Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cheat Sheet/FAQs - Where should I spend most of my money in my routine?


I am frequently asked by readers - especially on Instagram - underneath these kinds of pictures: 'If I am being careful with my money, where should I spend the most in my routine?'

The answer is always, always serums. I touched on this briefly in one of my Beauty Myth posts a while back, but thought it would be helpful to go into more depth.

The rise of serums has definitely, in my opinion, bumped moisturisers off of the top spot - although they were never my No.1 - more the prevailing thought of the industry.

This could be a typical 'runny' serum like the Estee Lauder one in the picture above (although to be fair the price of the one above is far from 'typical'), a more cream-like texture, such as Kate Somerville's Deep Tissue Repair, or Good Genes by Sunday Riley, technically a treatment used at the 'serum' stage.

If I was listing my priorities in terms of £$£$ spend it would look like this:

Over 35/40:
  1. Serum/Treatments. Needs better technology, uses high performing ingredients that aren't always cheap. You expect the most of your serum. And within this I would include all overnight retinol treatments, hydrating boosters, anti-ageing peptide serums - anything runny that you use underneath a moisturiser or oil.
  2. Exfoliating acids. The best ones are more £$£ and at our age we need them. Think P50, Dennis Gross, Peter Thomas Roth, Kate Somerville, Zelens etc
  3. Dedicated Night cream/product. As above. Over 40 skins need more peptides, retinols etc - they aren't cheap.
  4. Cleanser. Good balm cleansers can be found for under £20, but the ones I like are typically more than that. So sue me.
  5. Facial Oil. Yes you can get base oils cheaply but there is a world of difference in my mind between a basic 'face oil' and a sophisticated one made by the likes of doctors, facialists and the Queens of all things face oil, french dedicated salon brands. 
  6. SPF. A good, dedicated SPF is not extortionate.
  7. Moisturiser - normal/day. Just a good coat. Think hydration and protection, not the second coming of Jesus.
  8. Eye Creams. I can get by with a cheaper eye cream because I use my serum around the eye area (all of them, pretty much). And frankly, have you seen my lids? I suffer genetically from droopy eyelids and dark circles because I'm anaemic. I'd be throwing money away paying £200 for an eye cream that I know in my heart won't work. I need one for hydration to plump up fine lines. That'll do.
  9. Face masks. If they're hydrating, they're predominantly glycerin and hyaluronic acid, not expensive to make.
  10. Scrubs. Not expensive to make. Not sophisticated technology.
  11. Clay masks. I could pop to a beauty supply store, buy a bag of clay and some magnesium, mix it with the water below and it would cost around 20p per portion. If that.
  12. Floral water/Spritz. It's water.

Ages 20-35/40:
  1. Serum. Exactly as per above. 
  2. Dedicated Night Cream. Emulsions/moisturisers are still fundamentally more expensive to make than cleansers/toners - and if you're under 40 you can still prevent and repair damage before it's too late. :)
  3. Facial oils. Again, there is a world of difference between cheap and mid-range.
  4. Cleansers. Under £30 - even under £25 and you are sorted.
  5. Exfoliating acids. First Aid Pads, Pixi Glow Tonic - both around or under £20. However, if you are closer to 40 I would bump you into the section above.
  6. SPF. Not extortionate. Think Anthelios.

    Everything else is the same as above......
  7. Moisturiser. See Jesus comment in the Over 40 section above.
  8. Eye Creams. I can get by with a cheaper eye cream because I use my serum around the eye area (all of them, pretty much). And frankly, have you seen my lids? I suffer genetically from droopy eyelids and dark circles because I'm anaemic. I'd be throwing money away paying £200 for an eye cream that I know in my heart won't work. I need one for hydration to plump up fine lines. That'll do.
  9. Face masks. If they're hydrating, they're predominantly glycerin and hyaluronic acid, not expensive to make.
  10. Scrubs. Not expensive to make. Not sophisticated technology.
  11. Clay masks. I could pop to a beauty supply store, buy a bag of clay and some magnesium, mix it with the water below and it would cost around 20p. If that.
  12. Floral water/Spritz. It's water.

