Starting my Anti-Ageing Skincare Journey

I’m always on the lookout for new lotions and potions to help make my skin look more youthful. But are there any moisturisers out there that actually perform miracles?

No.

So at the moment I’m using my basic skincare favourites… usually swapping around with products that I’ll buy in Superdrug or Boots, but keeping to similar price points. I’m not splurging too much because I’m just skeptical that the high end, mega expensive products will pretty much do the same job as my cheaper brands.

I’ve researched this topic loads, I’ve exhausted all angles to be honest, and there’s nothing that points me to a particular brand or product that is going to give me the supersonic results I crave. Yes, some products receive better reviews than others but am I prepared to pay over £50 for a moisturiser (I looked at one yesterday for £80!) that hasn’t really got any additional ingredients in than something I can purchase for £25… or less even! Yes they may have certain ingredients that feel lovely on your skin and if that’s what you’re after, then by all means, splash the cash! But I want ingredients that are proven to make a difference! Plus, all the websites, blogs, magazines I read have differing views on what’s considered to be the ‘best’ product!

The most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s all about personal preference. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Also, we all have different problem areas we want to target on our skin, so one product won’t fit all!

For me, it’s sagging skin (lovely) and wrinkles. I’m in my early forties and my skin has been relatively good so far, but I want to start buying products now that are going to seriously target those two areas.

That means I need some of the important ingredients in my products like Peptides and AHA’s, which boost collagen (the main substance that keeps the elasticity in the skin), Hyaluronic Acid for moisurisation, Vitamins and Antioxidents and, for morning moisturisers, an SPF. I do already look for these and try and ensure my creams have at least some of these in.

The really big gun though that some beauty experts rave about is Retinoid.

Retinoid is derived from Retin-A… a chemical that’s used in creams to treat acne and other skin disorders. Retin-A is so potent that it can only be acquired from a doctor, on prescription. It’s use in mainstream products hasn’t been allowed so far, due to certain side effects like skin peeling and sensitivity to sunlight. But Retinol is a very watered down alternative and is becoming a popular ingredient in moisurisers. It’s supposed to be the best way to boost collagen. The difference between this ingredient and others, is that it has been proven to be able to penetrate the skin deeper, rather than just the surface.

While Retinol isn’t powerful enough to give dramatic results, for me I think it’s worth giving it a try in this diluted form to see how it goes. It does need to be used with caution and won’t be suitable for everyone but I’d like to climatise my skin to it with the intention of increasing the strength later on.

With that in mind, I’ve purchased this night cream….

retinol cream

I spent quite some time in Boots recently, checking out products with Retinol in and found this one.. the Super Facialist Retinol+ Night Cream. It’s a brand I’ve never heard of before… not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing…. but I compared a couple of similar products and this one seemed to get straight to the point and with it having the cheaper price tag (£13), I was swayed!

The main active ingredient is the Retinol. It doesn’t say how much is in there, probably not much, but that’s fine. It says to use every third night initially then if your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction, you can build up to using every night. I must stress that Retinol does make the skin sensitive to sunlight so it’s very important that you use a daytime moisturiser with a high SPF, or a separate sunscreen altogether.

I’ve only used this a couple of times so far and my skin seems to be ok with it at the moment.

There are more anti-ageing products I’ve got my eye on and want to try, but I don’t want to introduce them all at once. I will try one new one at a time so that if my skin flares up, I will know what’s caused it. I don’t normally use an eye cream so this is definitely the next thing I want to buy, along with some skin soothing oils that seem to be a new trend right now.

I would also like to try some of the Philosophy at home treatments like this one….

philosphy microdelivery peel

I’m getting serious about my skin now, as it’s only going to get worse if I don’t take action and I’m curious to find out if I can make a real difference just by having a really good skincare regime. As well as eating healthily and drinking lots of water obviously!

I’ll update in a couple of weeks!

My Cheap and Cheerful Skincare Faves

I’m a great believer in skincare that doesn’t cost the earth.

I mean, we all KNOW there’s no miracle anti-ageing skin cream out there (at the moment) so as long as a product has the basic ingredients in and makes my skin feel good, then that’s good enough for me!

