I discovered my love for magazines when I was around 11.

I was friends with a boy in my village whose sister was a Take That fanatic. She used to give me old copies of Smash Hits and Just Seventeen, after she'd ripped out the posters of course. It was around that age that I discovered that girls like to wear make-up and even though my mother would never allow it so young, I started to long for the lipglosses and glitter mascaras that filled up the pages of Sugar and Shout.

Eventually, the time came when even my mum had to give into peer pressure around us and allow me to dab on concealer and dust some blush into my cheeks before I went to school. I was like Bambi of the beauty world and I didn't really know what I was doing, but it made me feel like I was the same as everyone else, and everyone else was the same as me, and that was fine.

Other girls graduated onto skincare, but I just stuck to make-up. Not once did I consider a cleansing, toning or moisturising routine as part of my before-bed ritual. Instead, I grabbed some soap and a face cloth and scrubbed my eyes out until the last trace of mascara was gone (you never really got rid of that glitter, did you? It just clung and clung.)

"I'm going for a facial," my friend said. "It's as good as a facelift apparently, just without the knives." I remember thinking that at 18, we probably didn't require a facelift, surgical or otherwise. But she wasn't the first of my pals to hit the spa for a treatment. Everyone was at it, but I was just shocked at the prices. £80 and someone rubs cream into your face for half an hour? Come on! I thought it couldn't be worth it and someone was taking us all for mugs here. I'll rub my own face just fine, thank you very much.  Other friends would talk about special salon conditioning treatments for your hair and eyebrow threading and tinting, but stuff like that just seemed unnecessary to me.

It wasn't until I started on a work experience placement at the magazine I now work for that I began to explore this side of beauty a bit more. My colleagues and I would go to meet PRs who wanted to show us the amazing benefits of their products and they'd ask, 'So, what's your routine?', and the truth would have been 'a face-wipe and a bit of Nivea on the weekend' but I couldn't bring myself to say that.

So I decided instead to start educating myself, probably the way I should have when my 17 year old pals were. Immediately, I encountered a problem; I wasn't a teenager, and all of the big girl magazines presumed that you had the basic stuff nailed.

It was hard to find out where to go next and why I should choose one brand over the other, and if face-wipes really were worthy of the horrified looks on people's faces when you say you use them 'now and then' (lie). So I embarked on a journey, in search of skincare enlightenment if you will, and discovered many things including the importance of a good eyebrow and the benefits of regular facials.

And it's here that I'll tell you about what I've learnt, in the hope that if you're a soap and water girl like I was, then I might be able to help you out.