Donna White is a national newspaper and magazine journalist, blogger, and mum to Brodie, aged seven, and five-year-old Blake.

Her beauty regime used to consist of soap and water, followed by a quick swipe of lip gloss. Since entering her 40s she admits Mother Nature needs just a bit more of a helping hand. You can find her general ramblings over at www.mummycentral.com

I’ve just turned 41 (shhh, don’t tell anybody!) and yet I still find that right before an important event or big night out I can get a few pesky spots on my chin or the bridge of my nose.
You know the type – ones that make you feel like you’re walking around with Mount Vesuvius erupting on your face – no matter how much make-up you pile on top to cover it up.
It’s usually because I’ve neglected my skincare routine, failing to wash off all my make-up before bed, and then piling on more the next day. Or not cleansing properly before I moisturise.
“Yuck!” I hear you say.
And I agree wholeheartedly. But sometimes I’m lucky if I have a chance to run a comb through my hair before I’m racing off on the school run (they don’t call it “run” for nothing, you know?)
According to dermatologists, adding exfoliation to your skincare routine helps the natural shedding process and encourages healthier, smoother, more even-toned, and clearer skin.
The beauty benefits? Spot prevention, smaller pores, wrinkle reduction – and it even helps moisturisers actually absorb into the skin, rather than sitting on the surface.
Which is why I’m making a concerted effort to use a facial scrub on a nightly basis.
Soaps are a no-no for me, since anything with the mildest hint of perfume can also bring my highly-allergic skin out in a rash of spots. And I don’t feel that facial wipes give the deep clean I need.
But since my skin has oily and dry patches (I’m a complicated being, aren’t I?) then I don’t like anything too harsh which leaves my mug either shiny or too dry.
So I’ve been on a mission to find a gentle facial scrub which exfoliates – and keeps those pesky zits at bay.
I mean, I might sometimes wish I looked like a teenager again, but I don’t mean bad hair and acne!
I love the fact that the Simple range is affordable for all. And it’s not full of hidden chemicals. The Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Facial Scrub (£3.99 for 75ml www.simple.co.uk) claims to be “clinically proven to reduce blemishes and blackheads within 7 days”. In fact, I noticed a difference in half that time. My face felt fresh and clean and it didn’t leave the sort of shiny complexion that you might get from some products like these.
There’s nothing like a toner for making your face feel squeaky clean. I’ve been using Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner (£25 for 125ml www.clarins.co.uk) once or twice a week after washing my face to get rid of any leftover dirt or grime. It’s got Tamarind fruit acids to get rid of impurities, and white nettle extract to tighten pores. After using it my face feels tingly, but very smooth and not dried out like some toners can leave you feeling. And my moisturiser sinks in quickly and easily afterwards.
But with all that exfoliating and toning, you’ve got to put a little moisture back, and I am loving Bobbi Brown’s SPF 15 Tinted Moisturiser (£29 for 50ml www.bobbibrown.co.uk) for making my skin feel hydrated but giving it a Summer glow. With my tan from Easter now a distant memory, we’re not planning on going away again until October, so I find the medium tint prevents me from looking like Casper the friendly ghost and gives me a natural coverage while stopping my skin from drying out.
Exfoliating is a bit like cleaning just one window of your house – the rest starts to look a bit grubby. So now my face is sorted I’ve been using a body scrub in the shower to get the rest of me sparkling.
A very generous friend bought me a special birthday present of Body Buff by Moroccanoil (£35 for 180ml www.moroccanoil.com) and it’s delicious. Golden-hued and marmalade-scented it’s fantastic for getting your limbs silky smooth.
And to make sure I’m buffed and polished from head to toe, I’ve prepared my feet for flip flop weather with a bit of footscrub too. Margaret Dabbs Exfoliating Foot Mousse (£18 for 100ml www.margaretdabbs.co.uk) has left my tootsies feeling softer than they ever have before. My feet feel refreshed and, as a wee added bonus, my hands are softer too from rubbing a small amount on, twice a week.
So that’s me buffed to within an inch of my life. Even if I do say so myself, I scrub up pretty well for my age.
And anyone who says otherwise will feel the rough end of my loofah!