August 03, 2014

10 Beauty Rituals We All Need

It's going to be hard to write this post without lecturing you all and coming off as a terrible beauty snob. I suppose I should preface this list by stating that while I am a make-up and skincare obsessive, I'm certainly no model or 'guru' (hands up who hates that word?), and am as dishevelled as the next person, especially midweek when I'm exhausted with a greasy face on the bus home from work.

So on that note, we're all guilty of neglecting ourselves a bit, right? Everyone could probably do with being a little bit kinder to themselves, and that's where these rituals and tips come in - they're kind of a checklist of what I consider to be the most important things in my make-up and skincare routine. If I've got 50% of them down 50% of the time, I'm doing well but, sssh!

1. Regular brush cleaning.

Now, I am a total snob when it comes to this one. Sometimes, I see people produce the filthiest brushes to touch up their make-up with and I nearly break out in hives. It is truly bad hygiene not to wash makeup brushes thoroughly and regularly - foundation brushes in particular, I mean they're working over your bare skin pretty much everyday. Wondering why you're breaking out? Wash your brushes and then we can talk. I use pretty much anything to wash mine - usually the most clarifying shampoo that I can find in the house, or else baby shampoo!

2. Thorough make-up removal.

Y'all know what I'm going to drone on about here. Proper (maybe double) cleansing, no make-up wipes, yada yada. It's so bloody important, though. Again, if you're breaking out regularly, it's always worth examining how well you're cleansing. This won't be big news but I love the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing balm; more recently, I've also being enjoying Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean as a quick initial cleanse when I get in from work.

3. Eye cream.

I frequently forget this but it's such an important step - if you keep the eye area nicely hydrated, make-up will sit better on it and you'll be a little less prone to fine lines as time goes on. At the moment I'm using Eyesilix by Indeed Labs and while I do like it, I might go for something different next time just to keep things interesting; maybe the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.

4. SPF.

I'm a woman on a mission when it comes to sun protection. As a person who has always suffered with spots and oiliness, I'm determined not to let ageing set in for as long as possible, and SPF is the best armour in that regard. Keeping my skin safe from sun damage has become a bit of an obsession and I wear factor 30 or 50 daily on my face - at the moment I'm using La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50+ and while it is great, the Kiehl's version is my forever favourite.

5. Facemasks.

If you work a lot or have kids, I know you're probably shaking your head at me and trying to remember the last time you'd time to chill out with a facemask. It is possible, though; I often slap one on while I'm cleaning or working at the computer. Factoring in masks as a conscious and regular part of your skincare routine, rather than as a random treat, will definitely make all of the difference to your complexion. At the moment I'm using the Aesop Parley Seed Cleansing Masque 1-2 times a week - it's incredible and a little goes a long way. Another awesome (and more affordable) mask is this Una Brennan one from Boots.

6. Pedicures... and the odd manicure.

I mean, if you're getting your hooves out at this time of year, a pedicure is obviously a must. I have horrible feet and am borderline embarrassed going to a salon, but always feel miles better afterwards. The last pedi I had was in J Nails and it was cheap, cheerful and really relaxing - thumbs up for massive massage chairs!

Manicures are obviously a little more frivolous in comparison to the sheer necessity of a pedicure, but, well, treat yo'self and all of that. I'm obsessed with Shellac and get it done (again, in J Nails) as often as I can afford to without damaging my nails. It's also great to have a professional do a good job of filing and cuticle trimming every once in a while - it makes every difference to the appearance of nails.

7. A good shade match.

This applies to everything but most importantly,  foundation and concealer. It's beyond important to get a good match to your actual skintone - I'm pale enough to be pretty much the same shade year-round and if I'm tanned I just use bronzer. If you're unsure of your shade, get matched by a professional. In MAC, I'd stress to the MUA that you don't want a darker shade and you should get a nice match. Elsewhere, this video from Lisa Eldridge is all you need!

