There's a good reason that anti-ageing is one of the most hotly contested terms in the beauty industry: While there are some potent antioxidants and scientifically proven ingredients that can slow down things like fine lines and loss of elasticity, nothing that you apply to your face can totally stop ageing in its tracks. Sure, wearing SPF will undoubtedly protect your skin and keep it healthy, and using retinol can definitely improve the appearance of wrinkles and skin texture, but a lot of skin ageing is simply down to genetics.
I love beauty products, but I have always looked younger than my years. Would I still look young if I stopped using them? Possibly. But as the mother to an 18-month-old who likes to start his day at 5 a.m., I'm simply not willing to take the risk. And although I'm asked for ID a lot less frequently than I was in my 20s, it was only a few weeks back that I was asked to produce it while buying some craft beer, baby nappies and fresh veg at my local supermarket. While the contents of my basket didn't exactly scream free-and-easy 25-year-old, my lack of eye bags and wrinkles clearly did. So I like to think that something I'm doing is working for me.
Ahead, keep scrolling for the skincare products that I swear by to keep my skin looking fresh, youthful and glowy now that I'm in my 30s.
My morning skincare routine:
I have combination, spot-prone skin, so I actually find that over-cleansing can exacerbate breakouts and leave my skin feeling dry—and dehydrated skin can often look older than it is. I opt for rinse-free micellar water or a lightweight foaming formula like this one from Decree to gently remove any grime from overnight without leaving my skin feeling totally stripped of natural moisture.
Vitamin C is a nonnegotiable for me in the morning, and I'd even go as far as to say that it's the one ingredient that's made the biggest difference to my skin in terms of reducing pigmentation, evening skin tone and generally providing a boost of brightness. I am always testing and trialling new ones, but I love the milky texture of this serum from Omorovicza, which leaves my skin looking glowy and plump.
I used to be super lazy when it came to using an eye cream regularly, but now that I have a child, the eye bags are most definitely real. When I'm particularly sleep-deprived and dealing with dark circles and puffiness, I always look much older, so I opt for vitamin C–based eye creams as a brightening pick-me-up. I love this one from Ole Henriksen as it contains colour-correcting pigments to disguise dark circles instantly while the skincare ingredients get to work.
Despite having oily skin, I do like the feeling of rich moisturisers. However, because I always wear an SPF during the day and often wear makeup, I tend to use oil-free formulations in the morning so as not to weigh my skin down with too much product. I love this one from Summer Fridays, as it's brimming with skin-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides and amino acids to offer antioxidant protection while leaving skin looking bouncy and fresh.
Skin experts always stress the importance of wearing SPF every day—not only for protecting it from long-term damage but also for keeping things like fine lines and pigmentation at bay, which are common concerns when it comes to ageing. There are tons of brilliant formulations out there to choose from, but Ultra Violette is my current sunscreen obsession. I've raved about it plenty already, but the fact that it's basically always sold out speaks volumes to just how amazing this product is.
Okay, strictly speaking, this isn't a skincare product, but I like to think of this cult Charlotte Tilbury product as the last step in my skincare routine—particularly because even on days when I'm not wearing full makeup, I'll still always apply this. It's basically an illuminating skin tint that can be worn alone, mixed with foundation or used as a highlighter. For me, it has an almost magical ability to make my tired skin look a few years younger thanks to its luminous finish.
My evening skincare routine:
For as long as I can remember, the first step of my evening skincare routine has been to remove my makeup with micellar water. I've tried them all but always come back to Garnier, as it's cheap, effective and totally non-irritating. Even on days that I haven't worn makeup I like to sweep this over my skin on a reusable cotton pad to remove any sunscreen or grime that might have built up on my skin over the day.
Cleansing balms are my jam, and I never turn down the chance to try a new one. Elemis's cult Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm is the one that I always come back to, but this new one from cool Instagram brand Then I Met You is my current favourite. It smells like a fancy spa, melts away makeup and leaves my skin feeling soothed and protected. It's also rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, so it's a brilliant option for more mature skin too.
At night, I'll alternate between a few different treatment steps depending on what my skin needs, but an AHA toner is something that I always have on hand for when my skin looks particularly dull or uneven in tone. This one from Eve Lom is super gentle and uses naturally sourced alpha hydroxy acids with botanical extracts to gently exfoliate and smooth the surface of the skin.
Although breakouts might create the illusion that you've got teenage skin, it's something that I don't want to be dealing with in my 30s. However, acne doesn't discriminate based on age, so it's this BHA exfoliator from Paula's Choice that I reach for when I'm dealing with a particularly congested complexion. It uses salicylic acid to unclog pores and even skin tone, and I'm always amazed at how quickly I see results.
I'm slowly starting to use retinol more regularly in my skincare routine and have been using this one from celebrity facialist Shani Darden a couple of times a week. Retinol is another ingredient that skincare experts really rate for its efficacy, and this one contains 2.2% encapsulated retinol to boost elasticity and refine skin texture without irritation. Just to note that I'll only use this on evenings when I'm not applying any of the aforementioned acids, and retinol isn't safe to use if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
Personally, I find that applying light layers of hydration rather than a really heavy night cream is most effective at keeping skin quenched overnight. This hyaluronic acid serum from Beauty Pie is brilliant—and only £17 if you're a member—and I feel like it just adds an extra layer of dewiness to my skin before moisturiser.
When it comes to my evening night creams, I tend to opt for texture rather than any particularly potent ingredients. Youth to the People is a new skincare discovery for me, and I really rate this eye cream. It's nourishing, sinks in beautifully and really leaves my under-eye area feeling comfortable and smooth. It contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, but I really just love how it feels on my skin.
I'm a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Elemis moisturisers, and I adore its Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream (£63) too. However, despite being coined as a sleep mask, it's this overnight treatment that I love most and use regularly as my evening moisturiser. It's packed with hydrating ingredients, soothing botanicals (like ylang-ylang and sweet orange), and it smells like a dream. But even better than that, it feels instantly soothing on the skin and works to support your skin barrier while you snooze so that your skin will be suppler and brighter come morning. I adore it.