Skincare

Pretty Damn Good: the exfoliating product this aesthetician relies on for brighter, clearer skin

Welcome to Stylist’s Pretty Damn Good, a weekly series in which different women share the one product – across hair care, skincare, make-up, body and fragrance – that remains a forever staple in their beauty routines.

The skincare world can sometimes feel over-complicated and overwhelming but experts like Dija Ayodele are changing that. A qualified aesthetician with over 10 years of experience in the beauty and aesthetic industry, Ayodele is a well respected voice that is known for knowledgable and concrete advice.

Alongside her qualifications, Ayodele founded the award-winning Black Skin Directory, a website that connects Black women to skincare professionals in the UK. The idea for the Black Skin Directory came after Ayodele saw a shocking survey which stated that out of 75 Black women, 92% found it challenging to find and access a skincare professional who met their needs. The website also helps with cosmeceutical treatment and product recommendations, as well as events.

While her resume is filled with incredible achievements, one of Ayodele’s biggest successes is the launch of her clinic, West Room Aesthetics. The London-based clinic provides a wide range of services to help achieve and maintain healthy skin. While the clinic is open to everybody, Ayodele’s inspiration for the clinic was inspired by the Black women who visited her and were unable to find help from mainstream sources.

It’s fair to say that Ayodele has tried and tested heaps of skincare products throughout her career, so you can rely on her recommendations. Here, she tells us about the one product she relies on for a brighter and smoother complexion. 

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“I’ve had Neostrata’s Smooth Surface Daily Peel Pads, £45, in my skincare arsenal for over six years. I discovered it way back when I used to write a now-defunct beauty blog and I was doing a comparative exercise between exfoliating pads. Acids in skincare were just gaining popularity, so I wanted to let my readership know what’s up and what they could use safely.

“These Neostrata pads were actually sent to me by a good friend who was doing PR for the brand and she knew it would pique my interest. The brand is rooted in science and results-driven skincare. A massive bonus was that they also did their clinical trials across all skin tones including Black skin, which is super important to me.

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“When I first tried it, the formulation was exciting to me. I’d always been impressed by Neostrata products so I knew it would be well-made and effective for my concerns of exfoliating, smoothing, brightening and increasing clarity of the skin. There’s 10% glycolic acid in it as well as an ingredient called Aminofi, which helps to build volume in the skin, especially targeting fine lines and wrinkles.

“Even though I own a skincare clinic – West Room Aesthetics – I am always last in line for treatment. There’s just never enough hours in the day, so these daily peel pads help me keep my skin in top condition, like I’m having regular treatments. Whenever I use it, it does what it says it will do and does it quickly. It has never disappointed me and requires no faffing.

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“I use a lot of cutting-edge products in my daily skincare routine, but if I have old and dead skin cells sitting on the surface of my skin, my other skincare products are unable to work effectively as they cannot penetrate or be absorbed. The daily peel pads ensure my skincare is optimised. Also, it’s important for me to use stimulating ingredients such as glycolic acid, as it helps me to avoid my skin feeling rough and looking lacklustre, as well as maintaining plumpness with collagen.

“Even though it says ‘daily’, I don’t use it daily and I don’t advise my clients to do that either. I use in one of two ways: if I’m using other exfoliating products then I’ll include the peel pads every few days in my evening routine. Or, if I’ve neglected my skin a bit, I’ll include daily peel pads in my routine everyday for a week. This acts as a mini treatment and delivers the results I’m after. When using it, it’s important to apply sunscreen every morning to minimise any photosensitivity.

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“The peel pads arrive dry and in a pot, while the glycolic acid solution comes in a separate bottle. When you are ready to use it, pour the solution into the pot and the pads will soak it up. This way the product stays fresher for longer and is potent when you come to use it.

“Another tip is not discarding the inner protective plastic disc. Once you’ve poured the solution into the pads, insert the plastic disc and then put the lid back on and store your jar upside down. This means that each time you go to use it, you’re using the most saturated pad. Don’t forget to swipe the pad over the outer border of your lips, especially if you’re prone to spots on the lip line.”

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Main image: Dija Ayodele/courtesy of brand