I've always been a bit paranoid about ageing but I really feel now, having turned 30 a few months back, that I did not take skincare seriously enough in my 20s. I spent lots of money of creams and lotions and potions but never really educated myself on my own skin type and what I need, and never really stuck to a diligent routine. I've committed any skincare sins - using face wipes to take off my makeup in a hurry, falling into bed with my makeup on after a night out, not using a specific SPF under my foundations but relied on the SPF in my foundation instead - you name it, I've done it. But since I turned 30 in October, I'm super hyper sensitive about ageing, fine lines and wrinkles and I am absolutely dedicated to turning my skincare routine around and becoming far more dedicated to my one simple regime. So over the last few weeks, I've met the experts and I've just set up a skin routine now which I hope will reap benefits over the coming weeks and months and I think it's worth sharing so hopefully some of you will find this useful.
You will see in this post that the vast majority of my skincare in my current routine is from one brand, IMAGE Skincare. Now I want to clear something up right off the bat - yes, I've been invited to several IMAGE Skincare PR events before and yes, I have been gifted some of their products through the years. HOWEVER, this post is in no way, shape or form a sponsored post or any kind of paid endorsement - I've been gifted some products below which I will denote with a * but I have forked out hundreds of euros of my own hard earned cash from my non-blog related day job to put together a tailored skincare routine because I am 100% serious about protecting my skin. I don't usually feel the need to spell it out but I just wanted to clarify that for the avoidance of all doubt. So if you are still interested in reading about my experience and the skincare journey that I have embarked on so far, keep reading!
Firstly, I know IMAGE Skincare has featured a lot in the press recently and is a firm favourite of not only many bloggers but also many skincare professionals, aestheticians and salon owners who have advocated their products. IMAGE Skincare pride themselves on being the most innovative skincare brand in the industry. It is a professional only brand which means you can only buy it from salons after a proper consultation with an expert - which might make you think that this brand is not easily attainable - but looking at the list of stockists on their Irish distributors website, there are salons in every county across Ireland that offer IMAGE Skincare and treatments. I've not yet experienced an IMAGE Skincare treatment but it's on my to-do list as a priority. I did have a consultation with an IMAGE expert at a recent launch party where I was grilled on my current routine, my lifestyle, my requirements and my skin concerns, and she put together a routine for me based on what I told her and that is what I have based my current regime on.
I think at this point I should point out my own specific concerns and what I am looking to address specifically over the coming weeks and months. I have pretty good skin in that I have never suffered from acne but I do get hormonal breakouts from time to time, particularly around my chin area. I used to have very dehydrated skin but I've noticed it's not quite as dehydrated anymore, but my skin is pretty sensitive, especially to AHAs, and certain products I have used in the past have caused a horrific reaction that looks like I've had a cup of boiling water thrown on my face. I don't have any major signs of ageing yet apart from a crevice on my forehead between my eyebrows (I'm from Cork like and we're very expressive) and fine lines under my eyes. My two main skin concerns (apart from ageing) currently are congestion (I don't have acne but I feel like my skin can look congested) and dullness (lacklustre skin, no glow - and I don't mean an oily glow). I long for a fresh clean and clear complexion so that's the context for the journey that I am taking.
First up - my morning or AM routine. I have to admit I was not one for any detailed skincare routine in the mornings before I started on this IMAGE Skincare path - my morning routine usually just consisted of removing any residual mascara with some micellar on a cotton pad and slapping on a bit of a moisturiser that sits well under makeup. I know, I'm a sinner. The products that I have been "prescribed" for usage in the morning are the Iluma Lightening Cleanser (rrp €35.50) which is a gel-to-milk cleanser which is meant to remove surface impurities and brighten the complexion, the Iluma Lightening Serum (rrp €52) which is a brightening serum which is supposed to promote a clear, fresh-looking complexion and finally, my SPF for the day, the Prevention Daily Matte Moisturizer Oil Free SPF 32+* (rrp €45.50) which provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. I love the cleanser and the serum so far, as I mentioned I am not used to treating my skin in the mornings, and I'm still not 100% sure about the SPF. It applies nicely but does take a few minutes to go matte (I wouldn't say it's actually mattifying) but I will have to test this out with foundations over the next few weeks to make sure it doesn't wreak havoc on my makeup application. (*There was no full size available in the two beauty salons that I visited to purchase these products so I am using the samples that Victoria in Mudpie Beauty in Dundrum kindly gifted me to keep me going). I've also pictured my other facial SPF which I adore, the Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Sunscreen (rrp €39) - I love this stuff, it's amazing under makeup and I've not got as much as a single freckle despite spending a week in the blistering Italian sun since I started using this.
