HOW I ALTER MY SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR THE WINTER – Glowing skin < 5 degrees centigrade


Initial disclaimer: This doesn’t change anything here but I am a very poorly perfused human being. Cold hands, cold nose, cold feet. (Take this as you will) JUST putting itout there!


Our (least) favourite time of year is here! This one goes out to all my combo-oily friends. The winter kind of sucks. But its also wonderful. Wonderful, icy Christmas markets, ice skating, dope coats and stellar nighttime views. Our skin, on the other hand may be in a state of shock/panic/midlife crisis (I just might be imposing my internal feelings onto my skin; not so skillfully disguised as a speech device. But let’s just go with it for now.)

If you have been following – you know my basic skincare routine at the moment already. Plan B is still in the works. Winter care has sort of taken precedence – this combined with the fact that I am now spending more time in Geneva than in London. (I know it’s up for debate. Its not a competition of suffering. But Switzerland is seriously cold.) Next week when I’m in London I will make a more specific post about how to have glowing skin for this lovely Christmas period 🌟

So what do I change for the winter time?


  1. Moisturise more.

This one is essential. Is there any getting away from this?

NO. There isn’t. Acne-prone or not. Personally, I’ve already had those itty bitty dry patches show up. This is more of a year round habit. By using a good, water based moisturizer, our skin begins to regulate its sebum production. Don’t skip moisturizer just because its winter. Don’t skip moisturizer just because you have acne-prone skin. Just don’t skip moisturizer altogether. I learned this the hard way. I didn’t believe in moisturizing my skin over my 57 pimples. It just seemed counter intuitive. I can’t speak for everyone’s skin. But I wasn’t doing myself any favours.

In the cold weather I make sure to moisturize well at night with the right moisturizer. (My fave has forever been Dermalogica Active Moist) I have no intention of changing this. But I make sure to moisturize more at night so that I can wear a light layer in the daytime and not ‘glimmer’ in the daytime. That ‘dewy’ look. Yeah.

(Okay yes, the real question is why I have don’t have a standardised spelling for ‘moisturise’. “S”? “Z”? International kid problems.)


  1. If I wear make-up, I skip the setting powder.

What’s the worst it could do. My make-up isn’t going anywhere. And I feel that powder just mattifies my skin to excess. I also feel that it makes my skin look more textured and altogether less fabulous. My natural moisture is more than enough in the winter without looking greasy as is often the case in the warmer months.


  1. Keep exfoliating!

I still exfoliate my skin with a physical exfoliator to avoid a ‘dull’ appearance once or twice w week. I just make sure to moisturize adequately after this so as not to strip my skin of all its wonderful oils. Many people are afraid to exfoliate in the winter. (Stiff face is admittedly miserable). But we’re dealing with cell turnover here.

Don’t fall for the myths. Exfoliating is wonderful year round with appropriate care.


  1. Tap your face!

It’s a weird one. I concede. But ‘tapping’ shortly after applying serum stimulates blood flow to the surface of your skin. This has multiple benefits. Including lightly stimulating increased collagen production! I will write about this another time. It’s a weirdy but a goodie. Do it in private. Your future self will thank you!


  1. Don’t skip SPF!

Sun damage is real. Even through those London clouds. (Just think of your last ridiculous ski holiday goggle tan) Yes yes. Not an accusation. We all overdo the après-ski de temps en temps – ou toujours. Comme tu veux.

That said, even in the city, SPF is essential. Even in the winter. This is probably the best and kindest, most loving thing you can do for your skin. That little physical barrier (esp. coupled with an antioxidant product) aids in protecting your skin from the sun and ultimately – fine lines sun spots, and areas of hyperpigmentation.

FREE and radical. If you’re picking up what I’m putting down. 😉 SPF is a good thing. And the only thing I change in the winter is I sometimes include a less dry spf product.


7. Notable mention: Face masks.

This is a notable mention because I am notoriously bad at keeping up with this. Despite having purchased this awesome headband and brush kit.

