When I was growing up, life seemed to be all about rules. Don't run with scissors. Don't pull your sister's hair (mwahahaha). Finish your main or you can't have desert...
I guess I needed them for guidance - a point very well proven by the frankly startling number of catastrophes I now seem to achieve on a daily basis. I mean - even as we speak, I just ordered nearly £600 of beachwear from ASOS to my ex's address (I'm not even going to the beach anymore. Huge fail), and last week I flooded my entire flat.
Suffice to say, I adult pretty badly - perhaps because there's less rules to follow and even fewer people to enforce them. If I'm honest, I kind of long for the safety net of some stringent rules again. The other day, I voiced this to my friend. It went like this.. me: "I think I need some sort of live-in nanny". Her: "I think at our age that's known as a housekeeper". Clever clogs.
Of course, the other pickle is that rules have a funny habit of changing. Just look at superfoods - yesterday's acai berries are today's satsuma. And just look at the fresh hell the humble egg yolk went through circa 2012.
And then there's the rules that people just don't tell you. Betches.
I'm not a betch. So here's all I know to be true about skincare, thanks to three years on the Marie Claire beauty team, and 28 as a chronic beauty product hoarder.
1. Sleep on a silk pillowslip - it prevents friction so is less ageing to your skin. It also stops you getting those awful sleep creases when you wake up.
2. And on that note, switch sides every so often so you're not always putting pressure on the same side of your face. Ideally you should sleep on your back - but I can't judge since my favoured position is face down like a baby..
3. Close pores with a splash of cold water, or using a cold spoon (yes, really) before applying makeup.
4. Plain old moisturiser won't cut it. You see, although moisturiser is a barrier cream which prevents moisture loss, it doesn't actually create moisture. In order to really hydrate you need to lock something more concentrated underneath said barrier first. If your skin is sensitive, try a natural serum like What Skin Needs.
5. If you use a mud mask to detoxify weekly (and you should), make sure you exfoliate afterwards to actually get rid of the toxins your skin has just eliminated. Herbalife's Berry Scrub is pleasingly grainy so you can really feel it working.
6. That over-used buzz word, Hyaluronic Acid? Actually a way more complicated beast than we gave it credit for - and not all HA was created equal. Which is exactly what you need, since the use of different sized molecules in a hydration product will help draw moisture into different layers of the skin. REN Hydro Boost does this marvellously, and leaves skin with a plumped effect.
7. Dryness and dehydration are two different things (I know, sorry). For dryness, use a serum. For dehydration use an oil.
8. On which note, don't be afraid of using an oil on oily skin. I realise it seems counter-productive, but actually feeding skin with what it really needs will stop it over-compensating, which is what can cause excess oil. I've been using Elizabeth Grant Cell Active Dry Treatment Oil.
9. Apply primer about five minutes before the rest of your make-up. I'm not sure why this is but all the top make-up artists do it, so...
10. Apply product with your fingertips rather than your palms.
11. Apply eye creams (or gels or whateves) with your fourth finger. For some reason these ones distribute the least pressure, which is crucial for the sensitive eye area.
12. It's actually kind of true that you are what you eat (and drink). I mean, within reason - I'm not a gigantic plate of steak and sweet potato fries. Yet.. But one of the most effective ways to up your collagen levels is to ingest it - there's loads of brands that do supplements you can take, or pre-made drinks like Gold Collagen or Skinade can be yummy IF they're icy icy cold (do not try warm - you have been warned..)