When it comes to beauty experimentation, I'm up for trying pretty much anything once: from the new brands I've spotted on Instagram to the ingredients that are trending right now. Heck, I've even been known to swap entire skincare routines with my grandma in the name of research. So, when I was challenged in a recent Who What Wear edit meeting to adopt the skincare routine of one of our favourite celebs—Victoria Beckham—I jumped at the chance. Especially when I realised that her morning and evening skincare totalled a massive £874. Surely, I was going to have an entirely new face at the end of the week using products that fancy?
VB has made no secret of her past skin issues—and credits celebrity facialists Sarah Chapman and Melanie Grant with helping to keep her adult acne in check and her complexion glowing. So, when Grant took to Instagram a couple of months ago to reveal Beckham's entire skincare routine I was delighted. After all, I myself have spoken honestly about my skin journey with acne so I was intrigued to find out whether Beckham was onto something with her product selection.
Thanks to some very generous PRs and beauty brands, I was able to call in all 9 of the products that Beckham uses morning and night to put them to the test myself. (Disclaimer: without the perks of my job as a beauty editor there is absolutely no way that I would have been able to part with the amount of cash required for this experiment.) Over the last week, I've been religiously using this routine and I've definitely got some thoughts on it.
Keep scrolling to find out how I got on with my Victoria Beckham skincare swap and my honest thoughts on every single product in VB's routine.
I was pleasantly surprised that VB's morning skincare routine involved just 5 products—the same as mine. So far, so good as anything that would have resulted in spending extra time in the bathroom of a morning would not have gone down well with me. (To say that I am not a morning person would be a major understatement.)
I'll take you through my thoughts below—product by product—but I have to say that I seriously enjoyed this morning routine. I had some initial reservations about using an oil-based cleanser first thing when I normally opt for something more lightweight like a gel or foam. But, my skin was clearly thrilled. After using this combination of products for a full week I found that my makeup was gliding on a lot more smoothly and I was skipping my daily application of highlighter because my skin looked naturally brighter.
The only downside? Beckham's serum of choice contains 1% retinol—an ingredient that I'm always careful about using. (In fact, there's only one retinol product that I can rely on to not irritate my skin.) For me, a daily dose of retinol—even at this low concentration level—is a bit too much. Towards the end of the full week I noticed that my chin and nose were becoming a little flaky and dry and I think that with continued daily use I would start experiencing sensitivity and redness.
Cosmedix Purity Solution Nourishing Deep Cleansing Oil (£38)
Before trying this I was convinced that using a cleansing oil daily would mean I was dealing with some enormous breakouts by the end of the week. In fact, there seems to be some truth in the idea that oil is good for oil as I found that the natural blend of argan, moringa and olive oils did a great job of deeply cleansing my skin without leaving it feeling stripped or irritable. In fact, I was so impressed that I would definitely swap my usual gel and cream-based cleansers for something oil-based going forwards.
iS Clinical Pro Heal Serum Advance Plus (£113)
For the first few days of my skincare swap, I was loving this serum. It's a potent blend of skin-repairing L-ascorbic acid (an intense concentration of vitamin C), restorative vitamin A (aka retinol) and soothing vitamin E. I can say that I definitely noticed how much brighter my skin looked having used this product but, for me, daily use is a little too intense. By the end of the week I was experiencing the first signs of skin irritation so, for me, I'd cut back to using this a couple of times a week at the most.
Cosmedix Eye Genius Brilliant Eye Complex (£75)
I never ever used eye cream until I discovered a £6 one from The Ordinary that I now swear by. So, for me, this one had a lot to live up to—especially with the £75 price tag. To be fair to Victoria Beckham, she always looks pretty bright-eyed so this cream definitely must do something right. (Unless she's just blessed with no under-eye circles or puffiness?) For me, this product was nice—I did like that it was more of a serum formulation than a cream which I can find a bit heavy beneath my eyes. But it didn't rival the results (or the price point) of my £6 favourite.
