Skincare Essentials | The Travel Edition

I love pretty much everything about travelling. Even the airport and the build-up is all fun for me. But the one part I had always found challenging, is how to keep up my skincare routine both en route and mid-trip.

Having been lucky enough to escape to various different places over the past twelve months, I’ve finally collated my list of go-to products to get my blemish-prone, forever challenging skin through any kind of trip.

Supergoop, Everyday Sunscreen
The importance of protecting your skin against the effects of the sun year-round has definitely been communicated more widely online of late, and having dabbled in the world of acids and peels which make the skin even more sensitive the sun, my need is that much greater.

After trawling through numerous brands and formulations and experiencing countless breakouts, I finally came across the Supergoop brand, along with their brilliant reputation and penchant for making killer sunscreens.

‘Everyday Sunscreen’ sounded like where I needed to be, and it was definitely the right option for my skin. There’s no heavy fragrance, the texture is robust enough to reassure you that it’s there but not overly thick and cakey, it doesn’t mess with your moisturiser and makeup goes over it like a dream.

It’s here to stay and possibly my favourite product to date.

Origins, GinZing Eye Cream
My eyes are notoriously puffy when I’m tired, and flying increases that tenfold.

I’m pretty new to the world of eye creams, but after being a religious user of the scrub in the same GinZing range from Origins, it seemed to be a good place to start when buying my first product.

The texture is thick and creamy but blends well into the under-eye skin with a soft dabbing motion. I use it day and night as it too sits very well under makeup, and it’s brightening formula takes away the need to apply concealer in that area.

But most importantly, I noticed a huge improvement in my puffy eye bag situation in just a few uses, so this one is definitely a keeper.

Glossier, Super Pure Serum
If you’re looking for a serum that plays well with blemish prone skin, I’d recommend this one for sure. It’s almost watery texture sinks into skin in seconds and doesn’t leave the tacky layer on my skin which can usually be associated with serums.

Because of this, it’s a great product for keeping moisture balanced throughout the day, without leaving a sticky base for your makeup.

Nip + Fab, Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Mask Extreme
I love a good sheet mask. They’re my pre-flight holy grail for keeping skin hydrated and preventing those horrendous breakouts.

This is one of my favourites, firstly because of it’s incredible after effects, but also because the scent and general experience of using the thing is so great. It’s not overly gloopy like some sheet masks can be, and it sticks to your skin really easily without slipping around.

Pop one of these on for 15 minutes before you head to the airport and it might just change your whole trip…

Glossier, Balm dotcom
I went for the coconut option and this universal balm is quite simply the best thing I have found for mid-flight or climate affected lips. It smells UNREAL and can consistently be found loitering in my handbag.

The Ordinary, AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
After a course of high-intensity salicylic peels, I wanted something to keep my breakouts at bay on a weekly basis, which led me to this product from one of my favourite skincare brands, The Ordinary.

It looks a bit like you’ve smeared blood all over your face during the 10 minute treatment time, but the effects (and the ability to fuck with your loved ones) are worth it. Using this once or twice a week while away helps to keep the nasties away and keep skin soft and clean in any climate.

 

The great thing about all of these products is they’re all suitable for travelling light, so you won’t need to worry about sacrificing your skincare routine on your weekend away. Just make sure you remind your drunk self to actually use them…

A salicylic experience

This skincare business can be fucking ridiculous sometimes.

If someone sat you down and told you they were going to pour fire on your face for the next five minutes, you would tell them exactly where they could shove it.

You definitely wouldn’t lie there, hair tied back in waiting (having just let them remove all of your makeup), and let them do it. No sane person does that shit. And yet, here we are…

So, I got a salicylic skin peel, and boy does it sting like a bitch…but why would anyone put themselves through this madness, and better still, pay for the privilege of getting their face burned? Here’s what I found:

The pain is temporary

Despite the melodrama, the severe stinging and ‘burning’ sensation that is caused by the peel is actually very short lived and only lasts for a few minutes. So grand scheme of things, it’s definitely manageable.

The peeling is temporary

This is something I had to keep reminding myself in the days following the first peel (yes first, I actually went back…) when my skin was quite literally falling off my face. It wasn’t a pretty sight or a pretty feeling, but you do eventually get into the ‘greater good’ mindset and look forward to the more long-term results it can bring.

