I’ve been waiting a long time for my adult skin to arrive.

Like a child waiting to lose their baby teeth, I’ve been counting down the days until I wake up without *another* spot in the same place as I had when I was 13, and 14, and 15, and 16, and all the other years in between.

Alas, it never came. I realised actually, that it doesn’t exist and that if I wanted it, I was going to need to work for it. Mohammed to the mountain and all that.

With hindsight, I should have realised the glowing A-listers on whom I pinned my hopes and dreams were not falling asleep with their makeup on three times a week, neglecting moisturiser and picking at their spots. I should have realised too that when your face is your job, you’ve probably called in a professional or two, but a jealous mind lacks such rationale.

My skincare journey began, properly, about three months ago. I’ve been dabbling with baby steps over the past few months and years, but the vow to stop fucking around and take it seriously was made after an hour spent with skincare guru Alexandra Soveral, celebrating the launch of her new book.

(Alexandra did a Q&A with me a few years ago if you fancy reading it by the way).

She taught me the importance of my skin, the biggest organ on my body. Something that should be respected and nourished.

I have her to thank for the fact that my skin no longer longer hurts for about an hour after I get out the shower on a winter’s morning and that I now look forward to taking my makeup off in the evenings because the process makes my skin so soft. I have her to thanks for lots of things really.

Although I still rock a spot from time-to-time (I’m a human after all), my over all complexion is ten times better than I ever thought it could be and I’m thrilled about the prospect of being able to lie about my age for years to come thanks to my smooth-as-a-baby’s-arse-forehead.

I realised that good skin was more than being spotless, it was about the glow, the overall complexion. Yes. That’s a word I understand now.

After Y-E-A-R-S of searching, I have found the closest thing to an answer I probably ever will and, since someone complimented my skin for the first time ever on Instagram a few days ago, I thought I’d share the lessons I’ve learned.

So without further ado. here’s a list of tips and tricks I’ve taken on over the last few years, from a combination of Alexandra’s guidance and a fairly rigorous process of trail and error:



Banish makeup wipes.

I have said this before and I will say it again (and again, and again), they’ve GOT TO GO. I know they’re so practical. I know that they’re quick and easy and they ‘seem to get the job done’. I also know that they are terrible for the environment and so rinsed in chemicals that they shouldn’t be anywhere near your face.

I noticed a dramatic difference in my skin after I stopped using them, namely my face stopped stinging, looking red raw and flaking.

DIY exfoliators 

I spent years using exfoliators that I found on offer in Boots, scrubbing my skin to within an inch of it’s life, working on the logic that this winning formula was surely going to remove every ounce of shit my skin had accumulated in the weeks since I’d last done it. I’d always leave the bathroom looking like someone had used my face to scrub the tarmac outside their house and gave up a few years ago.

UNTIL I was taught a little trick that’s changed it all and it’s so fabulously random that I can’t get enough of it. About once a week, or as often as I remember (so twice a month maybe), I pour into my hands a gulp of groundnut oil and a generous serving of pouring salt (N.B. Not the posh stuff people leave in bowls on the tables – the smooth one that looks like sugar that the Daily Mail keeps telling us will give us cancer).

I rub them together and then get to work on my face, massaging it quite rigorously, but not aggressively into my skin for as long as I can be bothered with. I then get a warm flannel and remove it all – accepting that I will find salt in my eyebrows for the next few days.

I cannot tell you how great I look after this is done.

Cleanse. Cleanse. And then cleanse again.

What did I do before I discovered this? And how are people living without it? I honestly, honestly don’t know. At the end of every day, even if I’m really drunk, I rub an oil based cleanser into my skin, properly massaging it in (clockwise, always clockwise – not sure why) until I feel like I’ve got all the shit out of it and then remove it all with a warm flannel. (Not one from the White Company though, unless you want your boyfriend to go bat shit crazy with you when he sees all the lovely white fluffy towels are now orange and black.)

This, in all honesty, has brought about the biggest transformation in my skin.


I always worked on the logic that if I had oily skin, the last thing I should do would be to put more oil on it. I associated oil with spots, I think I have deep fat fryers to thank for that. I was SO wrong.

As it turns out, there are good oils and there are bad oils. Good oils can remove the bad oils. Good oils can do a whole tonne of good for you. I absolutely adore the oiling process, I use four or five drops, rub them between my finger tips and onto my clean, dry face – again, in clockwise, until I feel like my skin has absorbed every last drop.

