6 Ways to Seriously Upgrade your Skincare Routine

Words by Lauren Hughes aka @skinandthecity

skincare tips for cleansers and toners

The past couple of months in lockdown have been stressful for many of us and I have had a huge influx of messages from my friends and facial clients telling me that their skin is suffering at the moment.

It’s no surprise as stress, along with changes in routine, environment and diet soon causes our skin to act up. But one silver lining of lockdown life is that we may now have more time to look after our skin.

Upgrading your skincare routine needn’t be complicated or expensive. With just a little patience and attention, you can get back your glow.


The benefits of stepping up your skincare are far more than just skin deep too – it is essential for your mental wellbeing to take time out to dedicate to yourself during these tough times. Skincare rituals can have pampering, therapeutic benefits. In addition skin issues can be detrimental to our self-esteem, so it is important to dedicate time to an effective routine.


Our skin looks its best when we stick to a consistent daily skincare regime. The amount of skincare brands on the market now is mind boggling and it can be tempting to buy lots of different products and end up rotating 10 different serums and moisturisers throughout your routine. By doing this, you won’t be giving your skin the chance to benefit from the active ingredients in your products and it will also be hard to know what your skin is reacting well or badly to.

The products I have fun with and change around in my routine are cleansers and face masks, as these are not staying on the skin. I like to keep everything else I use the same day to day.

Everyone’s skin is different so pay attention to how your skin is reacting to the products you are using to make sure you can tweak things if needs be and find the right products and routine that works for you. It is also important to remember to be patient. It can take time for ingredients to work their magic so don’t give up if you’re not seeing immediate results.

expert tips for improving skincare routine


If you follow my Instagram and blog you will know that I am a firm believer that skincare does not need to be expensive to be effective. A lot of my favourite products are under £20. While pricey skincare may have appealing packaging and feel luxurious to use, the products are often packed full of fragrance and potentially irritating essential oils.

As such it is surprisingly easy to build a brilliant and effective routine with affordable products. Some of my favourite affordable skincare brands include CeraVe, The Ordinary, The Inkey List and La Roche Posay.



The gold standard in skincare is vitamin A, one of the very few ingredients that has actually been scientifically proven to work on premature ageing of the skin as well as breakouts. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, stimulates the production of new skin cells, which helps to reduce fine lines, firm the skin and help battle blemishes. Most skincare brands have a retinol serum in their range now and I would highly recommend incorporating one into your routine.

An obstacle to using retinol is that it can be irritating and cause the skin to become dry, red and purge for the first month or two while your skin gets used to the increased cell turnover. Lockdown is the ideal time to start on your retinol journey as you can use it more frequently and get through the initial adjustment period quicker and no one will see your irritated skin! Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so make sure you apply a broad-spectrum SPF every day.

face masks to improve skin


Face masks are one of my favourite parts of skincare and they are something you can add in without disrupting your consistent routine. What I love most about them is that they feel like a real treat and you can pick and choose what mask to use depending on how your skin is feeling. If your skin feels tight and parched, you can soak in a hydrating mask; if your skin is feeling oily and congested, a deep cleansing mask can clarify and clean out the pores; if your skin is feeling dull and lacklustre, an exfoliating mask will brighten your skin in no time.


It was difficult to find the time to give our skin a good massage in life before lockdown. Now that we are perhaps living at a much slower pace, it is a great opportunity to indulge and take time to massage your skin when doing your evening routine. Facial massage boosts circulation and oxygen flow to the skin, works the facial muscles and increases collagen production.

You can spend an extra couple of minutes really working in your balm cleanser with your knuckles and when applying your serum or facial oil, use upwards and outwards movements for lymphatic drainage to depuff. There are a lot of great facial massage tutorials on YouTube and Instagram that are worth a look.


I have spent a lot of quality time with my NuFace device during lockdown so far and I can really see a difference in my face. The NuFace is a microcurrent device designed to stimulate collagen and elastin, tone facial muscles and improve facial contours. If you want killer cheekbones, using a NuFace or the FaceGym Pro for ten minutes a day while you’re watching Netflix is well worth the investment.


Our makeup brushes and sponges can harbour huge amounts of bacteria. If we don’t clean them regularly, that bacteria will be swiped on our skin every time we apply our makeup… hello, breakouts!

To clean my brushes, I squirt my cleanser into the palm of my hand, thoroughly swirl my brush around and then rinse with warm water until the water runs clear. I then repeat this with an antibacterial soap to ensure all of the bacteria is destroyed.

foods to help skincare


Lockdown has a way of making it more tempting to reach for sugary and greasy comfort food. However our gut health directly affects our skin, so unfortunately this change in our diet can cause inflammation and lead to breakouts.

To get the glow from the inside out, focus on collagen-boosting foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as blueberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes and avocados.

Alongside a healthy diet, quality supplements such as the Equi London Beauty Formula (which contains skin-boosting B vitamins, Biotin, Vitamin C, E and zinc) are also a great way to support our skin from the inside.