Superdrug has been my go to store for browsing skincare. There’s always some kind of offers on at least one of the ranges, and their own brands are great too!

So what am I using right now?

Well, I do use good old soap and water sometimes. But it has to be Dove as I think this is the least drying. It’s deliciously lovely and creamy.

Dove Soap

I have dry skin and I’m a little old fashioned in that I like to Cleanse, Tone and Moisturize. Using a cleansing cream makes my skin feel so much more hydrated than soap. I believe that cleanser has to do it’s job, which is to remove make-up or dirt well, but I want it to feel rich. I don’t want ingredients that are too harsh.. perfumes, for example. Not necessary! I usually look for deals on Cleansers as I’m not too fussed on the brand as long as it’s gentle. I’ve been using this Nivea one for a while now which is perfect. I like to slap it on my face generously and leave it for a minute or two to really sink in as my skin is always so thirsty, then remove the rest with cotton wool pads. I repeat until fully clean.

nivea cleanser

For the Toner part, I don’t user Toner! I mean… what even is that? Does it still exist? It’s Micellar Water all the way for me these days! It’s pretty amazing. If you haven’t yet experienced the wonder of Micellar Water yet, then let me enlighten you. It looks and feels like toner but acts like a cleanser, in that it removes all traces of make-up and dirt. There really is no need to cleanse anymore. In fact, you could ditch the cleanser for good! If I’m in a hurry or I’m tired, I will just use Micellar water without cleansing. Especially in the mornings. But I still like to feel that extra bit of moisture that the cleansing cream gives me. It’s like a little treat so I’m not ready to give it up just yet! But the Micellar Water has revolutionized the daily skincare routine now for women everywhere and is a definite must have. My favourite brand is Simple. Soak a cotton wool pad and swipe over the face until clean.

simple miceller water

Now that I’m getting older (coughs – in my forties!) I have started using additional products. I like this Vitamin E Serum from Superdrug. It’s their own brand and only costs £3.99. Vitamin E is one of the best ingredients for great skin and this one also has a multivitamin complex too. Superdrug has a huge selection of products in it’s Vitamin E range which are well worth a look if you’re on a budget! Serums seem to be the new wonder product of recent years as they’re absorbed into the skin better than creams. I use this under my moisturiser.

vitamin E serum superdrug

For Moisturiser, I tend to swap around regularly and buy different brands. I don’t know whether this is the right thing to do for my skin but I enjoy trying new products and there are so many out there! If I’m feeling particularly frivolous I’ll spend a bit more but usually never more than £25. Sometimes I go for the very cheap and cheerful at around £5.

Another Superdrug’s own brand I like is the Optimum range. I’ve bought the Anti-Ageing Day Cream a few times and love it. It priced at around £12.99 but there’s often a deal on to nab it at half price! It’s aimed at women aged 35+ and has ingredients that fights wrinkes, smoothes and firms. It also contains the all important SPF. Optimum also do a Grape Overnight Peel which I want to try. It’s had some great reviews.

Optimum skincare superdrug

I recently bought this Olay 2in1 Hydration and Radiant Glow which I apply over the top of the moisturiser. It gives a nice sheen and extra SPF protection. I wouldn’t use it alone as it’s not hydrating enough for me. It is a lovely product though.

olay

At night I’ve been swapping between two products recently that I love. First of all, another Superdrugs’ own brand… B. This whole brand is great because it’s divided up into age groups (4 Phases) so you can find a product suited to your skin type by age. I love this night cream and it’s my absolute favourite product right now. It’s in Phase 2 and it’s the Radiant Overnight Mask. It has a very weird texture, almost like jelly and quite sticky. I have to pat it on then let it soak in for a minute before I go to bed and it feels a little weird on my skin, but in the morning… wow my dry skin is so beautifully soft and feels so silky and hydrated.

radiant overnight mask

Another brand I’ve recently discovered is Nip & Fab. I’m using their Dragons Blood Fix Plumping Mask right now. It’s a gel consistency that you leave on for 10 mins and wash off, or leave on overnight. It contains hyaluronic acid which seems to be the super ingredient of the moment as it has incredibly hydrating effects.