In terms of eyeshadow, it's also worth thinking about what suits you rather than what looks fab on your best mate or sister. Same goes for bronzer - if you're pale, NARS Casino won't do you any favours, no matter how many YouTubers are raving about it! Try a light contour powder like MAC Baby Don't Go to add colour and dimension to the face, or a more subtle bronzer like this one from The Body Shop.

8. Blending.

Again, this is critical to everything in make-up; foundation, concealer, blusher, bronzer, eyeshadow... you get it. I would be nowhere without the right tools (MAC 217, Louise Young Super Foundation Brush, etc), but if you find any of the above difficult it's worth sitting down in front of YouTube and watching some of the experts at work. My pick of make-up artists to watch? Siobhán, Monika and Lisa, of course.

9. Eyebrows.

My bad, this should really have been top of the list rather than second to last - because eyebrows are everything. I get mine done at The Brow Artist in Ranelagh and would never forgo an appointment. They have drastically changed my brows and I've never been happier with them. It's so worth finding someone near you who will shape your brows without butchering them - ask for threading and tinting and you won't go far wrong.

In terms of upkeep at home, I get nervous when my Tweezermans aren't within reach, but I am careful not to over-pluck. I'm also unhealthily obsessed with the Anastasia Brow Wiz and Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow - the absolute crème de la crème of eyebrow products.

10. Water.

Another boring and obvious one - I'm sorry! I go through phases with this one myself but as a general rule, any time I am sitting down, be it at home or work, I try to have water beside me and to gulp it as much as possible. Staying hydrated has a myriad of health benefits but also does wonders for the skin - it's always worth thinking about how much water you're ingesting every day.

Are you guilty of neglecting any of these, or is there anything I've left out? Go ahead and confess in the comments!


  1. I'm terrible for washing my brushes but after reading this I think I'll go and do it now :)
    Great post xx

  2. awesome post!
    the LRP spf your using, does it leave a white cast? i have black skin and have been searching for one without a white cast that comes highly recommend....

  3. absolutely love this post, will definitely be more inclined to follow up on some these things, thank you!💋

  4. Great post! I've had my eye on that parsley seed mask for a long time! I actively try and drink more water too, every time I pass the cooler in work I make a point of taking a glass and try and get through a litre a day- you're right, it's so important to be hydrated. I feel ill otherwise!

  5. Totally obsessed with cleaning my brushes too. I don't think some people realise that not only do unwashed brushes make you break out but they also mean you have to use a whole pile of unnecessary product and it totally effects the finish that you get!

    XO, G from grace'd

  6. Hi, just wondering about the LRP (La Roche-Posay ANTHELIOS FACE ULTRA-LIGHT FLUID SPF50+ 50ml) how and when do you use this? as a replacement for a moisturiser or a primer? or under moisturiser? how soon do you leave it before putting on make up?
    ps. loved this article. :-)

  7. I have tried these but was not so happy, but I'm
    glad you seem to be satisfied. I use Stella whites whitening strips nowadays
    and I can say I’m very satisfied. :)

  8. Nothing better than clean brushes :) Thanks! x

  9. Hi, I don't think it leaves a terrible white cast but I'm a very poor judge as my own complexion is so pale! I think the Kiehl's one is very blendable too if you want to try that?

  10. Thanks Chloe! That mask is incredible - and I'm a water cooler fiend myself ;)

  11. well i'm still on the hunt, but thanks, i will look into the kiehls one!

  12. Totally agree, fresher brushes make for a far nicer finish! X

  13. Hi Aoife (and thanks!)

    So what I am doing at the moment is just using some serum, then the La Roche-Posay. I try to leave it to sit as long as I can, so I'll go and make my bed or something after applying.

    This sunscreen is designed for oily skins but I always like a bit of backup so on top I've been using Effaclar Mat to keep everything nice and shine-free! They actually work really well together so I'll be sure to mention that in an upcoming skincare post :)


Leave a comment and be sure to check back four our reply!

Hover to Pin

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design