Under 20 - teens:
  1. Moisturiser. Younger people tend to rage more havoc on their skin through their lifestyle - because they can. They need more protection. You're also lazier with your routine (no hate, just an observation and experience!) because unless you have a particular concern, you can be. If you're only going to wash your face and slap one thing on, it should be a moisturiser. I would still recommend a separate SPF though.
  2. Serum. When I did my FAQs on teenage skin, a few of you mentioned that you either want to use a serum or have a skin condition that would benefit from it such as acne/dehydratyion. If you do want to use a serum they still need to be fairly ££, just not extortionate!
  3. Exfoliating acids. First Aid Pads, Pixi Glow Tonic - both around or under £20.
  4. SPF. You have youthful, bouncy skin, keep it that way.
  5. Cleanser. Get into good cleansing habits at this age and you'll be set for life skincare-wise. I promise.
  6. Night cream. Using a dedicated moisturiser for the evening is beneficial if you have particular skin conditions. If you have budget concerns, use a non-spf moisturiser and you can just buy one and use it day and night. (Just don't forget your separate SPF.)
  7. Facial oil. Really cheap ones just aren't as good. 
  8. Eye Creams. Not essential and use your serum if budget is an issue.
  9. Face masks. If they're hydrating, they're predominantly glycerin and hyaluronic acid, not expensive to make.
  10. Scrubs. Not expensive to make. Not sophisticated technology.
  11. Clay masks. I could pop to a beauty supply store, buy a bag of clay and some magnesium, mix it with the water below and it would cost around 20p. If that.
  12. Floral water/Spritz. It's water.


    Did I forget anything?!



    69 comments:

    1. Infinitely useful :) I hope you know how helpful and appreciated your blog is! (And it's hilarious, bonus).
      Jess x

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    2. Thank you, Caroline! The info on facial oils were particularly helpful for me. But say ... did I miss where you toss in toners? Not the exfoliating kind, but the "second toner stage" toners? Merci from France!

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      Replies
      1. Floral water/spritz :-)

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      2. I think (Caroline correct me if I'm wrong) that the "floral water/spritz" is the 'second toner' you are asking about.

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    3. Hi Caroline,

      Wondering would you be able to do a skincare routine for Teen skin cheat sheet? Or even just some product recommendations?
      Please & Thank You

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      Replies
      1. She did a teen skin FAQ recently (http://www.carolinehirons.com/2015/01/faqs-continuedteen-years.html) with an abbreviation of the routine cheat sheet, narrowing down the most important steps. For products, she has reviews scattered throughout the blog. If there's something specific you want to know about, search for that one. (First Aid Beauty is a favorite, and maybe a good place to start.) She also did a budget skin care video back in June (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu5bx9NBVuE).

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    4. Hello Caroline, thank you so much for this, so helpful! Is there any serum and any day moisturiser in particular that you'd recommend for me? I'm 20 years old with what I think is pretty normal skin. It does still get slightly oily at times but I'm struggling with product choices at the moment as I'm coming out of the teenage acne phase but still wary of overloading it with anything too heavy!

      Thank you very much,

      Jenny

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    5. Hi Caroline, i'm a 18 year old and I would like to spend to real money on some products that could make a good routine? what are your suggestions?

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    6. Wow! Thank you for this esp when your ill! I love serums and in my 40's. Does perricone cold plasma count as a serum - if so is this the first product I put on my skin before other serums? Hope your on the mend :)

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    7. Thanks!!!

      Very useful, however, which products would you rec for the below for the 40 plus:
      Serum/Treatments:???
      Dedicated Night creams: ???

      Cheerio
      Vanessa

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    8. So so useful!
      Now... the question is: what would be the serums that you'd say are definitely 'value for money'?

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    9. What serums would be good for the 20-35 range? I'm 22 with oily/dehydrated skin and not sure which serums to go for :)

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    10. Thankyou!! This was fantastic!

