By Clare Jennings aka msdoingitall – Guest Contributor
I think it’s pretty fair to say that there doesn’t tend to be any sort of half way point between being a skincare junkie, and doing the bare minimum. You’re either all in, or you’re using cleanser and a moisturiser. There is rarely an in between. And then, there’s me. I love skincare. I mean, I REALLY love it. I spend hours and hours each week, researching new ingredients and formulations. I follow hundreds of skincare accounts on both Instagram and YouTube. I know who is releasing new products, where they are available, and if I may possibly be able to get my hands on a sample as soon as they’re out. In short, I’m an encyclopaedia on all things skincare.
When we went in to lockdown 5ish weeks ago and the first few anxiety ridden days had passed, and a new normal had begun to settle in, it dawned on me… I would now have uninterrupted time for my skincare routine. Morning and night. I’m not going to beat around the bush here – I wasn’t sad about it. I had already begun to realise that keeping to a routine, doing little things that made me feel happy every day, was the best way to ensure this strange period of time didn’t damage my mental health.
I began setting my alarm again for my usual 6am wake up. I would stumble down the stairs, head straight for the coffee machine, and when my cup of morning magic was brewed, I would bring it into the bathroom and begin my skincare routine. Previous to Covid-19 I would usually watch a Ted Talk or something that would set my brain working while I got ready in the morning. Now I’m luxuriating in talk of K-Beauty (Korean Beauty) recommendations, or reviews of the newest makeup releases (because my second love outside of skincare, is makeup). These little things that feel like a treat really help to set my mood on the straight and narrow. The views of these YouTubers I’m watching are fascinating to me, and have given me lots to consider.
The thing with the online skincare community, is that everyone has an opinion. We all have different skin types, different goals from our routines, different budgets. All those differences of course mean we will all have vastly different opinions on what are the best products to use. I like to base my decisions on the ingredients used, the way those ingredients are formulated, how they react with each other, and even what I think of the brand, or the people that represent them. I also like to listen to people whose opinions I really trust. Who I’ve seen have great results from products I also love. And I also pay attention to whether or not those people have received the items as PR, and if they’ve then gone on to purchase it with their own money when they’ve finished up the press sample. These things do really matter to me.
When it comes to my routine, I have oily-combination skin. I used to think that the aim of the game in dealing with my oily t-zone was to dry the heck out of it using astringent products, thereby removing the ability of my skin to produce the oil slick that it was prone to doing. Alas, however, that wasn’t to be. It actually made it worse. Then I discovered that whilst my skin does produce oil, the real reason it does that is because it’s dehydrated. So when something is dehydrated, you hydrate it. So that’s what I do.
First, I gently clean my face with a face cloth and warm water, wiping away the residue accumulated while I’ve been sleeping. I’m not a fan of using a cleanser in the morning, as I feel it dries my skin out, and almost negates the effort I’ve put in the previous night. Next – hydration. And for this I use a method made popular in the K-beauty movement, known as the Seven Skins. A skin, is a layer. So Seven Skins is seven layers. You take a few drops of hydrating toner or essence into the palms of your hands and pat it in to your face. Then you do it again, etc until you’ve reached seven times. It becomes almost meditative, and it’s such a simple way to be kind to yourself. You can see – and feel – your skin becoming plumper and more hydrated as you go. You must make sure you are using appropriate products here – and obviously this does not apply to any method of exfoliation.
Moving on to the treatment, where you use a serum or treatment that targets any specific goals you may have in terms of skincare. Mine are hydration, brightness and well-aging. Usually I’d go straight for a serum like Hyaluronic acid and/or niacinimide and be done with this stage, but lately I’ve been using a vitamin C sheetmask as well for extra indulgence while I have the time. Then I finish it all up with a barrier repair cream, and lock it all in with an occlusive moisturiser (something that holds things in, rather than sinks in to your skin).
So there you have it. A morning in the time of COVID-19. Very indulgent. Very gentle. Very much just exactly what makes things feel doable right now.