With over 12 years’ experience as an established health and beauty journalist, there’s no denying Amy Lawrenson (@amy_lawrenson) knows a thing or two about the best brands and products on the market. We speak to her, following her recent decision to move to Amsterdam and go freelance, to hear her go-to products for a Sunday evening pamper and how she has successfully fine-tuned her regime to suit her skin’s needs…
The Wind Down
I’m a night owl which means I find it hard to wind down much before 10pm. I do like to spend a little more time over my beauty routine on a Sunday evening as it feels as though I am setting an intention and hitting reset after the weekend and before the week ahead. Being freelance, Sunday nights don’t feel as Sunday night-ish as they used to, since I usually work a little over the weekends nowadays. I do always look at what deadlines I have coming up for the week ahead and do any prep I need to. I always plan what I am going to do each day of the week as this helps me to sleep better and not feel too overwhelmed on a Monday morning.
I usually kick things off with a bath early evening and whilst it is running, I scrub my dry skin with Ren’s Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub. It is brilliant at sloughing away dead, dull skin and leaving behind silky, smooth skin instead. In the bath, I always use Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Bath Oil – it smells absolutely divine and not only clouds the whole bathroom, but it lingers on the skin for hours afterwards. Post-bath I usually apply a body lotion (Ren’s AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum) or self-tan with Tan’s Luxe’s Water. I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to my body.
I love a candle – who doesn’t? Well my boyfriend doesn’t but I just ignore him. You can’t beat Diptyque’s Figuer or Byredo’s Treehouse in my opinion. I don’t have a particular playlist or podcast that I listen to and tend to opt for anything I can sing along to and let rip. My poor cats, boyfriend and neighbour then have to endure ‘The Amy Show’ for 30 minutes or so.
I have endless lotions and potions because of my job but in reality, the edit of products I use is actually quite tight now that I know my skin better. I always cleanse my face before I get in the bath so I can apply a face and hair mask while I’m chilling in the tub. I recently started using Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel which makes light work of dirt and makeup, plus it leaves my complexion plump and energised. I always exfoliate before applying a mask as this clears the way so the mask’s potent active ingredients can get where they need to. Ren’s Ready Steady Glow AHA Tonic is a wonder. I’m not loyal when it comes to face masks – I just use what I feel my skin needs. One week it could be a detoxifying mask, another week something more hydrating. My favourite ever sheet mask is Colbert MD’s Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask and I love Patchology’s FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels.
Generally speaking, my skin is pretty good and dewy which I put down to gentle regular exfoliation, retinol and daily SPF. I do get the occasional hormonal spot still. I experiment within the boundaries I know work for my skin – it likes to be exfoliated, it likes vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, but it hates oils. I breakout at the mere sight of them. I steer clear of full-on face oils and just check the ingredient list to make sure that if any new products have oil, it’s near the bottom of the list. In that case it means it is just traces and won’t bother my skin.
After I’ve exfoliated and used a mask, I also use a jade roller to give my face a good de-puffing and energising massage. I then like to use Oskia’s Liquid Mask Lactic Acid Micro-Peel or Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Recovery Overnight Serum. One other device I love to use is Dr Dennis Gross’ DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro which is a medical-grace LED light therapy mask. It’s great for promoting a calmer and clearer complexion. I am also trying an at-home IPL tool on my underarms now too.
For hair, I am a big fan of Christophe Robin and Virtue. My hair is prone to fizz, and is long and balayaged so I look to anything that hydrates, nourishes and repairs. The Christophe Robin Hydrating and Virture Recovery ranges are my go-tos. I always leave my hair to dry naturally as it has a nice natural curl if I leave it be.
I get in to bed around 11pm. I love to read, and I am currently re-reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliners. If not, I scroll through The New Yorker app and read any new articles or try to do the crossword. This makes me sound very intellectual but if I don’t do that I end up on the sidebar of shame. I did a Vedic meditation course a while back and have been meaning to get back in to it. It’s 20 minutes a day and when I did it for a prolonged period, it really helped me to manage my constantly nagging, list-making mind. They recommend meditating at 5pm at the latest.
I always take a glass of water to bed with me and take a few different supplements; Dr Barbara Sturm’s Skin Food is a favourite. I can hand on heart say that I feel and look better when I diligently take these. Just before I turn the lights out around midnight/1am (bad I know!), I use a retinol serum, face roller and hand cream. I generally sleep pretty well and aim for 7-8 hours. I always wear ear plugs as my cats meow very early.
Being freelance, I am now able to wake up later – around 8:30/9am. If I can wake up a bit later, I feel great. If I set an alarm, then I’m a snoozer. The first things I do, are drink water to rehydrate, check my emails then usually scroll through Instagram and read The New Yorker. Skincare-wise in the mornings, I cleanse and use Kiehl’s Dark Spot Correcting Serum, Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate and the Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel.