I’ve always been intrigued by others' skin-care routines: the complex, the wild, the luxurious. Like an organized handbag or a monogrammed travel wallet, a good skin-care routine cries of having your shit together. In reality, my own skin-care routine is pretty basic: I have some beauty products I really love, but when it comes to what I apply, it depends on what mood I’m in and what's nearby.
For Victoria Beckham, however, there is no such lackadaisical approach to skin care. She is as diligent and dedicated to her routine as you would expect. I bet she has a monogrammed travel wallet.
According to Who What Wear, which recently published a full breakdown of VB’s morning and evening skin-care regimen, the designer follows a five-step morning routine and a six-step evening extravaganza — and it’s not cheap, with the products totalling over $1,000 USD. Prescribed by Australian skin expert and facialist Melanie Grant, who Victoria has enthusiastically credited on Instagram for introducing her to some of her favourite beauty products, the routine includes serums, bespoke masks, and a facial cream that has been created by a professor who is an internationally recognized authority in regenerative sciences. No half measures here.
It got me thinking: Would replicating VB’s ultra luxe, multi-step regimen get my dull, dehydrated skin glowing? Would I finally learn to love a structured skin-care routine? Here's what happened in two weeks of trying out Beckham’s go-to products...
Day 1: AM
First up in the regimen is the Cosmedix Purity Solution Nourishing Oil ($35 USD/$48 CAD) a deeply cleansing mixture of argan, olive, and moringa oils, as well as melia azadirachta extract (also known as neem, which promises to purify and help reduce the appearance of redness due to dry skin). I massage a generous amount onto my skin before emulsifying with water and rinsing off. Victoria uses this cleansing oil morning and night. At first I'm unsure about using an oil so frequently (I have combination skin, but sometimes it verges more on the oily), but by the end of the two weeks it’s truly won me over and become one of my favourite products in the lineup. It really does melt away makeup, leaves skin feeling velvety soft, and smells divine.
The second step of the AM routine is the iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus ($148 USD not available in Canada), which contains all the good stuff: vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and olive leaf extract. It certainly smells clinical, but sinks into the skin quickly and promises to help improve the appearance of blemish-prone, aging skin as well as helping reduce redness and inflammation due to cystic acne, rosacea, or scarring. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is reportedly also a fan.
Then it’s on to the eye cream. VB actually uses Cosmedix Eye Doctor, a high-potency "liquid crystal" serum, but I have a hard time tracking it down, so in its place I tried the Eye Genius ($70 USD/$103 CAD as recommended by WWW). I’ve always struggled with finding an eye cream that’s not too heavy or too light and slippy, but this formula straddles it well. It’s both featherlight and creamy, and I notice a definite reduction in puffiness under the eyes.
The fourth step involves smoothing a couple of pumps of the most expensive beauty product I think I’ve ever used onto my face. Say hello to Augustinus Bader's The Cream ($265 USD not available in Canada). Melanie Grant and Victoria are huge fans of this product, which also counts Alexa Chung, Margot Robbie, and Sandra Oh as enthusiasts. It comes with some pretty impressive credentials (as you might expect with that price tag): Professor Augustinus Bader, who holds over 200 patents, is one of the world's leading stem cell experts, developed a revolutionary hydrogel cream while treating burn victims, which eliminated the need for skin grafts in some patients.
I have to say, The Cream is pretty lovely — it sinks in and refreshes like a gel, but nourishes and hydrates like a cream without leaving a sticky residue. I don’t know whether it’s thanks to this cream, but my skin looks plumper and smoother within a few days.
Finally, there’s a slathering of Sarah Chapman Skinesis Skin Insurance SPF 30 ($69 USD) to round off the morning routine. Victoria uses Melanie Grant's proprietary SPF, which isn't available to shop online yet, but I figure this formula is a solid bet since VB is a big fan of Sarah Chapman's products.
