January 2014

As I have got older, I have become more aware of the importance of looking after my skin. After all, no matter how fabulous your makeup, it can only enhance, not disguise, the condition of your skin.

For years now I have scoured the Internet, looking for advice and recommendations. Finally, through research, and trial and error, I have learned enough to write a book on the subject. Being a blogger though, not an author, what I propose to do, is write a weekly series on my skincare routine, sharing my secrets and making recommendations of products which really work.

There is no better place to start than in the morning – so this weeks topic is my morning cleanse.

To be perfectly honest with you, for years I skipped this step entirely. Instead of cleansing my skin in the morning, I simply splashed my face with cold water to wake myself up. I justified this by reasoning that I had cleansed the night before and had done nothing but sleep since then. How grotty is that? I only had to wipe my face with a clean cotton pad soaked in Micellar water, to see exactly how much grime accumulated on my face overnight, and that’s not counting the sweat, and the dead skin cells. Eurgh…..

I have repented of my past skincare sins and now always, always, always, do a morning cleanse.

But what is the best cleanser to use?

I believe it is really good for the skin to vary the products you use. This is for a variety of reasons. Firstly I think the skin gets used to products and no matter how good they are, they lose their effectiveness if you use them too often.

Also, skin changes and as it changes, so does its needs; some mornings it may need moisture, others it looks dull and lifeless. I choose my cleanser each day to suit my skins needs.

Finally what I am looking for from my skincare can change; some days I need a speedy but effective cleanse, others I need something to wake me up and occasionally I have a little more time and want to treat my skin.

For all of these reasons I like to keep a variety of products in my bathroom cabinet.

So what cleansers do I turn to in the mornings?

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On the mornings when I need to get up and go, I like to use a foaming face wash and the Nip+Fab Clean Fix Gel Cleanser, is in my opinion, the very best gel cleanser on the market. Although I use this in the morning, you could use it at any time of day. I have tested it and it removes make up effortlessly, even eye makeup without stinging the eyes at all. It smells really fresh and clean and that’s exactly how my skin feels after I use it. But actually, this cleanser does much more than just clean. The Nip+Fab Clean Fix Gel has glycolic acid to brighten and re-texture, amino acids to purify, and green tea to tone and refresh – all in all a perfect wake me up. I paid over a tenner for this great gel cleanser and it is worth every penny. It comes fitted with a pump and just half a pump cleans my whole face so a little goes a long way. You can do much better than that though because Nip+Fab are selling this little beauty for a limited period at half price on their website. For just £4.95 this is really is a must have. Do not hesitate. Snap it up – here!

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Some mornings though, my skin feels a little drier and I prefer to use a Cleansing Lotion. On those mornings, I turn to the Organic Surge Gentle Cleansing Lotion.

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This is my favourite cleansing lotion of all time. It smells amazing with organic rosemary, lemon essential oils and chamomile, and it just so soothing and comforting on the skin. This is a very hydrating cleanser but is not at all oily, so is suitable for all skin types, particularly those feeling sensitive or irritable. I like to massage this lotion into my skin then simply wipe off with tissues or cotton wool while breathing in all those luscious essential oils. What a lovely start to the day! 

This product is available from health food stores and a number of websites but the cheapest stockist I could find today was actually Amazon who have it for just £5.95. A great price for a highly recommended Cleansing Lotion.

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So those are my super speedy options. But there are days when I am in less of a rush and feel like devoting a little more time to my morning cleansing routine. Again I have a couple of choices of cleanser. Once or twice a week, I like to use my Clarisonic and when I do, the Gentle Hydro Cleanser is the one I reach for.

img_0486 When I purchased the Clarisonic, it came with a foaming cleanser which was way too harsh for my mature skin. This Gentle Hydro Cleanser was the solution. I use this, combined with the sensitive brush head, and it gently but thoroughly cleanses and exfoliates, without ever leaving my skin red or irritated. This is admittedly quite an expensive product – the best price I found was £21 from Feel Unique – but you use such a tiny amount that it will last for ever.  img_0489

I have saved the best till last. Some mornings I just feel bleurgh. Maybe I was out the night before and am hung over, maybe my skin is dull and dehydrated,  maybe I just feel like treating my skin – on those occasions, I reach for my miracle balm. 

img_0490-1 This natural cleansing balm is packed full of natural goodness, with ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax and finely milled oats. This product is suitable for all skin type but particularly perfect for sensitive or dehydrated skin. As you can see, it is a thick balm which melts in your hands and smells so heavenly that I find myself deep breathing as I massage it into my skin. When I am ready, I soak a flannel in warm water and simply wipe the balm away. It leaves absolutely no oily residue but does leave my skin looking plumped up, radiant and feeling super soft. I absolutely adore this product and really couldn’t recommend it more highly. It is available priced at £20 from a number of stockist but this one called Gorgeous Shop has free UK delivery so go treat yourself and your skin to something a little bit special. img_0491

So those are, in my opinion, the best morning cleansers ever.

Have you tried them? Or do you have others that you prefer? I would love to hear from you with your thoughts and recommendations.

Next week I will look at Toners. In my young days these were an essential step in everyone’s skin routine but they have fallen out of favour more recently. I never miss this step though and in my next skin care blog, I will share with you my reasons why. 

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