It's not an exaggeration to say that Sophie Habboo's wedding looks whipped the internet into a complete frenzy. First, there was the London wedding (Chelsea Registry office, Vivienne Westwood mini dress, bouncy blow-dry), then there was their Spanish wedding (luxe villa, bespoke lace gown, chic low bun). The constant between both? (Aside from her husband, fellow podcaster, and "Made in Chelsea" alumni Jamie Laing, of course.) Skin so flawless that it's almost impossible to believe Habboo has ever experienced a blemish.
Meeting with POPSUGAR via Zoom, Habboo is at home, makeup-free, and keen to tell us that her journey with her skin hasn't always been straightforward. "I've always been really obsessed with my skin," she says. "I had bumps on my forehead that used to bother me and I got really into skincare from a young age, like 17."
However, it wasn't until she was filming for "Made in Chelsea" in Sri Lanka in 2018 that Habboo first started to notice dark marks on her skin, which she now understands were hyperpigmentation. "I'd just had a spray tan before I flew and there were splatters across my face where I thought it had left dark spots. Every day I was exfoliating and trying to rub it off – I had no idea what it was. Of course, not knowing, I was still sunbathing out in Sri Lanka. I never really reapplied my suncream and I probably lied about how much I was putting on," she admits.
"Over the year it got progressively worse and I couldn't cover it with makeup. I felt really self-conscious because it was so out of control."
"I got back to England after filming and it had sort of spread across both cheeks, all over my nose and was getting onto my forehead. Over the year it got progressively worse and I couldn't cover it with makeup. I felt really self-conscious because it was so out of control, it kept getting worse and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was really stressful."
Keen to find a solution, Habboo sought advice from a dermatologist, as well as skincare experts at local department stores, who advised her she was experiencing two types of hyperpigmentation known as sun spots and melasma. Unfortunately, both are notoriously tricky to treat, and she was given frustratingly few treatment options. "The options I got were either to have laser, which was so expensive and really intense. I was also filming at the time so I couldn't really have five days off while my face peeled. Or, topical creams which were essentially bleaching creams, and I didn't want to do that either."
As a stroke of luck, after sharing her complexion concerns on Instagram, skincare brand Eucerin got in touch to recommend its dedicated hyperpigmentation range. "I probably didn't expect anything from it, as it was so accessibly priced and easy to use, but I stuck with it and after 3 weeks my pigmentation was pretty much gone. It had the most amazing and miraculous results," she says.
This turning point was around five years ago and since then, Habboo has managed to keep her pigmentation under control. But a wedding in Spain, where she would be exposed to plenty of UV rays – a key trigger of hyperpigmentation – was a concern. "I'm quite a pro at knowing how to not get it to flare up, but there were obviously worries about it before the wedding day, especially as I flew out a few weeks before. Luckily, it all held out fine."
Habboo's top tips for keeping pigmentation at bay? "I'm wearing SPF50 basically night and day, whatever the weather. Even in a thunderstorm, I've got it on," she says. "All my makeup has SPF50 as well as my Eucerin SPF50 sunscreen, and I reapply it during the day. I'm a hat girl, so if I'm walking around London I'll have a cap on and sunglasses. On holiday, I'll maybe have my legs in the sun with sun cream but I never get my face in the sun. It's a little high maintenance but it's just the way it has to be."
Actually, we'd consider Habboo's routine to be very much the opposite of high maintenance. Over the years, she's found that simple skincare works best for her, especially as inflammation is another driver of hyperpigmentation. Her current (and pre-wedding) routine involves a single cleanse in the morning, followed by serum and suncream, and is bookended by a double cleanse, toner, serum, targeted pigmentation treatment, and moisturiser at night. This less-is-more approach extends to her top piece of advice for brides-to-be, too.
"Try not to do too much," she advises. "I think a lot of people go overboard with their wedding and when they walk down the aisle people are like 'Woah, who's that?' You don't want to look back at photos in 10 years and not recognise yourself. Just stick to a minimal routine, that's always worked for me." If it's good enough for Habbs, it's good enough for us. Keep reading to see the exact products that she uses.