The beauty industry is a booming business, and that can make it difficult to choose which products are necessary for proper skincare and which ones are simply redundant. In what order should you use all those creams and serums? What should you pay attention to when buying new skincare products? Which ingredients are important and how do you know which cream best suits your skin? These guidelines for the ideal skincare routine are your short cut to radiant skin.
We really do get it. Some nights you’re just too tired and some mornings you’re just too busy to spend more than 5 minutes on caring for your skin. However, investing more time in your skincare is truly worth it, because our skin goes through a lot on a daily basis. For example, it’s very important to protect your skin against air pollution and UV-rays. Your skin needs hydration, some help removing dead cells, and a boost when it comes to anti-aging, even when you’re young. You can divide your skincare into 3 important basic steps: cleansing, toning and hydration, and you can add extra steps if you have the time for it.
In order to find the cream and routine that suits you best, you first need to determine your skin type. It’s not rocket science, but we’ll break it down for you. When you have normal skin, your pores are small, and you don’t experience things like rashes, breakouts, or dry or oily patches. Lucky you! If your skin feels tight and you sometimes suffer from flakiness or dullness, you have dry skin. With oily skin, you can experience blackheads and blemishes and your pores are larger and therefore more visible. Finally, you can have something called combination skin, which means your T-zone (forehead, nose and skin) is oilier than the rest of your face. Your cheeks could be normal or even dry.
Cleansing is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine. Your skin comes in contact with air pollution and other contaminants on a daily basis, and these things need to be removed at night. It’s also important to cleanse your skin again in the morning to prevent clogged pores. How you do this is dependent on your skin type and personal preference. Cleansers are suitable for all skin types, but oily skin is best served with a foaming cleanser, while a dry skin could use a milder version or an oil-based one. It’s important that you rinse the cleanser off with water. Another popular option for every skin type is micellar water, which contains molecules that remove dirt from your skin without causing dryness. Micellar water does not need to be rinsed off with regular water afterwards.
After cleansing, use a toner to remove the last remnants of your cleanser and calm your skin. For the beauty newbies out there, a toner is a thin fluid containing nourishing ingredients that ensure the other products in your skincare regime are at their most effective. You can apply toner with a cotton ball or with your fingers, just as long as you choose the right one for your skin type. A good toner restores the pH balance and is important for healthy skin.
An exfoliator is a mild facial scrub that works differently from other kinds of scrubs. A good exfoliator contains acids that ensure that dead skin cells let loose easier from the inside out, which results in a fresher and more radiant complexion. With age and other factors like sun damage, your skin has more difficulty removing the dead cells, making exfoliation necessary. Your skin needs to adjust to this, so start off slowly. The general rule is 1-2 times a week; if you do this, you’ll notice that it’s a bit of a miracle cure for blemishes, wrinkles and dry skin. When you use an exfoliator on a regular basis, it’s extra important that you keep the skin hydrated afterwards.
There are mixed opinions about the use of serum. One expert says it’s a must, and the other claims it’s unnecessary. Serums are thinner than day or night creams but usually contain a higher concentration of active ingredients. The opposition says you can get the same actives from your cream, but those in favour of serum say that it can help with specific issues like wrinkles and pigmentation. This means you can also use different serums for different zones, depending on what your skin needs. You should apply serum underneath your day or night cream, or you can use it as a replacement for your night cream.
The cherry atop your skincare regimen sundae is applying a day cream in the morning and a night cream in the evening. These moisturisers also need to suit your specific skin type and are meant to hydrate your skin and make it softer. This prevents moisture loss and helps to build up your skin’s natural protective layer. Even in winter it’s important to protect your skin from UV rays and although a lot of creams contain an SPF, it’s actually much better to use sun protection over your day cream. Because the skin around your eyes tends to be more sensitive, using an eye cream is a good idea, but you can also choose an extra mild day cream for this.
7. The ingredient list
Last but not least: no matter what products you use during your skincare routine, always check the list of ingredients. Don’t be intimidated by difficult terminology; research which ingredients are best for your skin type and be well-informed. Avoid products that contain alcohol and make sure that perfume is the last ingredient on the list, because this means the product doesn’t contain a lot of it. Ingredients that have been scientifically proven to be good for your skin include retinol, vitamin E and vitamin C. There are also ingredients that you should generally avoid, like parabens, mineral oil and silicon.
Want to know more about the do’s and don’ts for radiant skin? Read tips from international expert and Rituals skincare ambassador Abigail James here.