Augustinus Bader The Cream (£205)
It's not just Beckham that adores this moisturiser, celebs like Alexa Chung and Margot Robbie slather it on religiously too. Created by Professor Augustinus Bader—a leading expert in stem cell technology and biomedical science—this moisturiser is the result of over 30 years of research. (Hence the crazy high price.) But, while it almost pains me to say it, this moisturiser is good. Like, really good.
It's lightweight, sinks in quickly and left my face feeling really soft and plump. But, for me, the thing that sets it apart from other moisturisers is how incredibly glowy it leaves your skin looking. I'm a bit of a highlighter fiend but, by the end of the week, I barely needed to use it as I was loving my skin's natural radiance so much. I don't know how I'll ever be able to afford it once it runs out but, for now, this moisturiser is making a permanent home in my bathroom.
Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance SPF 30 (£52)
I'm a big fan of Sarah Chapman products anyway so I was happy to see one of her products in the mix. VB also uses an SPF by facialist Melanie Grant but, unfortunately, it's not available in the UK at the moment. I use an SPF everyday (Paula's Choice Clear Ultra-Light Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF30+ is my go-to) but I really enjoyed that this one had a slight tint to it. While it wasn't enough coverage to replace my foundation, it did help to amp up that healthy skin effect. And, on weekends when I'm just hanging around the house or running errands, I was more than happy to just wear this with a bit of concealer.
Just like her morning routine, Victoria Beckham's evening ritual is equally pared-back—comprising of just 6 products (including the same cleanser and eye cream that that she uses in the AM). There were some definite hits and misses for me here.
For starters, I missed the ritual of using a micellar water for the first step of my evening skincare. I know, I know—double cleansing is definitely enough but I like the feeling of applying my cleansers to clean-ish skin. I'm also not convinced that the combination of toner and serum was quite right for my skin type. And, just like with the morning serum, I found that daily use of both was a little harsh on my complexion.
However, the combination of cleansers that VB uses at night are an absolute dream—and I'm totally converted. Plus, despite being unsure about slathering such a rich night cream onto my skin before bed, my skin has never felt softer come morning.
Cosmedix Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser (£42)
After removing makeup with the Cosmedix Purity Solution Nourishing Deep Cleansing Oil, VB uses this one for a deep, second cleanse. I am somewhat obsessed with this product now. It uses lactic acid to remove dead skin cells and impurities, peppermint oil to boost circulation and brighten and aloe vera to calm and soothe. You can massage it into damp skin and rinse straight off for an invigorating cleanse or leave it on for a few minutes as a radiance-boosting mask. My skin looked instantly less congested the first time I used this and I think I'll be keeping it in my regular rotation.
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 (£61)
This is something of a cult French skincare product so I was pretty excited to try it. However, of all the products that I tried from VB's routine this is one that I categorically did not get on with. First up, it smells...off. With a little more research I found that it contains vinegar and onion extract which definitely goes some way to explaining the funky odour. Smell aside (if you can) it does do a decent job of refining the texture of your skin and making it look squeaky-clean. But, for me, this just felt way too harsh and not something that I'd want to apply on the daily.
Cosmedix Serum 16 Rapid Renewal Serum (£86)
After starting the day with a retinol-based serum, I was a little worried about ending the day with another one. So, during the week I only applied this product twice so as to limit any irritation. (And, if you are new to retinol then introducing it gradually is essential.) It was way more nourishing than I was expecting and actually felt really lovely when applied on the skin but, for me, the formula is perhaps a little heavy. It has been formulated with dry, sensitive and mature skin types in mind (none of which I have) so, on this occasion, perhaps it just wasn't meant to be.
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream (£205)
Oh no, I've fallen for another £205 moisturiser. (Apologies in advance to my bank account.) As the name would suggest, this one is slightly more nourishing in texture and thicker than the original formula that VB uses during the day. As my skin is prone to breakouts I tend to avoid really rich night creams but this one didn't leave any residue on my skin and felt really lovely. The thing I noticed most was that when I woke up in the morning my skin still felt hydrated and soft—whereas usually my skin is totally dry in some places and oily in others. This stuff is magic. (Although, for the price, it kind of should be.)
Next up, the £42 face mask that celebs, our fashion friends and makeup artists swear by.
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