“I don't think it's very sexy to have a routine. Like if you're going home with a guy are you like, 'Hang on a minute'? My nighttime skincare routine is walk in the front door, put my keys down, take my shoes off, get naked, clean my teeth, go for a wee, drink some water and go to bed in full makeup."
That was how Alexa Chung felt about skincare in her twenties, when she boasted about not having a routine, never breaking out, and "smoking like a chimney."
But now that she's 37, things have changed. Okay, she still sometimes sleeps in her makeup. But not only has she quit cigarettes, she's also taking skincare "a bit more seriously as I'm getting older," she told Byrdie.
"I have had quite good skin forever," Alexa recently explained to Vogue. "Then suddenly, at 36, it all went a bit haywire. I had no spots whatsoever, then all of what I should have suffered in my teenage years goes into one boil on my skin. It's like spot karma. So I've stepped back from too many heavy moisturizers."
While her skin still looks flawless, "it can get a bit dry and I do get these chronic spots, one on my chin and one between my brows, so heavier creams don't work for me," she continued in an interview with Porter. "I don't have an eight-step skin regimen or generally mess with my skin too much."
Here's what's involved in Alexa's routine, morning and night.
Alexa’s Morning Skincare Routine
La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Ultra: "I'll get rid of some of last night's makeup with some La Roche Posay makeup remover and a cotton bud."
Dr Loretta Gentle Hydrating Cleanser: "I wash my face in the shower; at the moment I am using a new Dr Loretta face wash that I discovered when I made a YouTube video for sensitive skin. It really gets the skin clean without leaving it feeling too dry or stripped."
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser: "I love everything [from Glossier], but the one thing I come back to is the cleanser because it's so soothing and nice on the face."
Holidermie Désaltération Concentrée Intense Moisturizing Serum: "Then I put on whatever products I'm experimenting with at present—currently it's a Holidermie serum."
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum: "I have discovered that serums are important under moisturizer for hydration. Currently I'm using a serum by Sulwhasoo that I discovered in Korea."
Ling Moisture Plenish: "I went to the Ling Spa in New York once and the facialist was like, 'Very dry skin, driest I've ever seen!' So she gave me this serum that has something acid [hyaluronic acid], so I travel with that that. I love oils, but the facialist was like, "Oils are not great to use"—I thought it was hydrating. It's not. It's a barrier after you've done the hydrating. I didn't realize that, so now I've been using a serum, then moisturizer, and then the oil."
Dr Loretta Intense Replenishing Serum: "This is so smooth, I put it on before using my Code8 [Radiate Beauty] Balm and it evens out the skin a treat."
Weleda Nourishing Face Cream: "In the morning, after showering and cleaning my face, I just use serum and a moisturizer. For moisturizer, I'm currently using Weleda’s calendula face cream."
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30: "And before that, I was using CeraVe. It was a great basic moisturizer because I overdid it on trying out different oils and needed to calm down my skin. Florrie [White, my makeup artist] mentioned CeraVe. It's a plain [tube]—it's not a hot one—but it is in my book, because it's been saving my face. It's literally called face moisturising lotion. It's great, it has an SPF... and it's fragrance-free. It's no show pony but it does look reliable, doesn't it?"
Augustinus Bader The Cream: "I like to layer [Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum] under Augustinus Bader The Cream. I'm obsessed with moisturizing and this is not a product placement—this is genuinely the best moisturizer I've ever met. All you need to know is you put it on the head and you literally look younger, fresher and well-hydrated."
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream: "When that [Augustinus Bader The Cream] runs out, it's a bit of whatever is in the cupboard. Maybe Kiehl's Ultra face cream."
Sisley Paris Ecological Compound: "I use it every day. I'm obsessed with moisturizing and less obsessed with drinking water. Maybe if I hydrated, I wouldn't have to moisturize so much. This one is really dependable and a good everyday guy. It's liquidy and seeps in and doesn't sit on top. Because it's so expensive, it feels like a luxury, so I don't use so much at a time."
4. Face Oil:
Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil: "And then I think I'm like a lab technician and I'll drop fancy oils in [my moisturizer]. My skin is drier than the Sahara desert—it's like sandpaper and the outside of a cactus had sex and made my skin. So, whereas some people are like, 'I hate oily things because I get breakouts!' I'm like, 'No, give me a vat of oil that I can dunk my head into, please.'"
Sisley Paris Tinted Sunscreen Cream SPF 30: "I have moments when I'll get really worried about wrinkles and sunspots and force myself to use moisturizer and wear SPF. I love Sisley's Super Soin Solaire facial sun cream. I do wear sunscreen if it's accidentally built into the moisturizers I am using... and then I'm really proud of myself and then I forget next time I'm buying something."
6. Tinted Moisturizer:
Code8 Radiate Beauty Balm: "For base, I reach for Code8's Radiate Beauty Balm. It's filled a gap in my makeup routine. Before discovering it, I would mix a foundation with a moisturizer or overuse a concealer instead. I needed a more lightweight approach to base so I think this is my hero product. This balm gives a nice even but light coverage. I'm currently using shade N10 because I have a light tan from walking in the sunshine. I put it on the back of my hand first and then take it across my cheekbones and blend it out from there."
RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up: "I love a fresh, dewy base but avoid face powder as I think it highlights my wrinkles. I prefer concealer to foundation for coverage. This brand I love called RMS, so nice. I don't know, it's just kind of the dream texture because it's coverage that is... how do you talk about makeup? I don't know, whatever, it's good."