I'm going to fast forward now to the end of the day when I am taking all of my makeup off. There is no greater feeling than washing away your face down the sink at nighttime I think. I usually start off by removing my eye makeup and the Nivea Extra Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (rrp €6.29) does a decent enough job of that - it doesn't sting my eyes even though it is quite heavily fragranced and it does a decent enough job at removing the first layer of eye makeup. I'm not sure whether I will repurchase it or not yet but for now, it's fine. I also have my trusty Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water (rrp €16.80) to take the first layer of my makeup away. This is my all time favourite micellar water since 2012 - I remember smuggling this stuff back in from France before it was available in Ireland. The final step in my makeup removal routine is the Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse (rrp €30.95) - I've done a full blog post on this recently enough so you can refer to that if you're curious about this product but needless to say, I am nearly on my second pot and I love using it for removing my makeup.
My nighttime or PM skincare routine is a bit more intensive than my AM routine. Once I have taken all my makeup off, I use the Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser (rrp €35.50) to cleanse my skin and exfoliate. Now this is where expert advice is greatly appreciated - I would never in a million years have picked this out for myself because I don't have oily skin or acne and would be afraid that this would dry out my skin as I'm sensitive to acids. This is supposed to help with the congestion and I've been using it for almost a week already with no sensitivity or issues to report. For serum, I was prescribed two to use simultaneously but unfortunately only one was available in stock in the salons I visited. The one that I am using currently is the Ormedic Balancing Anti-Oxidant Serum (rrp €65.50) which is designed to balance your skin from within, restore it to its ideal moisture levels and leave your skin intensely hydrated with a healthy glow. The other one that I have been prescribed and which I am yet to find is the Ageless Total Pure Hyaluronic Filler (rrp €72.50) which is meant to pump pure hydration back into your skin. I love a bit of hyaluronic so I can't wait to try this out. I follow up serums with the "repair" stage and for repair, I was prescribed the Ormedic Bio-Peptide Creme (rrp €78) which is full of anti-aging nutrients and vitamins and, like the serum, smells absolutely incredible. This entire combination leaves my skin feeling so plumped and clean every night, I've really been enjoying it. Finally, I was prescribed the Iluma Intense Brightening Eye Cream* (rrp €68.50) which promises to help reduce visible signs of aging around the eyes including puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles. I was gifted this product a while back and have loved it since so I was relieved when this eye cream was the one that was prescribed to me. Lastly, I use the Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex* (rrp €25.50) because this is hands down the most effective lip balm I have and I have excessively dry lips - they do get terribly sore, particularly in colder months or the change in seasons.
Aside from the skincare that I was prescribed, there are a few more items which I have been gifted by IMAGE Skincare that I have incorporated into my routine. The Vital C Hydrating Hand and Body Lotion* (rrp €49.50) is one of the newest IMAGE Skincare launches and I was given this about two weeks ago at the launch party and I've literally been lathering myself in it since - it smells so good I can't even deal. It is super rich and infused with shea butter but my dry skin and particularly my dry hands just soak this up. I read a scary statistic somewhere recently that basically said your hands are the biggest giveaway of your age so now of course I'm paranoid about my 30 year old hands letting me down so I've been applying this every night before bed and a few times during the day. The Stem Cell Masque* (rrp €46.50) has been a favourite mask of mine for months - whenever I use it, I feel like my skin looks that little bit more radiant, so I'm looking forward to incorporating it into my IMAGE Skincare routine. Finally, the Iluma Brightening Exfoliating Powder* (rrp €40.50) is described as a polishing powder packed with micro-exfoliating beads and this is a joy to use - I wet my hands and sprinkle a decent amount of the powder between my hands to make an exfoliating paste- it feels so gentle on the skin but my skin feels so smooth and er, polished, after using it. This is a definite repurchase for me when it runs out.
So - I know that looks lengthy - but as I mentioned earlier, I'm in my 30s now and I really feel a lot of pressure to look after my skin. I've invested a small fortune so far in IMAGE Skincare in particular and I'm so grateful to have been gifted some bits also but I would love for the summer months to roll around and for me to feel comfortable going foundation free. I cannot stress the importance of getting a proper consultation done by an IMAGE Skincare professional because, in all honesty if I was just handed the catalogue of IMAGE Skincare products, I don't think I would have picked out the same. I'm only little over one week into my new skincare routine and no adverse reactions so far thank god but not much of a noticeable difference yet - I'm not disheartened because I know it takes at least a month to see the full effects of a new regime. Believe it or not, I still need to supplement this routine with a few more products that have been prescribed to me - my consultant recommended that I take a daily collagen shot called Yana Daily Collagen Shots daily which I will probably give a try for at least a month. I've tried a couple of samples of the Ageless Total Overnight Retinol Mask which is supposed to be brilliant for anti-ageing (and felt great on my skin too) so I will try to incorporate that into my routine and of course, as I mentioned already, I need to get my hands on both the Ageless Pure Hyaluronic Filler and the Prevention+ SPF. I've also been advised to get some IMAGE Skincare peels so I will look into that too in the coming months. Either way, it's an exciting journey so I'm looking forward to sharing some insights with you on a periodic basis.
I know this was a whopper long post but I just wanted to be as detailed as possible. It took a while for me to get to this point but turning 30 really has put the fear of god into me.
Are there any particular skincare products or treatments that you are loving right now?