How To Build An Effective Skincare Routine
It doesn't have to be complicated - here's the proof.
It's no secret that skin care can be overwhelming. With thousands of new serums and moisturisers now available alongside a never ending stream of ingredients, it's a difficult world to try and navigate. But it doesn't have to be that way, because - believe it or not - your skincare routine doesn't have to be complicated or confusing or long winded. To prove it, we've broken down the key elements and explained why they're needed.
Step one: Choose your cleanser
Even if you're not a make-up wearer, cleansing your skin every day - twice a day - is vital. A morning cleanse doesn't have to take long; sweeping a micellar water-soaked (reusable) cotton pad over your face to help wake you up should be enough. Then, in the evening you need to do a thorough cleanse. We're talking an oil or gel-based cleanser to melt away make-up and SPF (like Clinique Take The Day Off Balm) along with dirt, grime, pollution and everything else you've been exposed to throughout the day. Then, either with the same cleanser or with something that has more of a cream texture (we love Grown Alchemist Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser), you need to cleanse your skin. We recommend investing in muslin cloths or flannels and using those, just make sure you wash them after each use.
Step two: Pick an antioxidant
A non-negotiable in your routine is an antioxidant. They work to help protect the skin from free radicals and other environmental damage; the most popular and arguably the most effective thanks to all the scientific studies, is vitamin C. It usually comes in serum-form and should be applied to dry, cleansed skin, ideally as the first step in your morning routine. We recommend SkinCeuticals Serum 10. Other types include resveratrol and vitamin E, although some formulas might have a combination of two or three antioxidants which helps to create the ultimate powerhouse products.
Step three: Don't forget SPF
We know you've heard it a million times before, but getting into the habit of wearing SPF every single day - even when the sun doesn't make an appearance - is so important. It's considered the best anti-ageing ingredient thanks to its proven ability to improve existing wrinkles, texture and pigmentation, but it's also the most powerful preventative product. Exposure to UVA and UVB rays is extremely damaging to skin, and not only can they cause cancer but they're also the reason for wrinkles (90% of skin ageing is caused by the sun). While it's true that SPF used to be thick, white, greasy and prone to causing breakouts, that's no longer the case. These days there are plenty of non-comedogenic (meaning they won't clog pores) formulas that are virtually invisible on skin, meaning make-up sits perfectly well underneath them - try Glossier Invisible Shield if you don't believe us.
Step four: Use a retinol while you sleep
Nighttime is when skin does the majority of its regeneration, so using a product that works in tandem is a good idea. Retinol - a form of vitamin A - is the best ingredient to do just that. With plenty of scientific backing, vitamin A is considered the gold standard of anti-ageing and works by increasing collagen production while encouraging cell turnover, resulting in smooth, plump and even-textured skin. Medik8's Crystal Retinal 1 is the perfect starting point. It's worth noting that vitamin A does have a bad reputation in terms of causing irritation and peeling, that can be avoided if you start applying twice or three times a week, slowly building up to every other night and then using it every night once your skin has adapted to it.
Step five: Always have a basic moisturiser to hand
Never underestimate the power of a simple, no frills moisturiser: not only are they great to use on the nights you're not using retinol, or if you have gone overboard and applied too much of it, but they're also an excellent choice if your skin is just feeling a bit parched and in need of a hydration it. Soothing, comforting and non-irritating, a basic moisturiser like La Roche-Posay Toleraine Sensitive Creme will help restore a compromised skin barrier while also cocooning it in the most comforting of ways.