La Mer The Concealer: "I also have another one, I think it's by, oh yeah, La Mer. And I love it. It's so nice. My usual signature look is minimal skin makeup if I can—it depends on my hormones, because now I get really cool spots. If I don't, then it's not much makeup on the face, cat eye, peachy mouth and then a sort of warm blush."
Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Color Blush: "This is Laura Mercier in Praline, and I love it because it's kind of just a warm tone that's quite natural. And it's also a cream blusher, which I really like because too much powder, I don't know, I feel like you're getting more wrinkly the more powder you put on your face. That is not a fact, I just feel like that."
Code8 Blush Palette: "I've been using Rosé, which I also use on my eyelids. I like it because it makes you look perky and fresh—English rose style."
8. Lip Balm:
Dr. PAWPAW Tinted Multipurpose Soothing Balm: "Then I'm curling my eyelashes and putting Dr. PAWPAW Balm on my mouth."
9. Face Mists:
Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray: "[My latest beauty discovery is] Moisture Surge Face Spray by Clinique, to spray on your face after makeup."
Avène Thermal Spring Water: "I put this on halfway through the day if I'm looking tired, or if I've been in fittings all day and need to go out to meet someone after. A quick spritz wakes me up."
Alexa’s Nighttime Skincare Routine
Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm: "If I'm home late, I'll probably go to bed with my makeup on. When I do remember to cleanse, I use the creamy and delicious Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm."
Coconut oil: "But I'm equally happy with coconut oil."
Cosmetics 27 Cleanser 27 Exfoliating Cleansing Balm: "It smells botanical, like it's good for you, and it does a great job."
Recherche Beauté Aura Radiance Active Elixir Serum: "It's sort of burnt brown in colour and smells a bit like an old-fashioned cocktail but less sweet, but it's great. The packaging is serious and white and looks like a Celine shopping bag."
Augustinus Bader The Cream: "This is genuinely fantastic. It provides long-lasting hydration, but it has no fragrance. After I use it, I feel I look younger, which probably isn't true, but that’s what it feels like."
Sisley Paris Ecological Compound: "What I do... is use it morning and night, and sometimes even throughout the day."
3. Lip Balms:
Lucas' Papaw Ointment: "I remember when I discovered this in Australia, like in the olden days, and I felt like I was gonna be the one to import it to the rest of the world 'cause I was like, 'This is a magical mouth serum!' And then I returned home only to realize everyone already knew about it. So this guy as well is just really nice as a travel companion. Nice for planes. I kind of rub it on my hands and just schmush it in [on my face]. And anywhere else, like cuticles. Sometimes I have—sorry, guys—psoriasis and I put it on that guy. I actually love him. Thank you for your service."
Code8 AM/PM Tinted Lip Balm: "On my bedside table I have a Code8 AM/PM lip balm."
Alexa’s Skincare Treatments
Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask: "Sometimes I use the Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask while I'm brushing my hair and getting dressed."
Lanshin: "My go-to experts include Sandra at the Lanshin healing studio in Williamsburg, New York. Rather than booking in for a specific treatment, I just book in time with her, and then she decides what I need that day. Sometimes it can be cupping or Reiki—I love Reiki—or gua sha, and then another time it may just be a facial. I love that approach of reading what you need."
Alexa’s Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle
"There was a point in my life when I was so on-the-go that I lived exclusively on a diet of Stringles, avocado, and apples and nuts, like I was foraging. Nowadays, I manage to remember to enjoy three square meals a day. I just cut out the nightshades food group (including potatoes and tomatoes) to see if this helps my psoriasis problem; it's tough as I love eggplant, onions and tomatoes. It's very early days so I'm not sure if it helps yet, but it's a skin issue that comes and goes."
"I just take magnesium and fish oil; my boyfriend is trying to get me to take glutathione (an antioxidant), but the pills are too big; it's like swallowing a Pez."
"I weirdly look better hungover with a bit of a puffy face than I do when I've had loads of rest. That's annoying, isn't it?"
Silk pillowcase: "Recently, a friend told me that now I'm in my thirties I should sleep on a silk pillowcase."
"I'm not a jogger at all… I hate too much effort, but I do quite like exercises when you are stretching and doing the odd squat. I've been working out with some girlfriends via Zoom every other day, and it's not super-difficult, as it's a mat and resistance workout. I definitely sleep better when I exercise."
AMP Athletic: "I joined a gym [before lockdown], but I only made it a maximum of twice a week; however, I love that they do small group classes with no more than three people being trained at one time."
Ballet Beautiful: "I chose ballet for the outfits. I don't think I look that different, but I feel better."
"So far it's going great. I was smoking so much, then I suddenly didn't like them. I'm trying to not get too wrinkly and I don't want to get Botox. Not to brag, but my skin's pretty good and I have given it a real kicking. I didn't really have a routine up until recently. I've smoked. I've drunk a lot of whisky. I'm usually dehydrated. Maybe it's something else."
"Obviously some days I'll think, 'Crap, I look really rough today,' but no-one I know is devastated because they're getting old. I do worry about my skin though. I look in the mirror and I'm like, 'Oh hi wrinkles.' But everyone I love—like Patti Smith or Charlotte Rampling—has wrinkles and they still look beautiful. Sometimes I'm like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to get a facelift,' but I don't think I really will. I'll just live in the present and enjoy my remaining youth."
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