22 Oct 2018 35 comments

Four Ways I’ve Changed My Skincare Routine.

My skincare journey…

I recently spoke about how I stripped back my skincare routine in order to give my skin a break and also to find out what was working for me. I was suffering from some questionable jawmonal acne (that’s hormonal acne on the jaw, FYI) and it just wasn’t letting up.

After a few weeks of a very basic routine I was able to understand my skin a little more, and then I chatted with a couple of skincare experts (Caroline Hirons being one, that woman! I bow down) for a bit more of an insiders perspective.

If you’re new to my skin journey (and believe me, it’s a journey), you’ll know I have suffered from breakouts for most of my adult life. Maybe even all of it!
I went on roaccutane a couple of years ago and, while it did help for a while, my skin has slowly returned to its spotty ways. I think my acne is mostly hormonal, but I can control it with the right skincare – which is exactly what I’ve been working on lately!

I thought I’d share a few ways in which I’ve worked on my skincare routine, in the hopes I can part with some of my new-found tips and tricks.
I honestly feel like sometimes I don’t know my skin at all, whatever I do seems to be wrong… but I’m absolutely determined to suss it out.

A Lighter Moisturiser…

Well, well, well. This was a bit of a revelation. All this time I’ve been layering on thick creams and oils, when really all they were doing was clogging my pores and making me breakout. I mean, it’s not exactly groundbreaking… and yet, somehow it was.
Choosing a lighter moisturiser was something Caroline recommended, and at first I didn’t think it would work. My skin is seriously dehydrated, I need a lot of moisturiser to really get in there and quench my complexion, but Caroline pointed out that I was moisturising with oil, not water. Ahhhh, a little lightbulb moment.

Since switching to something light (this Avene Hydrance one if you’re interested), I’ve seen a big difference in my skin. At night, I apply a couple of drops of my usual face oil (either Aesop Fabulous Face Oil or the wonderful Pai Rosehip Oil) and then moisturiser, which is the perfect balance for me. I try to stick to only three treatments each time; usually a niacinamide, oil and moisturiser. Then in the morning I’ll use differin, a hydrating serum and moisturiser.

Using A Rinse Off Cleanser

I’d been struggling a lot because I was wearing SPF daily, but it was really causing me to breakout. It was actually putting me off using sun protection, which isn’t really ideal! Instead, I switched up my cleansing routine to include a rinse-off cleanser to follow my usual cleansing jelly.
I will use something like my much loved Oskia Renaissance Cleanser or the brilliant Origins Cleansing Makeup Removing Jelly first to remove makeup, and then I will follow it up with more of a light gel or wash to really ensure I’m washing away that SPF before bed.
I still haven’t found a cleanser I swear by for this, but I’m in the process of finding one that doesn’t strip or upset my skin – and when I have the perfect recommendation, I shall let you know!

Acids All The Way

I’m a bit fickle with products at times because I really do like to see fast results, which just isn’t the case for some skincare picks – specifically acids. I find that acids really work best if you’re consistent with them, sticking to a routine over several months and really being patient with the results – instead of using them here and there, once or twice a month or whatever.
The trick is to find one or two and stick to them; for me this has been niacinamide and also an acne treatment called Differin which is a retinoid.
Alex Steinherr recommended the Garden of Wisdom Niacinamide to me and it’s been one of my favourite finds ever; it really works its magic on blemish-prone skin.

Less Is Still Best

So while I may have made some changes to my routine, added a few products in and seen a difference in my complexion, I do still think that less is still best for my skin type.
I love the idea of the Korean 10-step beauty routine, but my skin just does not get along with layers of products.
I used to chop and change my skincare routine a lot, but it made it impossible to understand what was causing me to breakout. Since sticking to a super specific routine, I’ve been able to make sense of my skin a whole lot more. A double cleanse, a layer of essence, an acid, maybe a couple of drops of oil and then my moisturiser is really all I need!

I’ve also stopped panicking every time I do breakout; I used to layer up the face masks, buy an entire new range of skincare and obsess over my skin. These days I take it easy, continue with my routine and try not to do anything drastic. It’s actually working!

I wish I was one of those people who just had an effortless complexion, but sadly I have to work at having clear skin. It’s probably the best it’s been in a long while at the moment, so I’m obviously doing something right.
Do you have any advice to share?

