Sunday, 1 March 2015

Cheat Sheet - Double Cleansing

Over the last few months I have been asked a lot about double cleansing. I think it peaked this month because I am quoted in the March edition of American Elle magazine discussing this very topic.

It's out now if you fancy picking up a copy...

Anyway, I figured a few clearer details wouldn't hurt so without further ado...

Cleansing is by far the most important step of your routine. I don't care what anyone says, if you are consistently 'cleansing' (aka moving the dirt around your face) with wipes and then applying a really expensive serum/moisturiser on top, you are wasting your money. And your time. 

'Double Cleansing' is something that you may be doing already, this is just what I call it. 
Essentially, if you are using more than one product to remove your makeup in the evenings, you are already double cleansing.

For example, if you remove your eye makeup with a micellar water or eye makeup remover before you cleanse, that is your first cleanse. You follow with a proper cleanser to remove everything else. That was your second cleanse. Note: a micellar water is not your second cleanse. Stop that nonsense.

Let's be clear on this one first - there is no double cleansing in the mornings. Wake up, cleanse, you're good to go. You have no makeup or SPF to remove. Crack on.

Types of cleansers:

Non-foaming gels 
Balm cleansers
Clay-based cleansers

Basically anything except:
Micellar water

The morning cleanse is dependent on how your skin feels when you wake up and what you are doing with the rest of your day. For example, if I have a long day ahead of wearing makeup I will probably use an oil to cleanse. My skin feels soft and holds moisture for longer afterwards which has a knock-on effect on the rest of my routine and stops my makeup going patchy by the afternoon.
If I'm home-based for the day I'll use something slightly more 'active', follow with a strong acid toner and use some treatment serums and heavier moisturisers. 
If you know you are going to be based at home for the day and not wearing makeup treat your skin as if it's a spa day. Cleanse, exfoliate, treat, repeat.  (repeat the treat, not the entire routine!) :)
This is why my skin looks great if I've had a few consecutive days working from home and looks merely 'ok' (by my standards - and I am my own harshest critic) if I've had appointments in town every day of the week. And don't get me started on travelling... that's a whole other cheat sheet. *makes note*

Wipes and micellar water are not suitable for mornings because you use them in an emergency or when removing makeup, and you won't be wearing makeup to bed will you? WILL YOU? 


There is a fallacy doing the rounds that double cleansing means using oil followed by foam. No. 
Do what you need to do to remove what you've done to your face. You know your face/routine better than any beauty counter. Or me.
Wearing a ton of eye makeup? Remove it first. 
Slathered in SPF? Take care of that first. 
Both? Go in with grease. When in doubt, go in with grease.

First cleanse:
Eye makeup removers
Micellar waters
Greasy balms - not necessarily expensive ones, just ones that do a great job of removing makeup - such as Clinique TTDO and The Body Shop Camomile Butter
Cleansing creams - preferably thicker ones - a perfect example would be Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream - the one they discontinued - how rude.
Oils - oils are great for removing makeup, but you don't have to pick a really expensive one for the first cleanse.  

Second cleanse:
This is where you use your most expensive cleansing product. This one is your skin cleanser more than your makeup remover. Its job is to make sure your skin is clean, balanced and comfortable and ready for everything else that you are applying afterwards. It's time to use your good stuff.
You can obviously use one cleanser for both cleanses if you have budget concerns. Just buy the best that you can afford when you can afford it. We've all been there. Well, I certainly have. 
If you are using one product, apply a small amount for the first cleanse mainly to loosen eye makeup and cheek areas (where we tend to apply the most SPF). Remove with a flannel and go in again with another round. 
The second cleanse is the massage stage, not the first.

The best products for second cleanses are:
Cleansing balms - good ones. Gorgeous, plant-based, greasy ones. Greasy in the best way.
Cleansing milks 
Cleansing gels - non-foaming
Cleansing creams
Cleansing clays 
Cleansing oils - oils and balms are easily my favourite choice for skin cleansing. They are brilliant for ensuring that everything is off and don't disturb the acid mantle in an aggressive manner. 

That is really all there is to it. The important part is to remember to do it every single day without fail.

As with all other cheat sheets, I'll keep this updated with anything obvious that I've forgotten - and I'll try and answer any specific product Q's below - again it's easier if it's a Yes or No question. :)

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Month in Skincare - February

WHERE IS THE TIME GOING? Although I don't mind winter getting a move on - I NEED some warmth!
This was a varied month for me skincare-wise. I tried a lot of different products, some of it budget, some of it embargoed, some of it new to me - and I revisited some old friends... A few of my favourites are below with a one-liner about each picture. Please do feel free to leave any Q's in the comments! I'm having a catch-up tomorrow! :)

Deep Tissue Repair by Kate Somerville - I'll probably be buried with this.

Dennis Gross Pads - brilliant

Oh God the Starfish! :(

One of Tata Harper's many brilliant cleansers.

Luna - lived up to all the hype.

Some days you need to pull out the old faithful products. Step forward Emma and Estee.

This was my travel pack - and the day my phone camera decided that focusing was an optional extra. .. GGRRRR

Some people decant and travel light. I am not one of those people.

The Sleeping Mask is supremely hydrating and amazing over Deep Tissue Repair.

OSKIA Micro Exfoliating Balm - lush every single time...

