#SkinGoals – Two Months On

Author: Lauren Coleman

One thing I adore about the RMLtd community is how helpful our readers are. After my skincare goals feature back in January I had so many product recommendations and techniques to try on my combination skin, I wanted to drop back in and let you know how I’ve been getting on.

Skin Diagnosis

One theme which emerged through the comments was the need to determine whether the unattractive flaky patches I had were down to dry or dehydrated skin. I devoured the Caroline Hirons site and decided I do in fact have dehydrated skin, characterised by large pores, ashen tight skin with visible blackheads. What a way to start your Friday morning.

Adding Acid

Several of you lovely ladies suggested I need to bring some acid into my skincare routine. Now this word used to terrify me as it seems so flipping harsh and abrasive, however one product was mentioned so frequently I felt I would be crazy not to give it a whirl. Oh hello, Pixi Glow Tonic. It seemed the world and his wife were already using the cult-favourite exfoliating toner. They were lapping up the aloe vera, ginseng and botanical extracts and getting a gorgeous glow. With the promise my skin was going to revived and renewed by the 5% glycolic acid I bought a bottle. £18 later and the 100ml bottle arrived and I was keen to give it a try. I’m gutted to say I really haven’t seen much of an impact after using the product. As with most new products I experienced a breakout, however these spots were so angry and persistent that after two weeks I gave myself a break from the tonic to let my skin recover before trying again. My pores are visibly smaller than they were before Christmas but this may be down to the No 7 Micro-Dermabrasion Exfoliator I started at the end of the year.

Back to the drawing board, I once again went through the comments to find a second ‘wonder’ product’. Enter Alpha H Liquid Gold. As an award winning resurfacing treatment I was hoping this bad boy would improve the texture of my complexion and soften the redness caused by the aforementioned pimples. Having used just once the results are really promising. After removing my make-up on Wednesday night I applied the liquid with cotton wool to my face and neck and went moisturiser-free before climbing in to bed. Yesterday’s application of make-up went on like a dream, with my epidermis feeling slightly more plumper and there was definitely less oil to contend with. The lack of evening moisturisation gives an intensive treatment but it’s really important to use an SPF with this product in the day. I’m going to use it again over the weekend and will persevere with Pixi Glow in-between too.


Next week it’s my friend’s birthday and myself and a gaggle of girls are off for a few beauty treatments and a cheeky glass or two of fizz. I’ve booked in for a facial which I’m hoping will reset my skin and erase the blackheads before I continue with all the new products I seem to have in my bathroom.
Next I need to start some research on suitable moisturisers and am keen to try a new foundation too. I went from one extreme to the other last year after feeling the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation was a bit too heavy. I started using the Seventeen CC Cream in the summer as a lightweight mattifier but would really prefer something with more medium coverage. I’ll keep you updated on how I get on.

Anyone else overhauling their skincare at the moment? How are you getting on and have you made any new discoveries?

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
This post may include affiliate links.
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63 thoughts on “#SkinGoals – Two Months On

  1. Omg I have literally fallen in love with a brand called drunk elephant. It’s American and can be ordered through sephora. Their baby facial has changed my life bought a set of tester size bottles of their other items and can’t wait to order the full size bottles. No more blackheads on my nose and chin ☺

      1. Defo try it and it’s not a massive range to choose from I use their peekee cleanse bar followed by their c serum and then hydra gel in the morning and then peekee and framboos in the evening baby facial twice a week… love it skins never looked do good. I do also use Charlotte Tilbury eye cream to keep dark circles at bay

    1. I’ve heard of this range Emma and it’s supposed to be ace, – so do you have to order it from the American Sephora? x

      1. Yeah sephora ship internationally so you have to pay a bit more for tax but it’s definitely worth it I love their whole brand the honesty and transparency plus the bottles and colours are gorge ☺

  2. Glad you’re on the the Alpha H bandwagon! ?? You know my love for skincare / makeup products runs deep, literally my fav thing to talk about!