You need to keep at it

The results were really strong in my case, and I definitely became a lot less prone to breakouts when combining the peels with a solid skincare routine and a healthy diet. It was definitely a process for me though, and following my course of 5 peels all 2-3 weeks apart, I’m strongly considering continuing on with monthly top-ups to keep on top of my skin.

It’s definitely not cheap

With a new customer discount included, my 5 session package cost just over £400, which works out as more than £80 per peel. When you add that to the cost of the accompanying skincare regime, the cost really starts to rack up…

You have to pay attention to your skin

I found that the cleanser provided as part of the skincare regime wasn’t enough to remove all of my makeup in the evenings, so I incorporated a two-step cleanse into my nightly routine. Not all products work for everyone, so you need to find what works for you and give it a good two week run before you decide whether it’s for you.

Overall, the peels have given me the kickstart my skin needed to get back on track, and while they can cause short-term stress if your skin flakes excessively, the effect that they can have on the skin’s texture and complexion is pretty impressive. Definitely recommended.

I booked my salicylic peels through SK:N Clinics who have branches all over the UK, however, there are a growing number of clinic chains whose prices will vary – always do your research and book in a consultation before receiving any treatment.

I have ‘bad’ skin

Since age 11, I’ve had a pretty turbulent relationship with my skin. My dermatological history is littered with various doctors, opinions, experts and disappointments. I’ve been on the pill, antibiotics, cream/gel treatments and even the demonic Roaccutane. Twice. (If you’ve had any experience with it, you’ll know – that shit sucks).

And, unfortunately for me, the love/hate situation is ongoing…

It’s really hard to describe the effect acne has on your wellbeing. For me, it’s a constant distraction and I’m always thinking about whether my skin issues are noticeable, whether light is hitting me in an unflattering way (fuck you downlighting, no one likes you) or whether I have any concealer on me at the time in case of a code red. Honestly, even typing the word acne makes me feel a bit sick in my mouth. I hate it.

The feeling of having to put a whole new face on every day just to feel like yourself, is what I can only describe as exhausting. It changes who I am as a person unmeasurably; I just can’t be ME with my full, aggravated, red face showing. And that is a really hard truth to deal with sometimes.

What I wouldn’t give to wake up without the overwhelming urge to hide in a hole, dive for my makeup bag and avoid all human contact until the end of time. The effort and energy that it takes to stay positive and not stress out (and make everything a million times worse) is huge, and I’d be lying if I said that my biggest battle hasn’t always been internal. I’m actually writing this on a particularly ‘bad’ skin day and have nearly gone full meltdown on more than one occasion already. It’s 7.30…

The worst thing about it all, is the impact it has and how often it manages to ruin your state of mind. Thinking you’re a strong person and then catching sight of your reflection and having the personality sapped out of you in literally seconds is not fun.

Also, telling someone that they ‘look fine’ can actually just make things worse because you can really feel like you’re being lied to by family and friends – it’s irrational, but it’s there, and it can put a huge strain on relationships.

All this being said, I want to end on a positive here, because acne should never win.

To anyone suffering even a little of what I’ve described: You’re beautiful. And it will never define you. Don’t let any bitch dull your shine.

To the lucky ones: Be kind – whether it’s to those with acne or any other skin related issue. You never know the effect your words may have.

My new favourite bath

I was beyond excited to find Rituals in the Champs-Élysées branch of Sephora last weekend. And damn was I right to be…

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to meet with two of the Rituals team and find out more about the brand and their ‘slow down’ mantra. I can really get on board with the idea of getting more mindful about your day and taking more time with your every day, creating these little ‘rituals’ of your own.