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    11. This is amazing! Off to find a serum and dedicated night cream :))

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      Replies
      1. Me too! Would love a post / review on Night Creams :)

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      2. Me too, I'm looking for a new night cream, my skin is dry.

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    12. Fantastic post! (as they always are). Thank you for taking the time to give us all great non sponsored/brought/BS advice. I'm 36yrs old, with a normal skin type (maybe a spot once a year, no wrinkles..yet) and have had a good skincare routine since I was 15 (thanks Mum). Must be working as I still get asked for ID! ;D
      My routine is AM: Liz Earle C&P (looking to change this), Hydraluron Serum, Kate Somerville Goat Milk (SPF in foundation) and PM: Clinique Take The Day Off Balm, Pixi Glow Tonic, Estee Lauder ANR and Kate Somerville Goat Milk.
      xxx

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      Replies
      1. I also use the Pixi Glow tonic which I like but am DESPERATE to try the P50 Original..........any ideas as to where I can buy it ? UK or mail order from abroad ???

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    13. So what you're saying is spend the most money on spritz, where's that fountain of youth water at?! Just kidding :) Great post, thank you!

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    14. Hi caroline, I have read your blog beginning till end
      ( thanks to few last month's of pregnancy.). I hardly found any dedicated post about face masks. I know you like to use them on Sundays when " faffing around the house" . I recently baught glamglow clay mask and did not see any instant difference in skin and it's going back to store. Please do a dedicated post on this topic. Please. Especially what you like to use ( if any) and when and to target what condition of skin. Please please.

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    15. hi caroline, regarding eye cream. would you apply first than serum on top or serum than eye cream? Thank you x

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    16. Amazing and definitely helps prioritize when ££ or $$ are not in abundant supply!!

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    17. Thank you so much for this! About to go to Space NK Dublin and this will be so useful:)

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    18. Thank you for this list. If time permits would you recommend a retinol treatment serum/cream suitable for starting with. I have always been worried about using anything like this as my skin is so fine and sensitive to anything too strong. I would need advice, please. I don't know why this ingredient terrifies me!

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    19. Hey Caroline, fortunately I have the above sorted for me/my skin/age bracket after buying your recommendations for a while now except the day time moisturiser! I can't find one for my oily skin that doesn't leave me looking shiny by 1 in the day any recommendations?

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      Replies
      1. The only ones I have found to be any good are Kate Somerville Nourish or Oil-free, or the Clinique DDM gel. I have vaguely oily skin and have tried a LOT of day creams.

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    20. ah my dear now I must make a proper research on serums!! Needless to say I don't what properties I should look at! I'm 32 with normal-ish skin (with some psoriasis patches on the forehead) and no signs (yet of aging). This year I got my first serum from The Body Shop (the nutriganics one), but I guess I'll have to up the game!
      Anna

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    21. Thank you!
      I would love, love, love to see a FAQ on skin vs. climate. For example I live in southern california (blazing sun) and spend my days in air conditioned office where windows don't open. How do I take care of that?

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    22. it's very useful information - thank for sharing it with us!

      Ann | http://annrobiefashion.com/

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    23. Please write tips for people with PCOS caroline! x

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    24. Caroline, forgot to mention that I get breakouts and I want to also target hyperpigmentation and hydration if possible. Thank you so much for your help!!

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    25. Great post Caroline

      Re Anthelios, ethanol is listed an ingredient - that can't be good for the skin can it?

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      Replies
      1. She did a post on alcohol in skin care three days ago:
        http://www.carolinehirons.com/search/label/alcohol

        Also, check this out:
        http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skin-care-basics/_/alcohol-in-skin-care-the-facts#alcoholskin

        It also matters how high on the ingredients list ethanol is listed.

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    26. Thank you for helping me I didn't know any of them xxxxxxxxxxxxx.

