What I Do When My Skin is *Freaking* Out

Tried and tested (unfortunately)…

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I’d love to say that my most recent skin FREAK OUT episode was due to an unknown cause, but there is no way that the sprouting of bulbous hard, painful bruise-like breakouts across my chin, cheeks and nose creases (always the best place to grow a painful spot), wasn’t to do with the fact that I ate bags of Hershey’s Mint Cookie Bites at a rate of one every two days when we were away in California. Throw in the fizzy drinks, a lack of water, vegetables and just vitamins and minerals in general and my internals were sluggish and my skin letting me know what was up.

I came back with a suitcase full of new beauty bits, including skincare, but instead stripped it back to basics skincare-wise on my return. Nothing new, nothing particularly harsh, no retinol temporarily, just what I’ve outlined below along with a clarifying or exfoliating mask every couple of days and getting back into the swing of working out and eating well. BORING, but kind of brilliant and four weeks later my skin is in a much better place. Just a bit of context; my skin is combination with dry patches around my nose, chin and forehead, but pretty balanced everywhere else. It’s sensitive and has a tendency to get red *very* easily, so I’d pin that as my main concern. So if that sounds like you, then these products might be worth whipping out your magnifying glass for and researching. They are a solid bunch, featuring things I’ve used for eight months plus, and most for longer than that, so if there was a ‘TAE seal of approval’, then the following would be first in line…


1. MAKEUP REMOVAL (PM only) – Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover. I wear waterproof mascaras exclusively, so that means that I need a hardy makeup removing formula to actually get off the tar-like coat around my lashes. NOTHING BEATS THIS. I’ve used it since we lived in London, which is now like four years ago. Isn’t that nuts? It doesn’t aggravate my eyes, or make them go all blurry; so I take one soaked cotton pad and take it over both eyes, giving it a couple of seconds resting on each to give it a chance to dissolve what’s underneath. I don’t tend to wear heavy face makeup, so then I just do a couple of passes with it around my face to get off the worst, before I head in with a cleanser.

2. CLEANSING (AM & PM) – Kiehl’s Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser*. This cleanser does exactly what it says on the tin. A gel formula that applies more like an oily cream, it doesn’t foam-up and once taken off with a wet muslin cloth, it doesn’t strip the skin either. Other cleansers can make me feel dry, or even more clogged up and congested, but this cleans and in the most gentle way that my skin ADORES. I just repurchased a bottle and can’t see me shifting to anything new anytime soon.

3. HYDRATING SPRAY (AM & PM) – Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator*. I’m all about that damp skin life. When I was lucky enough to meet May Lindstrom, she lectured about her anti-towel stance when it comes to the face and proposed that we should all skip rubbing our faces dry after cleansing and instead amp up the dampness even more by using a spritz to help aid the application and absorption of whatever you throw on after. This spray is heaven. I think I’m on my fourth bottle? I don’t normally notice a difference, but I feel like this really helps keep my skin nice and calm.

4. EYE CREAM (AM & PM) – Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream* (gifted). I can’t say that I’m particularly too fussed about eye cream and it’s definitely the first step that is ever skipped whenever I’m travelling and low on space, but – as an almost 30-something I feel like it’s time to start taking some proper care of the area around my eyes. Even though it might not be something that I see a huge difference with now, perhaps it’s something that I’ll thank my past self for in the future. This one sinks in easily and doesn’t leave me red and blotchy under the eyes, like other formulas have done to me in the past.

5. SERUMDrunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum* (AM & PM) & Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum* (AM only – gifted) or Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum* (PM only – gifted). It sounds complicated formatted like that, but really it’s easy. I do one pump of the hydration serum mixed with one pump of the Vitamin C serum for the day, and then one pump of the hydration serum mixed with one pump of the glycolic serum in the evening. Whereas the AM-dose is all about protection, the PM-dose is all about treatment. Ever since I’ve used a Vitamin C serum I’ve noticed a reduction in scarring which is fab, and the glycolic in the evening helps with texture and is my chemical exfoliant step that I find to be pretty gentle and agreeable.

6. SUN PROTECTION (AM only) – Kiehl’s Ultra facial Cream SPF 30* (gifted). No matter what the state of my skin is sun protection is a non-negotiable. I am forever scared from that time I saw a photo of the sun damage that I’ve done thus far. Absolutely horrifying. As a sensitive skin lass, my complexion thanks me nicely if I use a mineral sunscreen, instead of one with a chemical filter which can make me hot and rashy, and the Kiehl’s ones react well on me across the board. This one is dewy and glowy on my skin, but never greasy or heavy.

7. FACIAL OIL (PM only) – May Lindstrom Youth Dew*. Started with the cucumber range from Boots when I was a teen, and now we’re here. A luxurious oil that is almost equal to the amount that I pay in household bills a month. FUN. Given the price tag it’s a testament that I buy this myself each time it runs out (a bottle tends to last me eight months give or take). It’s the perfect final step in the evening; suctioning all of my previously applied products in and absorbing quickly. I wake up in the morning feeling juicy, yet balanced.

Photos by Emma Croman

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