This Works 'no wrinkles wonder essence' is a take on the Far East 'essence/lotion' stage at half the price of most of its competition.

Cowshed Toners are worth investigating. Very good and not at all £££.

I'm saving that Tata serum for a bigger review. And that's my favourite of her cleansers...amazing on combo skin or for a morning pick-me-up cleanse on any skin.

The embargoed products on the right and Pixi's utterly brilliant eye makeup remover on the left...

Tatcha's Gold Camellia Beauty Oil is divine on tired skin that needs a lift...

Ultrabland. When something is the exact opposite of its name.... Love it.

Physiological Cleansing Gel didn't make me want to scratch my face off - a first for a product of that type...

We discovered that Champney's are bringing back that brilliant cleansing balm...

One of my favourite routines of the month. Great affordable cleanser, brilliant exfoliating toner and hydration through the roof from Vichy.

Una Brennan's Super Facialist Night Creams are a bargain for the price and quality.

My backstage kit for London Fashion Week. Those 4 products can work miracles in 2 minutes. Literally.

Organic Surge prove that organic doesn't have to mean 'extortionate'.

Vita Liberata's Peptide Mist - what feels like a gallon of water for your skin in one pump. In a good way....

All of the above could come to a Desert Island with me and I would be quite happy. And my beloved and discontinued Clarins Extra Comfort.

How to do a shower in the morning with 2 products and a cup of tea. *done*

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Giorgio Armani Beauty Eye Tint Winner is....

Thank you to everyone that entered! The winner chosen randomly by Rafflecopter is:


Congrats Danielle. you have email. :)

If you missed out, the Eye Tints are now available to buy at and are £27.00 each.

Thank you Armani!

Dr Sam on Female Hormonal Acne

Hi All!

So back for Round 2 with the very popular Dr Sam. Here we talk about female hormonal acne - next up is topical retinoids, hyperpigmentation and rosacea.

We're responding to comments as soon as we are able so thank you for your patience. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Cheat Sheet - When to do your routine when you're exercising

I am frequently asked by readers that exercise in all manner of ways for the best time to add their skincare routines. As there are SO many variations, I thought I'd keep this one 'live' if you will, and add to it as you leave more requests in the comments, so please do feel free to add your questions/exercise/time of day that you do the exercise/activity and I'll respond and add them to this post on a continuous basis..

So to start with the 'skeleton' or bare bones....


Early morning run:
Cold climate (English winter for example) - apply a little facial oil to protect your face before you pound the streets, go run, come home, do routine.
Hot climate - apply SPF before you hit the streets, go run, come home, do routine.

After work run:
Remove makeup, apply a thin layer of moisturiser (and/or SPF if outside and the sun is out), run, sweat, shower, do your evening routine.

Gym Sessions/Weights/Cardio

Early morning classes - get up, if you have dry skin apply a little moisturiser, go to the gym, sweat it out, then do your proper routine after your shower.
Lunchtime classes - go to the gym, remove your makeup, apply a minimal moisturiser (thin layer), do your class/workout, sweat like a racehorse, shower, do your routine.
After work classes - go to the gym, cleanse and apply a light moisturiser (thin layer), do your workout, sweat, shower, do your full bedtime routine - unless you're going out for dinner etc in which case do your skin routine, apply your makeup and remove it all before bed as per usual..


It's not great to swim in makeup, no matter how rushed you are, equally, you don't want a ton of product running into your eyes and blinding you while you do your laps.
Early morning swim - get up, apply a thin layer of moisturiser (I avoid my forehead to avoid drip down effect into the eyes but do what you feel your skin needs), swim, shower, routine.
After work swim - remove makeup, thin layer of something protective - I prefer a little facial oil but light moisturiser works, swim, shower, do actual routine.


Any time of day, you want protection on a face that is being wind-bashed. Whether am or pm, cycle with no makeup, make sure you have applied protective moisturiser and/or SPF and do your routine after your post-cycle shower. I would consider applying facial oil to the cheeks if you won't end up covered in bug roadkill :)

Yoga (more specifically - Bikram)

Being frank, Bikram is not good for your face. Argue all you want, but the entire purpose of it is to make you sweat  - however, unlike other sports you can't cool down because you're in a room where the temperature is maintained at 'scorching'. That healthy 'glow' will eventually be broken capillaries. Having said that, I know some of you are completely addicted to it so your main concern is to keep the nose/cheek area under control. Spritz as soon as you can with a floral water - not normal water - shower, and apply a hydrating serum AND moisturiser. You will be dehydrated afterwards, so if you regularly attend Bikram classes I would keep spritzing bottles handy and keep an eye on your face for signs of dehydration like fine lines and cakey makeup...

In short, if in doubt:
  • Remove your makeup before you exercise. Yes you can use micellar waters if you have to but you would be much better served using a good oil cleanser - it's more gentle and nourishing and kinder all round - especially if you exercise every day/4 or 5 times a week.
  • Try and exercise with a light moisturiser on your face
  • If you are going to use saunas and steam rooms try and have some facial oils on your face - heat and oils are lovely - not mineral oil though - plant oils. (A paraffin wax mask is lovely - but that's because it is done by a pro with a good plant oil underneath....however that's for another post)
  • Protect the cheeks - those are the areas most prone to visible signs of damage from sport - oils and moisturisers and SPF where appropriate. Keep them protected.

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