A face mask is never a replacement for an adherent skincare routine. But they can serve as a nice pick me up. Like a supplement. Or a stimulant. Coffee is no replacement for sleep – but I’ll be the first to say that it can give you a pretty good kick when you need it.

In the winter I tend to use a moisturizing face mask every week (fortnight tbh). I cant stand moisturizing masks because ACNE. Obvs. But winter is THE TIME. I will write about this in more detail in a future post.

Have a banging Friday!

– Christiana

PLAN A: Returning to my Old Skincare Routine – A (very) comprehensive, step by step review

Adventures in being a skincare guinea pig, Life Essentials, Skincare

How did I ever keep up with this?

My MSc was hard. It was an intense year. Stress is what initiated adult acne for me when I was almost 19. And remained a constant catalyst for MEGA breakouts and skin mishaps. I will share my misadventures in skincare and repair another time. But adherence to this routine kept my skin clear, and pretty much amazing. After a few haphazard months; this is my return to the old routine. A few months have gone by. And my skin is in need of some TLC. For one week, I will try my old tried and tested – to see if it will help return my skin to its former glory.

So here’s the theory. Please note that I have, for reasons I may explain another time, what might be described as combination-oily skin. My skin was always very oily and acne prone. The major part of my skincare journey and the catalyst to my becoming more ‘skincare savvy’ and applying my scientific background to my personal skincare was dealing with very oily skin and SERIOUS acne. Having dealt with that, I now get away with additional moisture that I wouldn’t have before. That said – my skin type still leans towards being oily.



Duration: 8 minutes

When I constructed this I decided to go light in the mornings to make it as quick as possible. The evenings are when I do the real repair. My morning focus is antioxidants to prevent sun damage and skin radical formation, light moisturization (especially in the spring, autumn and summer) as well as SPF cover.

Step 1: Wash

Garnier Pure Active face wash / Alchimie Forever Purifiying Facial Cleanser

Step 2: Air Dry then Pat Gently with a Thick Disposable Kitchen Towel

This is how I did it. And I explain why later in this article. If you plan to emulate this step, make sure to use and absorbent, thick towel that doesn’t break apart and transfer itty bitty bits of tissue onto your face. (Speaking from experience)

Step 3: SERUM!

I used the Skinceuticals Phloretin cf. THE NUMBER OF TIMES I LITERALLY SPILLED THIS! It isn’t cheap and I have spilled so many bottles of this. It actually once stained my walk in dressing room table. I might do a tour of my itty-bitty-serum-stained-walk-in if anyone is interested.

As for the serum – I can’t tell you what this does for me. Full transparency. Because I don’t know. But I didn’t want to alter any part of my routine. I have used a LOT of Skinceuticals products. I like the products but I hold some reservations here and there.

Step 4: Locking it all in

La Roche-Posay Effaclar duo +. Not sure why. It was recommended to me by an aesthetician a while back. And I like the smell. Voila.

Step 5: THE GOOD STUFF: Moisturizer

Even if you have acne, try not to skip on the moisturizer. It is important to keep your skin hydrated in some form as drying it out constantly (something I TRIED FOR AGES) tends to self-perpetuate a cycle of continuous sebum production. I haven’t read any scientific literature to support this claim – but I experienced it myself. I use Dermalogica Active Moist moist of the time and when I feel like a lighter moisturiser with SPF I use the Alchime Forever Protective Day Cream SPF 23.

Step 6: Sun Protection

Last but not least! Both my dermatologist and aesthetician admonished me to wear SPF. I would sit in the sun for ages without any coverage for years. I travelled around on summer vacations in the blazing sun without any sunscreen on my face or body. I just loved the sun and with my dark skin – thought I was somehow immune to the dangers presented by prolonged sun exposure. Oh, how wrong I was. Minimally from the standpoint of keeping my skin looking and feeling lovely.

Now I use SPF every day. My final morning step was using the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Dry Touch. Forever a fave and a gem for those of us with oily skin who don’t want that “sunscreen sheen”.




Duration: 15 minutes

Bearing in mind that this is my old (successful) skincare routine, without any of the new ‘last minute’ repair measures. Just stable, good and routine.