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    27. Very helpful post. However, what about toners?
      Thanks xx

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    28. AMAZING POST. It's so hard to know how much I should be dedicating to my skincare routine at age 25. Based on your reviews I have been using Dennis Gross alpha beta peels and now I think I will at least alternate with Pixi glow to make them last longer. Also I have been a facial serum and oil user (Ole Henriksen, Nude Skincare, Sarah Chapman) since reading your blog - will have to start looking into whether what I am using is describing all you said that I needed! Now, night cream is next on the to buy list!

      Again great post - I'm really loving these recent FAQs.... so great to have frequent posts from you again!

      One suggestion/question though to cover in the future - my dermatologist has me on a prescribed antibiotic pill and facial cream. 1) Does being on antibiotic mean that I still was not cleaning my skin thoroughly enough? 2) How do you recommend buying products if you are on a prescription anti-acne medicine? He told me to stop using all of my skincare except these products but I have naturally dry skin and the cream made it unbearable so I've been using skincare in the morning and after cleansing in the evening the cream. Would be really helpful to have a FAQs for other people like me!

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    29. Excellent post, really helpful, thank you. And loving - LOVING! - the increased frequency, I really look forward to reading/watching. You are ace!

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    30. Thank you for this most helpful and wonderful post which I just read. Still cannot find the link to your poll posted in your blog today, 2nd February :(

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      Replies
      1. It's just beneath the instagrams on the right hand side, titled 'What kind of posts would you like to see more of?'

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      2. The poll is on the right sidebar, 3rd "section" down, just below where you see her Instagram feed.

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      3. Thank you, to both of you. Found poll, voted.

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    31. I don't really feel advice like spending <25-30 GBP on a cleanser is usefull. I am sure you can get 30 ml from a super-duper luxurious brand from that, or a 5 litre tub from L'oreal. I mean, I can't even justify my 100ml or 200ml tub of Emma hardie with the 25-30 GBP budget!

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    32. having said the above, could you recommend some dedicated night creams for the 20-35 age which prevent the damage from happening? I'm 26 and until now I thought there is no night cream which suits me at this age

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    33. Very helpful post, thank you. Please can you suggest something for painful cystic hormonal acne on the chin and around mouth for a 35 year old. I am desperate now as this is affecting my confidence now. Thanks a lot

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    34. So helpful. I just remember to put my serums around my eyes! Thanks for the tip!

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    35. This is very, VERY helpful. Thanks!

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    36. Hello Caroline,
      Could you please make a column on targeted serums, especially for spots?
      Many thanks for all you do xxx

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    37. I find it superhard finding a moisturizer that suits me. A gel-cream or a gel that doesn't have fragrance in it is hard to come by. The only one I've found that suits that is Cliniques DDMG and I'm not really willing to buy that.

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    38. Thank you so much for the blogs...can you do a 'Top 10' as a regular feature, so top 10 serums, moisturisers...or top 10 for different age groups.

      What do you think to The Aurelia Serum & Skincare range? I'm confused as to where to spend my pennies, which brand...what products deliver results. So far I'm using Emma Hardie cleansing balm, clarins liquid exfoliater, Hydralon and any old moisturiser I have left from samples. I'm about to invest in a serum and a moisturiser, I have also purchased liquid gold...but not been brave enough to use it yet! I'm about to turn the Big 40....I need all the help I can get! lol! :)

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    39. Hi!
      A good lot of info -thanks- You mentioned masks - how about more 'high-tech' one's like the Natura Bisse Diamond white glowing mask - is that worth the $$$ - And one of your favourites - May Lindstroms Blue Cocoon- would u consider it a serum?
      Thank u
      xxx

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    40. Hi!
      A good lot of info -thanks- You mentioned masks - how about more 'high-tech' one's like the Natura Bisse Diamond white glowing mask - is that worth the $$$ - And one of your favourites - May Lindstroms Blue Cocoon- would u consider it a serum?
      Thank u
      xxx

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    41. Amazing post! Now I need to find myself a good serum!!

      www.emandthem.co.uk

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    42. I am 30 have combination skin still get spots and have acne scars. I use una brennan oil then ren clarifying cleanser, I got fab pads then hydraulon and image moisturiser.
      Pm same cleanse but clarins exfoliating toner and liz earle moisturiser. I use liquid gold a few times a week. Alternatively I apply clarins lotus oil.
      Can you recommend a good serum and night moisturiser. I have ordered ole henriksen youth activating oil. Love your posts.