    If you still don’t get on with the Pixi Glow Tonic after another go, I’d recommend you try The Ordinary Lactic Acid (I use a 10% because my skin is used to acid but you could start with a 5%). I’m a regular Alpha H user but I’ve switched to using only once a week as a treatment. At night, I cleanse, use my 10% Lactic Acid as a serum, use Hydraluron from Indeed Labs to help suck my moisturiser in then slather on Nivea Q10 night cream.

    For anyone who hasn’t tried The Ordinary skincare line, I totally recommend giving it a bash. Prices are super reasonable, I’ve bought most of the products on offer and have noticed a visible difference with nearly all of them! This sounds like I’m sponsored by them, I’m not, just a major fan girl.

    1. Always love your commitment to a good beauty routine Lynsey. I know Charlotte is a big fan of The Ordinary so if you two beauty queens are in favour it’s definitely worth checking out!

    2. My Mum really didn’t get on with Pixi glow – she doesn’t have sensitive skin yet it made hers angry and red. I’m dead keen to try this Lactic Acid you mention! x

  3. I was really struggling before we got married and didn’t want a load of products from different ranges that were full of skin nasties so was recommended a natural based product (link below). Once I tried that I’ve never needed anything else, and friends who have always had troublesome skin are now converts.
    Beware the price tag but bear in mind all ingredients are, where possible, sourced locally. In honesty, for the elimination of problem skin I’ll be paying it again.

    I use the Ban the Blemish range but there are a load for specific skin types

    1. Debs, I’m so onboard with this mentality. I am happy to pay it’ll banish my troublesome skin but it’s so frustrating to splash out though and find the products don’t work for you!

  4. I had a facial yesterday using Tropic products (the girl from the Apprentice a few years ago created it) Totally natural, smell beautiful and contains no nasties. They’ve brought out a range of make up too which I’m going to have a go at next. I would definitely recommend the skincare in the meantime!

    1. I’ve tried Tropic too and can recommend. It’s cruelty free and vegan too. I’m wary of overloading our skin with too many nasty chemicals. I think sometimes we create problems for ourselves by layering on too many products. Back to basics for me.

      1. Yes it’s a good point and like Becs mentioned earlier layering on all these products make it very difficult to work out which one is working and which isn’t.

  5. I am trying to overhaul my skincare regime at the moment as I am determined to have lovely glowy skin by summer (pah)! Someone recommended these to me which were great at clearing up the spot outbreaks I started getting at the end of last year.

    But I did a small amount of Caroline Hiron reading as well and am converted to the ‘double cleansing’ theory. She recommends a cleanser should be where you make your splurge, but I am so weary about spending lots on something I haven’t tried – so am still at the research stage before I make the plunge…. xx

    1. It’s a bit of a minefield isn’t it Emma? We should cover double cleansing in more depth on here too. Charlotte is a big advocate of this approach x

    2. I’ve bought the double cleanse product that Caroline has brought out herself in collab with Pixi and it’s fab, can highly recommend. ??

    3. I don’t know what the policy is for online retailers but quite a few of the big named skincare providers in department stores will offer you a swap for products that you’ve purchased which don’t agree with your skin which makes the initial outlay much more bearable knowing you won’t be stuck with an expensive product you can’t use and there are still some who will give you a decent sample to try before you buy xx

  6. I’ve really struggled with my greasy skin for years, it’s prone to breakouts and open pores and usually by the afternoon any traces of make up have well and truly slipped off my face! Anyway, I’ve tried loads of cleansers, moisturisers, toners etc and nothing ever made me feel clean, but less oily – until I started using Simple products, particularly the foaming cleanser and oil control moisturiser, my skin has not looked as clear for years!

    Also, a good tinted moisturiser to try if you don’t want a full on foundation but want a bit more coverage is Laura Mercier, they do a normal and oil free version in a good range of shades, and it can be applied thinly or layered up for a bit more cover, it really evens out my skin and doesn’t ‘sit’ in my pores if that makes sense.

