It's been a while since I last updated you on my skincare routine, and everything's changed and moved on a lot since then, so I felt it was time to talk about it, and I've gone on quite the ramble, so grab a cup of tea and get comfy! As you'll notice, there's a bit of a Kiehl's frenzy going on here - I only opened my eyes to the world of Kiehl's at the end of last year, and I simply haven't looked back. I'll talk you through what I've tried so far and why I like the products, but suffice to say I've found a couple of serious staples and back ups have already been purchased!
So starting from the top of my skincare routine with cleanser, it's that old favourite - Liz Earle cleanse and polish. If you've never tried this, you really don't know what you're missing. When I religiously use this with the hot cloth muslin method, my skin begins to improve, end of. I veer away from it from time to time because I try a lot of other things for the blog, but I always come back, and it's a welcome return every time. Sometimes I'll skip the C&P for a quicker, easier and far less effective cleanse with a micellar water, but I always feel guilty, because a proper hot cloth cleanse is so much better for my skin. The tube I'm using right now is the limited edition sweet orange and mint fragrance, but all of the C&P versions work the same, the difference is just the packaging and scent.
In another return to my skincare routine, I've been using the cult glow tonic exfoliating toner. I only use this at night time, a few drops on a cotton pad and a quick sweep over the face is all you need to keep dead skin cells away and be left with brighter skin. I like that it's quick and easy to use, it doesn't sting my skin, or irritate, but I get a slight tingle that lets me know it's working. I think the only reason I stopped using this before, other than to try other things, was because it used to be constantly sold out, and you couldn't order it online. Stock flow seems to be much better now, and it's available on the pixi website.
(available from June in the UK, out now in the US)
Okay, onto the Kiehl's-a-thon, and the completely new step in my skincare routine. This upcoming release from Kiehl's looks like a toner, but it's actually designed to be the step between your toner and serum. It's a treatment essence, or concentrated facial treatment water, which aims to provide more radiant skin, plus it can help the products you apply on top to work more effectively. The active ingredients include sodium hyaluronate which helps the skin to hold and retain water, so it's perfect way to inject some moisture into my dehydrated skin without overloading it, and lipo hydroxy acid, which gives it an exfoliating quality too. It also contains Iris Florentina root extract, which is where the product gets its name - it's included to help refine the texture of the skin, including fine lines and wrinkles.
Unlike a toner, you leave the treatment essence on the skin, and you apply it with your hands rather than a cotton pad. Just a few drops warmed in my palms and pressed into the skin works well for me, and the product is instantly absorbed leaving my skin ready for a serum or moisturiser. I've been getting on really well with this over the last couple of weeks - my skin no longer appears to be as dull, and I'd even go as far to say that it gives me a (very welcome) bit of a glow.
It only adds about a minute to my routine to use this, and the only issue I've had so far is remembering to include this step before reaching for serum!
I'm bordering on obsessed with the texture of my skin at the moment and trying to improve it, so I found it really interesting to hear about the science bit from Kiehl's on the reasons why skin can look dull and uneven. Putting aside the technical jargon, my understanding is that in younger skin, keratins are well distributed giving a smoother, even look allowing light to easily reflect off the skin's surface. As we get older (sob), skin is less hydrated, cells renew more slowly, and keratins are not evenly spaced within the skin, giving a more uneven texture which can't reflect light so well, resulting in dull, uneven looking skin. I think it helps to have an explanation for the changes I can see in my skin - the next challenge is to back away from that magnifying mirror and stop over-analysing everyting in minute detail!
Onto serums, and I have two on the go currently, which is a little greedy and indulgent I know (although I'm not using an additional eye serum or cream) but bear with with me. I'm finding that both of these serums work well for my skin and they target different skin issues, so I'll use one at a time and inter-change which one I'll use in the morning and which at night. I will confess that if I'm having a particularly bad skin day I'll use a bit of both, but I try not to do that too often, as using more product doesn't always mean greater results, and I don't want to be wasting these!
Morning or night this is a great addition to my skincare routine, and I'll use this after the Iris extract treatment essence and before my moisturiser. I previously blogged about this serum here - Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate review - and I'm still seeing the same great results with it.
As I mentioned in that post, there's an instant reduction in the visibility of my lines when I apply this, and that's not something I can often find with any of the skincare I've tried. This is now a firm favourite with me for tackling forehead lines - my long-term nemesis - and even though I wince a little at the £49 price-tag, I now have a backup ready and waiting.