Step 1: Wash (again)

Washing my face. (Every night!!? YES. I did this every night. Despite almost never wearing make up. And I tell you that this works magic!)

Usually used the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming gel. I find this nice and gentle for the evening.

Step 2: Air dry my face and pat with a kitchen towel (again)

It’s a bit of a repetition game here. But routine is good. Right? I use a kitchen towel because when I had acne, I realised that I didn’t want to transfer the bacteria that might potentially dwell on a facecloth onto my face. This just seemed like the easiest option – outside of purchasing several facecloths and washing them at a frequency that would allow me to use a new one each morning and another new one in the evening. This is the ecological (and reasonable) choice. I was simply too busy/lazy for this. People still wonder why I have a roll of kitchen towel in my bathroom. But they never ask.


At a particular point in time I was layering on up to 3-4 serums a night! But in its unadulterated form this is what I did. I will be skipping one of these now as I no longer need it.

1. Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector – I would use this only on the areas where I was still trying to fade acne scars. (Incidentally – an aesthetician once told me that some of them would never fade – this routine conquered that!)

2. I then used the super gentle Alchimie Forever Pigment Lightening Serum. Fantastic for skin texture. I recommended this to friends, family and professors alike. Everyone fell in love with this and noted an improvement in tactile skin texture if they used it for a while. It also helps with mildly evening out the skin tone. This one is a true gem. Let the serums soak in here. There is no rush.

Step 4: Sealing it all in: Lovely, glorious acids

After this I used the Eneomey Stim Renew 8 – Anti-ageing Radiance Night Cream. This is actually the new version. The original one had the same chemical composition in terms of the proportion of the constituent acids but just different packaging and marketing. So not to worry if you happen to come across the old version. This is a little known product recommended to me by a very well known aesthetician. I started out by using this only over the dark hyperpigmentation spots but moved on to using this everywhere. It is very moisturising too – which is why I didn’t use it everywhere at first. But I later discovered that this night moisture does absolute wonders. Again, let this soak in. Do this whilst listening to an audiobook. I used this as my winding down time.

Step 5: Finally – Moisturiser

Maybe an overkilll. But I would always round this up with the Dermaligica Active moist once again. This is the best, all-rounder, light moisturiser for acne prone skin that I have used. If you have acne, ideally you should err towards a water based moisturiser. In the morning this will also avoid that 12pm noon ‘shine’ in the t-zone.



Twice weekly:

  1. Physical Exfoliation: Clairsonic Mia 2 or for something more gentle Alchimie Forever Gentle Refining scrub. (LOVE IT). I would replace this with the evening step 1. This is long enough already. I will talk about occasional masks and blah blah some other time.
  2. Acne (+ fine line) Prevention: The final part of my evening Step 3 about four – five times weekly was the Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Corrective Treatment. In Switzerland, 0.3 is the highest concentration one can obtain. In the UK, however, I know that one can obtain retinol up to 1.0 concentration without a prescription. (I appreciate the pump bottle of the 0.3.) I used the lowest concentration as this was sufficient to help me to keep my acne at bay (after it had cleared up). Depending on your skin and skin type this is one to introduce carefully and build up if necessary. If you use a retinoid (at any concentration) by prescription I would strongly advise that you do not use a retinol.

So, here goes! Wish me well!

P.s. I am only starting my week TOMORROW. The reason for this is because I had to reorder one or two of these because I realised they were not all in my arsenal anymore.

*Most of the links are (generally) in pounds. I just assumed this would be easier as I wrote this in London. (Although I am currently posting in Switzerland! Only home for a few days.) I will try to use international shipping sites where possible.

My Basic Theory of Skincare Routines

Life Essentials, Monday juice, Reflections, Skincare

Let’s not be silly.

I’ve been through it when it comes to my skin. (And emerged triumphant!)

Stick to a skincare routine that you can keep up with. If you can’t consistently use all twenty of those products that you felt obliged to buy at some point (and now feel obliged to use – we’ve all been there); condense it.

Make it work for you.

Ebay is your friend. You’ll be surprised what people will buy.