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Skincare beginner, I don't know where to start. Can anyone advise please?

(21 Posts)
yoink Fri 21-Oct-16 11:16:58

My main concerns are:

flakey forehead
open pores on T zone
blackheads on nose and what looks like make up settling in my pores but I don't know if that's what it is?

I've been recommended The Ordinary products (and that's my price range tbh) but I can't understand the site at all!

Can anyone help me choose a couple of products please?

(With thanks to pupsie and bo on the skincare ingredients thread)

HeyMacWey Fri 21-Oct-16 11:32:40

Someone on a previous thread about the ordinary range had emailed them with their skin type and problems and they recommended a skincare routine and products.
Might be worth it as a starting point.

I'd definitely suggest hyaluronic acid as this will give you a moisture boost.
The blackheads are probably sebaceous filaments so a bha would help with these and open pores.

HeyMacWey Fri 21-Oct-16 11:35:05

The poster emailed the Victoria's Health website.

botemp Fri 21-Oct-16 11:35:32

Do you know your skin type? What products are you using and what's your routine like? General age and goals also helpful.

Flakey forehead might mean you're dehydrated (this is not necessarily tied to your water intake).

Blackheads on nose most likely not blackheads but sebaceous filaments.

HeyMacWey Fri 21-Oct-16 11:43:45

Here's a link to their regime guide

botemp Fri 21-Oct-16 11:45:21

As mentioned on the skincare ingredients thread I really can't advise getting into The Ordinary with an extensive routine (with the help of the retailer selling it or not) to people who have little or no experience and/or understanding of the more 'nerdy' ingredient driven skincare approach.

Whilst I do occasionally direct people that way for a specific product that would meet their specific need (v. much cost based) it is very much a line developed to encourage people to understand and research the ingredients to gain an understanding of it all. Unfortunately while it's great to see such low prices it also means people are buying and using them indiscriminately with little knowledge as to whether it will help their specific needs which counters the brand's entire philosophy.

yoink Fri 21-Oct-16 12:09:35

that's fair comment botemp.

my skin type 40, dry, no spots. some redness on some days down the middle.

I've been washing with shower gel and occasionally using clinique dramatically different moisturing gel, because it feels nice blush

but now my flakey head and white/open/black pores are bugging me.

CaptainWarbeck Fri 21-Oct-16 12:14:32

Use primer before foundation to create a smooth layer to apply it on and stop it sinking into pores?

yoink Fri 21-Oct-16 12:15:54

I've been using the benefit porefessional primer and a no 7 one sometimes, but I still get white spots in my pores. I know no one else can see them probably, but to me they're enormous!

botemp Fri 21-Oct-16 12:33:36

Is the Clinique a fluke budget wise?

So the shower gel is probably causing most of the dryness (along with the too hot water of a shower, use the sink and a flannel and tepid water). I'm sort of going with the theory that you have combination skin with possibly dehydration. Low and slow is my mantra so initially I'd suggest getting a cleanser, moisturiser and SPF sorted before adding anything else.

Then branching out to BHA (I prefer the Paula's Choice 2% liquid but if that feels too expensive the Nip+Fab Dragon's Blood pads are always on offer somewhere. For dehydration The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is really the only thing from that line that I would recommend to you, possibly the Niacinamide for the redness but you really need to asses that in a much later phase and get the basics right first before confusing your skin with too much product.

Below is a suggestion of a routine you can work towards c/p from an old comment of mine on a thread I've lost track of and I've updated some of the product recs.

So before we get to the basics of a skincare routine, drink plenty of water (especially if you drink a lot of caffeinated drinks, they're only making you more dehydrated). Avoid sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, and everything else you know is shit for you.

The basic routine is usually something along these lines, double cleansing (in the evening, single cleanse/wash in the morning) - acid toning (optional) - serum/oil (optional) - moisturiser - SPF (daytime only). Full disclosure I'm not UK based (so no access to a lot of the UK pharmacy brands) and have sensitive skin so I'm no good with recommending budget products from personal use, I'm merely listing the products that are repeatedly recommended here on the S&B boards.

First Cleanse: You want an oil based cleanser (not to be confused with the 'natural' oil cleansing method) to cut through make-up and SPF which you remove with a warm flannel (despite the method being called 'hot' cloth cleansing, hot water is shit for your skin) or a muslin. Use a clean flannel/muslin each day. For mornings (or days when you don't wear make-up and/or SPF) skip this step.

Suggested products: Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser, Virgin Coconut Oil or Superfacialist Una Brennan Vitamin C Skin Renew Cleansing Oil. Mid budget - Clinique Take the Day Off oil or balm. High budget options- Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, Eve Lom Cleanser.