    1. Thanks so much for the Laura Mercier recommendation. I’m using the Baked Radiance Powder and am a big fan. I know exactly what you mean about sitting in pores 😉

  7. I have dehydrated skin ??
    I also didn’t get on with the pixi toner, or the nip fab pads, or the first aid beauty pads (all CH recommendations) But I have found the Clarins exfoliating toner to be really good. I think I need to try the ordinary lactic acid though as it’s much kinder to the purse! I had been using their hyralonic from them but gave it a rest as I had a breakout… trouble is when you’re trying a few new things it’s hard to pinpoint the culprit!
    One product I would say is my absolute favourite for my dehydrated skin is Vichy Aquila thermal serum. Sali Hughes swears by it and so do I. I also love Vichy’s nutrologie 2 for some intensive moisture but I think they might be discontinuing it… SO annoying when that happens!

    1. I know Becs, finding the culprit is tricky! I’ve woken to another breakout this morning 🙁
      Must check out the Vichy serum. I really didn’t get on with their eye cream but think this might be the ticket for the dehydration.

      1. Eyecream is next on the list – did you manage to find a good one? I’ve started getting little wrinkles under my eyes ? So need to get anti-aging pronto!

        1. I’m using the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream which is lovely and light. I’m wondering if I need something a bit more hardcore? I feel I always look like I’ve only had about two hours sleep!

    2. Becs I am guilty of this – trying multiple products and then not really knowing which one has caused the rash. It becomes such a slow process when you love beauty products to do it one at a time though ?

      I didn’t get on with the nip/fab pads. SO harsh. My face literally fell off.

      I would say maybe don’t use the hyralonic twice a day everyday – I find it works best for me if I use it a few times a week at night after exfoliation (either with a warm flannel or the No 7 Total Renewal that Lauren mentions in this post) x

  8. I bought into the double cleanse too, and that you should fight oily skin with oil, and so I bought the Bobbi Brown soothing cleansing oil, its amazing on my skin!
    I also bought into the La roche Posay Effaclar hype for blackheads, and after 2 days my skin was tight, itchy and I had a HUGE breakout of acne! Horrendous, so ive not touched it since, maybe in the summer it’ll be better! The No7 Microdermabraison is amazing.
    Though I actually swear by Dermalogica, I’m having one of there facials tomorrow, the skin mapping process is great xx

  9. I always find the more products I use the worse my skin is (maybe I am not doing it right). I didn’t get on with the pixiglow tonic either. I now just use a cleanser and moisturiser (Aveeno – I know its not sexy but it is literally THE best for my dry sensitive skin) and in the evenings I have been using The Ordinary serum Charlotte mentioned. This little combo seems to keep breakouts to a minimum and my very dry skin at bay. Would really love to hear what foundation you go with, I am also on the lookout for a medium coverage/glowy foundation and would love some recommendations xx

  10. How funny Lauren – I have the Pixi tonic and adore it but can’t seem to get on with Alpha H which is just too hardcore on my skin. That said I invested yesterday in this mask for blackheads ( which I’ve yet to try out but it has rave reviews. I was also tempted by the pretty packaging!

    In terms of other skincare I’ve recently bought Pixi’s Peel and Polish ( and their serum for dehydrated skin ( and I love both. I’ve also invested heavily in Charlotte Tilbury’s range as her moisturiser is the only thing on this planet that doesn’t seem to make me break out in spots. So I’ve indulged in her eye cream and her multi-miracle glow which acts as both a cleanser or a balm depending on how long you leave it on for. Both are excellent and I’m all spent up for the next year!

    1. Maybe we need to swap our Pixi and Alpha H 😉
      You have beautiful skin Lolly. Let me know how you get on with the blackhead mask x

  11. I absolutely love my Ponds Cold Cream as a cleanser. It feels so rich and leaves my skin feeling gorgeous, and for less than a fiver! I remove it with a flannel so get a bit of exfoliation in that way. I’ve also been using the Sanctuary Reverse Wonder Oil Serum which is really lovely and hydrating.