When I first started my skin was SO dry, four drops were barely scratching the surface, I noticed a difference very quickly.


I mean, it’s so obvious, but it’s so neglected.

If you were thirsty, you’d have a drink. WHY we can’t afford the same luxury to our skin I will never know. There are a million people out there who will be ready to tell you why and how moisturiser is so great, I am not an expert, but what I do know is this: moisturiser makes my skin feel soft, it makes it glow, it protects it from the baddy germs kicking around all over London, it rehydrates me, it stops my skin from feeling painful and tight.

It is wonderful and I love it. Moisturise people. All the damn time.

Clean your makeup brushes.

Obviously, but seriously, when was the last time you did it? I think the last time my beauty blender saw water it was 2017. This is not only revolting, but very much to blame for spots.

Think about it. If you use a brush to rub concealer into a particularly disgusting spot, you are covering the bristles, or sponge, whatever it is, with bad bacteria. The next morning, or whenever it is that you use that brush again, you will be rubbing that same bad bacteria into other places in your skin. Along with all the shit that lives in your makeup bag too actually.

Not only is it gross, but it’s fixable. So just clean your damn brushes.

Fresh air.

Alexandra was telling me the other day that the reason I get spots and dry skin at this time of year more than that any other time is because of the central heating. With that in mind I’ve taken to shoving my head out the window every chance I get and, when possible, sleeping with the window open.

Fuck knows if it’s working, but I’m trying.


If you can get your mitts on some fancy, sticky honey, it will work miracles on pulling out your blackheads. I’m lucky and don’t suffer with them too badly (since I started cleansing anyway) but my sister swears by this. It might seem counterintuitive to basically rub sugar onto your face, but if you’ve got sticky honey, rub a bit between your fingers and dab it against your nose. It really does work at pulling out the shit, just remember to clean it off properly afterwards.

No picking.

Seriously. NO PICKING.

This is something that I am still working on, but often failing at. Keep your grubby mitts off your beautiful face. You touch a fucktonne of shit all day every day, your poor hands are disgusting, don’t make your face suffer the same fate. You’ve only got one.



Now for all of this I have to say I do mostly use Alexandra’s products. For the cleanser I use her Angel Balm, for the oil I use her Midnight Oil and my moisturiser is her Moody Skin Moisturiser. I am well aware that they are expensive, but if this process has taught me anything it’s that skincare is the one area I am very happy to invest in.

You don’t need to do the same if the purse strings are tight at the moment, I’m by no means saying you need to use these too, I’m sure there are some wonderful alternatives out there, but these are the ones that I have found and that I adore.

If there was just one product from her range that I really couldn’t live without though – gun to my head decision, it would be the Angel Balm, that really is desert island product. (If you want to try it out before committing you can get a smaller pot than the one below for £19 – a little long goes a long way remember).



So how often am I doing all of this and in what order?



Wash my face with cold water (assuming I haven’t got pissed up and fallen asleep with my makeup on.)


Oil based cleanser.
(sometimes oil, depending on the state of my skin – if I am spotty or oily at the time, I’ll head straight for the moisturiser).


About once a week, whenever I have the time or remember I will do the following, incredibly luxurious things:

Apply the Angel Balm Cleanser and leave it on for about 20 minutes.
Remove it with a hot flannel.
Use my DIY exfoliator and rub that in for about 5 minutes.
Remove it with a hot flannel.
If I need it, use the honey, again, removing it with the hot flannel.
Dry my skin gently, oil and then moisturise.

I did this on New Year’s Eve and honestly, hand on heart, I don’t think my skin has ever looked better.



Hey. What do I know? I’m quite obviously #notabeautyblogger. What I am though is a girl who, over the last decade, has made some catastrophic skincare mistakes and who, since seeking out some wisdom, wants to share it.

Before all of this I thought that my skin was just one of those things. I acknowledged it’s existence on my body, I knew it was a part of my life, but I never really gave a shit. I genuinely believed that if I waited for long enough, it would just get good.

I am incredibly grateful for the lessons I’ve learnt and that I have got into the habit of good skincare at such a young age, it has given me so much confidence and a face to be proud of. It’s like getting the pregnancy glow without the stress of having to cook and then birth a human. Win win for me at this stage of my life really.

