A good skincare routine, I've come to realise, is one of my 'I'm doing OK' markers.

When I'm taking care of my skin, I'm taking care of myself. I feel like I'm adulting, like I've got my stuff together, and I can take on whatever gets thrown at me. It might seem superficial, but for me? How I start and end my day, doing something totally for myself - that's one of the most basic and most accessible forms of self care I have. So I wanted to put together a list of my 'entry level' basics - go tos because they work, tried and tested, and they fit all kinds of budgets.

CLEANSER: The first step, and the thing which made the most difference to my skin straight off the bat. I started cleansing with the Emma Hardie balm, which I appreciate isn't the cheapest! This did totally change the texture of my skin and keep it plump and hydrated, and I'd still recommend it now. However, a great starter cleanser at a more affordable price is the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish at £15. Liz Earle is an all-natural, cruelty-free brand, and is cult for good reason - and savvy ladies should know that often there are >great deals on their products through Groupon. There's always a good bundle going and the free muslin cloth that comes with their Hot Cloth Cleanser is a great one!

Glossier also offer a great entry-level cleanser in the Milky Jelly Cleanser, which is wonderful for normal to oily skins, however dry-skinned ladies beware, this could cause some patchy dryness for very dehydrated skins. Also if you don't like rose scents, this might not be the one for you.

TONER: I'll be honest - the first toner I had was a super astringent, probably-could've-cleaned-kitchen-sides with it Clearasil one, but I've come to learn that toner doesn't have to feel like it's sucking the life out of your pores. A good exfoliating toner should gently remove the top layer of dead skin on your face, and restore some plumpness and glow to your face. One of my favourites, and the one I'd recommend to anyone starting out, is the Pixi Glow Tonic. It's priced at £18 and my bottle lasted me a whole year! A word to the wise - if you're using this in the AM, *always* make sure to use an SPF after you've finished your full routine.

MOISTURISER: My favourite moisturiser and one of the first few I ever used was the Origins Gin Zing! which plumps my skin and leaves it plenty hydrated without it ever feeling greasy. It also sinks in super quickly and absorbs like a dream, leaving my skin primed and ready for make up. If you're looking for a slightly cheaper option, the Boots Botanics Day Cream is a really nice, simple formula, which gives glow and definitely gently hydrates the skin, although it is a creamier texture so takes a little while longer to sink in.

And those are the back bones of a good routine! However, if you're feeling a little #treatyoself, here are some optional add-ons I would say have really helped my skin out...

EYE CREAM: A good eye cream isn't so much a concern for most in their early 20s, but as 80s and early 90s kids like myself get ever closer to the big 3-0... it's all about hydrating, plumping, and gently tending to that delicate skin! Eyebags are not a cute look and I suffer with allergies, so I like to use quite a rich and cooling treatment that really treats the skin under my eyes that is often so dry and irritated. That's why the Kiehl's Avocado Eye Treatment gets a big thumbs-up from me, and has been my go-to for about 3 years now!

SERUM: This is usually a step I reserve for my night-time routine, when I have a little more time to spend on getting my skin prepped for bed. It's kind of like a booster for your moisturiser! I really love the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but for a cheaper option, I've heard great things about Glossier's Bounce Serum.

A GOOD HYDRATING MASK: I absolutely love a good hydrating masks - I use them on flights, before I get in the bath, and sometimes even in place of moisturiser in the evenings, to sleep in! There's nothing like giving your skin a big dose of food, and that is how I think of these bad boys. I'm all about Origins Drink-Up Intensive and always will be, but another great option is Glossier's Moon Mask, or try out Liz Earle's Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask.


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