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    43. Loved reading this! I have started to look into investing in serums. Hydration the face is more important I think x

      Leannewinters.blogspot.co.uk

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    44. P50 gives me no sensation whatsoever, nor does PixiGlow. Is it necessary that I should feel something?

      If so, should I get something stronger? What?

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    45. Is it true that some people's skin is "lazy" and are slower at cellular turn over? Im in my late 20's and I go hard on the acid toning because my skin looks terrible if I don't!
      I use an SPF30 everyday as I live in Australia. Is it bad that I am exfoliating so much in my 20's.

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    46. Hi Caroline. I love your cheat sheets and always find them very helpful!
      After reading this I had an idea for one which I would like to suggest, and think it would answer a lot of people questions. In the comments I'm always seeing things like "I'm in my 20's and have got sensitive skin, what products can I use?", for example. I thought it would be great if you could do a cheat sheet covering different skin type scenarios and the products and advice you would give that person.
      For example, "A person in their 20's with dehydrated, combination skin who suffers from regular breakouts", and then list what you would recommend to a person in that situation. And then follow with other scenarios, possibly the ones you hear most often.
      Hope you don't mind me suggesting, and would consider the idea.
      Sabrina

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    47. Thank you this is really helpful. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed with all the amazing products out there and a small budget.
      And thanks for always being informative but still funny/engaging :).
      xxxx

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    48. Hi Caroline,
      Fantastic post thank you! I have a question regarding oils.
      A while back I purchased Innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Oil (organic) to remove make-up at night (following with another cleanser). I have acne prone skin and I know you have mentioned the benefits of facial oil but just wondering if the use of an olive oil based cleanser could potentially lead to break-outs? I have come across a few 'scary stories' regarding olive oil and acne prone skin online...
      Thanks Caroline!
      Jac :)

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    49. This is actually so helpful, great list!

      Hannie at // CHAPTERS LIKE THIS //

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    50. Hi Caroline,
      what do you think about Mizon Peptide 500 ampule serum? Is it any good, worth to try? Thank you!

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    51. Recommendations for serums and nighttime moisturisers would be fab. They're the only things I've not managed to buy yet as I'm not sure which ones to go for. 31 years old with slightly oily rosacea skin. I tried the darphin intral but wasn't for me :-(

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    52. I wish I had been less fixated with my skin in my teens, less products, less threading. I'm into my twenties needing to have my face threaded, only to be left with clusters of spots which do go away but leave dark marks. My skin cycle is; facial hair > spotty McMe > dark mark here, dark mark there, dark mark dark mark everywhere; and repeat.

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    53. I love your blog caroline!!! Which serum is the best for mid age twenties, with blemishes?
      Thank you!!

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    54. Hi Caroline,
      I just tried to publish a huge question/issue and when I hit publish, lost it all *super sad face*. Anyway, can't re-write NOW as I've got a crazy 2 yr old jumping on my lap...
      35 now and wanting to add a little oomph to my routine.
      Using Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream, no toner, Rose Hip Oil (mixing MooGoo and Pai samples), moisturising with Cetaphil CREAM. Use Neutrogena Clear Face SPF55. Got combination/normal, but dehydrated skin.
      Don't smoke, just short on good sleeps thanks to the baby.... Thoughts? Recommendations? Stick to same moisturiser and add some serum?
      I used to use Dr Brandt's microdermabrasion in a Jar but stopped using a few months ago as not easily accessible here in Ireland and I obis ran out of that... HELP and THANK YOU FOR THIS MOST AMAZING POST *screaming with joy and excitement & immense appreciation, not anger*

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    55. Dear Caroline....you are amazing.....each blog is better than the other......so wait for you to either blog or post a you tube video......thaaaaaaaaanx

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    56. Could someone please recommend good dedicated night cream ? :) I am 27, have comination skin

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