The other thing I would recommend, the final thing, as I appreciate this is information overload, is the book Perfect Skin that Alexandra published last year – if skin is something that interests you or you just want to pick up a few tips and tricks and understand more about this weird and wonderful organ and what you can be doing to protect and preserve it, I cannot recommend this highly enough.


So there you have it. The first of it’s kind really, in that I might actually be offering some practical advice. I hope it was of interest and that you’ve been able to take something from it!

Whilst I may not be #skincaregoals, I am, finally, very very happy with the weird shit stretched over the front of my skull – and that’s something to celebrate at least.



  1. Natasza
    January 17, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    I will definitely look into Alexandra’s skin care line – I swear by the Korean skincare but I also like to branch out and try new things. Makeup wipes I’m still not giving up on (removing my makeup right after I come home is to me an equivalent of taking off my bra and since I already use a face wash twice a day, squeezing in another wash in the middle of the day seems excessive) and I still love my Cremorlab wipes. Recently I got curious about chemical exfoliants versus physical ones, but I didn’t pay enough attention during my chemistry class to feel safe to put acid on my face. So that’s still on hold. I’m also always wondering where the difference lays between a face oil and a serum, because oftentimes they look like the same damn thing. Also, as I’m an oily skin gal, I can’t imagine my life without a solid tonic. And for moisture, I love these “water” moisturizers because they feel so damn good. I’m currently looking for my holy grail face mask (and a holy grail way to remove it without having clay spots all over my sink) and eye cream (although smart people say that you don’t need a separate moisturizer for your eyes and you should use the same one as on your face). The two things I’m absolutely terrible about is picking on my spots (it’s like an addiction) and cleaning makeup brushes. In my defense, I never use brushes for liquid products (foundation, concealer) but I use my various size beauty blenders instead and those I wash after every use. My eyeshadow, blush and highlighter blushes though could definitely use some love…

  2. Claire
    January 17, 2018 / 10:25 pm

    Love this! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I will definitely try the honey and the exfoliant, although without peanut oil, as I am very allergic. Is there a specific reason you use peanut oil? I like almond oil though, seems like a good substitute!

    I am the worst with picking spots. I know they’ll just disappear fairly quickly if I leave them alone, but I n e v e r do… and then they take forever to heal. So silly, I just don’t understand, it really is like an addiction!

    • Emily Clarkson
      January 17, 2018 / 10:35 pm

      No you can use oil just not olive oil cause it’s so heavy!!! I’d say go for almond ❤️ and let’s make a pledge to stop picking!! Xx

  3. Cam Coulson
    January 18, 2018 / 8:26 pm

    As someone who has always suffered from oily and spotty skin, I would never have thought to apply oil to my face! This will be a new thing for me to try in the constant battle to neutralise some of the oiliness!
    I am 2 months away from turning 30 and in the last 6 months I banished the wipes and OMG the difference it made to my skin is unreal- I wish 16 year old me had known about how terrible they truly are as it would have saved both my skin and my pennies.
    I’ve recently amped up my skin care routine because..well I’m about to turn 30 and I thought it was about time that I looked after my face! I’m so careful to make sure my face looks it’s absolute best with hundreds of makeup products smeared all over it but neglect it when it’s naked!
    I’ve also started using anti wrinkle cream, night and day… because 30.

    What is it about being on the precipice of 30 that has suddenly made me freak out about skin care?! Waaaah!


    • Emily Clarkson
      January 18, 2018 / 8:29 pm

      Honestly oil has made the biggest difference to me – and I never thought to try it either!! Oh BABE don’t worry about 30 – you’ll rock it. And remember – it’s just a number xxxxx

  4. Helen Armitage
    April 9, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    I read this blog post at the time it came online (even printed it out because I’m a nerd!) – I too am also a member of the ‘acne into adulthood’ club. 36 years old and it’s still with me! I printed the post so I could take it round the shops on a small mission to find and compare similar products to those you mention. I started using a creme based face cleanser and a facial oil and dropped back exfoliation to once per week and I’ve been doing this for about two months now although my skin isn’t perfect (my acne is so bad I have medication) it is TONNES better than it ever has been and I wanted to thank you because for the first time in my teen/adult years I don’t hate the skin on my face, and for me that’s massive. It helps my confidence so much 🙂 🙂

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