As the founder of a skin care company, the question I’m asked most is, “What’s that on your top?” because I make a point of spilling 4% of any meal on my clothes, but also I’m asked, “What should I be using on my skin?” a LOT.

The answer, of course, is that you should use my brand.  

JK, gross.

No, the answer is “Whatever makes you happy.”

This is not a throwaway line, meant to dodge a more thoughtful, prescriptive response, the kind people expect from an ex-beauty editor and someone who spends years testing and refining products before sending them into the world for women to put on their faces (holy shit this is such a huge responsibility you cannot even imagine).

It’s a genuine viewpoint intended to make you assess what you use on your face, and if it does, in fact, make you happy. A philosophy encouraging you to use products that are a delight to apply. Products that make you feel competent and confident using them. Products that work, and bring on the results you desire. Products that make you feel and look good. Products that allow you to support brands that fulfill various ethical or environmental values you hold… or which are full of synthetics but look cute as HECK in your #shelfies, and are getting insane reviews on Sephora so whatever.

Who cares! Whether it’s a $10 moisturiser from CVS, or La Mer, just friggen use something you actually like!

Because, really, what’s the alternative? Using products you were prescribed by your derm or facialist after a treatment, but which sting, or irritate, or cost more than new shoes and make you feel bad and guilty for spending so much? Using products that are all Instagram hype, but do nothing? Using the same products you’ve Always Used because you’ve never bothered to research or try anything new, and yet your skin is not healthy and radiant, so what, exactly, are they doing? Using supermarket products because you know you should be using something, even though cheap, harsh products can cause far more damage than good?

It’s worth considering. After all, the seven minutes a day you spend looking after your personal advertising campaign (“face”), should be time well spent. The face is where it all happens, Judith! The face is the place. The face is the place! It’s where your joy manifests, where your stress and hardships will be etched, and where your habits will eventually be exposed. Look after it for god’s sake. And better yet, enjoy looking after it. Use things that improve your mood, and ideally, your skin. Older you will thank now you for caring enough to use sunscreen, or remembering to clean your makeup off before bed, (because you of course you need to do that, you cute little pig).

Me? I like my skin care to be a marriage of efficacy and tenderness. Efficient acids and antioxidants and lots of SPF teamed with clean, nourishing botanicals, the skin care equivalent of a punchy Negroni coupled with a big, comforting pizza, powerful and pleasant in equal parts.

Buuuuut since I’m also your classic tired mum of two small kids trying to mess with the skin care industry/run the fucking world/make people believe me when I say I know about skin care, I need to go CAPS LOCK sometimes, which is why every six weeks I see a very nice, very knowledgeable woman to use various lasers and lights and acids to make me look well rested and like I choose to drink expensive tumeric elixirs, not boundless espresso.

It makes me feel good, and ideally, look a bit better. It’s easy and enjoyable. Those words are key: part of the reason I created a skin care range was because I was personally disenchanted and confused by the category… and I was a professional advising others on it. And I knew how bewildered women were because for years they had told me. It seemed insane to me that a pursuit we all do twice a day could be so riddled with frustration and disappointment and sunken costs, and we would just accept it.

Life is too short to use face stuff that doesn’t leave you feeling gratified. As women, we’re baptized into the religion of daily skin regimens and ‘self-care’ as soon as we hit 12, so let’s own it, and take control of it, and enjoy it, rather than feel intimidated, frustrated and obligated.

Also, let’s do it right, yeah? Apply thickest to thinnest please, and always wear SPF. Except at night. Unless you live in Alaska. Thanks.

Go-To Skin Care, Zoë Foster Blake