Thursday, 6 July 2017

I went a week without wearing foundation and found out some surprising things

I'd just like to put a little disclaimer out there first - I don't think I've ever caked my make-up on. Oh, I've definitely tried. When that whole Insta-contour craze first emerged, I thought layering my base was the key to flawlessness (that's a word, yes?), but I could never get it quite right.
Which is how I entered my foundation rut. You heard correctly, that really is a thing. You see, it's so easy to get complacent with your foundation because, well, A) you paid for it and you're sure as hell going to use it up. B) because once you find something that works 'quite well', it's easy to just accept that's the best you're going to get.

I was in this same rut up until a few weeks ago. I was having my make-up done and the MUA asked me what base I was using. Proudly, I said: 'La Roche BB Blur Cream.' I waited for her to nod, as if I was in on some insider secret too. But she didn't. She looked at me and said: 'You've got really dehydrated skin, and I think that's just making it much worse.'

Oh. How could I have got it so wrong? I'm a beauty journalist, I'm meant to know this stuff. To cut a long and self-pitying story short, I put aside my trusty BB Blur (which I'd got specifically to soak up some of the oils from my complexion - combination skin n'all that), and embarked on a hydrating mission instead. That entailed ditching any and all forms of base - including foundation, powder and bronzer (wince) - and instead -treating my skin with serums, moisturisers and feck-loads of SPF.

I chose to do it last week, when I was in Barbados. Mainly because I wouldn't have to face commuters on the crammed tubes in the mornings, and have to pretend to stare at my shoes to avoid their eye contact (*THEY'RE DEFINITELY LOOKING AT THE SPOT ON MY CHIN* - fyi they're definitely not.) To avoid tempatation, I only packed half a bag of make-up, as I was allowing myself a bit of mascara, lip balms and an eyebrow pencil.

This Origins GinZing eye cream & moisturiser duo was my holiday essential
The first few days were tough. I didn't have a base tan so when I went for breakfast in the morning, I felt like everyone was staring at my face. Whenever I heard someone laugh, my mind would automatically tell me they were laughing at my make-up free skin (again, definitely not). But, then something changed after day three and it was amazing.
All the serums, moisturisers, scrubs and face masks I was so lovingly applying, started to kick in and my skin got brighter and clearer.  Yes, there were still some blocked pores, some pigmentation and a few blotchy patches - but...

I got used to seeing my face for what it was in the nude, rather than used to it hidden until a skin-coloured camouflage. Those marks stopped looking out of place and started to just look like normal skin. I wasn't as paranoid about people looking at me. 

And, the best thing? I didn't feel the need to pick at my face either.

To explain that: I'm really bad at not touching my face. If I see a blemish or a blocked pore, I just have to get rid of it, and believe me it causes more bad than good, and I end up waking up with blotchy skin. Because I knew I couldn't just conceal it with a foundation though, it made me want to play around with my skin so much less. 

All-in-all, my foundation-free week taught me that natural beauty isn't about having a flawlessly smooth, spot-free, one-toned complexion (unless you've got that, then congrats, you're winning at life). It's about being happy with what you've got. And I forgot that. Also, because I wasn't blocking my pores with a base, it managed to get a week off and I look much glowier and fresher for it.

My usual medium-coverage base // My free-from foundation skin at the end of the week

My foundation-free skincare routine...

*Double cleanse with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (£14.50)
*Apply a pump of Decleor Hydra Floral White Petal Concentrate (£46)
*Massage in a small blog of Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream (£20.50)
*Apply a big blog of Origins GinZing SPF40 Energy Boosting Moisturiser (£30)

*Double cleanse with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish
*Apply a pump of Decleor Hydra Floral White Petal Concentrate
*Massage in a small blog of Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
*Apply a few blobs of Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser with Neroli (£39)

Every three nights:
* Gently buff clean skin with Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator (£16.50)
*Apply a thin layer of Decleor Hydra Floral White Petal Sleeping Mask (£34) (after cleansing, using the scrub and a blob of the Decleor concentrate, and before the eye cream - no need to use a moisturiser.)

I use these brands because I know my skin likes them, so stick with what works for you. If you're looking to try some amazing new products though, I can't recommend these enough. 

If you go foundation-free, whether it's a day or a week, let me know! I'd love to know how you get on

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