Second Cleanse: The first cleanse was to remove all make-up and SPF, the second is to clean the actual skin and any residue. Gentle is what you want here, a milk or cream cleanser. Ignore instructions of removing with cotton pads etc. Simply apply to dry skin and take off with warm flannel/muslin from above.

Suggested products: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, LRP Toleriane Dermo Cleanser, not an S&B but one I've used and fall back on often, Weleda Almond Soothing Natural Cleansing Lotion

Acid toning: The quickest way to kick start your skin again, caution is warranted. Slow and steady is the way to go here, introducing it once or twice a week and building it up to a point that feels comfortable for your skin which can be anything from twice a day to once a week/fortnight. AHA helps break down dead skin cells and encourages cell turnover, revealing more 'youthful' and radiant skin. BHA works deeper down as it is oil soluble and is good for cleaning out pores and with spots. There are more types of acids and both AHA and BHA are far more complex than described but this is their basic setting. I would only suggest incorporating acids into your routine when you have your basic setup of cleanser - (serum) - moisturiser - SPF in place. If you can't commit to daily SPF and regular top ups during the day in the height of summer do not bother with acid toning, it makes the skin photosensitive, you will only damage and worsen it if not diligent with SPF post acid toning.

Suggested products: AHA - Nip + Fab Glycolic/Glycolic Extreme pads, Pixi Glow Tonic, Alpha H Liquid Gold. BHA - Nip+Fab Dragons Blood Fix Pads. BHA/AHA combo- Olay Anti-Wrinkle Toner.

Serum: A concentrated and light weight formulation that penetrates skin more effectively than moisturiser. This is where you address your specific skincare needs, hydration, acne, sensitivity, anti-ageing, etc. Alternatively an oil can be used in this stage following it with or without moisturiser depending on need.

Suggested products: Hydration- Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum, Vichy Aqualia Thermal(£16.99), Hada Labo Gokujyun (Premium) Lotion, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. Acne- La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, Anti-ageing: La Roche Posay Redermic, The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid (2%).

Moisturiser: Seals everything in and hydrates, for whatever reason we're still all stuck on the moisturiser being the most important and life changing product in your skincare routine. It's not. Probably leftover marketing from the anti-ageing overpriced cream era, moisturisers aren't going to do much on their own. Spend your money on serums and get a no frills workhorse.

Suggested products: Go with the one you like already and reassess when it is finished, oft mentioned on the S&B boards are, Eucerin Hyaluron Filler, Aldi Caviar and Aldi CoQ10. Please note that day creams may have an SPF in them, they are by no means sufficient and to avoid clogging your skin unnecessarily do not use an SPF containing day cream at night, you will need to double cleanse it off in the morning. Needless washing results in aggravated skin. The easiest is to have one moisturiser without an SPF in it.

A separate SPF: Beyond its necessity for use with acid toning, it is the most effective anti-ageing product (as well as skin cancer deterrent) as it blocks damaging sun rays from your skin. SPF30 is advised as a minimum year round, reach for SPF50 in the summer, especially if acid toning. Reapply every two hours when you are in the sun for prolonged periods of time.

Suggested products: La Roche Posay Anthelios, Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence

Google at your leisure I'm too lazy to link it all up

So in order of trialling when starting from scratch: Cleansers first (easy to see whether you can get on with them or not quite quickly within a few days). Then introduce moisturiser, then SPF, then serum, then contemplate acid toning. Aside from a cleanser I usually wait 2-3 weeks before introducing a new product and it takes about 6 weeks to honestly assess whether a product is working for you.

Stop using any products that cause irritation, skin does not get used to things. An exception can be made for acid toning where some purging may occur but should not persist beyond the first few uses.

yoink Fri 21-Oct-16 17:26:38

botemp, I'm gobsmacked. Thank you so much for this! V kind of you to help an internet stranger flowers

Yes, I think the Clinique was bought with a voucher or something. I'd prefer cheaper if possible.

Right, I'll start looking through your suggestions!

bingohandjob Sat 22-Oct-16 07:12:28

Great regimen suggestion above. I've switched from spendy face creams to Superdrugs B.range - their day and night creams are lovely, feel just as good as the Origins and Clarins I used to buy at a fraction of the price..I spend my money on Eve Lom Cleanser and use Superdrug serum but have just picked up a few items from The Ordinary. I honestly think the best thing I've ever done for my skin is, as bloody boring and self righteous as it sounds, is drink lots of water and walk for an hour a day.

yoink Sat 22-Oct-16 07:13:38


I'm off into town with a shopping list smile

yoink Sun 23-Oct-16 15:24:01

So I ended up getting a Liz Earle hot cloth cleanser and a LRP Toleraine set containing the dermo cleanser, a moisturiser and a spring water spray.