Day 1: PM
After using the Cosmedix Nourishing Oil to remove makeup and grime from the day, Victoria double cleanses with Cosmedix’s Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser ($39 USD/$53 CAD), which features lactic acid, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil to leave skin tingly and minty fresh. I’m impressed by how a pea-sized amount really does lather into the right quantity for the face and neck. It's not cheap, but at this rate, the bottle should last quite a while.
Next up is the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. I have read a lot about this liquid exfoliant, another celebrity favourite that's supposed to brighten and leave skin feeling smooth, with an odd array of ingredients including horseradish and onion extract. There are four different lotions in the range, and an in-store or online "skin analysis" is required before you can get ahold of a bottle.
Following my analysis, I’m recommended the P50W ($67 USD), the gentlest in the range. Victoria uses the P50, but because the line is so potent, it's better to work up to it. For the first two weeks, you’re advised to use a few drops of the lotion applied to a dampened cotton pad, patting across the face, neck, and décolleté (without rubbing or passing over the same area more than once). I’m equally terrified and excited to give this one a go. The first time I use it, I find the lotion quite astringent and notice some tingling, especially on areas where my skin is sensitive due to blemishes. After a few days, my skin adjusts to it and there isn’t too much discomfort, although I’m always glad to follow it up with a moisturizing serum.
Now, in comes the retinol, another product in the regimen that should be approached with care. Beckham uses the Cosmedix Serum 24, but that one is also tricky to track down; instead, I use the brand’s Serum 16 ($80 USD/$116 CAD). I’m advised to use this one to three times a week to start, switching to nightly use once my skin has adjusted.
After allowing the serum a few minutes to sink in and popping on some of the Eye Genius, I apply Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream ($265 USD not available in Canada), which does exactly what it says on the bottle. It’s thicker and richer than The Cream I used in the morning routine, offers an almost shield-like layer — after applying it, I feel like I’ve locked in all the other hardworking skin products underneath for the night.
I'm amazed by how smooth and soft my skin is feeling after just a couple of days. Of course, everyone's skin is different and simply copying a routine tailor-made for someone else doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the same results — but undeniably, my skin is already benefitting from a regular routine and some top products with clever ingredients.
Uh oh. It was going so well, but I’ve been a bit heavy-handed with the retinol. After my night cleanse I notice a sorry-looking red patch on my cheek, along with a rather flushed face. Despite looking sore, it doesn't actually hurt, but I decide to pare it back a bit and take a few days' break from the most intense products: the Biologique Recherche Lotion and the retinol serum.
I never knew plumper skin was something I was after, but these products are giving it to me and I am loving it. My face feels smoother and dry patches have been all but eliminated — plus, the redness from the overzealous retinol application has dissipated.
I’m also starting to see why so many beauty editors sing the praises of Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis range: The SPF 30 not only has a lovely light, smooth texture, but the formula is like a filter in a tube. I don’t know whether it’s the "smart light-scattering powders and an intelligent adaptive tint" but this cream really helps create a smooth base and gives me the confidence to go out without makeup, in a way I’d always wanted but not quite achieved without a sneaky bit of concealer first.
As much as I am pleased with the effect of the products on my skin, I'm also amazed by my steadfast approach to this routine. Let's be honest: A daily skin-care routine that involves 11 steps is no small feat. To start with, it was quite time-consuming and there were some moments, especially after late nights, when double-cleansing was the last thing I fancied doing before hitting the hay. But as I've grown more comfortable with how and when to use the products, it's become a calming, nourishing part of my day and I'm getting much speedier. Also, the minutes I've added to my skin care have freed up time elsewhere: having smoother, glowing skin means I'm much more comfortable without makeup and when I do wear cosmetics they have a great base, so it's not such a stress-filled event. The products in Victoria's routine are certainly a luxury — but a key lesson here is the importance of getting yourself into a regular routine of looking after your skin, whether you're committing to 10 steps or two.
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