I’ve always been intrigued by others' skincare routines: the complex, the wild, the luxurious. Like an organised handbag or a monogrammed travel wallet, a good skincare routine cries of having your shit together. In reality, my own skincare routine is pretty basic. I have some beauty products I really love but when it comes to what I apply, it depends on what comes to hand and what mood I’m in. For Victoria Beckham though, there is no such lackadaisical approach to skincare. 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 skincare regime, the designer follows a five-step morning regime and a six-step evening extravaganza. And it’s not cheap, with the products totalling over £800. Put together 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 recognised authority in regenerative sciences. No half measures here.
It got me thinking. Would replicating VB’s ultra luxe, multi-step regime get my dull, dehydrated skin glowing? Would I finally learn to love a structured skincare routine? Here's what happened in two weeks of trialling Beckham’s go-to products...
Day One, AM
First up in the regime is the Cosmedix Purity Solution Nourishing Oil, £37.72, a deeply cleansing mixture of argan, olive and moringa oils as well as melia azadirachta extract (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 dubious of using an oil so frequently (I have combination skin but sometimes it verges more on the oily) but (spoiler alert!) 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, £63, which contains all the goodies: 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, ageing 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’s Eye Doctor, a liquid crystal, high potency serum, but it proved hard to track down in the UK, so in its place I tried the Eye Genius, as recommended by WWW. I’ve always struggled with finding an eye cream that’s not too heavy or too light and slippy, but the Cosmedix Eye Genius, £75.42, straddles it well. It’s both featherlight and creamy and I notice a definite reduction in puffiness under the eyes.
Still with me? We’re on to the fourth step, which 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, £205. 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 is one of the world's leading stem cell experts, who holds over 200 patents and developed a revolutionary hydrogel cream while treating burn victims, which in some patients eliminated the need for skin grafts. 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’s Skinesis Skin Insurance SPF30 Perfecting Tint, £52, to round off the morning routine. Victoria uses Melanie Grant's own SPF but as you can't get that in the UK at the moment, I'm using the Skinesis SPF and tint as Victoria is a sworn fan of Sarah Chapman's products.
After using the Cosmedix Nourishing Oil to remove makeup and grime from the day, Victoria double cleanses with Cosmedix’s Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser, £42.03, which boasts lactic acid, tea tree oil and peppermint oil, leaving skin tingly and minty fresh. I’m impressed by how the pea sized amount I’ve pumped really does lather into the right quantity for the face and neck. It might be over £40 but at this rate, will last a good while.
Next up is the Biologique Recherche Lotion, £61. I have read a lot about this. The liquid exfoliant is another celebrity favourite and is supposed to brighten, leave skin feeling smooth and has an odd array of ingredients including horseradish and onion extract. There are four different lotions in the range and before you can get hold of a bottle, a skin analysis is required, which can be done in store or online.
Following my analysis, I’m recommended the P50W lotion, the gentlest in the range. Victoria uses the P50 but it’s best to work up to this one. For the first two weeks, you’re advised to use a few drops of the lotion applied to a dampened cotton pad (I used the Tabitha Eve Reusable Organic Cotton and Bamboo Make Up Rounds, £5.50 for five), patting across the face, neck and décolleté (not rubbing and not 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 though, my skin adjusts to it and there isn’t too much discomfort, although I’m always glad to follow it up with a moisturising serum.
Now, in comes the retinol and it’s another product in the regime that requires care. Beckham uses the Cosmedix Serum 24, but this is also tricky to track down and instead I’m using the brand’s Serum 16, £86.20, which also contains retinol. I’m advised to use this one to three times a week to start with, 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, £205, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s thicker than The Cream used in the morning routine, richer and offers an almost shield-like layer. After applying it, I feel like I’ve encased 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 Skin Insurance SPF30 Perfecting Tint not only has a lovely smooth and ultra light texture, it’s 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 (once rubbed in properly) 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 am also amazed by my steadfast approach to this routine. Let's be honest, a daily skincare routine that involves 11 steps is no light regime. 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 skincare 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, whether you're spending hundreds of pounds or a few quid, get yourself into a regular routine of looking after your skin, be that two steps or 10.
Talking about Victoria's commitment to skincare, dermatologist Dr Harold Lancer said this: "Victoria doesn’t just sporadically do something...she follows a programme with the same determination as an Olympic athlete." Boy, can I believe that.