nip & fab

For body cream I’m a huge fan of The Body Shop Body Butter. It’s on the pricey side at around £14 per tub but it’s gorgeous and again, there’s always offers on in store so pop in regularly to find the bargains! I love the different scents but my most recent favourite is the Passion Fruit Body Butter. It smells heavenly divine. I loved this so much and kept going back to it but unfortunately it’s just been discontinued (Boooo!)…. but you CAN still pick it up on Amazon for the time being… Yay!

body shop body butter

So those are my cheaper faves right now. I have splashed the cash occasionally on products so I’ll be back to share my opinions on those, as well as more cheap and cheerful finds as I try them! What are you skin faves?

The Nouveau A-Lift Facial

One of my New Years Resolutions this year was to look further into the whole anti ageing thing. I’m now in my early forties (aargh) and I’ve noticed that my skin is changing. Rapidly.

I don’t have THAT many wrinkles… although the laughter lines are becoming a lot more prominent now, but I know that prevention is better than cure and that’s certainly true with anti ageing treatments. I need to start sooner rather than later, otherwise it might be too late to make a noticeable difference!

My main problem is jowls. I can see that they’re forming. My friends think I’m mad when I point them out, reassuring me that I haven’t got any. But I know they ARE there, if only the onset, and they’re only going to get worse from here on in.

I’ve actually researched the whole anti ageing issue intensively and the bottom line is, no one cream or potion is going to give you a miracle cure.

We know this.

If there was….. it would be worth millions and we’d all be climbing over ourselves to purchase it.

Simply looking after your skin is key. It’s easier said than done though with our busy lives but it really isn’t difficult, although I’m not a great advert for it… I have always been pretty lazy when it comes to skincare. When I can be bothered I make the effort, but I’ve often had nights where I go to bed in my make up… use baby wipes to wipe it off… or slap on any old moisturiser! I think we’re all guilty of that. When you’re young it doesn’t matter. It’s not until you really start to notice things changing that you get a reality check!

The most important thing you can do for your skin is keep it hydrated… ensuring you’re drinking enough fluids (preferably water) throughout the day, and using a good moisturizer. The moisturiser you use doesn’t have to expensive, this is a fact, but it should have an SPF. For older skin too, certain ingredients in the cream will help boost the skin so look for these. Peptides, vitamins, retinol, ceramides etc.

Then any help you can give your skin to speed up the collagen renewal process is a bonus!

That’s why I was so excited to receive an email asking if I’d like to try out the Nouveau A-Lift 30 minute Facial. It was as though they had read my mind…. I’d been wanting to try this kind of treatment for ages!

When reading up on the A-Lift Facial, it sounded like the perfect treatment for me.

‘The revolutionary skin health treatment proven to fight the signs of ageing! Nano-current technology works on a cellular level. This is an age reversal treatment that improves skin hydration, texture, muscle tone, fine lines and wrinkles by naturally producing more collagen. Developed by world renowned expert in the field of aesthetic sciences, this treatment is non-invasive, pain free, with no down time. Rejuvenates ageing cells to function as they did in their prime. Boosts cell’s energy levels (ATP) up to 500%. Reads the body’s own electrical currents and works with them.’

I believe this is the kind of thing you should be splashing your cash on. Rather than wasting money on expensive creams that feel nice and may provide that all important moisture, they aren’t going to deliver much in the way of results. My facial that I’d been invited to try would be carried out at a Harley Street clinic in Central London and with a cost price of £30 – it literally sounded too good to be true. I HAD to try it.

nouveau skin therapy

This is the pretty treatment room where I had my facial and below is my lovely therapist that would be administering it!

Immediately she made me feel relaxed and talked me through everything she was doing. We chatted lots and she was incredibly knowledgeable, not just about the Nouveau A-Lift, but about many other procedures and anti ageing skincare in general. I picked her brain continually!

nouveau skin therapy

The facial lasted around 30 minutes. It’s being hailed as the ‘lunch time facial’ as it’s so quick and easy to do with no down time at all.

