t really want to waste it on having chic hands (?).

I’ll usually follow up with a couple of drops of Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil which my mother has used her entire adult life and she has the most incredible skin. She bought me a bottle of this oil for Christmas about three years ago and I’ve been using it ever since. I use it on my cheeks, massaging up towards my eyes if they’re looking particular dry or puffy, or I’ll use the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix. You only need to use a small amount so although it’s an expensive product it will be in your cabinet for ages. Historically speaking, I didn’t think eye creams did anything. I thought they were glorified moisturisers. But what I’ve learnt is that a good eye cream is essentially a moisturiser that is of a thin enough consistency that it can penetrate the delicate skin around your eye.

One of the more recent, and beloved, additions to my routine is the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Sensitive serum. Prior to using it I had never used the original cult-like Génifique serum but had heard a lot about it. This serum has sold over 2 million bottles worldwide and won over 200 beauty awards. People go nuts for it. The Génifique Sensitive version was born out of a need for a serum that quickly and effectively deals with those skin issues that come up unannounced and give us “bad skin days” in the form of itching, stinging, redness or dry patches. For twenty-somethings, those symptoms might be caused by seasonal changes, periods of stress or a disruption in our diet *eats block of chocolate for dinner*.

designed this product to act like a course of antibiotics for your skin! Cute! You activate the serum by twisting the lid and releasing a blue formula into the bottle, and use it as a one-month course of treatment that soothes and strengthens the skins resistance against sensitivity. The only catch with this product is that once you have twisted the lid and activated the ferulic acid/vitamin E concentrate you only have a six week window to use it and get the benefits of those fresh ingredients before it essentially “expires”.

Another notable mention is the Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Repair Cream. It’s actually true what it says on the jar; you smooth it onto your face before you go to sleep and wakeup with radiant skin. It’s basically a retinol-enriched moisturiser that targets premature ageing. Simple.

And that’s it! Those are the products I’m using right now, and while they are likely to change, they’re doing a damn good job right now. I hope you found something on here that will be useful to your nighttime routine or answered your questions. If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that good skin is the ultimate confidence boost. When your skin is at it’s best you feel it everywhere else and it’s true that a really good skin morning is often the start of a pretty good day. Achieving that starts with what you do the night before.

Oh and a little PSA before I go: You must wash your face every single morning as soon as you wake up. And I mean every morning. Not just when you think you have time but even when you don’t think you have time. You have time. Because you know that beautiful glow or shine you wake up to each day? It’s called sweat. That is sweat. And it literally invites acne onto your face with open arms and open pores. Wash it off.