featured, Hair & Beauty

The Ultimate Skincare Guide: How to Find a Routine that Works for You

We all know it’s important, but just the name seems daunting – your skincare routine. Maybe it’s the time we think we have to invest, the money for dozens of expensive products, or the struggle against our own DNA.

Doctors, bloggers, and beauty guru’s recommendations all clamour to be heard – but who is right? This skincare guide will steer you onto the right track to make the most informed decisions for healthy, glowing skin!

Skincare Guide: The Steps

Breaking your skincare routine down into steps makes everything more manageable. You’ll be starting your routine in the morning in order to prepare your skin for the day. Your night time routine is to help your skin repair.

The three main steps of your skincare routine, no matter what your skin type, are:

  1. Cleansing – Washing your face to remove sweat, dirt, and makeup
  2. Toning – Balancing the skin and lowering its PH
  3. Moisturising – Hydrating and softening the skin
  4. SPF – protecting your skin from sun damage

The goal of these steps is to ensure your skin is functioning at its best, protected from the environment, and targeting areas where you want improvement. However, you won’t see results right away.

Consistently aim to use products for over at least six weeks, once or twice daily. After this time you can make a decision about whether you notice a positive or negative difference, or whether your skin seems to have remained the same. You can also check out Proven for more information on what will work best for your skin!

1. Cleansing

Cleansing is important both morning and night in order to remove dirt, excess sweat, and makeup. If you take hot showers, it’s recommended that you wait to cleanse your face once you get out, because the water is too hot for your face and can lead to redness and excess drying.

Similarly, it’s recommended to avoid foaming cleansers because they can be overly drying, even if your skin tends to be oily. Your skin will just overcompensate and produce more oil!

Stick with creams, oils, or balms, massage them onto your dry face, then wipe them off with a lukewarm washcloth to get the most bang for your buck.

Double cleansing in the evening is a great way to ensure your face is clean. Use a less expensive cleanser to wash all the makeup and SPF away, then your more expensive one to ensure the product has fully cleaned and saturated the skin. 

2. Toning

This may be surprising, but toning your face is just as important as cleansing. It acts as a supplement to your skincare routine.

Instead of using a cotton pad, apply a little to your clean fingertips and rub it on your face so you can avoid wasting product.

Here are some myths about toning: 

  • Toners are a part of cleansing. – Toners aren’t the last step to cleaning your face – all your makeup should be removed during the cleansing step. Think of them as the first step to your moisturising process.
  • Toners close your pores. – Pores can’t close! If your toner contains alcohol or witch hazel, the skin around the pore might expand, giving the appearance of the pore shrinking. In reality, you’re just drying out your face.
  • Toners need alcohol. –  You don’t need alcohol as an ingredient in your toner for it to be effective. It’s actually best to avoid alcohol to avoid drying your face out.

There are exfoliating toners and hydrating toners. Here are some great ingredients to look out for when you choose your toner:

Alpha and beta hydroxy acids – These gently remove dead skin cells, minimises dullness, and improves sun-damaged skin.

  • Hyaluronic acid – This boosts hydration, attracting and sealing in moisture for dewy, plump skin.
  • Rosewater and green tea – These ingredients have an anti-inflammatory effect by calming irritation and reducing redness.
  • Vitamin E and C – These fight your daily exposure to free radicals that can age your skin.

Serums

You can think of serums as the second stage to your toning, supplemental step. They’re used to deliver powerful, concentrated doses of active ingredients to your skin in order to mitigate many issues.

Because of the way serums are formulated, they have smaller molecules that makes them perfect for this job by penetrating deeply into the skin. So if you have specific skincare concerns such as dark spots, redness, acne, or fine lines, serums are absolutely necessary.

  • Hyaluronic acid – This seals in hydration to help the top layer of your skin prevent moisture loss.
  • Vitamin C – This brightens dark skin and decreases dark spots with consistent use.
  • Retinol/Vitamin B3/Peptides – These ingredients stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, helping to prevent lines and sagging.
  • Colloidal sulfur/niacinamide – These decrease the inflammation of the skin, calming redness and irritation. They also improve acne with antimicrobial effects.

3. Moisturising

Even if you have oily skin, moisturising is another necessary step in your skincare routine. You want to choose which moisturiser you use based on your skin type, not its condition.

  • Oily skin – Look for gel moisturisers, light hyaluronic acid serums, or oil-free moisturisers. These are all lightweight and absorb quickly.
  • Normal or combination – Look for lotion, the classic moisturiser.
  • Dry – Cream or soft cream are best for dry skin because they’re more oil-based.
  • Inflamed, sensitive skin – Look for balms, which are similar to cream but are more appropriate for extremely dry skin types.

Eye Creams

Eye creams can be used from your teens into adulthood. They’re a beneficial step for your evening skincare routine to avoid dryness, puffiness, or hyperpigmentation. The reason you need to use a separate cream for your eyes, rather than just use your regular moisturizer, is because the skin around your eyes is particularly delicate and sensitive.

The goal of eye creams is to brighten the area and reduce the appearance of fine lines, with ingredients in gentle enough doses to avoid irritation. 

4. Sunscreen

Last but definitely not least is sunscreen. In fact, many experts agree that it’s a crucial step in your skincare routine.

If you’re going outside for any length of time during the day, you want to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every 2 hours. This reduces the formation of skin cancers and prevents the development of fine lines, wrinkles, and textural imperfections.

It’s recommended that you find a sunscreen that has a combination of physical and chemical ingredients for the utmost protection. Chemical ingredients include oxygen zone and octinoxate, which absorb into your skin and counteract ultraviolet light.

Physical ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sit on top of your skin to deflect UV rays.

Radiant Skin a Few Steps Away

With your skincare routine demystified, hopefully, this will inspire you to set up your own routine! Remember that this is a skincare guide and not a rulebook – you know what works best for your skin and what’s manageable in your daily life.

Keep browsing our Hair & Beauty section for more great beauty tips for a woman of style and substance!

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