When a woman becomes a mother, it is very natural for her to put the demands of her newborn baby before her own. The easiest thing to let go of and ignore at this point in her life is her own self. Suddenly she doesn’t have the time for an elaborate skincare routine in her day and before she knows it, that pregnancy glow starts to fade away. Moreover, sleepless nights, a careless diet, insufficient water intake and stress in general takes its toll on her skin and that leaves her depressed and unhappy. At least that’s what happened to me. I have had troubled skin all my life and living in the middle of the desert hasn’t helped the situation. Because of this, I have always been very meticulous in taking care of my skin and had a good range of products that worked fine for me before becoming a mom. But after having my baby and ignoring my skin for almost a month, when I returned to my pre-baby skincare routine, it didn’t seem to work as well as it did. I was breaking out a lot and my skin looked dull and dry. A lot of this was due to the poor choices I was making in my diet and the insanely high stress levels. I was also concerned about the signs of ageing on my face so I tried and tested new products until I nailed a skincare routine that is working well for me now. I have been using these products for a while, so I am in a good position to discuss them. Obviously, skin types are very personal, so what works for me might not work for you. But in my opinion, these are good all-rounding products.
The Morning Routine
My morning skincare routine includes a cleanser, eye cream, lip balm, serum and moisturizer on a daily basis. On alternate days I add exfoliation and a facial oil to the routine.
Morning skincare products
- Cleansing: I wash my face using the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser. This is a very basic cleanser that washes off the residue of last night’s skincare products and the oils released by my skin during the course of the night. It feels a bit drying when I am in the process of washing my face, but the feeling goes away when I pat it dry. On alternate days I use my Clarisonic along with this face wash. This is face cleansing and exfoliating brush that uses sonic technology. I use the sensitive brush head because I generally stay away from using anything abrasive on my skin. I feel that on the days that I use the Clarisonic, my follow-up products are better absorbed into the skin.
- Toning and Exfoliating: On alternate days, I use the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner as the second step to my skincare routine. This product is meant to gently exfoliate the surface of the skin to get rid of dead skin cells and constrict pores at the same time. I moisten a cotton pad with this and use it all over my face. This is the only new product in my skincare routine and I have been using it for a month now, so I have yet to see any visible benefits from it. But I will continue using it and hopefully in the long run, it will brighten and balance my skin, as it claims.
- Eyes and Lips: My day eye cream of choice is the Clarins Eye Contour Balm. This is a very nourishing product but it doesn’t feels heavy or greasy. It is absorbed very easily and I also love using it right before I wear makeup under my eyes. I started taking very good care of my eye area when I turned thirty and I think it is looking quite well so far. In my opinion, this is a preventive product. It should be used if you are trying to prevent fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, but if you already suffer from ageing around the eyes, then this product is too light for you.
If you live in KSA, then you are aware that lip balm is as important for you as oxygen and I had tried and thrown out nearly all commercially available ones until I tried this Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm from Nuxe. This works very well on dry and damaged lips and owing to its matte texture, it can easily be used under any kind of lipstick. I have been using this product for the past three years and I don’t think I will ever need to replace it with anything else.
- Serum: If you are new to skin care and want to start out with one product only, let it be a serum. And if you are close to thirty years of age, let that be the Clarins Double Serum. Don’t bother with anything else, this stuff is amazing. It is essentially hydration in a bottle and the way it gets absorbed into the skin is pure magic. It smells so clean and luxurious that applying it is a small treat. This is the step of my skincare that I actually look forward to every day. It plumps up my skin after application and I feel that it is doing a good job of keeping wrinkles at bay. My sister and I are huge fans.
- Facial Oil: About three years ago, my skin was going through its worst ever phase. I was breaking out terribly and my T-zone was extremely dry. A dermatologist diagnosed that I had dehydrated skin and needed to treat it from within, but there is only a certain amount of water a person can drink in a day. I did some research about skin balancing oils and the Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil from Clarins was very popular amongst people with similar skin complaints as mine. I bought it and honestly speaking, it saved my skin. I used it every day after my serum for six months and I saw visible improvements in the appearance and texture of my skin. Now I use it on alternate days or on the days that I am planning to wear foundation on my face. This makes sure that my skin is well moisturized and the makeup sits and looks better. I love this oil for my dehydrated, oily skin and I think it will forever be a part of my skincare routine. A little goes a long way and one bottle lasts me a year.
