My Beauty Routine: Dr Sam Bunting, Cosmetic Dermatologist

My Beauty Routine: Dr Sam Bunting, Cosmetic Dermatologist

Dr Sam Bunting is one of the most in-demand cosmetic dermatologists working today. A wealth of knowledge, there’s little she doesn’t know about skin and its requirements. From the cleansers and serums she rates to the reasons she swears by cold showers, Sam explains what she does herself every morning and evening.
Photography: @DRSAMBUNTING

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

In The Morning…

Mornings for me are about a thorough cleanse. I start with my own Flawless Cleanser, followed by my Neutralising Gel. If I use or do too much, my skin can become temperamental, so I enjoy this combination as it’s simple, but it works to keep my pores clear and breakouts at bay. After that, I finish with a lightweight moisturiser and an SPF – then that’s me done. A light texture is key in my skincare formulas as they dry faster, meaning you can get out the door quicker, and not have to faff with layers pilling – causing those tiny, rolling beads that can make your skincare less effective and not sit right. 

Taking time to enjoy skincare is important. I’ll always make my cleanse mindful – this means taking a full minute to relax and consciously slow my breathing, prolonging the exhale to encourage calming vagal nerve activation. It’s the only way we can control our autonomic nervous system and I’ve come to recognise that this is vital for me – I hold my breath when stressed, and I’ll focus on how it feels to massage each zone of my face with my fingertips. This gives me a clear mind and sense of being centred, which is a great way to start my day.

I’ll always use my 13-dot technique. I believe this is the best way to apply product evenly to your skin, ensuring you get the best possible performance from your products. It’s especially important when it comes to SPF application and it’s the easiest way to make sure you’re applying the correct amount. I have a tutorial of me showcasing the technique here. 

Skin thrives on monotony. Yes, I’ll make tiny tweaks based on changing seasons, but the core, active ingredients I use remain the same. Consistency is key and I’ve discovered that a combination of retinoids, azelaic acid and niacinamide is the secret sauce for me, just as it is for many of my patients. Why? Because within that, you have anti-ageing, brightening and soothing benefits from the niacinamide, so it tends to be that all issues are ticked at once. 

A cold shower is essential. It’s the best way to start the day with a positive mindset. My brain is very busy, so I try to harness that early morning clarity by settling for 20 minutes of meditation. I use Dr Joe Dispenza’s Morning Meditation. I read his book Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself four months ago and found it incredibly powerful so I’ve made this part of my morning ritual. 

Skincare monotony means I can experiment with make-up. As I say, I’m committed to a set skincare regime, but it does allow me to play in other areas. Once all the above steps are complete, I’ll do a little concealing, groom my brows, then curl my lashes. I love the brand Wayne Goss and his beautiful lipsticks and contour palette – both of which are ideal for fair skin. The Kjaer Weis cream blushers are a must for me as well, while the Surratt Everything Brow & Lash is always in my make-up bag.

In The Evening…

The evenings are when I double-up. I don’t change things dramatically, but I’ll use two pumps of cleanser instead of one. In my opinion, the benefits of a single cleanse always outweigh a double one. This is because it’s kinder to your skin’s barrier function – one cleanse never irritates or strips too much, but with the right amount of product, it’ll still remove everything swiftly. I’ll then apply moisturiser around my eyes, before layering on a retinoid to create what I call ‘moisturiser goggles’ to protect the delicate eye area. I rotate between using prescription tretinoin or a nightly serum with retinol in, depending on how my skin feels. I’ll then seal everything with a layer of moisturiser. 

Retinols shouldn’t be underestimated. If there’s only one tip you take away from this, it’s to use a retinoid at night – should your skin require it. It’s the most important part of my routine as it helps suppress breakouts and the signs of premature ageing. It’s like turning the light on in your skin. I will say it’s important to maintain tolerance, so always use moisturiser before or after your retinol to buffer the effects and boost hydration. 

Maintaining my barrier function is paramount. This may sound odd, but at night I pay close attention to the air quality within my bedroom. People think this is a myth, but it’s true central heating can play havoc with barrier function and set it off balance entirely. I recommend investing in a humidifier to counteract the effects and combat any issues while you sleep.

Finally, I’ll always ditch technology by 9pm. Good quality sleep is essential to bringing my A-game at work. I try to switch off from technology at least an hour before bed and I’m very particular about my sleep environment – hence the humidifier. I am currently enjoying reading School of Life’s Great Thinkers – a little philosophy before bed often puts problems in perspective and aids better sleep. I also enjoy listening to a Yoga Nidra recording I discovered on Goop – it encourages a good night’s rest, which is never to be underestimated as it will always boost your skin and its appearance.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily