A Skincare Routine For Beginners

A couple of weeks ago I went for coffee with my lovely friend Lizzi. Nothing out of the ordinary there, you might think, but this coffee was different. It was our inaugural Beauty Coffee.

Now, the friendship I have with Lizzi is special. Of course we chat about kids and men and work and all that good stuff, but we also spend hours discussing one of the most important topics there is: our faces. Lizzi is most definitely responsible for me spending loads of my hard earned cash on my gorgeous skincare routine via the late night links to 20% off flash sales and product reviews we ping-pong between each other. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! We brought all our favourites to that coffee date and felt like some kind of travelling beauty saleswomen:

skincare routine

One thing Lizzi and I always discuss are our desert island products. The products that, in our strict morning and nightly skincare routine, we would never be without. Our routines are fairly similar to each others (mostly because we both worship at the alter of Caroline Hirons), and so we have a lot of the same products in our arsenal.

– Cleansing balm
– Mask/Treatment (2 times a week)
– Toner/Acid toner (2-3 times a week)
– Spritz (optional but I find it refreshing)
– Eye Cream
– Serum
– Day/Night Cream

Note: we ALWAYS use flannels, none of that muslin cloth rubbish. And you can’t beat a good facial massage with one of these bad boys (Lizzi likes to use hers in the cleansing balm phase, I use mine in the night oil phase).

So – for your pleasure – here are our desert island products. The ones we think you should buy, if you’re setting out to start a skincare regime at home. I’ve long banged on about how much this has changed my life and I would totally recommend it to anyone. These days the only zits I get are hormonal ones (urgh), I feel thoroughly pampered by my routine every day and love how it leaves me glowing and looking fresh.

Cleansing Balm
My favourite is always going to be Clinique’s Take The Day Off, and Lizzi agrees. It’s super for massage and removing every last scrap of makeup, even stubborn waterproof eye makeup.  In the evenings I do a double cleanse, using Decleor’s Brightening Cleansing Oil second for a massage. You can use the same balm for a double cleanse if you want, and it’s important to do this to remove every scrap of makeup or daytime SPF you’ve been wearing. Rub all the good stuff in then wipe off using a clean flannel and running water. Lush.

Once a week I use a mask or treatment, and thanks to the hormonal zits rearing their ugly heads recently I’ve been trialling Clinique’s Pore Refining Charcoal Mask. It has a real tightening effect, and definitely shortens the shelf-life of my spots.

Toner/Acid Toners
I subscribe to the thought that normal toners are a bit of a waste of time, but I do use an Acid Toner thrice a week. This encourages your skin to renew itself faster, getting rid of blemishes and revealing radiant skin. I love Clarins Brightening Toner and Lizzi recommends P50: they both do pretty much the same job though P50 is definitely more of a cult classic. Pixi Glow Tonic is slightly gentler and also comes highly recommended from us both.

I spritz Caudalie’s cult Beauty Elixir over my face every morning to brighten and wake up my skin. The minty tingle ROCKS.

Eye Cream
I thought I didn’t need to use an eye cream for years but then I read recently that you should use one as a preventative measure from something mental like the age of 25?! My current favourite is Caudalie’s P15 – which both reduces wrinkles and dark circles.

A Serum preps your face for the day’s moisture and works to combat problem areas, such as fine lines or tired skin. My favourite budget all-rounder is Vichy’s Aqualia Hydration Serum (adored by Sali Hughes so you know it’s good), otherwise you can find me slapping on Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. Lizzi would recommend you give Hydraluron a go, too – it’s insanely effective for thirsty skin.

Day Cream
I like to use more ‘natural’ day creams rather than ‘chemically’-driven ones, so my favourite is Dr. Hauschka’s Melissa Day Cream. Formulated for combination skins, this is beautifully light and is a perfect base for make-up. Hint: I sometimes find the heavy SPFs in day creams too much, plus these are always included in my make-up base.


Night Cream
One of my most luxurious products of all time, I love to use Decleor’s Aromessance Neroli Night Balm. Not quite a cream, not quite an oil, this is a gorgeous product that I adore. Lizzi loves Clinique’s Super Rescue Antioxidant (which I can’t find online, annoyingly!) and I’m desperate to try their new Smart Night Custom Moisturiser. If you fancy applying a night oil afterwards, you can’t beat Aurelia’s Cell Repair oil. Gorgeous.

What are your desert island products?

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  1. Slummy single mummy wrote:

    Oh my goodness, are all of those on the table just from the two of you?! I have to confess I’m totally backward when it comes to skincare. I pretty much have NOTHING in the way of products. In fact, I have a very simple two-step routine. Step one, in the shower, is me washing my face with whatever comes to hand e.g. shower gel, shampoo. Step two is moisturising. This I always do. I’ve used Olay beauty fluid with the SPF 15 in for about 20 years, so I guess this would have to be my desert island product!

    Posted 3.7.16 Reply
    • Lizzi wrote:

      Ummmm yeah, it was a combo from the two of us ;)

      Posted 4.20.16 Reply
  2. Claire wrote:

    I love seeing other people’s skincare products and routines.

    These all look so lovely!

    I love using a flannel too but also use muslins when they come with the product new . My desert island product is anything cruelty free and a good price but I’ll go with Lush’s “Fair of Face” Beauty Serum Bar- I love it! xxx

    Posted 3.7.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Ooh will have to try that serum – I always forget that lush do skincare!

      Posted 3.9.16 Reply
  3. Alex wrote:

    I love reading other people’s routines and recommendations. I like to stick to Jojoba, Rose hip, and Grapeseed oils for my intenisve moisturising ie. night time and before day cream, but I will be grabbing one of those face massage thingys and maybe an acid toner! x

    Posted 3.9.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Oh I love Rose Hip oils! One of my favourite things to do is a looong facial massage with a lovely Rose Hip oil. Feeling like washing my face right now…

      Posted 3.9.16 Reply
  4. Amy wrote:

    Well I’m in. Have read Caroline Hirons cheat sheet when you linked to it before, but then halted not knowing where to start with buying. So I have ordered a couple of these to add in to my squeaky new routine.
    Would be interested to hear what you use as spf?

    Posted 3.10.16 Reply
  5. Lizzi wrote:

    Mystery solved – Clinique’s Super Rescue Antioxidant has now been rebranded as Super Defence. I use the Night formulation during the day in the winter months and switch to the Day formula – with added SPF – once the sun begins to shine in April.

    Recent updates to the routine include:
    Jane Scrivner – Uncondition Oil (holy grail night oil for any skin issues. I cannot be without it!)
    Temple Spa Cleansing Melt – THANKS ALICE! – which has become my number 1 cleanser, I can’t stop using it! Sometimes I layer over from Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Balm for added OOMPH and it really is wonderful.
    Paula’s Choice – Anti Redness 1%BHA lotion – this has replaced an acid toner in the morning and it is really love, particularly over Hydraluron
    Sanctuary – Cleansing Mud Mask – genius!
    Pixi Glow Peel Pads – big claim, but they are BETTER THAN P50. I am so happy to have finally found a (slightly) cheaper alternative to this HG, they really are fabulous
    Darphin Purifying Balm – this has helped my skin recover from winter, illness and generally dullness. Fabulous and lasts so long.

    Hope some of that helps!

    Posted 4.22.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      You’re a total enabler Lizzi – I’m going to slowly work my way through purchasing all of these ;) x

      Posted 4.24.16 Reply