- Moisturizer: The moisturizer I am currently using is the Clarins HydraQuench Cream. It is a good moisturizer but I am not very attached to it. In my opinion, many other moisturizers that are available at the pharmacy at half the price, work as well as this one and I will probably not re-purchase this once I run out. It has a pleasant smell and is easily absorbed into the skin.
The Evening Routine
My evening skincare routine involves a cleanser, eye cream, lip balm and serum.
Evening skincare products
- Cleansing: On a daily basis, I like to give a good wash to my skin at the end of the day. The idea is to get rid of any pollutants and dirt that have settled on my skin if I went out and also to provide a blank canvas to my evening skincare products to do their job. I wash my face using the Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser. This is a very basic face wash that I have been using for many years. It works well and even though this product is targeted at oily skin, it never leaves my face feeling stripped or dry. On the days that I am wearing makeup, I will use the Bodyshop Camomile Cleansing Butter to remove the makeup. I have gone through many tubs of this product over the years. It goes on like a cleansing oil and does a great job of melting off the most stubborn of makeup and then I use a damp wash cloth to wash it off my face. I always follow this with the Cetaphil cleanser because I cannot risk leaving residue of the oily cleanser on my skin. This routine has been working well for me for the past two years.
- Eyes and Lips: At bed time, I prefer to use something more moisturizing and nourishing on my eyes and lips and I don’t mind if the products apply as a thick layer. My eye cream of choice is the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment. Just the thought that this product is enriched with avocado is very satisfying to me, for some weird reason. I apply it gently all around my eyes and leave it to get absorbed during the night. On my lips, I use the Clarins Instant Lip Comfort Oil. This is another product that I don’t think I can ever be without again. No matter how chapped and dry my lips are, a single coat of this lip oil repairs them overnight. I also wear this lip oil under matte liquid lipsticks and this helps them wear very comfortably. I highly recommend this product to anyone suffering from the problem of dry chapped lips. Trust me, you will never use anything else.
- Serum: For my evening skincare, I like to moisturize my face with the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This product is a serum in an oil and gets absorbed instantly into the skin. It essentially smells of lavender oil which is a very relaxing and calming scent. I apply three drops of it to my face at night and wake up with plump skin that actually looks good in the morning. I also love the fact that it is in a dark blue medicinal looking bottle and that it is described as an “elixir” which adds to its charm. I have been on this product for almost three years now and it has gained permanent status in my life.
The SOS Products
Despite taking decent care of my skin and having a good skincare routine, I still suffer from breakouts from time to time. For these times, I have some products that help calm my skin down, treat the acne and prevent it from spreading.
- Mask: Once a week, I like to give my skin a good, deep cleanse and for this I use the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. I apply a thin layer of this and wash it off once it is dry. This helps unclog my pores and leaves my skin very soft and actually radiant. This also stops acne from spreading on my face and I make sure I use it when I am suffering from hormonal breakouts.
- Oil: In my opinion, everyone should have a bottle of tea tree oil in their cabinet. I buy The Bodyshop Tea Tree Oil and this works like magic on active acne. I use it at night and apply it directly only on the blemishes. It helps reduce the redness on my skin and its antibacterial properties treat the spots. The only problem that I face with this product is that it is a bit drying on my skin, but that will not stop me from using it.
- Moisturizer: Once when I saw a dermatologist for my skin concerns, she recommended the Laroche Posay Effaclar Duo+ to me as a moisturizer. This is great for acne prone skin and it also fights hyper-pigmentation and unclogs pores. Since then, I have always kept a tube of this in my cabinet. I use it as a moisturizer on my bad skin days and it really helps calm things down.
In the end, I would like to add this disclaimer that I am no skincare expert by any means and despite having an elaborate routine with a multitude of products, my skin is far from perfect. I have always been interested in improving the appearance and texture of my skin and as I am growing older, I am doing my best to delay and fight the signs of ageing on my skin. That is why I do a lot of research on new products and techniques. I am partial to Clarins and Kiehl’s as skincare brands because I am convinced with the research that undergoes in the formulation of their products and have seen good results from them over the years. But I am also a hundred percent sure that what we put inside our body is reflected onto our skin. Therefore I believe that a healthy diet, good water intake and exercise are the first few steps on the path to achieving good skin. If you do not undertake these steps, then no amount of expensive and researched skincare can help improve the quality of your skin. Unless of course, you are genetically blessed, in which case, I am very jealous.