As I sit down to start writing this piece I find myself smiling a little bit like a Cheshire Cat because I’m anticipating the next few months of milder spring weather with birdsong in the mornings, gorgeous flowers sprouting up everywhere and summer lurking around the corner! Okay maybe as it’s only April I’m getting a little bit carried away, but I’m pretty sure that you get the gist of what I’m saying here…winter is over!

So here’s the thing: the one thing that we’ve all been doing for the last 5 or so months is trying to protect our skin from the ravages of winter  ( I really love that word ‘ravages’) we’ve been literally smothering our skin with protective lotions, potions and creams in an effort to protect it from the ravaging (I know …I’m sorry, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use it in another tense) effects of the cold, wind, central heating and hot toddys, oh yes and the comfort food that we simply had to indulge in for energy.

But all of that has to stop because winter is over, gone, finito! So let’s talk about the need to switch up your skincare routine. This is how it works; you know how you switch up your clothing, like now you are thinking about putting your winter coats and boots away and bringing out trench coats, leather jackets and cute shoes? Well it’s kind of doing the same for your skincare.

Let me explain starting with your cleanser: we all know that cleansing is probably the most important step in a skincare regime as without effective cleansing nothing else that we do to our skin will have its full effect. Fortunately this is where there is a lot of potential for a switch because there are so many impressive cleansing options available. So if for example you’ve been using a lush cleansing balm or a cream, with spring in the air and milder temperatures you may feel your skin yearning for a change to something different but equally effective at cleansing, protecting and nourishing your skin.
Here are a few cleansers that I know I can rely on to always provide a beautifully satisfying cleanse without stripping my skin.

Dr Jacksons face wash no 7 is just a pure cleanser packed with skin nourishing goodies perfect for all skin types and it leaves my combination skin super clean and silky … I’ll let the good doctor tell you himself …“Containing baobab, kigelia, mandarin, lemon, Roman chamomile and pomegranate, the 07 Face Wash leaves skin feeling immediately purified and refines, but is still gentle enough for sensitive types. Kigelia and citrus oils work in harmony to cleanse, tone and tighten the skin, while fatty acids from baobab oil hydrate and nourish. Pomegranate acts as a natural, light exfoliator, perfectly countered by chamomile’s softening and soothing properties”. You can read about my Zelens Z detox Cleanser love affair here, all about DHC’s deep cleansing oil here all about cleansing oils. We love the OM Skincare Pure Glow Cleanser, our review is here. You can also find out more about the the IDC Pearl Ultra Purifying gentle cleansing gel here.

Now with many of us short on pampering time any product that can multitask effectively is going to be a winner and these are some of my favourite multitasking products that do more than cleanse. All of these beauties will provide a deep cleanse and a brightening boost.

Read about Mauli Radiance mask and exfoliant here. Now Sanskrit saponins by NIOD is a creamy, kind of iridescent balm that really deeeeep cleeaaans your skin…you can actually use this as a detox mask. The other thing is that it’s been made with highly concentrated Ayurvedic extracts and it’s free from sulphates as is the de Mamiel botaniques: this is another powder that you mix with water to use, that cleanses, brightens and exfoliates and boosts your skin with Vitamin C, Ginseng and Gemstone and Pearl powders to brighten and smooth the complexion. Last but by no means least is Dr Levys 3 Deep Cell Renewal Micro Resurfacing Cleanser, which is one of those products that people rave about: it provides gentle cleansing along with intensive micro-resurfacing and acts as a skin-renewing ‘Fast-Mask’ to add a brightening boost to dull skin. It contains glycolic and lactic acids to remove dead cells and dirt etc from the skin’s surface, alongside organic rice extracts to physically polish, this instantly smooths and brightens.

The other things that you might want to consider, well actually that you really should consider is your exfoliant. Interestingly, some of you have said that you don’t exfoliate your skin during the winter months, and those of you that do tend to do it once a week or less. The reality is that to keep your skin in good condition, regular exfoliation is key because it removes dead skin cells, therefore helping to keep your pores clean and clear and another bonus is that it helps to clear the skin of product buildup. If you are focused on positive ageing then this isn’t a step that you can skip. So to get and keep that all important glow start now.

My preference is for enzyme based exfoliants (I used to love a traditional ‘scrub’ but eventually I began to feel as though I were scrubbing my skin away, as opposed to clearing my pores)  and when I spoke to one of my favourite facialists Dija Ayodele and asked her professional opinion this is what she said-:
“I don’t recommend exfoliators with grains or beads as these tend to over sensitise the skin leaving it with microscopic tears. In addition most people are quite harsh with them on the skin, thinking the more they scrub, the better the result which just isn’t the case”.
I asked Dija about her favourite products:
For home use, I like exfoliators that are progressive and work gently on the skin over a period of time, to not only get rid of the dull underperforming cells at the surface, but also work to strengthen the skin in the long term. This is why retinol is always at the top of my list for skin management.
The Neostrata Retinol NAG complex is the best I’ve used. It sheds skin cells fast, safely and efficiently through delivering retinol into the skin via a sophisticated encapsulation system which minimised the usual discomforts (itchy, stinging) associated with retinol. Over time skin is clearer, brighter and more youthful, especially with the addition of NeoGlucosamine which provides volume and stimulation to the skins own natural hydration reserves.

I want to talk about the Decleor Prolagene Lift – Lift & Brighten Peeling Gel. This is a firm favourite as a great exfoliator as well as being really nourishing, leaving you with smoother, brighter skin. The key active ingredients include L-Proline Complex to stimulate the manufacture of collagen, Hyaluronic Acids to hydrate and plump and Iris Essential Oil to protect and increase the skin’s elasticity. This formulation also contains Aloe Vera and Rose Water to smooth and soothe the skin.

I also wanted to know if there was one that was particularly effective for darker skin tones like mine and Dija suggested “ Biologique Recherche P50 PIGM 400 is great, especially for darker skin types. “It contains a powerful blend of alpha, beta and poly hydroxy acids like glycolic, salicylic, phytic acid which quickly remove dull skin cells to exfoliate the skin, controls sebum and also stimulate cell renewal, hydrate and balance the pH of the skin. It contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) for brightening and evening out the complexion, which is a major concern for women of colour.”

Lastly for those who want to exfoliate as they go along, Dija suggested one of my faves, Zelens Power A Treatment Drops is also an encapsulated delivery of retinol complex tacking the appearance of fine lines and discolouration quickly. The great thing about these drops is that they are like a serum so you via use them daily under your serum or moisturiser.

So this is part one of your skincare Spring clean, in part 2  I’ll be bringing you serums, moisturisers and sunblocks. I’d love to know what you think and what your favourite products are.

Denise xx

Find out more about Dija Ayodele

Products mentioned:

Dr Jackson’s 07 Face Wash £25
Zelens Detox Clarifying Foaming Cleanser £48
Decleor Aroma Cleanse – Essential Cleansing Milk – £22
OM Skincare Pure Glow Cleanser
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil – £24
IDC Perle Gel Cleanser – £18.95

Mauli Radiance mask and exfoliant – £34
de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse and Exfoliate
Sanskrit saponins by NIOD
Dr Levy 3 Deep Cell Renewal Micro-Resurfacing Cleanser

Neostrata Retinol NAG complex – £55
Zelens Power A Treatment Drops – £115
Biologique Recherche P50 PIGM 400 – £106 +
Decleor Prolagene Lift – Lift & Brighten Peeling Gel – £50