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A LOOK BACK AT MY OLD SKINCARE ROUTINE | 2014 VS. 2020


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One of the benefits of having done this 'influencer' thing for such a long time is that I can have a look back through the archives and self-critique! Today, to celebrate the sixth birthday of this blog, I thought it'd be fun to look back at my skincare routine from 2014 to see where I was going wrong...

- MY SKIN JOURNEY -

I think, above all else, my skin has changed over the past six years, as has my approach to skincare. For context; when I was in my final year of university, my skincare routine consisted of a Superdrug own-brand cleanser and face scrub. That's right: no moisturiser! And this was way back before brands really gave a **** about skincare, so you can imagine that 2014 skincare products at £3 a pop were pretty grim. I did try to see if I could find them, but to no avail. I can't say I'm surprised they were discontinued! When I started getting into beauty, it really was primarily drugstore makeup for a really long time. I didn't really see the value in skincare so a lot of what I had was either French pharmacy (which seemed impossibly expensive to me at the time) or picked up in those good old 40% off sales the Body Shop used to have regularly.

In terms of my skin, I guess at 20/21, things still hadn't full settled down from the hormonal teen years. Or perhaps it was simply what I was doing to my skin that led it to be 'combination'. I never had 'bad' skin but I definitely struggled with surface oils and would have to powder my t-zone a few times a day, even when wearing my very matte, full-coverage Estee Lauder foundation. Moving into my mid 20s (I'm 27 next month - scary!) I reached a realisation that I didn't have combination skin at all; it's more on the normal side and pretty dehydrated. However, up until that point; anything that claimed to matte the skin or treat oiliness had a place in my routine.

- AM -

Jumping into the routine itself (you can read it in full here, if you're so inclined), I can see there are a lot of steps and a lot of products probably being used incorrectly! I started every morning with the Body Shop's Tea Tree Skin Clearing Face Wash | £6.50 | which - to be fair - has over 1000 reviews and 5 stars on their website. These days the words 'face wash' honestly strike fear into my heart and this one was a typical gel formula that foamed up a lot. I don't know how I dealt with the combination of that and the tea tree (which can help spots, to be fair, but is pretty harsh to use daily all over the face)! It could work if you're very oily, but I just think this would be so drying and stripping on my skin now. I rarely opt for gel formulas at all these days; in the mornings I now for a cream product like the Wow You! Zen Cleanser | £16 (15% off with code JASMINE15) | £16 | full review | or an emulsifying gel-to-oil cleanser like the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel* | £33 | full review.  I then followed this up with the Body Shop Aloe Toner | £8.50 | full review | which I still like and recommend, so there's a positive! It's just a simple, calming, hydrating toner.

I then seem to have two products I'm using as serums: the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo +* | £17 | full review | and the No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum | £34. The La Roche-Posay is actually a pretty good product, containing niacinamide, salicylic acid and other blemish-fighting ingredients, though I'd definitely say it's a moisturiser and not a serum. The No7 has definitely been reformulated since I used it, but I still have no idea why I was using something like this at 21! I think I'd just seen some adverts saying it was life-changing and used my Boots points and a voucher to buy it. I honestly feel as though I have fewer visible lines now I'm just hydrating my skin properly these days than I did then, so using retinol and matrixyl before I even really knew what those ingredients were and how to correctly use them probably wasn't the best idea... These days, for daytime I usually opt for a hyaluronic acid and / or something a little more active. When I want pure hydration, I usually stick with my trusty Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex* | £25 | full review | or, currently I'm trying to use up my super-charged Vitamin C serum before it goes bad: the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic* | £140 | full review | which is great for evening out the skin's tone and giving it an overall healthy appearance (though there are definitely cheaper products that will achieve this end!)


We then have an eye cream and a moisturiser. The Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream* | £20 | appears to be double the price it was when I had it 6 years ago! I honestly have no recollection of this product, but it's described as a cooling gel formula. It contains some really nice antioxidants and hydrating and moisturising ingredients, like jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid, aloe and Vitamin E, however it's also packed full of fragrance and essential oils; ingredients like lemon peel oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, citronelle, limonene and linaloo. Basically the entire 'naughty' list of ingredients you're supposed to try and avoid! For those reasons, I don't think I'd use this product if I came across it today, however I do still prefer a more lightweight eye treatment and my most-used this year has been the Inkey List's Brighten-i Eye Cream | £8.99 | full review. This is a lightweight cream that's hydrating enough for my skin and doesn't overwhelm my eye area with rich product. The CeraVe Eye Repair Cream* | £11.99 | full review | is also great for the winter months, in particular.

