Up until the age of 18, I gloriously enjoyed a spot-free, flawless skinned lifestyle. I boasted about how I had bypassed the blotchy spottiness of puberty despite warning that my time would come and unfortunately for me, they were right.
Since officially becoming an "adult" I have developed an Oily T-Zone, an over-run of pesky black heads on my nose and some terrible breakouts, particularly in said T-Zone. As much as I love (and obsessively buy!) make up I am eager to return to a state where I feel truly confident make up free, and along the way, develop a rigorous and consistent skin care regime that will rid me of my bad sleeping in makeup habits. - Plus not wearing makeup makes my morning rush a little less stressful!

I have tried several different products ad hoc, but recently after some deliberation, I decided to buy into the Clinique 3-Step programme. After doing my research and answering a few of their skin care questions online, I headed to their counter in Debenhams (Briggate, Leeds) to seek some advice from those in the know.

There is something about the girls on make-up counters that I just don't quite get. Some are incredibly judgmental (coughMaccough) some are the results of a make-up explosion who scare me to death when they offer to do my make-up (Clown is so not in season!) and when it comes to those who are selling award winning clinical skin care - why do they have so much make-up on to cover that "promised" flawless skin?
Anyway, rant aside, the Clinique girl was very friendly and nice. She confirmed it was Anti-Blemish Solutions 3-Step that I needed for my skin, and sat me down to talk me through how to use it best. She explained to me that it was important to remove my make-up first (I have been using The Body Shop, Camomile Make up Remover from my recent Body Shop haul!) and then use the Anti Blemish Cleansing Foam - 2-3 Pumps massaged all over the face and then rinsed off. The Clarifying Lotion (number 3) comes up next. With this, I was assured that "less is more" just one sweep across the skin, no need to go over the same spot more than once. Once this has soaked in, the final step is the Anti Blemish All Over Clearing Treatment - approximately a 5p size amount all over the face.
Overall, the 3 products came to around £45. I has £5 on my Debenhams Beauty Card (I thoroughly recommend this) to spend, and to make things even better, it was a triple point day AND Clinique were giving away a free gift set, complete with make up bag with every purchase - I couldn't have picked a better day! (more on the bag later!)
I have been using the 3 step now for almost 3 weeks. After 2 weeks, I was booked back in at the Clinique Counter for a review on the treatment so far. I am not particularly fussed for natural products, as long as they don't really irritate my skin, however I did find that the treatment was drying out my skin. This was fine for my oily T-Zone, but I was experiencing dryness around my mouth and cheeks which I never had before and I wasn't sure whether reducing the exfoliating step, say to once a day rather than two, would be the right thing to do. When I explained this to the ladies at the counter, they explained that the final All-over treatment wasn't particularly moisturising. It was designed to soak into my skin to combat blemishes as oppose to moisturise - ah makes sense! She advised me not to stop using the treatment twice a day, but to introduce a moisturiser to the end of the routine. She highly recommended (obviously) a Clinique moisturiser - Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (£32.00) which I wasn't eager to spend so much on - so she gave me a sample to take away and try. She also recommended the Even Better Eyes (£29.00) treatment which is specifically for dark circles - but not so much puffy - around the eyes, something which I do suffer from. I look forward to trying this, but it is one that will have to wait until Pay Day!

To be honest, I don't rate that moisturiser very highly, but I have been using the "Dramatically different moisturizing lotion" that came with my Free Gift set, and  have found this to be working very well, and returning my skin to it's healthy, moisturised self.
Overall, I am still undecided about whether this treatment is making a massive difference to my skin. Over the last few days I have had 2 nasty spots on my forehead, but I do feel like my under the surface spots on my forehead have really cleared up. I have definitely noticed an improvement with my blackheads and generally skin tone on my cheeks seems to be evening up. I am prepared to go a full month before really deciding the difference as I am aware the treatment is almost re-programming my skin to behave differently, and this can take time to take full effect. On the plus side, sticking to removing my make up and washing my face properly is no doubt contributing massively to the improvements as well as just generally wearing minimal make up over the past few weeks - I wanted to give it the best chance of working!

I also look cracking in my body-shop headband when cleansing - Adam says I look like a Tennis Player, Mum asked if I was going for a JOG(!!!) - negative to both of those, obviously!
As for my cheeky free gift set, the face wash came in very handy during my weekend away (pre-commencing 3-step) and the mascara is great to use for a first coat, lengthening the lashes without leaving clumpiness! I haven't really had chance to use my chubby stick (in 07 Super Strawberry), or lovely Chocolate quad - I have been too busy being make-up free as possible. But I am looking forward to giving them a go and who knows maybe I will become a true Clinique convert.

M x

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