Kiehl's newest serum in their line up had me desperately waiting to try it out as soon as I heard those magic words - PORE TIGHTENING. A large part of my aforementioned skincare obsession of late stems from enlarged pores and the super-magnifying mirror I got for Christmas. You'd think my mother would have known better than to listen when I asked for one of those. I observe my pores close up and with great interest on a daily basis, so you could say I'm a perfect candidate to try this serum out!
On the first application, as soon as this serum met my skin and sunk in, my pores looked smaller - success. Not gone, not invisible, but much less prominent. I love skincare that has an instantly visible effect, even if it's a temporary one whilst the longer term benefits creep in over time. This is why I have a difficult choice to make each day - do I want to use the serum that makes my pores look smaller, or the one that makes me look less wrinkly? Of course the answer is that I want to use both, so often I'll use a small amount of the two, targeting them in the areas where I need most help. When it comes to enlarged pores, that's my nose and around the sides of my nose, and on my forehead. My poor forehead, it doesn't have a lot going for it, and it's a total shame that my hair doesn't lend itself better to fringes so that I could forget what's under there altogether!
All in all I really like this serum for its instant pore tightening effect, and I'm slowly, but surely seeing a more permanent effect on my pores now that I've been using this for over a month. It's also designed to firm and lift the skin and to redefine facial contours - I can't say I've noticed any of those things, although thankfully I think it's because my skin doesn't need that level of anti-ageing help just yet.
We've made it onto moisturisers - my last step morning and evening. I used to change up my night cream frequently depending on what new products were out for me to try, but for around two years I stuck to the same daytime moisturiser with very little deviation. It was a Benefit moisturiser which I reviewed here - Benefit triple performing facial emulsion - and I loved it because it's a light moisturiser which was just right for my oil prone skin, and it gave me a great base for makeup. I had no intention to stop using it until I tried the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream.
This moisturiser can be used by all skin types, but is particularly good for very dry skins. It's incredibly moisturising and hydrating without being too rich and greasy. I originally talked about it in this post - Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream review - but since then this cream and I have become best friends. Originally I didn't try this during the day, because I always assume that everything will be too rich and heavy and will make my skin extra oily - I have to keep reminding myself that oil does not equal hydration. It was only after I'd had a cold and my skin was uncharacteristically dry and flakey that I gave this a go for daytime too. Because it's light in texture and quickly absorbed, and perhaps also because my skin is changing and may be a little less oily than it was a year or two ago, this has really worked well for me as a morning moisturiser. My biggest concern when trying any new moisturiser in the day is that my foundation won't sit right on top, but I've had no application issues with this. The only thing I have noticed is that my makeup doesn't last as long, so I've had to look again at what primers and setting sprays I'm using to keep it all in place.
I have a mini pot of the Ultra Facial Cream which now comes everywhere with me for any dry skin emergencies, as this cream is great for more than just the face. I also became a little bit addicted to using it when I had a cold as it worked perfectly to heal and hydrated the skin around my nose which can get so red and sore when you're unwell. At £24 for 50ml I think it's great value, and I'll be ordering a back up asap.
Lastly my current night cream of choice, which I alternate with the Ultra Facial Cream. In contrast this cream is a much thicker and richer consistency, so it's definitely a night-time only product for me, but at night I'm more than happy to use something that's deeply moisturising and it works well with my serums.
It's part of the Kiehl's clearly corrective range of clarifying skin products which treat dark spots and any other types of discolouration to give a more clear and even skintone. The key ingredients here are White Birch and Peony Extract. If you have concerns about dark spots, there's range has a full breadth of products including a cleanser, toner and targeted dark spot correcting solution. Also new to that range is a Dark Circle Perfector, which sounds right up my street.
When I've used the deep moisture claifying cream at night my skin looks plumper and fresh in the morning, and on the days that I don't have a lot of redness, things are starting to look more even - I think this has helped to continue the fading of a little scar I have on the bridge of my nose and the dark dark circles under around my eyes don't seem as prominent.
Next on my skin care wish list is the Sunday Riley Good Genes serum (I'll be saving up a while for that one!), the limited edition Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish trio with three different fragrances, and from Kiehl's the Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment and Ultra Facial Overnight Masque.
What are your skincare routine staples right now?