• Rosie Baxendale

The ultimate guide to skincare for beginners

I’m an enormous hedonist.

When I realised that skincare could stop being a necessary evil and instead become two moments in my day of pure pleasure, it spurred a fascination akin to when I first learned how to make myself cum. In both instances, I’ve never looked back.

I believe you should always lead with your face, and modern skincare has let us do that in a swift and affordable manner that when you find the right ingredients for you, is also supremely effective.

This industry is huge and can be a minefield, luckily there is a basic routine and killer ingredients that will work wonders for most people.

This guide is by no means exhaustive, and certain products/ingredients will be perfect for some and underwhelming (or potentially aggravating) for others. A lot will come down to trial and error. But this is an excellent place to start. All I want for you is to look like you’ve just had a monster orgasm and here’s how.


Ah, cleansing. A bore and hindrance to everyone young enough to have not yet realised they need to take care of their body’s most precious (and largest) organ, but according to expert Caroline Hirons it’s the backbone of your skincare routine.

You should be doing it quickly and simply in the morning and TWICE in the evening if you have worn SPF or makeup that day. The first cleanse can be micellar water if you’re lazy, or (shudders) bum wipes if you’re disgusting/inebriated (Note: I can’t call them cleansing facial wipes as there’s no point in denying they are bum wipes and awful – but when needs must it’s certainly superior to not cleansing at all).

For the morning cleanse, I like something simple, refreshing and not too heavy. You need to remove the dead skin/oils/fluff and other such filth from your fod, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal.

In the evening, however – level up. Your first cleanse (an oil, balm or makeup removing agent) will be to remove the day’s gunk. Clinique’s take The Day Off Balm is my ultimate favourite. It melts into an oil as you massage it in and then you simply take a clean, warm flannel to scrub/polish/wipe it all away.

Your second cleanse is where you can choose to be indulgent. If you’re a penniless sitar player then use the same one again, but if you’re feeling luxe then it doesn’t get better than Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel. Apply using the same method as before (onto dry hands and a dry face, smooth and gently rub all over and remove with a warm wet flannel). Yes, cleansing your face in the shower is speedier but these products work best when tended to over the sink afterwards.


Toning in the traditional/90s sense is almost entirely bullshit. But modern skincare/accessibility has meant that we are no longer wafting/spraying some glorified scented water on our faces.

Now, taking a cotton pad soaked in a glycolic acid (pixi makes a brilliant one) at this step over the skin and your skin will rise tomorrow SINGING.

Optional at this stage is a nice spritz – an act not too far removed from the aforementioned ‘traditional’ toning nonsense and almost entirely unnecessary but certainly gives a boost of cooling/calming pleasure. My personal favourite for this is Pixi’s Milky Mist.


This is where the magic (science) happens. Ideally have one serum for each for your skincare needs and alternate each morning/evening for projected activities and relevant skin issues/requirements.

Some of my favourites include:

Hyaluronic Acid – a chemical that works by taking the moisture in the air and drawing it down into your skin, every skin type will see a difference (I have read that in very dry heat/the desert it can have the opposite effect, taking moisture from your skin and throwing it into the ether so take heed!)

Lactic/Glycolic Acid – my favourite for ‘chemical’ exfoliation (and that’s the only sort of exfoliation we should be doing on the face, physical is damaging and way too harsh *ahem* St Ives apricot scrubs (vomit emoji).

This works by breaking the bonds holding your dead scummy old skin down to the beautiful fresh baby’s bum skin, it’s an evening only serum and please ensure to start using only once a week then build up as tolerated. My favourite is Sunday Riley’s Good Genes/REN’s Wake Wonderful.

Retinol – this is a form of Vitamin A and it is the number 1 ingredient for anti-aging. I don’t know the specifics on how it does this and again, start using sporadically before building up as you tolerate it, but this ingredient will change your skin for the better, no matter your age.

Sunday Riley’s Luna Oil is marvellous but retinol serums are popping up plentifully and at all price points. My Mum has gone from being a bum wipe and thick nivea gloop moisturiser fiend to hailing The Ordinary’s $8 retinol serum as having ‘changed her face majestically’.


  1. Morning – make it lighter and it should include SPF.

  2. Evening – if your serums are working for you then this step can involve minimal thought.

(Both Pixi Hydra/Beauty Sleep Cream and Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar morning and evening moisturisers have spread amongst my group of friends/family as ultimates for effectiveness, pleasure and consistency).

A delicious oil at bedtime (before, after, or in place of a moisturiser depending on skin type/preference and serums used prior) can be delightful for replenishing the skin as you slumber. A particularly proficient ingredient in an oil is omega – ‘fish oil for the face dahling’ – juicy and youthful. I like The Ordinary’s Rosehip Oil and La Belle Lune’s Oil.

SPF – just use it. I know, it sucks and can be oily but the world we live in is catering to this first world problem of ours and Alpha-H’s Daily Protect SPF50+ moisturiser is an excellent example.

Final words of advice

  1. Take it to the tits (as coined by Caroline Hirons). Your neck and décolletage need love too.

  2. The Ordinary is a brand that make duplicates of pretty much all of these products and then some (exact same chemicals, just less faff/scent/fancy packaging) that are eons cheaper than everything else and essentially work just as well. Their branding is very ‘scientific/mathematical’ so do your research before purchasing to ensure you’re choosing the right things.

  3. Eye cream is debatably just a money-maker/extra faff and some are lovely but you can certainly use your facial moisturiser around the eye area to get the job done.

I’m not a skincare expert, and could go on for miles about this (indeed, we haven’t even touched on some skincare big boys like Vitamin C, acne treatments, zinc oxide, copper tripeptide and C0Q10, oh my!) so if this intrigues you (and my friends, it SHOULD) then please visit carolinehirons.com and start with her cheat sheets – you’re SO welcome.

Rosie is a nurse by day and a dance floor diva by night. She relished in a rainy day spent masturbating under the doona listening to Portishead. Lurk her @rosiebax.

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