Facialist Abigail James Shares Her Skincare Routine

Whose skincare regime are you more curious to read about than an A-list facialist? Here, Abigail James – one of London’s most sought-after skincare pros – reveals the steps she takes and the ingredients she uses to keep her skin in tip top condition.

In The Morning...

Cleansing Is My Starting Point…
In the morning, I only cleanse once with a gentle wash or a cream cleanser. It’s always one or the other, but it depends on how my skin is feeling. With a cream cleanser, you can really massage it in and get down deep for optimum results. A favourite of mine is QMS’s Deep Cleanser. It’s a gentle emulsifier, so it doesn’t upset your stratum corneum (your epidermis) or the overall balance of your skin.

Two Serums Are Key…
Straight after I’ve cleansed my skin, I follow up with two serums – one that is vitamin C-based and also a hydrating hyaluronic. These are two key components in my regime – serums can penetrate the skin at a much deeper level so you get results faster. My current go-tos are Q+A’s Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum and Cosmedix’s Affirm Antioxidant Firming Serum. On top of that, I often add a vitamin C powder to my day serums to give an extra brightening boost – Philosophy’s Turb Booster Vitamin C Powder is brilliant. 

Rich Creams Are Paramount…
I prefer day creams to be richer than my evening ones – that goes for eye products, too, which are always applied pre-moisturiser. I like the skin to feel plump and hydrated throughout the day, then go lighter in layering at night so I’m never overloading my skin. My favourite is Kat Burki’s Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream. It’s rich and nourishing, and brightens and firms the skin almost immediately. Finally, I’ll finish with an SPF – applying it is non-negotiable if I’m leaving the house. I am a big fan of mineral formulas, like Osmosis’ SPF30 Broad Spectrum, as it protects against the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation but is less likely to cause irritation. 

Body Brushing Is A Godsend…
My morning routine was very minimal pre-Covid. It consisted of just a light moisturiser on my arms and legs, and a good misting of fragrance. However, since lockdown and working more from home, I’ve tried to incorporate more dry body brushing to refine and even out my skin tone. I sometimes apply a light dry body oil after showering to wake up my body and get rid of any dull pallor. 

Skincare Breaks Are Necessary…
At the weekend, I sometimes take a more minimal approach. In this case, I’ll do a cleanse and use a little oil, just to give my skin a much-needed break. It’s important to keep it nourished, but give it some breathing room, too. 

In The Evening… 

Evening Is When I Double Cleanse…
If I am wearing minimal make-up, then one cleanse will suffice. But more often than not, I begin with a cream or balm, massaging it in and gently removing the top layer of dirt and product. Then, I go in with a wash as my second cleanse – sometimes I do this in the shower to make things more efficient. 

Actives Aren’t Key In My Regime…
After I’ve cleansed, I like to apply a gentle acid tonic to exfoliate my skin once every three nights, then immediately afterwards I’ll sometimes use a retinol. I do see the benefit of actives occasionally, but I’m not obsessed with them. The skin needs other ingredients, including topical probiotics, peptides and stem cells – often these are overlooked yet they’re just as important as a retinol if you want healthier-looking skin.  

Often, I Skip Night Cream…
Instead, I prefer to layer up serums which have a thinner consistency. I don’t like night creams as I don’t find them as effective. I use a tiny bit of oil after my serums, too, just to hydrate and lock everything in. 

Unwinding Begins In The Shower…
I’m a real night-time shower person. For me, the true way to unwind and relax is by getting into bed feeling and smelling clean. I always shower at a cooler temperature, using a gentle body wash and brush to buff the skin, and then I apply an oil or cream to hydrate and get rid of any dry patches. 

Finally, A Good Head Massage Is A Cure-All…
A 15-second head and scalp massage is a great way to wake you up, or calm you down at the end of the day. You don’t need any product, just your hands and fingers. Don’t be afraid to press too firmly either – you’ll be surprised by how powerful such a small action can be. 

 

Book an appointment with Abigail, or get more skincare advice and tips from her YouTube channel here

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