  12. Oh the timing of this post is uncanny! After a friend raved about Alpha H Liquid Gold and, being the sucker I am for the ‘miracle product’ that is going to work where literally every other product I’ve ever tried has failed, I rushed out to get not only that, but the whole skincare line (they do useful trial-size packs). After two weeks I have noticed literally nothing. Nada. Not the slightest improvement. In fact, my skin seemed really oily in the mornings after using Liquid Gold overnight and now I’ve just broken out massively in a way I haven’t for ages! Woe. So I might have to go back to Proactiv, which seemed to keep breakouts at bay but makes my skin feel really tight and dry – and looking really old, horror!
    Sorry for ranting on. Suffice to say my skin has become the bane of my life. I’m nearly 40 and I still have spots! And not just spots – weird dry itchy patches on my temples, large pores on my forehead, the occasional flare-up of eczema around my eyes, acne scarring on my cheeks and pimples on my chin. NICE! ATTRACTIVE! Please someone help! I’m seriously considering shelling out for a dermatologist. xx

    1. Oh, and I should point out that I’m a journalist and used to review beauty products for a living, so I have literally tried them all – from the Creme de la Mer/Sisley/La Prairie end of the spectrum to Superdrug’s own brand range (actually did more for me than la Mer). I’m at a loss what to try next.

      1. Yes I think so too but it’s about £200-£300 for a consultation and that’s without treatments and products on top! If anyone has any recommendations (London) I’d be very grateful!

        1. Laura, I’m not sure if this helps but a friend of a friend is a dermatologist in London and, when asked which products she’d recommend for people with “problem” skin, she said Dermalogica. I’ve not tried much in their brand but I thought it was interesting that a dermatologist would recommend it. Maybe worthy a go before shelling out for a consultation?

    2. Laura, a dermatologist is a really good investment, I’ve had three appointments over the years – all massively worth it.

      On the skin thing, My Mum is 65 and has skin of someone 25 years younger (I’m not exaggerating) No smoking, sun or alcohol clearly helps, as does her Welsh gene pool (Please PLEASE let me have that too!!!!) but essentially she also has oily spot prone skin. She has tried all sorts of anti-ageing cream and NOTHING has worked out – they just break her out. She swears by using few simple “ish” products. I mentioned above an acid toner didn’t work for her either – she really rates the Environ range, they have a cleanser (in a blue bottle, sorry can’t remember the exact name) but she said it’s the best cleaner she’s ever used for keeping her skin in check. She uses a serum by them too.

      1. Thanks Charlotte, I’ve just booked myself in for a skin consultation followed by a treatment, eek! And top tip about your mum – I’ll look into that range. Can she please send me some of her Welsh genes in a bottle too?! x

      2. The consultant at Skin clinic in Cheltenham recommended the Environ range for me now I’m 50. I haven’t started using it yet (as I’ve Clarins to finish) but she said it was the best thing for ageing skin.

  13. Hi Laura, I too suffer from eczema alongside breakouts. I know how hard it is too find something that doesn’t leave your skin tight and dry. The only think I have found that works for me is La Roche Possay effeclar duo. I use this after cleansing and this has massively helped with getting spots under control, and I then put my normal moisturiser over the top. So far my skin hasn’t felt at all dry and I have seen a huge improvement – even my husband commented last night

    1. Thank you! I did try this too but again found it made no difference 🙁 Maybe I should give it another go though

  14. I have dehydrated/combination skin too – I literally digested the whole Caroline Hirons website 3 years ago when I was at a loss what to do with my skin & my wedding day was looming!!!
    I too use the Alpha-H liquid gold, I just use it once a week (normally a Friday ironically!), I also use the Vichy serum underneath moisturiser & swear this has made a difference. You can get it from good ol’ trusty Boots but do shop around online, Feel Unique have it for £15 (and there’s normally a discount code somewhere online!) whereas Boots it’s £22.50!
    I seem to be having issues at the moment, at 26 weeks pregnant my face can’t decide if it wants to be really greasy, dehydrated or just ‘normal’!!! It’s becoming very frustrating as I’ll swap to a more mattifying foundation so it stays on all day but then the dehydration kicks in, sucking all the moisture out of it and leaving me with dry looking or slipping off foundation – nice!!!!!
    I spoke to a lady on the Cinique counter a few weeks back and she said a lot of pregnant ladies use their Anti-Redness cream as it’s quite ‘simple’, I tried a sample & it seems to be ok, the pot I ordered literally turned up 30 minutes ago on my desk so I shall be trying that out soon…
    If anyone has any tips or advice for pregnant skin foundation I would love to hear it! 🙂