I was pretty much immediately drawn to the ‘Ritual of Hammam’ collection, mainly for the intense scent of that ginger & eucalyptus salt scrub (it’s unreal). So, I bagged myself this little taster set with travel sizes of three of their bestsellers and took my happy little tush back to the UK (we need to start an online movement to get Sephora back here, I can’t cope)

Fast forward a few days and I’m back at home, aching like a bitch and ready to make my ultimate bath…we’re talking candles, spa music, cucumber slice-shaped eye masks (thanks Primark), the absolute works. But the products themselves are what I’m here for…

THE REFRESHING FOAMING SHOWER GEL
Yes, shower gel, but one squirt of this while the water is running, and it moonlights as the perfect bath soak. It’s really strong with eucalyptus, which is usually quite overpowering, but the warmth from the rosemary makes it just feel incredibly comforting. This scent is definitely a happy place for me now.

THE SEA SALT HOT SCRUB
I live for a good body scrub. And this, is a good body scrub. In place of rosemary, eucalyptus is paired with ginger, which is a body care favourite of mine. This makes the whole thing zingy, refreshing, and just pleasing in every imaginable sense. My whole self loves this fiercely, my only sadness was wishing I’d bought the full-sized pot…

THE SOUL UPLIFTING BODY CREAM
Not a criticism, but I expected this to be thicker and richer. Watch you actually get is a perfectly balanced fragrance and a texture that glides into your skin like actual pearls. It’s not a butter, it’s a true cream, and it absorbs in seconds. And for the scent, we’re back with the soothing eucalyptus and rosemary combo, which is the perfect end note to the whole experience.

This is officially my new favourite bathing routine. It’s one of those end of a long week moments that you can really look forward to and spend your days dreaming about. Teaming all of this up with my Santorini candle from Glasshouse Fragrances (which I have spent my weekends raiding TKMaxx for) and it really is the stuff dreams are made of – I can’t recommend this collection enough and I’ll definitely be trying more.

Embracing the double cleanse

It’s a simple concept, but double cleansing has come into its own in the past year, alongside trends such as using a sheet mask on a plane (I do love Chrissy Teigen for this).

Basically, it involves adding an extra step to the cleanse stage of your skincare routine in the evenings (when you’ve had a day of pollution, stress, carbs – you know the days…). You start out with an oil or balm based cleanser to disturb any dirt, makeup etc on your face, and then go in with a gel or water-based cleanser.

The idea is that doing this allows the second cleanser to really get into your pores, and leave everything super-squeaky clean. And I’m giving it a go✨

THE BALM CLEANSER
Now I’ve had some really bad experiences with balm cleansers. We’re talking serious breakouts followed by serious breakdowns. And very quickly, I give up hope. But let’s leave that at the door for this one, because actually, I figure adding the water/gel stage will help balance things out.

My balm of choice was No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm, which I bought from Boots for £9.50 (It was actually in a 3 for 2 on expert skincare deal – so it cost me absolutely nothing). On first impressions, it’s a very different texture to any balm I’ve used in the past, it feels more like a thick moisturising cream, whereas others have been slightly tacky and greasier, a bit like hair putty.

You apply this one to dry skin, massaging all over your face in circular motions before removing gently with a damp cloth.

And after this stage, I think I’m hooked.

My skin feels soft, fresh and springy, with no dreaded oily layer sitting on top whatsoever, which has really been a problem before. On with the next stage…

THE GEL CLEANSER
This was a lot easier to choose, as I already use the La Roche-Posay Effaclar three-step system as part of my daily skincare routine (you can get this from Boots for just over £30 – definitely recommend as an easy base skin regime if you’re prone to evil breakouts and oily skin). So for my gel cleanse stage, I went with my usual Purifying Foaming Gel (get a big squirty 400ml bottle for £15 at Boots).

This one, you apply to wet skin, and it lathers up gently while you massage all over your face. It’s a really light cleanser with ultra-fine bubble but works really deeply into the skin (particularly after having balmed up in stage one).

I absolutely love this cleanser. It’s my all-time favourite and giving it a try for the first time just after Christmas was the best skin decision I’ve made so far, like ever. It cleans my skin so well, without stripping or tightening it like some gels or micellar waters can. Honestly, give it a go.

I’m now about a month into double cleansing nightly, and so far, I really do believe the hype. I’m using less toner (which can only be a good thing for my crazy skin) and waking up the next morning, I feel like my face has had the chance to replenish and balance itself, rather than being dried out or oily.

I’ll be sharing my full daily skincare routine soon, but let me hear your thoughts.

MLM