It says on the pack, cleanse then 'soothe and tone' with the spring water spray. Is that going to do anything at all or is it a bit emperor's new clothes?

botemp Sun 23-Oct-16 16:54:17

It depends, I'll go on record saying LRP toning water was one of the most significant things in improving my skincare routine but that's down to the fact that I live in an area with very hard water that negatively affects my skin and the LRP (used after cleansing) neutralises the impact of HW somewhat. A solution to dehydration and whatever else it claims not so much, I do find it soothing but don't think there's much science behind water being soothing.

It's encouraging to see you started small, be mindful that not everyone gets on well with LE C&P as evident in the currrent "makeup and skincare that didn't work for you" thread. The presence of eucalyptus oil may be irritating.

yoink Sun 23-Oct-16 18:13:53

Ok thanks botemp.

I also got a load of flannels from primark and I quite enjoyed the feeling of a properly clean face last night and this morning!

Pupsiecola Thu 27-Oct-16 15:40:55

yoink I've just started using the LRP Toleriane cleansing milk in the mornings (Emma Hardie in the evenings) and really like it's simplicity. Brilliant post bo.

I didn't really like the LE C&P when I tried it a couple of years ago. Only think LE I do have is the eye brightening stuff which I keep in the fridge. I use it to wake my eyes up every morning.

Kennington Fri 28-Oct-16 07:51:11

Botemps list is great,
If you have blackheads I would warn you not to put too much product on top of them. SPF will make them worse. Keep that area fairly free of serums and moisturisers.

Lottapianos Fri 28-Oct-16 11:40:47

Fabulous and very detailed advice from botemp

OP, I am a similar age to you and used to have flaky issues too, mostly on nose and in eye sockets (nice!). A combination of double cleansing with a flannel every evening and acid toning has cleared it right up. My skin is glowier and more radiant that it has been in years. As mentioned above, what you put in your body is at least as important as what you put on your face, so be aware of alcohol, caffeine and sugar consumption and try to keep fruit and veg levels up, especially in winter

Here's what I'm currently using, in case you find it useful. None of these products cost a fortune and I love them all:

Morning cleanse - Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean cleanser
Serum - Superfacialist Una Brennan Vitamin C serum
Moisturiser - Boots Botanics Day Lotion with SPF 15

Night cleanse - Pure Hot Cloth Cleanser (from M&S), followed by No7 Daily Cleansing Oil (each removed with warm wet flannel
Acid toning - Nip + Fab Glycolic Pads
Serum - Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum or Superdrug Hydrating Serum
Oil - Botanics Facial Oil or Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse (Botanics is better)
Night cream - Astral

I need to use a separate SPF and am planning to get the Biore recommended upthread

yoink Fri 28-Oct-16 11:51:58

ooh thanks Lotta. I'll be coming back to look at that when I next add something.

So far I'm loving the LE and LRP routine. My skin feels better already, but I'll be interested to see if I can get rid of the white dots that appear when I put foundation on my forehead.

Out of interest, I've received a sample of this: Whish Mud Mask

On the packaging it says it will cause temporary redness and warmth shock which sounds quite alarming. Can any of you clever peeps advise on the ingredients list? What do you think?

Water (aqua, eau), kaolin, magnesium aluminum silicate, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet al- mond) oil, glyceryl stearate, bentonite, caprylic/capric tri- glyceride, stearyl alcohol, glycerin, mucor miehei ex- tract, aloe barbad- ensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, malto- dextrin, citric acid, montmorillonite, xanthan gum, so- dium anisate, tet- rasodium gluta- mate diacetate, bakuchiol, papain, bromelain, toco- pheryl acetate (vit- amin E acetate), sorbic acid, dog (rosa canina) rose hip oil, benzyl alco- hol, phenoxyethan- ol, ethylhexylgly- cerin, dehydroace- tic acid, benzoic acid, tocopherol, glycine soja (soy- bean) oil, mica, fragrance (parfum), hexyl cinnamal, linalool.

botemp Fri 28-Oct-16 12:01:13

It has papain in there, the enzymes you find in papaya and pineapple which is lightly exfoliating. A lot of people use those fruits (usually as juice) to tenderise raw meat on account of those enzymes, tells you something about how they work. I wouldn't worry too much, most people can handle them fine but there are those with allergies to them. Patch test on your wrist first (skin is fairly delicate there) if you're concerned.

Though as fun as this sample may be, $44 is a ridiculous amount of money for a clay mask, the ingredients above don't seem to warrant that price tag at all. Cattier is a good alternative if you're looking for an affordable clay mask.

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