The moisturiser is no longer available, and the company has since rebranded. I'm sure it's probably also gone through reformulation, but the equivalent to this ForYou M1 moisturiser (which I loved at the time) is the FaceTheory M1 Signature Moisturiser (Unscented) | £11.99. It's designed for combination skin, formulated with Vitamin E and Vitamin C, as well as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which all sounds pretty great. It's also at such a good price-point! I think this is one I'd be interested in picking up again as a summer option and can recommend based on the ingredients of the current formula and how much I used to like it. These days, I probably do go a for a slightly more nourishing moisturiser, like the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream | £35.50 | full review | or Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturiser | £35 | full review | but this really doesn't seem like a bad formula at all!

- PM -

Heading into the evening portion of this routine, I am so glad that by this point I'd realised the evils of face wipes! By late 2014, I was using the Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil | £12 | which is honestly a pretty solid product that will lift makeup, emulsify with water and remove any lingering mascara from around the eyes without stinging them. There is some fragrance in there, but it's a wash-off product so that wouldn't put me off, personally. I've not picked that one up in a few years, however, and at the moment I'm reaching for the Beauty Pie Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser | £7.55 | full review | as an oil-free option, or the Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm | £24 | full review | as something oil-based and luxurious-feeling. I then also have the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water | £10.80 | full review | which is a product I still use and love! I remember this being such a splurge item for me at the time, and it honestly hasn't left my bathroom cabinet since then; it's great for getting off any leftover makeup in awkward places once you've done your first cleanse.

Then we have a cleanser and a toner. There's actually not much inherently wrong with the Origins Checks and Balances Face Wash | £17.50 | which I remember being thick and creamy but still foaming to a degree. Looking it up now, I have noticed there's a lot of fragrance in the formula, which I'd be less happy putting on my face these days. A product with a similar texture without the overload of potentially-irritating ingredients is the Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser | £27 | full review | but, as I've mentioned; for a second cleanse I'd choose a cream formula any day of the week over a gel now. The toner is a product I haven't used in a long while, purely because my skin type has changed in recent years, but it's still a good one if you're more oily and blemish-prone. La Roche-Posay's Serozinc | £10 | is a water-light face mist with a simple but effective ingredient list to help keep breakouts at bay. In the evening, these days I tend to go for a hydrating toner in the evening, and at the moment I'm using the simple, calming, skin-softening Versed Baby Cheeks All-in-One Hydrating Milk | £16.50 | full review.



It then looks like I just use the same two products at the serum stage again in the evening (who knows why I didn't just do one in the AM and the other in the PM...) followed by the Body Shop's Vitamin E Moisture Cream | £14. I honestly have no recollection of how this product was to use; I just remember it being light pink and having this funny jelly-like texture. Vitamin E is a great antioxidant for dry skin types and this also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and moisturising shea butter, which is all good stuff. However, again, it's heavy on the fragrance and essential oils, which would probably stop me from picking it up today. These days I alternate every other day between some sort of overnight treatment (which we'll get into shortly) and a simple, deeply-moisturising night cream, which is currently the Bybi Beauty Night Nutrition Protein Night Cream | £26 | full review. On days when I feel like my skin is very dry or dehydrated and needs something extra, I'll top it off with the Drunk Elephant Luxury Virgin Marula Face Oil | £34 | full review | for intense nourishment or the Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial | £44 | full review | for a lightweight boost of hydration.

- OCCASIONAL TREATMENTS -

Ok, I guess this is where things get weird... I'm actually pretty relieved I wasn't telling you to use the Clarisonic Mia | £89 | every single day, like some people still are! I was passed this by a relative, so I only had to pay for new brush heads, and I'm actually grateful because cleansing devices really weren't on my radar before that and this product does deserve its place in the beauty hall of fame. At the same time, when I got the Foreo Luna Mini 2* | £99 | full review | I honestly didn't look back. I just find this silicone material more hygenic and durable; it feels less harsh on the skin and you aren't having to replace part of it every couple of months. 

