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Skin Deep

Skin Deep: How to get into skincare if you're really lazy like me

Ditch the wipes. Good skincare doesn’t have to be a pain.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

I might as well come clean from the very start. I have been genetically blessed with decent skin. As a result of that, and a general propensity toward laziness, I’ve never really bothered with proper skincare. Sure, I’ve had my brushes with cleansing, toning and moisturising when I got a few freebies in one of those ‘just buy one more product and you get all of this for free’ deals (why is the one extra product always about €45), but until recently, I was a face wipe girl. They’re quick, and handy, and you don’t actually have to get your face wet. What’s not to like?

Then, a few months ago, a pal added me to a Whatsapp group simply entitled ‘Glamour’. The group is made up of forty-five women who have one thing in common. A love of beauty products, and talking about beauty products. The chat was often about makeup, my mastermind subject, but regularly it would turn to skincare and my friends, I had nothing to add. Then, suddenly, lightning struck.

If I got into skincare, then I would be opening up a whole new world of product to myself, and I love product. I love researching them. I love reading about them. I love buying them. It’s the reason I never have less than four foundations on the go. It’s why I have sixteen different shades of red lipstick at my disposal. I simply have to try everything, because I LOVE PRODUCT.

Well, I don’t mind telling you that I now have eight skincare products on the go. I have a routine that I have fully carried out every night since I started (even when I was drunk, which would never have happened before), and I have genuinely seen a difference.

Double-Cleansing-System-Erase-Renew My beloved Pestle and Mortar Erase & Renew. Pestle and Mortar Pestle and Mortar

Here’s what I’ve learned since I decided to become a skincare queen. Double cleansing at night is all the rage. This basically means cleaning your face twice (not sure if you would have figured that one out on your own). The first clean uses a balm to remove all your makeup, and the second clean uses a cream or gel to properly get rid of any dirt that’s grimed its way into your face over the course of the day. Caroline Hirons collaboration with Pixi is a favourite of many, and is frequently sold out from Marks and Spencer which stocks it in Ireland. You can get it in a good few places online though, from my research LookFantastic has the best price at €29.45.

I have fallen in absolute love with Pestle and Mortar’s Erase & Renew, which includes a balm, a gel cleanser and a double sided face cloth. I love the products themselves, the smells and feel of them, and the packaging is beautiful. It’s also Irish and organic, so ticks lots of boxes. The downside is that it’s expensive at €76, but I swear my skin has never looked better. If all of this is sounding like an insane amount to spend on skincare, you could do worse than removing your makeup with micellar water and then using a normal face cloth and your favourite gel or cream cleanser. Una Brennan’s Superfacialist Range is a little easier on the budget but has lovely ingredients and still feels like a treat.

IMG_1516 Me without a drop of makeup

Facial acids are all the rage these days as people want scientific evidence that the stuff they’re loading on their face is actually doing something. I’m using Glycolic acid in the form of Pixi Glow Tonic. Glycolic acid is gentle, and good for anti-aging and for evening your skin tone. Its small molecules get into your skin and stimulate collagen growth, which plumps up your skin and makes it look fab, essentially.  Some people find this drying, so a trial and error method of application is best. I use it every night, but I know people who only use it a couple of times a week. Do whatever works for you.

I’m also using Hyaluronic acid in the form of SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin retain moisture and is something that babies have loads of, but adults have less and less of year by year. I don’t know about you, but the more like a baby I look, the better, so I’m loafing this stuff on to beat the band. If, unlike me, you do not want to bankrupt yourself buying skincare products, The Ordinary have a super range which is now available to us in Ireland via ASOS.

Next, Retinol, which is a derivative of Vitamin A and said to be one of the only things you can put on your face to actually stop the signs of visible aging. I’LL TAKE IT, I said. And dammit if I didn’t decide to go for one of the most expensive ones. Pestle and Mortar’s Superstar Retinol Night Oil is absolutely gorgeous. It looks and smells like olive oil, but it is actually ’two types of retinol blended with a base of cold pressed grape seed oil’. I really love it. Some people follow it with a moisturiser or night cream, but I haven’t felt it necessary. You’ll find a less expensive way to get Retinol into your routine here.

In the morning, I wash my face with my cleanser, and moisturise. I’m using The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, but moisturiser is one of those things that different people want different things from, so go with your gut.

I never thought a skincare routine would make a real difference, but it absolutely has. My skin is clear and smooth and I feel more comfortable skipping foundation than I ever have. (Worth noting that I also didn’t really believe taking medicine would make a big difference when I was sick until I discovered the life-saving properties of chemotherapy, so perhaps my skepticism hasn’t served me too well thus far.) Please do share your skincare secrets in the comments, as I am but a beginner!

New Product

PastedImage-37997 Clarins Clarins

Clarins range of Lip Comfort Oils is a delight. It’s not thin and greasy as you’d expect, but thick and comforting with a glossy finish which won’t glue your hair to your face. They’ve added four new shades this year. Honey Glam is gold and sparkly and is the perfect treat to pick yourself up in the airport en route to a tropical destination for poolside use.

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