      1. Awww thank you! 🙂 Also meant to mention to you, Nude Rescue Oil is amazing!! I use this especially when I have breakouts as it seems to dry up any active spots I have but keep the drier areas moisturised. Mine was from Space NK, it’s not cheap however lasts for months! x

  15. I converted to Clarins – cleanser, toner, moisturiser and daily scrub – about 3 years ago and I do really like how soft it makes my skin and the smell. But I wouldn’t say it has improved the look of my skin/pores/breakouts. I just signed up to Birchbox as a way of getting new products without having to do heaps of research (which I just know I won’t do) and got the first box through yesterday – already there was a brilliant eye make up remover which is probably the best I’ve ever used. So I’m hoping this route will help me! x

  16. I think the condition of my skin has more to do with what I eat, than what I put on it. Have you tried looking at your diet to see whether something might be triggering a skin condition? I know that when I eat refined sugar, a break out follows. When I eat lots of fruit and veg, whilst cutting back on refined sugar, I see a marked improvement. The best tonic I have tried is Garnier Micellar Water, nothing fancy, but it cleans my skin without drying or irritation xx

    1. Absolutely Kerry. I always used to say if I ate a bag of crisps I could feel my face get oiler immediately!
      I don’t eat much processed food and get my five a day in, and haven’t had an caffeinated drinks for nearly two years. All made a dramatic difference to where my skin was a couple of years ago but because of the diet changes I kind of feel my skin deserves to be so much better than it is!

    2. Sugar and alcohol make my skin noticeably grey/dry/dull.

      I just wish I didn’t love mini eggs and wine so much ?

  17. I have to agree, I started using The Ordinary products about two weeks ago and I really have noticed a difference in that short time. Skincare has become even more important to me as I spent most of my 20s trying to escape blemished and light scarring from fairly minor acne and now I’m 30, I want the balance of anti-aging products that aren’t too heavy and upset my combination skin…
    I use Bobbi Brown cleansing oil – I was really apprehensive as oil on my blemished/combo skin felt totally wrong, but I love it.. I use twice a day with a flannel (it totally removes traces of heavy make up and even my husband has noticed the improvement in my skin), then I use The Ordinary niacianmide serum which is a serum for blemished/problem skin, followed by the hydraulic serum which I’ve used for years and then a Bobbi Brown hydrating gel (slightly lighter than a moisturiser). At night I use This Works No More Wrinkles and a prescribed spot cream from my dermatologist, directly on any blemishes. I am no expert but I decided to give this a go for 8 weeks and so far, I’m really chuffed with the results.
    I also really recommend Sali Hughes, the Guardian Beauty editor. She is fab and seems to be very balanced and honest in her reviews.
    I could be totally wrong but I feel better about my skin than I did a month or so ago. It is expensive to find what works for you but I hopefully it’s worth it for the longer term benefits x

  18. Am following you here with the total skin recall. I’ve previously always had good skin and I am not a person that uses a great deal of makeup, usually just a mineral powder and the summer and BB cream in the winter with a bit of bronzer/blush and mascara thrown in. I got into reading CH too as last last year after I stopped breastfeeding I had a terrible breakout on my jawline (obviously hormone related) which I just couldn’t get rid of. In the scheme of trying so many different things for it (and too much double cleansing and acid toners and god knows what) and the stress I was under with work I then broke out in a rash known as perioral dermatitis…google that, its your facial skins worst nightmare. Basically its ‘dermatitis around the mouth’ but it looks like terrible terrible eczema with a thousand tiny whiteheads on top. Yes, super attractive.

