How To Fix Your Skin With Budget Skincare

If there’s anything that 2019 has taught us, it’s that in 2020 we need to stay hydrated and have better skin. When I started teaching pole dance, my boss helped me notice that touching sweaty poles, chalk-based grip and floors, to then use the same hands to touch my skin wasn’t going to give me the healthiest of glows. So I’ve had to work on a gentler, more disciplined skincare routine to take care of my poor face. Here it is.

My Teenage Skin (At 27)

I’ve written about my skin before this post, but thought I’d get more into skincare this time, in the most practical and budget way possible. Why? At the cost of sounding like that annoying influencer meme, I’ve been posting products I’ve been using in my stories and you’ve been asking me if they’ve been working for me, so there you go.

I used to have decent enough skin before I dated someone abusive and manipulative who threatened me with knocking me up, so I had to go on the pill. Shortly after breaking up with him and going to Australia for a MA, I got off the pill and what with the confusion, the hormones and the incredibly hot sun, my skin became a receptacle for acne – but in my early 20s.

I had never given two shits about skincare apart from removing my make-up. Suddenly, at 23 my skin made me feel self-conscious, and I started going to doctors and reading up about skincare.

In my previous post, I talked a lot about the Deciem skincare range, a revolutionary, cheap but effective skincare brand which I still use. Recently though, I’ve discovered new brands that have really been helping me so I thought I’d share the love.

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. I paid for all these products and I am writing about this in the hope it will help someone with their skincare.*

Morning Skincare Routine

Turns out I have combination skin – so, annoyingly, it’s both oily and dry. Here’s what I do to contain its anger.

I am not a morning person, meaning that even if I can wake up quite early, I don’t like fussing about or making complicated decisions when I’ve just got up. Or talking, for that matter. So when I wake up, I follow three simple steps:

  1. I shower or wash my face;
  2. Then I use The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% formula, which I bought 60 ml of for £8.90, on my face. This reduces sebum and the appearance of blemishes. You can buy it online, directly from The Ordinary’s shops or at Boots;
  3. Finally, after the Niacinamide has dried, I use a moisturiser for hydration. I’ve gone for The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (£6.80 for 100ml), but any non-aggressive moisturiser will do.

This skincare routine keeps me hydrated all day. Unlike many of The Ordinary’s acids and products, the Niacinamide doesn’t require you to wear SPF while going around and it’s perfect even if you live somewhere warm. However, if you feel it’s too aggressive, you should stop using it immediately and ask for recommendations specific to your case.

Skincare While Training

Quick top tip that sounds like a no-brainer but that I only learnt thanks to performer, instructor, competition winner, studio owner and all-around legend Jade Roxanne.


And don’t touch your hair either. Why? Because first of all, your hair and skin are greasy, so if you keep messing with them while trying to stick to a pole, that ain’t happening.

Secondly, touching your skin after you’ve touched a sweaty pole, or the floor where people have walked on with their feet or heels, means smearing a variety of dirt and gross stuff on your face. So be a doll and listen to what Jade Roxanne says.

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It doesn’t mean touching your face when training won’t happen. But try to notice what you’re doing a bit more while in class and your skin will thank you for it.

This is, of course, applicable even to people who don’t pole dance. Whether you’re a poler or someone who trains at a gym for instance, it’s way better to dry sweat off your face with a clean towel than with a hand that has touched a pole or some machinery.

Evening Skincare Routine

In the evenings I get more technical. While you can use Niacinamide both in the AM and in the PM, I switch products at night. Here’s what I do.

  1. I remove all my make-up with micellar water and a cotton pad – generally Garnier, because I find it gentle and it’s often discounted in shops like Boots, Superdrug or Sainsbury’s so that I pay less than £5 for it;
  2. Twice a week, I exfoliate with Gallinée’s scrub, letting it sit on my skin for about five minutes before taking it off. I discovered Gallinée in December last year, when they had a pop-up in Redchurch Street. I liked their brand look and their ethos, based on getting rid of the skin’s bad bacteria, but making the most out of the good ones. So I bought one of their scrubs and my skin has been way softer ever since. The scrub is available at Holland & Barrett for £13.50;
  3. Then, I use a serum I received as a gift for Christmas, but that is available at TK Maxx: Valjean Labs’ SMOOTH serum with exfoliating glycolic acid and nourishing aloe vera to even out my complexion (you should find it for under a tenner).
  4. Finally, I finish everything off with another bargain: Skin Chemists’ Mineral Rose Quartz facial serum, which can be quite pricey but which I found at TK Maxx for £12.99.

This whole skincare routine has been massively helping me deal with my combination skin, leaving it smooth and almost blemish-free even while PMSing or on my period.

I hope it helps you too… but remember that I am not a dermatologist so always read up and ask for advice before throwing yourself into a new skincare routine.

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