Reni Eddo-Lodge is an award-wining journalist and a writer who has been published in The New York Times, The Voice, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, Stylist Magazine, Inside Housing, The Pool, Dazed and Confused Magazine, and the New Humanist. She is currently working on her first novel which will be published next year. She took time out to tell me about her teen skincare life.
I came across skincare products probably in my mum’s bedroom. She had – and still does have – a dressing table full of dozens and dozens of lotions and creams, from low end to high end, and from Paks to Space NK. My influences in regards to skincare was my mum. She always hammered home the importance of moisturising, and I remember being a bored teenager following her around when she did her skincare shopping. I don’t think I used any particular brands when I was a teen. I just experimented with what I could find in the house. One time I put pure glycerine on my face. That was a bad idea. I broke out all over. Using coconut oil as a face moisturiser was also a disaster, and it had the same effect. As I entered my early twenties I started using easily accessible high street products, like Simple Face Wipes. But I was still very slapdash about it.
Crucially, I’ve learnt that my skin changes with the climate, and that I have to be stringent in adapting my makeup and skin care to respond to this. Although I’ve always been oily skinned, in recent years winter has seen zero oil production on my face and so I have to use two moisturising products at night to get the suppleness back. That isn’t something I would have dared to do years ago, for fear of becoming an oil slick. At the moment I’m using Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask layered on top of the Bare Minerals Mineralixirs 5/Oil Blend before bed. They work great together. Even in summer I use that night oil, because I find it actually balances my skin and stops it from being super oily during the day.
I’ve learnt to pre-empt hormonal breakouts by switching to a spot fighting moisturiser and double cleansing around that time of the month. Being forewarned works wonders. I’m now sceptical about following blogger hype because the bloggers with the loudest voices are invariably white, with a completely different skin type to mine. My skin has dramatically improved since I began to drink more water and herbal teas, stopped eating meat, upped my plant based intake, and limited my dairy intake – your diet makes a huge difference to your skin. And finally, I’ve learnt that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean effective. Clean and Clear’s Dual Action Moisturiser is great.
I’m much kinder to my skin now. I was an oily skinned teenager and I had bad acne when I hit puberty. That led me to me using horrible harsh, stripping products and scratchy exfoliators on my face almost in an act of self-loathing punishment. I use lots of oils, creams, balms and face masks now. I used to experiment with cheap 99p Face Mask packets a lot. Now I spend much more on masks, but I think the benefits are clear. Also, related – layering masks. I’ll do an Exfoliating Mask first, like REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, then I’ll remove it and put on a clay mask (the one I’m using at the moment is Aesop’s Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque) and then follow it with something moisturising. Instead of slapping stuff on willy-nilly, I try to be strategic with my skincare to get the best out of it. It is pretty pricey after all, and I want to get my money’s worth.
I’m more conservative with my skincare products these days. After a brief period of following hype and attempting to try everything, I now try not to spend money for the sake of it, operate a one in one out policy, and keep my skincare targeted and functional. That sounds a bit boring but I still love the luxury of using nice skincare – it’s just that the beauty industry sometimes encourages us to spend without thinking, and I have to wrestle that autonomy back for myself and my bank account.
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