    I ended up at the GPs with it as it got to such a point it was is horrible I could see people looking at my skin when they were talking to me. This was with makeup on. Solution was topical antibiotic cream and ‘zero therapy’ for a month – that means nothing else but the antibiotic cream. No moisturiser, no makeup, no cleansers, wash your face with water and nothing else. (*hears die hard beauty junkies recoil in horror at the thought*). I managed two weeks of that, then I had to give in and start using a little bit of my bb cream again as my self esteem was SO low, I looked horrific (I also have a 16 month old up 3-4 times in the night with teething, so no sleep and no makeup) and people at work kept asking if I was ok/ill. This was in January I went to the GP and it is just, just coming right now to the point its a faded red patch that still needs coverage. I’m scared to try anything much new in case it causes another breakout but one thing I did take away from CH is cleansing oil/cream rather than foaming cleansers. Lush Ultrabland cleanser has been the only thing I’ve been using and its been fine. La Roche Posay Serozinc for toner and I’ve juts started trialling the Lily Lilo mineral foundation which I’m enjoying (plus they do sample sizes, which is my new requirement for everything with my now super sensitive skin). I don’t have a moisturiser at the moment (like, at all!!) so my skin must be incredibly dehydrated so any recommendations for something gentle for oily skin would be appreciated. Nothing with silicones in it though as those make me break out and they seem to put that in every oily skin product!! My other best beauty find, which I started using again is the Bobbi Brown serum corrector, I highly recommend it to all those mums out there with super dark circles. Its amazing. Buy it for yourself as a mothers day treat!

    Anyway my thoughts on all this are don’t try too many new things at once, if you think its not working, back off. I now have a chronic recurrent skin condition that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy just from trying to get rid of a few spots. Quite frankly I’d rather have the spots.

    1. Oh Emma, I hear you. Thanks for the good advice – I’ll be really mindful of how often I layer and introduce products. So sorry to hear you have a chronic condition now.

  19. I switched to the Pixi glow tonic as I had heard so many good things about it. I am prone to a bit of a break out on my forehead (probably due to endlessly pushing my fringe out of my eyes) and I don’t think the pixi tonic is anywhere near as good as Clinique’s Anti Blemish range. It smells seriously hardcore but clears skin in days and after a consultation at Clinique counter I’m definitely going to go back to that again. I’m using the Organic Surge night cream which puts the moisture back in after toning. Not seen major results yet but will keep you posted! Xx

    1. I remember using your Anti Blemish soap a few years ago Han. It was great if my skin was behaving but if I got a breakout the spots stayed around for weeks (like Pixi actually).
      Do report back on the Surge Cream x

  20. Murad all the way for me! I discovered it last year, and got so hooked on it that we now sell it at our place. Don’t want to sound like advertising, but it really sorted my hormonally spotty skin. It’s an American brand that’s been in the U.K for about 10 years and it’s just the best thing ever.

  21. Having never properly cleansed my skin I have started using Liz Earle cleanser and this has really sorted out my adult acne on my cheeks, redness and oily skin. I am unable to take oral antibiotics at the moment so I was prescribed Zineryt topical solution and this really helped but felt quite greasy to use in the morning. I have also added in Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliant twice a day and this had made my skin really glow… if only I could now sort out my eye bags! I am determined to sort my skin out this year!

  22. This post is so well timed for me too! I’m on the look out for a new exfoliator. I’ve just started double cleansing. The last time I had a facial I was told to triple cleanse! Do you guys double cleanse with the same product? I use the clarins melt cleanser and was wondering if I should then use a cleansing lotion after, instead of double washing??! My skin is covered in tiny bumps (under the skin). My research suggests that this is congested pores. I need something to deep clean my skin. Do any if you use the electronic cleansing brushes? Skincare is such a hit or miss!

    I totally agree with the comment about food though. My skin was at its best during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I put this down to taking multivitamin tablets. I’ve now purchased a huge bottle of vitamins to get my skin in top top shape for the holidays. One can only hope! Thanks for all of the suggestions. I’m intrigued by all of this acid talk 😊

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