• drsophia

Glowing Skin is Always in !

Updated: May 13, 2019

One of the things I was asked to post about as soon as I let people know about my blog was skincare routines. This may be because most of my friends and I have all hit 30 and the days of having great skin with no commitment are sadly coming to an end! Given the aisles, beauty counters and stores full of products, it’s understandable if figuring out your routine can feel overwhelming. Whilst I’m a strong believer in personalised skincare, (we are all different after all ), here are the basics everyone should stick to for healthy glowing skin…

Absolute Musts...

Regardless of the problem, whether it’s poor skin, diabetes, heart disease or a bad back– your lifestyle is and always will be solution numero uno. In terms of skincare, this means that no matter how expensive your moisturiser or facials are, nothing will outdo a healthy lifestyle: Plenty of sleep, a healthy diet, exercise, water, water and water. If you have yet to master the above, then Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect unnecessary skincare products. Everyone else, read on … We’ve all heard the mantra: cleanse, tone, moisturise. Well, things are a little more advanced now and the 6 steps below should form the foundation of your routine:


This is essentially cleaning of your skin. Cleansing gets rid of dead skin cells, dirt, oil, make up and any lurking bacteria. As the first step, it’s sort of like having a shower before dressing up to go out. Cleansers come in the shape of oils, milks, gels, balms (avoid foam products) and if you can afford it, rotate between a couple. Experiment to find ones that suit your normal/oily/dry/combination skin and stick to it. Personally, I like to use a milk cleanser and then micellar water – micelles are small molecules that act like magnets to dirt, grime and make up. Bioderma and Garnier both have great micellar water cleansers that should suit all budgets and work a treat. I also love the Soy Face cleanser by Fresh which not only removes oils and dirt but also promotes moisture retention and skin firmness- great for the dryness in combination skin like mine. P.S Please do not use cleansing wipes- they are just not good enough for the job!


Toners help to restore the pH of the skin that can sometimes be disturbed by alkaline cleansers used in step 1. They also help to tighten pores and remove any toxins. Think of this as prepping your skin for the next steps to work effectively. Pick up any alcohol-free toner at your local drug store. I love the hydrating non-drying toner from the Vitamin E range at Body Shop.


Your eyes are the first to show signs of ageing and tiredness, especially as the skin around there is said to be 40% thinner than the rest of your face. People tend to apply eye cream last but actually, applying eye cream gently with your ring finger (do not rub/ pull /tag) on cleansed skin before any other serums or moisturisers will allow it to penetrate into your skin better. You can try leaving your eye cream in the fridge as the cool cream will work wonders on puffy eyes! Personal favourites: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue, Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye cream or Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Although to be honest, no eye cream resolved my dark circles from the serious sleep deprivation in the first few weeks of having my baby (thank god for concealer) - What did I tell you about lifestyle?!


If you are newly investing in skincare, THIS is where your money should be spent. Have a birthday or anniversary coming up? Ask for a serum. Serums are packed full of active ingredients that work to treat the skin and prevent fine lines, signs of ageing, hyperpigmentation, redness, acne breakouts etc. There are tons of ingredients that go in these and you can read my other post (Skincare Science) about what exactly they are and how they work.

Briefly these can include:

Hyaluronic acid:Draws in water and locks in that all-important moisture, reducing fine lines and wrinkles and leaving your skin healthy and plump

Retinol / Vitamin A:Potent anti-ageing ingredient which helps reduce inflammation/pigmentation and stimulates collagen production

Vitamin C:Powerful antioxidant that has hundreds of benefits including collagen stimulation and skin brightening properties

Vitamin E:Another powerful antioxidant and anti-ageing ingredient

AHA:Alpha Hydroxy Acids act as chemical exfoliants

Peptides:the building blocks of collagen, peptides encourage cell repair and collagen production..and plenty more including stem cells, growth factors etc! Lots of products have a combination of ingredients and when you are ready to buy, it’s important to know what exactly you need/ want from your serum.


The protective layer for everything you’ve put on up until now. Choose one to suit your skin type and put on just enough; remember a good moisturiser and serum should last months, not weeks.


Hopefully you are already using plenty of this. Whilst some skincare products can be started at aged 30+, broad spectrum SPF should be on your list from the get-go! i.e. if you have children, they also need to be protected from the sun. Sun rays not only cause cancer but are also one of the biggest causes of ageing, alongside smoking and sugar. And yes, you still need SPF even if it’s cloudy, you can’t see the sun, you’ve got dark skin or you can’t be bothered. NO EXCUSES!

Night Time Routine...

Night time is when the skin gets to repair, hydrate and renew without the onslaught of sunlight, pollution and stress. Couple of extras for night time:Double cleanse! You need to take off all that stuff on your face that is intended to stay on ie make up, as well as the dirt accumulated from the whole day. For example, you can use an oil AND milk cleanser.Add in a night time oil to balance the skin’s oil production, help to seal in moisture and wake up with a wonderful glow. Some great oils to be found with Liz Earle, Sunday Riley, Elemis and The Ordinary.

Tips! Apply products with a thinner/ watery consistency before thicker / oilier products. Personally, I like to give my skin a break from the layers of products in my routine that can sometimes lead to breakouts. On random days I choose to just cleanse and tone and then use SPF, without all the stuff in between.

Which exact products shall I buy?

Whilst I’ve mentioned a few brands (no vested interests), this is totally dependent on you. To get started…

1.Decide on what type of skin you have -

a doctor/ therapist/ sales assistant can help you with this if you’re not sure. I tend to have combination skin and all my products are geared to target this. P.s Don’t feel obliged to buy products from that counter just because the nice lady helped you find your skin type!

2.Set a budget -

Some expensive products are like so because they use higher concentrations of active ingredients and hence work faster, (this isn’t always a good idea and using too high concentrations can cause irritation/ inflammation / redness of skin. Less can be more), whilst some others are steeply priced as the brand name warrants it. A heavy price tag does not necessarily mean a better product – work with what you have.

3.Try to source organic products -

Especially if you have sensitive skin. Once you’ve decided on your type of skin and a budget, choose products for each step and give it a chance to work. Lots of brands do miniature sets that have products covering all 6 steps. If after 8-12 weeks you don’t see a difference at all, think about changing your serum and moisturiser if not your whole routine. For those of you sceptical about products, yes there are plenty that don’t work. There are also hundreds of products that do, hence the multibillion dollar skincare industry. Skincare is not ‘one size fits all’ and it’s important to find the right product for YOUR skin and YOUR budget, not use what your friend, favourite celeb or that random blogger is using!

The Extras...

With exercise, there are the basics of a routine (cardio/ resistance/ stretching) and then there is the additional stuff you can do for an extra boost (e.g. yoga retreats, boot camps, marathon runs etc) and it’s the same with skincare. There are tons of products and services out there… sonic cleansing brushes, salon facials, chemical peels, masks, scrubs, lasers etc etc and I will be posting about all of these at some point. But in the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, nail your basic routine and bask in the glow of your new and improved complexion!

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