4 beauty products I never knew I needed until my mid-thirties…

Glow-activating anti-wrinkle serum: £36, Caudalie. Beauty vinegar: £17, Roger & Gallet. Acne face cleanser: £14, Mario Badescu. Slow Age day cream: £22.50, Vichy. Washbag: Elemis x Misha Noo Noo. Photographs taken in Artist Residence, Cornwall.

As I’ve said in the past, I am not exactly an aficionado on skincare and still try new products all the time in search of the holy grail….I’ve probably come to accept that there are a few products that I love using, a few I don’t, and my skin is generally better when I mix up my products and don’t rely on the same ones all the time.

That said, these are a few products I’ve been using lately that have surprised me. Who thought I’d still be buying acne products well into my 30s, or that vinegar might just be the toner I need?! Here’s a few surprise products I never knew I needed…

Acne face cleanser: £14, Mario Badescu.

I bought this, along with the Cucumber Cleansing Lotion (which I can also highly recommend) whilst browsing Urban Outfitters recently. Initially drawn into the store by their superb cacti collection (but then realising it’s not exactly the most practical item to carry home on the tube), I ended up buying a book and skincare – they actually have some great ranges there…although I won’t pretend I wasn’t duped at first by the good packaging. I’ve had acne pretty much most of my adult life, and by adult I mean from the age of 21 onwards when I started working, being stressed and living in London. True, it’s not as bad as it used to be but there really isn’t a day when I look in the mirror and am completely satisfied with my skin (and definitely not a day when there aren’t averaging at least 12 spots). So I’ve been giving this a go, and I’m liking the results, I’ve accepted that I’m never going to be one of those women whose skin clears up forever, but I like the feeling of these products – light but efficient. And I’ll also have to accept that, at 34, I’ll probably never be passed buying ‘acne’ products – but hey, at least it looks good.

Beauty vinegar: £17, Roger & Gallet. Nails in ‘Beach Please’: £8, Cheeky.

You can see how well this went down, as my bottle is almost empty. VINEGAR. For your face?! Yes. Apparently the idea of using fruit-based vinegars has been around for years, since the 18th century. And as a toner, I love it – my skins feels so clean  and refreshed after using it – and I kind of love the idea of trying something different on my skin to shake it up a bit. This is stocked in M&S Beauty Hall, too, which I always consider a confirmation of cult beauty excellence.

Glow-activating anti-wrinkle serum: £36, Caudalie.

I love Caudalie – the brand, its ethos, its products, its story (the products are developed from the family’s vineyard when they discovered that grapes and vines had active ingredients and powers for the skin – they are all natural and their ‘Beauty Elixir’ is my inflight essential item). I was actually lucky enough to travel to their Headquarters in Paris back in February to view this ‘Vineactiv’ range of products (but waited until I had fully tested them before writing this blogpost). This new range is suited for women, like me, with hectic lifestyles, not enough time and with skin exposed to daily stress and pollution. I only started wearing serum about 5 years ago, but now I wear it everyday underneath my moisturiser, and this one acts as a barrier to help prevent pollution reaching your skin as well as anti-wrinkle protection. Sold.

Slow Age day cream: £22.50, Vichy.

Firstly, I have never used a moisturiser with an SPF before, living in London it had never occurred to me. But lately, I have realised just how essential it is – mainly because all the people whose skin I admire, guess what? They always wear SPF everyday and this is enough to change my ways. This has SPF 30 as standard, as again, it’s a product brought about by its research in all the environmental factors that play havoc on our skin (that’s one thing I love and trust about Vichy – they do a LOT of research).

Aah getting older….so much fun.


  1. Hi Alex – have you ever tried La Roche Posay skincare? Its great for problem skin whether its acne or rosacea and its functional rather than flash and very affordable. My dermatologist recommends it most of the time. Also it can be worth investing in seeing a dermatologist every six months or a year. x

    1. Yes it’s so important – most makeup brands have SPF in now which is great – and I use a sunscreen with colour in on my first day of holiday or when i’m working on an overseas trip – halves the hassle! x

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this, and I’m so glad I’m not alone in dealing with tricky skin post 30! I’m 32 and have acne roseaca which has knocked my confidence at times; I have good skin days and bad skin days but I’ve accepted I’ll never have flawless skin. It’s refreshing to hear others share their skin issues as Instagram seems to be full of women with perfect skin

    1. Aah yes – and Facetune has a LOT to answer for! Skin has so much to do with genetics a well – but it does help to mix up your skin routine and appreciate those ‘good’ skin days – why I love being on holiday – clear skin! X

  3. I suffered with adult acne for ten years. Recently quit using acne products (which dry skin out and makes it produce more oil) and started to treat the dehydration and my acne disappeared in a couple of weeks. I’ve been acne free for a year now. Really recommend the elemis pro collagen balm plus hylaronic acid from the Ordinary. x

    1. I agree with ‘usual’ acne products – Mario Badescu products are a bit different, I try and moisturise more but mine is stressed induced sadly 🙁 Love the Elemis balm – but haven’t tried the Ordinary products – heard good things! x

  4. My adult acne pretty much cleared up when I quit dairy products, for the most part I get by. And when I really need that ice cream or pint size pot of Greek yogurt (soya just doesn’t cut it) the spots are actually worth it! Some interesting products thought to give a go! Thank you 🙂
    Could I ask where the palm tree print is from in your caudalie photo?

    1. I quite dairy for 6 months last year and felt the difference even in my feelings -I had more energy and didn’t feel so bloated! But I’ve sadly slipped back and enjoying cheese more than ever before – not sure I could do it again?! The palm print was in a hotel I was staying in, but try Etsy for decent palm prints! x

      1. Yeah I have gotten used to it and just ‘cheat’ when I know I don’t have an important event coming up..! In the meantime I live on goats cheese as it doesn’t seem to effect me as much ?
        Thank you!!

  5. I agree with Claire – the La Roche Posay effaclar duo product is the best thing I have ever used on spots. You can cover the whole spotty area in it morning and night and it definitely gets rid of them without drying out your skin. I swear by it!

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