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7 skincare steps this beauty director swears by

Annabel Meggeson - headshot-white

Ever wondered what a beauty editor uses on their own skin? Annabel Meggeson, former beauty director for Red magazine and new columnist for Healthista reveals exactly what skin products she uses on herself

Do you want to try some of Annabel’s favorite products? Enter our competition on Instagram for a chance to win.

The question I get asked most – the question any beauty editor gets asked most: what do I use on my skin?

Skincare is so personal. No two routines, I believe, are alike, with each of us evolving our own unique formula for jeunesse. Yet there’s a real fetish for finding out what other women put on their faces.

We even love watching those routines in action – the pump and rub of endless skincare videos, to which the editor of Healthista would like me to add my own, but I undertake my first few skincare steps in the shower, so we’ll see.

There’s a real fetish for finding out what other women put on their faces.

What is it about watching women apply moisturiser that turns us on? Is it the soothing effect of watching an action that’s entirely inoffensive and calm?

Most likely, it’s just that an unknown routine possesses the promise of being one step closer to perfect skin of our own.


The reality is there’s only so much you can achieve through regular, off-the-shelf skincare – I’ve mentioned that already – but my routine, honed through years of experience, makes the most of that limited opportunity.

It cleans, refines, stimulates and hydrates, so my skin looks fresh, cared for and ready for make-up, should make-up be required, if not miraculously ten years younger.

I do it once a day with a couple of days off a week, assuming I haven’t got anything on. I’m a firm believer in the skin detox movement that hit the internet a couple of years ago – it’s basically advocating what I’ve done intuitively for years, which is to just leave skin alone sometimes. It’s the fastest way to kick sudden flare-ups or sensitivity into touch.

But on a normal day, when I have to face the world and need to nice up my complexion a bit, this is what I do:

#1 Cleanse thoroughly

I start with a finger scoop of cleansing balm which I spend time massaging in, then steam off using a series of hot compresses. I use flannels soaked with the hot water from my shower and wrung out before being pressed very firmly against my face and gently agitated to remove the product without harshing my skin. It sounds MUCH weirder writing it than doing it.

I follow this with a gentle gel face wash, foamed up on my face, then splashed off. Some ‘experts’ disapprove of splashing, but it works for me.

De Mamiel Cleansing balmElemis cleansing balm

Products I am currently using are: Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm, which feels and smells like heaven, or a rose garden at least; Ikea flannels, which are great value; Almora Evening Face Wash, whose essential oils make this a refreshing but non-drying skin wash at any time of day.

I also love: De Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm, Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser and Fresh Soy Face Cleanser.

#2 Exfoliate occasionally

Once a week, or if my skin feels dull, I add some exfoliating grains to my cleansing balm. Or I’ll use a gentle face scrub after cleansing. I like both chemical exfoliants, like acid toners or light at-home peels, and scrubs. Scrubs have a bad rep as many are rather rough and they get overused, as people do seem to love the invigorating effect they have on skin. However, there are lots of very gentle ones out there, especially the exfoliating grains and powders, and if you use them sensibly, they give a lovely result.

Body Shop Polishing maskGallinee Face mask and scrub

Products I am currently using are: De Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate. I was given this and while it’s absolutely gorgeous and I love it, a cheaper option is The Body Shop’s Chinese Ginseng And Rice Powder.

I also love: Gallinee Face Mask & Scrub.

#3 Swipe on a toner

Gallinee Face VinegarPixi Glow Tonic

I use a glycolic toner, skin vinegar or resurfacing pad on my still-slightly-damp skin.

The purpose of this step as far as I’m concerned is to sweep away any last cleanser, get some refining ingredients (glycolic acid/ probiotics) onto my skin, and extend the moisture window so my unguents are better absorbed.

Think of a sponge or a cloth – they absorb oil, or indeed anything, more easily if they’re damp. The same goes for skin. It’s why facialists always advocate applying your moisturiser onto freshly cleaned, damp skin. In the case of toner, it keeps that moisture window open for longer, as well as adding benefits provided by its ingredients.

It sounds like a silly step but I’d panic without it. It makes me feel like I’m being thorough and my skin full refreshed.

Products I am currently using are: Gallinee Face Vinegar for a very gentle but satisfying (and probiotic-rich) tone.

I also love: Pixi Glow Tonic and Elemental Herbology Resurfacing Pads.

#4 Hydrate part one

Immediately after toning, I apply a tiny bit of hyaluronic serum, which I seal with a spritz of facial mist. I then wait a bit  – insert contact lenses, moisturise body – before the next step.

Balance me pumping mist

Vichy mineral 89

Products I am currently using are: Vichy Mineral 89, Balance Me Hyaluronic Plumping Mist.

I also love: Caudalie Face Elixir.

#5 Hydrate part two

I warm a couple of drops of face oil between my hands and use the scope of my palms and fingers to work it in.

Some people don’t like how shiny face oil makes you look, but my dry skin can take it and anyway it settles soon enough. Tip: you can spritz, then blot with a tissue to take down the sheen.

Products I am currently using are: Neighbourhood Botanicals The Daily Glow. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this stuff is lasting forever.

I also love: Vanderohe Number 1 Face Serum, which is actually a very high quality oil.

Neighbourhood Botanicals The Daily GlowVanderohe face serum

#6 Add lip balm (aka hydrate part three)

If I apply a good one every day, I rarely need to top up. I apply liberally, the pat the excess onto my skin for even more moisture.

Dr Paw Paw Original Balm

Products I am currently using are: Dr Paw Paw Original Balm, a tube I’ve had for about 100 years and which I resurrected when I ran out of my favourite ever lip balm, see below.

I also love: Alpha H Absolute Lip Perfector.

#7 A final flourish

Face mist is the parsley of skincare – a sprinkling here and there makes skin feel more cared for, more finished.


Products I am currently using are: the Balance Me one mentioned above, which I like for its handy size and the promise of hyaluronic acid, which gives great quench.

I’m also trying out Sanoflore Rose Revitalising Toner Mist, which I was given a few weeks ago. Thumbs up for the skin supporting vitamin C and the super-fine spray. Nothing worse than a too-wet face mist, ironically.

Next week: the five-minute facial that gives me better skin overnight.

annabel meggeson beautista column healthista in post

Annabel Meggeson is the former beauty director of Red Magazine and Healthista’s new Beautista columnist.

Annabel’s columns will appear every Friday and feature honest, refreshing coverage of the best anti-ageing treatments, products worth their pricetag, beauty bargains that deliver results and seasonal trend updates. Don’t miss it.

More from Annabel Meggeson:

6 daily self-care tips that will make you fall in love with yourself

11 products this beauty editor actually buys

9 beauty shopping secrets this top expert wants you to know

15 party make-up hacks this gorgeous beauty editor swears by

More Healthista Content:

Karl Lagerfeld lost 93 pounds in 13 months with this strange diet psychology

10 best vegan alternatives to your favourite treats

How to relieve stress – 3 things this TV doctor wants you to know

6 drug-free insomnia fixes you can do tonight

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