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  • Faye

    I’m thankful I read this post this morning, I’m suffering from some serious hormonal jaw acne right now and nothing I do is helping to prevent it. I’ve been on the lookout for a couple of new products as my current line up seems to be doing nothing for me anymore! You’ve given me some great recommendations here. Thank you!

    Faye x

    • You mean… jawmonal? Heh. It’s the worst!! Lighter moisturiser and strip back your routine and you should be good to go x

  • My skin is generally so clear apart from hormonal acne on my chin which always pops up around that time of the month but takes forever to go again! By the time its starting to go again the next one pops up! Skin care posts are my favourites to read! x


  • Great skincare routine to help with the breakouts. Lovely featured products.

    🍂🌸🍁ROSES FOR FRIDAYS 🍂🌸🍁 | by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Lisa Autumn

    I am all about acids right now!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  • I’m also all about acids at the moment. I love trying out new products but less is definitely more for me, my skin doesn’t like too much layering in that sense x


  • Denise

    This is my story as well. I thought it was hormonal but it turns out it’s Silicone. Anything ending one a cone in the ingredient list is a no no for me. You would be surprised at the amount of ‘cones’ out there. Even on clean/green products. This is not an advert but I use REN now for everything. Only get spots if I over do the sweet treats. I am 54 and suffered for over 30 years. Everything I used to ‘cure’ or cover with had the evil ‘cones’. I just made things worse

  • As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised less is more when it comes to skincare. I used to cleanse, tone, moisturise, put serum on, put eye cream on… the full works. Now I just cleanse at night time as I don’t really wear make-up, only a bit of concealer and eye make-up!
    Sometimes I’ll use moisturiser here and there but rarely.

    Zoey | http://www.zoeyolivia.com

  • Amy

    I struggled with acne on my jawline and neck for years, I tried so many things; products, treatments, medication (thinking it was hormonal). It wasn’t until I stumbled across an article about the effects of gluten on the body did I find a solution. I cut out all gluten from my diet, and most sugar too (it was tough!)

    After about 2 to 3 months my acne cleared up completely, and has been clear since. If I do indulge in something containing gluten my skin will get bad for a while until it’s out of my system again and the inflammation subsides.

    I’m not sure this will work for everyone, but it’s worth a try for clear skin and good health in general.

  • Lucia Kmaid

    Neither niacinamide nor differin are acids. Differin is a form of vitamin A and niacinamide is vitamin B3. They’re great ingredients, but treatments rather than acids. Acids usually come in the form of AHAs and BHAs, and are one of the products that give the quickest most visible results in skincare, sometimes even overnight.

  • I used to be so scared of acids but now I’m like THROW THEM AT ME YASSSS! Love hearing how you have evolved your skincare regime


    Ellie xx

  • I completely agree when it comes to skincare the less the better! 💕

    Arianna | Southernbf.blogspot.com

  • I’ve been following your skincare journey since the beginning, and I’m glad that you’re using less products now and really found what’s working for you! Definitely going to check out that lighter moisturizer, since I need one too!

    XO, Elizabeth T.

  • Bernadette

    I’m also struggling with finding a cleanser that works for my skin and figuring out how to remove it. I feel like the days when I am not wearing any makeup but have SPF on are tricky as I only cleanse once in the morning and once at night but I’m thinking I need to start double cleansing every night now if I want to use SPF (which I know I need to, especially now that I’ve introduced SPF into my skincare). And I also live for acids, they are an epic game changer.


  • Natalie Redman

    I’m trying to use up some of my acids now as I didn’t use them over the Summer.


  • Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Mask has done WONDERS for my skin. I only use it once a week but it makes such a difference. To remove make up I usually use plain old unrefined coconut oil to “melt off” make up and then do a good wash with Glossier’s Milky Jelly cleanser. Since coconut oil is comedogenic I make sure to wash it off so it doesn’t clog my pores but it makes such a good make up remover! xx

  • JenChuLiChaeng

    Is acid should be wear bfore moisturizer?

  • Sarah

    Have you given Dr Sam Bunting’s Flawless Cleanser a go? It’s made by a dermatologist and is brilliant x

  • I’m loving Aesop skincare at the moment and definitely want to try more from this brand – the face oil sounds fab x


  • Changing my moisturiser was one of the best things I did for my skin! I use La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo over my entire face and then apply a small amount of Cetaphil onto my dry patches and my breakouts reduced incredibly. I’m yet to try an acid based product but I’ve heard such positive things about them so I think I’ll have to do some research and give one a try! xxx


  • Yes! to acids. Love them


  • Kai Portnoy

    i’ve discovered a new organic skincare line that gives REAL results for brighter firmer skin! Check this out >> https://kwrer.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/jowae_sg/

  • I found adding layers of hydration, using retinol and going easier on the harsh scrubs/foaming cleanser has made a world of difference to my skin. It’s way softer and my redness is totally gone! Changing up my cleansing routine also made a huge difference.

    Angela at Blush & Pearls

  • I absolutely adore Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser, I’m on my third bottle already! I like to use it to take all of my make up off then go in with a second cleanse using an oil for a deeper clean. This post has reminded me to get back into trying out Aésop products!


  • Flo la vita

    I completely agree that less is the best. I used to use an uncountable number of products on my skin and it just made me break out more and more. Since narrowing my routine down to just three products I’ve noticed such a difference xx


  • Urgh, my skin is similarly difficult and prone to breakouts if it is even slightly unhappy so I feel your pain! I think the problem is definitely exacerbated by stress or not drinking enough water / too much sugar, but also when I’ve been testing too many products, anything too rich, or anything that’s probably been sitting in my cupboard too long.

    Have you tried Aesop BCCC treatment? It’s a bit ££ but I’ve used it for 10 years and it always helps when my skin is throwing a tantrum (I use it a couple of times a week as a night treatment – either alone or under their Mandarin face cream which is nice and light and good for year-round – and the vitamin B + C really helps to heal everything). Ditto Paula’s Choice Salicylic Acid which really helps prevent breakouts (when I remember to use it).

    Good luck!

    Briony xox

  • emily.elizabeth

    This is so me! I had a good patch of reasonably good skin in my mid twenties but it’s been pretty awful for the last couple of years now – turned very dry and spotty. Love me some Pai oil though! Have you tried the Pai cleansers? I was massively impressed at how well it removed makeup but never left my skin feeling parched.

  • Sarah

    Such an interesting read Kate.

    Skincare can be so trial and error and it’s even harder when hormones and weather are sending it crazy.

    I recently came off the pill after 14 years of taking it and my skin is noticably more oily but I kind of like that because it was so dry before.

    I’m turning 34 in a few weeks and now with a few sun-invoked fine lines on my face my tip to everyone out there is stick with your SPF! I’ve been recommended to avoid oilbased products as I’m inclined towards redness and rosacea which has many environmental triggers. Because of this Laura Mercier protect primer SPF30 (oil free) has been amazing. I’m a big fan of Nars too but their primer just doesn’t do it for me in the same way. If they ever discontinue my LM one I’m not sure what I’ll do!

    Happy beautifying friends and Kate xxx

  • TOTALLY agree with the lighter moisturiser. I changed to a water based one and my skin no longer has breakouts – only a pimple here and there during the time of my period, but thats’s it.

    Love this post.

    Much Love,



  • StrawberryMakeupBag

    The Avene Hydrance serum sounds like something I should introduce into my routine. In the warmer months my skin was doing just fine with oils alone but ever since autumn started my skin has become drier and drier and I’ve been struggling with dry patches and redness. x

    Beatrice | Strawberry Makeup bag

  • I’ve just invested in a new cleanser and it’s the best choice I’ve made all year 🙂


  • This is such a good best. The key is to stop stressing over lil blemishes and keeping the routine simple. 🙂 xo

    Jadirah Sarmad

  • Naz

    I follow the korean skincare routine and honestly it goes from 10 steps to 5 depending on your skincare needs. I think it’s a big misconception that because there are 10 steps that means you’re slathering your skin with product, when in fact, 3 steps are about cleaning and some are really optional. Your routine is pretty much the essence of the korean routine! The other steps like exfoliating and sheet masks are definitely weekly steps/as you see fit.
    But I really recommend using a toner. Especially after double cleansing. It’ll balance your pH levels and prep it for the essence and acids later. A gentle one like Klairs is really good.

    In Retrospect

  • Rebecca

    Try Dr Sam Bunting’s Flawless Cleanser! It’s insanely good, is a gel / jelly like texture and doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight or uncomfortable after and it gets everything off. I’ve also found the Cerave Hydrating Cleanser to be a little miracle working at the moment with the cold weather (I have acne prone skin and am currently on roaccutane). x

  • Natalie Redman

    I need to get back on some sort of skincare routine going forward. I’m getting on and can see those fine lines becoming permanent!