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I've been talking beauty on this blog since my early 20s and on the precipice of my 30th birthday, and to mark my blog's 9th birthday, I thought it would be interesting to look at how my skincare routine has changed in my 20s...

I know, it's blasphemous to say within the beauty community but: I didn't wear sunscreen as part of my everyday skincare routine until I was about 25! *Pause of gasps of shock and horror...* Of course, we can't turn back time, we can only form better habits going forwards, so if you're in your teens or 20s and you're reading this: please wear sunscreen. As someone with melanin who can count the number of times I've burned on the fingers of one hand, sunscreen was something I used on holiday, and even then it felt optional. Of course, we have to be vigilant in protecting our skin from cancers, but here in the UK outside the height of summer: if you care about retaining collagen and not ageing prematurely, you do need to make it part of your daily routine. If I'm sat inside all day during winter working from home, do I wear it? No. If I'm in the office on a relatively low UV index day, am I reapplying? No. But the point is that it's part of my routine and it's something I think of automatically like brushing my teeth, and that's the way to be if you want your skin to look its best for as long as possible! And there are so many elegant formulas at a low cost these days that won't leave a cast, feel heavy or interfere with your makeup, so it's easier than ever to incorporate into your routine.

When I was younger, I wanted the strongest, most abrasive product available to me on my face every single day! How times have changed... These days, when I use strong actives, I pair them with lots of nourishing, replenishing ingredients and take nights off for my skin to recover. When I do combine different actives, I do it thoughtfully, such as using a very gentle exfoliant before applying a retinoid my skin is completely acclimated to. As a result, other than the weather changing, my skin barrier generally doesn't have meltdowns these days (and that's coming from someone trying dozens of new skincare products every year!)

Until I discovered retinal around 3 years ago, I'd dabbled in retinoids but nothing ever really stuck or felt worth that adjustment period. Fast-forward to me turning 30 and they're a fundamental pillar of my skincare routine. Sadly, our collagen starts depleting from the age of 25 and this is what gives our skin its youthful bounce, so we want to hold onto as much of it for as long as possible! Retinoids boost up our collagen production and even have the ability to reverse signs of existing photo-ageing. I now can't live without them but if you've not been able to find something that works for you, or if you're a little lost on where to start, I have a ton of content on retinoids here.

Neck creams are something I used to scoff at, and whilst I still don't use dedicated products for the neck and chest area, I do take care to apply skincare to this area; especially my retinoid and sunscreen. Though, be warned, you might need to use a gentler retinoid on your neck than on your face, at least to start with, because the skin there is thinner and more easily-irritated. However, I had a mentality shift that was really important: I started to see my neck and chest as skin that needed to be cared for and hopefully this shift stands me in good stead for the future! 

When I first started getting really interested in skincare, it was all about the single-ingredient actives. However, over the years I realised this was unnecessarily complicating and elongating my routine. These formulas taught me the ingredients to look out for, but now I try and find them in one-step multi-active formulas that bring together amazing actives to target a single concern, and my routine feels so much less overwhelming as a result!

Back in the day, with my shiny t-zone, hydration really wasn't a priority! However, as I've got older, I've noticed my skin getting drier and more parched and I've realised that hydrated skin is the foundation on which everything else rests. For starters, I realised that some of the fine lines I was observing weren't 'wrinkles' but were lines formed through dehydration, so once my skin was plumper, many of them either disappeared or became far less pronounced. Once your skin is hydrated, you can also get a much better idea of what's really going on and what might need some more intensive actives to treat. But, you'd be surprised how much skin texture and how many dull skin days are down to a lack of hydration.

How has your approach to skincare changed over the years?

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