This is the machine that provides the technical side. It looks a little bit daunting if you don’t know what to expect. But it’s completely safe and doesn’t hurt at all!

This type of treatment isn’t entirely new to me though, having tried one or two in the past that use probes to drive a current deep into the skin, but the Nouveau A-Lift uses new nano-current technology. The nano-currents work more naturally with the skin to increase Adenosine Triphospate (ATP) production in cells, promoting skin regeneration and improving overall skin health.

Nouveau A-Lift

I found the whole experience to be good and my skin definitely felt soft and hydrated afterwards. I was suffering with a cold on the day and my therapist said that because of the lymphatic drainage that this facial provides, it should help alleviate some of my cold symptoms. I certainly felt more alive afterwards! I’m convinced my wrinkles around my eyes were less noticeable, which makes sense as they were manipulated and smoothed out by the probes. I certainly had a ‘glow’.

I know these facials work best if you have them regularly so I hope to have a second treatment very soon. Even though this one was complimentary, for the purposes of review, I would happily pay the £30 for it. I’m not sure you can get any type of facial for as little as £30 anywhere these days, so to receive one with this type of technology is absolutely amazing!

Nouveau Skin also do the Dermatude facial treatment, which is slightly invasive, in that it uses tiny needles to deliver active serums into the skin. I’ve been told it’s not painful at all so I’m going to try this one soon which I’m very excited about. It’s a little bit more expensive but still below average at around £75. I will let you know how I get on with that!

I’m on a mission right now and I’d love you to share my skincare journey with me as I try to slow down the ageing process! I’m not looking for drastic results… I don’t want to look like I have a frozen face. I just want to find out if certain treatments work…

To find out where you can try the A-Lift, visit the Nouveau Skin website where you can locate a salon near you.

Part of the renowned Nouveau Beauty Group, Nouveau Skin Therapy focus on bringing the most effective, natural and scientific developments in anti-ageing skin rejuvenation to consumers and salons across the UK. Their revolutionary treatments create breathtaking results that have astounded and impressed the beauty industry, celebrities and journalists alike. The Nouveau Skin Therapy treatments and products are developed to target and achieve a wide range of skin goals and can help to overcome such issues as fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture and skin tone, open pores, scaring, sagging skin and much more.
When skin starts to age (from mid 20’s upwards) the structure of the skin and underlying tissue deteriorates. It becomes less hydrated and there is a reduction in functionality resulting in reduced proteins such as collagen and elastin, the ‘scaffolding’ of facial tissue. These factors are manifested visually in sagging, thinner, loosened and wrinkled skin which is less capable of protecting itself. Thanks to the innovative science behind A-LIFT, these effects of ageing can be reversed in a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment that is proven to improve the skin’s structure resulting in a dramatic reduction in lines and wrinkles, firmer face and neck muscles, and healthier more youthful looking skin. Amazing results are noticeable after the first treatment and last up to six months with regular treatments. A-LIFT was developed by world-renowned expert in the field of aesthetic sciences, Ali Hussain, and is the only skin health treatment that uses nano-current technology to fi ght ageing at a cellular level. Since 1965, scientists have been studying the effects of electrical current stimulation on the body’s bioelectric system. Every human being has their own, individual electrical current running through their bodies which charges each cell’s battery. What we are referring to as ‘batteries’ is actually the energy source or ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) within the cell. ATP ‘fuels’ the cell giving it the energy needed to carry out normal cellular functions. Research has found that by externally applying currents that copy to the body’s electrical frequency, cells can be recharged, boosting ATP levels and triggering the rejuvenation process. A-LIFT is a technological breakthrough that automatically monitors and adjusts its output frequency 16 times a second to mimic your unique frequency, boosting the levels of ATP by as much as 500%. As our bodies generate new skin cells by dividing, each new cell is an exact copy of its ‘parent’. Therefore by boosting the ATP level of the ‘parent’ cell all subsequent cells duplicate it, maintaining the results for longer. A course of 8 – 10 treatments is recommended, ideally 1 – 2 per week until the course is complete. Each treatment achieves natural, subtle improvements with results building over time. Skin looks fresher, brighter, healthier and more youthful! To maintain treatment course results, 1 treatment every 4 – 6 weeks is suggested.

