Niamh Butler

When it comes to skincare and product testing, there’s not much Space NK’s Head of Training doesn’t know about. Starring as part of our skincare campaign this month, Niamh is an expert when it comes to product know-how and ingredients. Here she shares her Sunday night routine, complete with yes, a perfectly honed skincare routine, but also plenty of great tips on hair and body buys, too.

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The Wind Down

On a Sunday I’ll have either spent time with family or had a late lunch with friends so the wind down starts after that; there’s nothing more relaxing than the combination of good food, good wine and good company! I try to make sure I have done all the boring stuff like washing and cleaning over the weekend and before I go out for lunch so that when I come back, I take my time on the beauty front, before sitting down to good tv or a movie. I’ve just finished POSE on BBC iPlayer and loved it! I find the process of cleansing and applying my products very relaxing every evening and do enjoy spending more time on it at the weekend, however, the ultimate goal is to look after my skin. I love burning candles and Ambre from Diptyque is a firm favourite. I don’t have a specific type of music for Sunday – it comes down to how I’m feeling in that moment, but I listen to music a lot, so something is usually playing. My regime starts in the bathroom, then the middle bit is in the sitting room (I’m usually reading something while my mask is on), and it finishes back in the bathroom. I don’t plan anything for the week ahead, I wish I was that organised, but Sunday afternoons and evenings are sacred chill time! I generally feel relaxed and happy as I will have spent time with friends and family and been lucky enough to properly kick back before the working week starts.

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The Routine

Honestly, this changes all the time because I love trying all the amazing new products we are lucky to launch at Space NK. At the moment I am using several new products from this campaign and am loving them! However, I always use Eve Lom original Cleanser. It is the first product I tried when I worked at Space NK years ago and it is the one I always come back to. The herbal fragrance immediately relaxes me as it is so associated with going to bed! I do mix up my serums, but I find Bioeffect’s EGF Serum is great if I’ve been messing around with my skin too much and need to restore it. The difference is noticeable in days. Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Serum is a great way for me to get a regular dose of vitamin C as isn’t too acidic for my dry skin and 111SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster is my go-to for dehydration. As a moisturiser, I have just started the new Eve Lom Moisture Cream. It hydrates and plumps instantly – really impressive! I’m currently trying Sisley Sisleya Eye Cream as I’ve heard so many good things about it. If I want to use retinol I find it works for me if it is delivered in an oil (111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil) but I also love Verso’s Super Serum. My skin is dry, so I have to introduce certain active products, such as retinols and acids, gradually. Which is hard when you are a product junkie – I just want to dive straight in – but it is definitely worth the wait. To counteract this, particularly in winter, oils and mists are always in my regime. There are so many good oils. I am trying both the Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil and the Herbivore Emerald Glow Oil one at the moment and they are both working great for my skin; Sunday Riley is great if I want to use a different serum, as a way of still getting my vitamin C and I go to Emerald if I’m dry and need replenishment. I use Oskia’s Restoration Oil on a regular basis as it’s nourishing but not heavy – perfect!

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Although I exfoliate regularly, I like to do a peel on a Sunday. I love the new Dr Dennis Gross Professional Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel because although its very active, the second stage neutralises the acids and calms the skin. This means that my dry, thin skin is getting a great peel without overdoing it. I love masks and always take the time to use one on a Sunday. I use Malin + Goetz Detox Mask when my skin is sluggish, Chantecaille Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask if my skin feels unhappy and Colbert MD Illumino Mask when I need radiance. I’m a shower person; I am one of those odd people who don’t find baths relaxing. I love REN’s Atlantic Kelp Shower Gel or Malin + Goetz Vetiver Hand & Body Wash. When I get out the shower I alternate between Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion as it’s exfoliating as well as hydrating, and Votary’s Hydrating Body Oil as I find a good oil really softens my skin. I take literally minutes over it Monday to Friday so it deserves a little more at the weekend! I intensely dislike having to dry my hair in the morning. It takes so long and makes me too hot! The product I use changes regularly, and I always use different brands! But am currently using IGK 30,000 Feet Volume Shampoo, it cleanses well without stripping, and Living Proof PhD Conditioner; it smooths and conditions without weighing my hair down. I am also trying Virtue’s Restorative Treatment Mask and love the result. I am getting more and more greys and so colour my hair and this really helps smooth it. I usually also do a pre-treatment or mask like Mauli Grow Strong Hair Oil. I wash it in the evening so that I have the time to let it air dry, then I leave it until its almost dry and then add product, keeping blow drying to a minimum. I generally blow dry it straight using the Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse but may add waves in the morning for a change with Ouai Wave Spray.

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I get into bed around 10 -11pm and I always read; I will go to bed early if I am really enjoying a book. My most recent favourite was The Milkman by Anna Burns. Reading calms me right down so I don’t need any extra help. I never look at my phone in bed and am lucky to have no problems getting to sleep. Before I turn the lights out I apply eye cream, moisturiser and Dr Lipp’s Original Nipple Balm as a lip balm but also around my nose as sometimes I get extra dry there. Also on my cuticles if I remember. I barely move once asleep and can get back issues from lying so still for 7-8 hours, so I do 10 mins stretching that my physio recommended, and it really works.

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Monday Morning

My alarm set is for 7am on a Monday morning. I usually feel rested after my lovely chilled Sunday. I usually wake a little before the alarm so get straight up when it goes off. I always take some time with a cuppa to catch up on the news on my phone. I love this time of easing into the day gradually however this means that the next parts – shower and hair – must be done quick-smart! Doing my make-up is another thing I find quite calming. I can do so much of it without thinking, I find it quite meditative. It is also the part that prepares me for the outside world and the working day ahead, so is a valued part of every morning.