As my face mask of choice, I was using the Body Shop's Warming Mineral Mask | £12 | which has some properties of a clay mask in terms of being cleansing, however it's honestly just a bit of a fragrance-packed gimmick! I guess I liked it because it had a warming sensation on the skin? I honestly just don't know... These days I tend to switch up my wash-off masks based on what my skin is asking for, but when I'm battling a hormonal breakout, the Ordinary's Salicylic Acid 2% Masque* | £9.90 | full review | is a favourite. If you want to try a cleansing clay mask; my favourite is the Niod Flavanone Mud* | £29 | full review.



There's also a physical exfoliator in the form of the Body Shop's Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Exfoliator | £11. I can honestly imagine this foaming gel cleanser with face scrub particles being so incredibly drying and stripping for my skin now! I don't really recommend physical exfoliation at all; instead I use chemical formulas featuring ingredients like salicylic acid, lactic acid or glycolic acid. I use either the Inkey List's PHA Toner | £9.99 | full review | for something gentle and everyday-appropriate or, when I need an intense treatment, I always have some of the Dr. Dennis Alpha Beta Extra Strength Peel | £19 (5 x treatments) | full review | on hand. It gives me insanely smooth and even skin, without the roughness and uneven exfoliation you get from a scrub.

We also have the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask | £22 | which totally flies in the face of all the other harsh, anti-breakout stuff I'm using in the rest of this routine! This mask is a bit of a blogger classic from back in the day, so maybe that's why I ended up getting it. I am rolling my eyes to the heavens reading 2014!Me talk about how good it smells... As you might have guessed; this product is basically every essential oil and fragrant ingredient under the sun crammed into one product. Literally the only ingredient that has any skin benefits in here is the niacinamide. Definitely not a product I'd rush out to buy today. My go-to overnight mask lately has been the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask | £41 | full review | because it's incredibly nourishing, softening and smoothing, plus contains PHAs for gentle exfoliation. I also have here the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil | from £12.50 | which I remember buying because Lisa Eldridge used it in a video on facial massages and I wanted to try doing that. I still pick up minis of this product from time-to-time for when I go on holiday, though I really use it for makeup removal these days; it does a great job, washes off easily and is very gentle on my eyes.


I then have just Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream | £2.99 | which I'd put on my spots before bed. It's not totally horrendous, but it does contain fragrance and if you're vegan it's not suitable, because there's lanolin in there. I feel it's just a really strong hit of benzyl alcohol to put on your face regularly. If it works for you; keep doing what you're doing. I would just personally use something with a BHA in it these days. My go-to spot treatment is the Ordinary's Salicylic Acid 2% Solution | £4.50 | full review.

The sorts of semi-regular treatments I reach for now include the Niod Copper Amino Isolate Lipid 1%* | £70 | full review coming soon | and the Ordinary's Pycnogenol* | £8.60 | full review. I find copper peptides, whilst definitely pricey, really help give my skin that renewed, plump, healthy look - I use this overnight a few times a week and it works so well. A cheaper alternative would be the Ordinary's Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% | £28.90 | full review. The pycnogenol oil is an amazing antioxidant I often use before bed once or twice a week; it just seems to make my skin look all-round 'better' in every way.

- FINAL THOUGHTS -

Although my skincare routine was affordable overall, it honestly wasn't the best. It's amazing that we now have brands like the Ordinary, the Inkey List and many, many more that give us fantastic, active-ingredient skincare for less (browse my affordable beauty tag to check out some of my top picks). Looking back at my routine, I definitely wasn't focused on what the active ingredients were in my skincare; I'd just read the marketing description and think 'well I guess it must do that!' Obviously these days the average consumer is much more savvy, even those in their teens. Although I'm not one of those Fragrance Police bloggers, I am much more conscious of trying to reduce the amount of fragrance in my routine and avoid products that just add in every scented essential oil under the sun for the sake of it. I also wonder if some of the harsh things I was doing to my skin may have exacerbated the difficult combination skin situation I had in my late teens and early 20s. I feel my skin is naturally much more balanced now due to hormonal changes but also just because I'm far more gentle in terms of my routine and mindful of listening to my skin and giving it what it wants.


How has your skincare routine changed over the past several years? Are there any mistakes you made or products you wished you hadn't used on your skin?


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