Gellish Nails

I love my nails to look nice but however hard I try, they don’t grow very long. They just aren’t strong enough.

I’ve tried the whole nail strengtheners etc and they do work a little, for a while, but I get fed up with applying it every day. I also fiddle with my nails (an annoyingly bad habit) and once one breaks and I have to file it down, I lose interest.

A couple of years ago I had the acrylic nails applied. They looked fabulous! French manicure, ever so pretty. I returned religiously to my salon to have them re-done every three weeks or so for almost a year. But then I fell out of love with the whole process.

I hated what was being done to my natural nails.

If you’ve ever had the acrylic tips put on, you’ll know what I mean. The vigorous filing and scraping, the snipping and pulling…. it hurts. My poor nails were like tissue paper underneath it all and I decided I wanted a break from it.

It took a while to get my own nails back to normal. My finger tips felt bruised as my nails were so soft, therefore not protecting me at all. Everything I touched hurt my finger tips. It was awful.

But gradually my nails grew back and I was happy to leave them be.

When I paint my nails myself at home, however much I try to do them properly, i.e base coat, two coats of colour plus top coat…. realistically, with all that being a busy Mum of 4 entails, the colour chips after a day or two and my nails look a mess. This really bugs me. What a waste of time and effort!

So I decided this Spring to go back to salon nails. But not the acrylic tips, oh no – staying away from those, this time I wanted to stay as natural as possible and so decided to have the gel colour.

gel nailsGorgeous Springtime colour

Having Gel nail varnish applied is much the same as painting your nails yourself, but having them done by a professional is a real treat. The nail technicians prepared my nails, primped and primed them, then applied a base coat. But instead of waiting for it to dry naturally, your hand goes into a UV dryer. A bit like a sunbed for hands, but without the tanning! Then a couple of coats of colour are applied, again each time going under the lamp before being topped off with a shiny top coat and oil!

Lovely Jubbly!

The great thing about gel is that it’s super strong. I felt I could’ve put my nails through hell and they still wouldn’t have chipped. I kept this initial colour on for three weeks before going back to the salon. By this time the growth margin was quite big and even though the colour and my nails were superbly intact, I needed to have either an infill, which means applying colour to the part of my nail that had grown, or I could have the colour soaked off and some new polish applied.

I was bored with the peach by then and wanted a new colour. So this time I went for a vibrant pink!

gel nailsMy nails were slightly longer this time round, as the initial gel helped them to stay strong to allow growth!

Of course, once nails are longer, they are more susceptible to breaking, especially if you’re cleaning! I chipped one of mine this time whilst hoovering the bathroom and caught it in the weaves of the washing basket! Aargh – I was so upset! Ha! It was ok though, I just had to file it down slightly.

With that in mind, when I returned to the salon this week, I decided to have my nails cut down. You can strengthen nails further if you want them to grow very long, by having a thin coat of acrylic applied before the Gel process. I didn’t want to do this though and besides, long nails aren’t very practical!

gel nailsI went for a mint green yesterday! 

There are squillions of shades to choose from, all gorgeous. I’m actually enjoying choosing a colour to surprise my daughter – she loves looking at them and gets excited to see what I’ve chosen!

It IS a treat having my nails done. A luxury even. But this salon is extremely reasonable and I can justify it because I don’t go out much, I don’t drink and I work…. so a girl has a right to treat herself sometimes doesn’t she? ;)

My daughter is into nails at the moment! She has some of those fake plastic nail wheels that she paints with all my nail varnishes… hours of fun!

My daughter’s creations! 

She found a shade similar to the mint green I’m wearing now and asked me to paint hers the same…..

nailsMatching Mum and daughter nails! 

I’m loving my nails at the moment… not sure how long I’ll keep on having them done though. I know I’ll probably get bored at some point (maybe once I’ve tried every single shade!) and will then let my nails return to their normal state to breathe.

But for now… I’m enjoying them far too much :)

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