A Visual Diary of My 3-Year Skin Journey From Beauty Newbie to Skincare Convert

“It’s not about the destination,“ they say. “It's about the journey...“

BULLSH*T.

I’ve been on my skincare journey for three years now, and in my opinion, it's alllllll about the destination. Through the ups and downs, the breakouts and retinol-face and a melasma moustache, here I am today. Happy and (makeup) free. 

When I first started working at Adore, I told my Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast co-host Joanna that my skincare goal was to go on a first date without makeup. Now, I just don’t date. I think they call that progress!

But seriously, let’s take a look at a visual diary of my journey through the wonderful world of active ingredients and cosmeceutical skin care.

May 2018.

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I'd been travelling for a few months when this photo was taken.

I packed just one skincare product: A small tube of Jurlique moisturiser. Better than nothing, hey? No, not better.

If you’re not going to use any other skincare product, please use sunscreen* as the sun can be attributed to around 80 per cent of premature ageing. Case in point: I have pigmentation, uneven skin tone and sun damage.

July 2018.

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Hannah, you really couldn’t have taken this photo at a better angle?

This was taken just before I started my new role in content at Adore Beauty and my skin was freaking out after I returned from my five-month round-the-world trip.

I'd recently purchased a couple of products from The Ordinary and was loving The Ordinary Buffet because I thought ‘buffet’ was some fancy ingredient I’d never heard of. Wrong.

The Ordinary buffet serums are named after an actual food buffet. You get a little bit of everything, so it’s the perfect starter serum for skincare newbs. (You can learn more about the buffet serums in this YouTube video below.)

October 2018.

I started adding retinol and glycolic acid products into my skincare routine to help with my skin texture, which was - let’s be honest - shocking.

Only, at the time, it felt like my skin was getting worse, not better.

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My skin would break out constantly as it readjusted to all the active ingredients (to be fair, I could’ve gone a bit slower). 

As they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn... 

Dec 2018.

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This photo was taken on my 30th birthday. Fun fact: This actually became my Hinge profile pic.

I'd never had glowy skin. My skin had always looked a little dull, even with makeup. I would look at Joanna’s skin and think, “I hate you.” Just joking, Jo. I love you. You were the one who introduced me to skin care.

But as my 30th birthday approached, my skin appeared juicier and plumper.

My favourite product at this point was Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel because it combines retinol and glycolic acid in the one step.

September 2019.

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It was time to seriously tackle my pigmentation. I enlisted the help of the cosmeceutical skincare brand Aspect, who did skin scans to see what the hell was going on under the surface.

My skin age actually went from 36 to 28 in a four-week period. You can read all about that here.

Aspect Pigment Punch+ 30ml and Aspect Extreme B 17 were the two products that really helped fade the appearance of my pigmentation.

November 2019.

Up until this point, I'd never really had hardcore skin treatments before. Around this time, I did three rounds of skin needling.

Skin needling is an amazing all-rounder in-clinic skin treatment that targets the appearance of pores, texture and ageing. Plus, it improves topical skincare absorption.

I LOVE SKIN NEEDLING and still get it done to this day.

Skin treatment aftercare is really important. My favourite post-treatment product is Murad Intensive Recovery Cream 50ml - it's the only product I apply for five days after any professional skin treatment. 

December 2019.

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WHO EVEN IS SHE?! 

I arrived back in Thailand, but this time I SLATHERED myself in Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen every two hours, stayed out of the sun and wore a wide-brim hat EVERYWHERE I went. 

February 2020.

For reasons I won’t discuss here, I declared on the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast that I wanted my skin to look the best it had ever looked for my sister’s wedding.

It may or may not have involved an ex boyfriend. I really can’t say. My sister did say at the time, “Is it your wedding or mine?” Moving on.

So, I got to work. And hard work with skin care pays off. Makeup artists often say good makeup starts with healthy skin. 

LIFE WAS GOOD! And then...

April 2020.

Ugh. Lockdown.

I found it very challenging to look through my lockdown photos for this article. 

Look, there’s me eating half a dozen donuts in one sitting. And my freezer, full of hash browns.

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With basically no sun exposure, my skin was happy. But with no human interaction, my soul was not. Hence, lockdown was the time to dial up the self-care.

I hadn’t used a whole lot of products from cosmeceutical brand SkinCeuticals until this point, so I was excited to try a few of their products. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF became a firm favourite.

Not obsessed at all…

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November 2020.

Lockdown was finally over. It was time to get back out into the real world!

I headed up to Queensland for a couple of months with a very pared back skincare routine that didn't include any of my hyperpigmentation skincare products. Oops.

But look how happy and dewy I am?!

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Jan 2021.

Queensland summer did not agree with my skin and I returned home with a melasma moustache.

Melasma is a hormonal form of hyperpigmentation, but it can also be triggered by environmental factors like sun exposure and heat.

The first thing I did when I got home was see my friends at James Vivian for a chemical peel.

April 2021.

And now, finally, I bring you to the destination: The happiest I’ve been with my skin.

It’s not perfect. I use SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum to manage the frequent breakouts around my chin and neck. My pigmentation is more under control since adding Aspect Pigment Punch+ 30ml back into my routine. (I'm not sure why I ever stopped...)

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But maybe the best thing to come out of my skin journey? I’m not striving for perfection anymore.

I want to go out into the world. I want to travel. I bloody love a hot, humid holiday, even if my hyperpigmentation doesn't.

But if I’ve got the right products with me and a massive hat, I can manage it.

And so, this is The End. For now... maybe skin care really is about the ~journey~ after all.

Want more product recommendations from Hannah? Check out these stories below!

*SPF is only one part of sun protection! Always seek shade, and wear sunnies, a hat and protective clothing. Use sufficient sunscreen for all unprotected areas and reapply sunscreen as directed. Always read the label.

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