For those just starting on their skincare journeys, the skincare world can come across as this very daunting place. With so much information out there and lots of contradiction between different sources, it can be difficult to know what’s useful and what will cause damage to your skin. Which ingredients are the best to include? What products do I need in my routine? What skin-type even am I? These are all questions you’re probably asking yourself as you scroll through these blogs packed with skincare tips and knowledge. The key to a great skincare routine is simplicity, after all, we all have the same end goal of just wanting to care for ourselves and our skin more.
How do I start a skincare routine?
For someone who has never done a skincare routine before, finding the products you need and being motivated to do your whole routine both morning and night, are two of the most difficult aspects. My best advice to target these problems is to start basic and simple. The key to results in a skincare routine is consistency and for those for whom it’s not habitual, it can be tricky to integrate that into your daily life routine. That’s only made harder when you’re starting with 10 different products and a routine that takes half an hour. For the majority of people, it won’t be carried through and then you are back in the same position with an emptier bank account, it becomes an endless cycle. Starting easy and simple will better help you stay motivated to continue and you can still see results with fewer products it can even be better for your skin. Also, a trick that helped me is to think of skincare as fun. It’s an opportunity to wake yourself up in the morning or to wind down after a long day, it’s time for you to take care of yourself and your body. For someone beginning a skincare routine, I would recommend only 5 products. Those are:
Can be used both morning and night or for those with drier skin, just at night. The cleanser is essential for removing the dirt built up during the day on your face. Without cleanser, this would pile-up, be a space for bacteria to grow which would only lead to clogged pores and worsen acne.
To be used only in your nighttime routine. This is where you can get creative in your routine and specialise it more towards your skin goals and skin-type. Typically containing one or a few active ingredients, your serum is to help or maintain skincare concerns. It’s used after cleansing but before moisturiser.
This can come in many forms, in a toner, serum, cleanser, essence etc… Exfoliator typically contains AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, that’s how you can differentiate it from other products. It’s to help remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin which otherwise could clog pores and lead to acne. It’s typically used between cleanser and serum but for some products, you use it after serum and only 3-4 times a week during your night routine.
This can be used both morning and night as the last step in your routine. Moisturiser or creams help to add hydration to the skin and create a protective barrier over the skin to allow action from your other products in deeper layers of the epidermis.
This is essential in your morning routine to protect your skin from UVA and UVB sun rays. It’s important to wear SPF every day, even on cloudy days for people of all skin types and tones.
The importance of having a good skincare routine
Having a consistent and stable skincare routine is essential for maintaining our skin and basic personal hygiene. Something I have noticed is how skincare is viewed in western countries. As skincare is typically marketed to women either with anti-ageing products for older women or face masks and acne treatments for younger women, large demographics of people are missed out. Everyone should be doing a skincare routine, all genders and all ages as it’s important for overall skin health, short and long-term. There is little difference between skin, genetically between genders so it makes no sense for one demographic to be completely missed out for. Other benefits include improved well-being and self-care.
The majority of the population will suffer from acne at some point. A good skincare routine can help in managing acne or even completely clear acne. Acne is typically caused due to bacteria build up on the face which can be prevented and maintained with skincare products.
There are always people who avoid skincare as they believe they don’t ‘need it’. The people genetically blessed with acne-free skin. However, even for those people, a skincare routine is important. Even if there may be no visible problems now, a good skincare routine can help maintain skin health for the longer-term. This could prevent the formation of wrinkles or discolouration later on in life.
What are the top 5 best products?
For my list of the top 5 best products, I’m going to go by each category of the essential products I listed earlier. Essentially creating a full skincare routine that you can use to guide you in creating yours.
For cleanser, I have picked the Osmosis Deep Clean Detox Cleanser. This is a universal cleanser suitable for all skin types and aims to remove dirt, makeup and environmental toxins for a brighter and smoother complexion. Some key ingredients are:
Coconut surfactants – This is a gentle surfactant (a chemical that cleanses the skin) without being too stripping and over-drying the skin. It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties which can effectively draw out pollutants gathered during the day from the skin’s surface.
Glycerin or otherwise known as glycerol is an extremely effective humectant. That means it draws up moisture from the atmosphere to keep skin hydrated and prevent the loss of water from the skin barrier. It can be beneficial for all skin types, even oily skin and makes skin moist and supple to the touch.
The serum I feel stands out the most is the PCA Acne Gel. This serum aims to actively shrink blemishes and unclog pores whilst helping control sebum production. Best suited for those with oiler skin, it can even help to prevent future breakouts and improve the appearance of acne scars.
The key ingredient is Salicylic acid – At 2%, this BHA works brilliantly at killing harmful bacteria on the face which causes breakouts. Not only does it provide light exfoliation but it can also push dirt and grime from pores out onto the surface of the skin, preventing future breakouts and clearing blackheads.
The exfoliator product I’ve chosen is the Indeed Labs Exfoliator II. With a new and improved formula from the Exfoliator I, this product helps to buff away dead skin cells and over time improve the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s a concentrated powder to which you just add water and use, meaning the level of exfoliation you want is customisable. The key ingredients are:
Activated pineapple enzymes-
These effectively exfoliate by removing excess keratin and dead skin cells which could lead to clogged pores and a build-up of bacteria causing acne.
Rice bran extracts-
Promote collagen production, the main protein found in the skin. Also speeds up cell renewal to improve the appearance of fine, lines and wrinkled and maintain skins elasticity.
The Osmosis Quench Nourishing Moisturiser is my pick. It provides effective hydration to restore the epidermal barrier, meaning your skin loses less moisture. It also activates cell regeneration to improve signs of ageing in the skin. This moisturiser contains several essential lipids for the skin. A key ingredient is:
This ingredient has an amazing ability to hold water up to 1000x its weight. Meaning it can therefore effectively draw up moisture from the atmosphere to the skin to hydrate and moisturise the epidermal layer. It also manages to hold up the test of time as it can leave skin looking and feeling hydrated throughout the day.
The sunscreen I’ve chosen is the PCA Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45. This sunscreen as the name suggests is an extremely lightweight and invisible formula so is suitable for people of all different skin tones, with no white cast. PCA Skin has two other great sunscreens however both are at SPF 30. It’s always better to be safer which is why I’ve picked SPF 45. It also has added antioxidant protection to protect from free radical damage in the environment. And if that wasn’t enough it has been recommended by the Skincare Cancer Foundation.
How to apply skincare in the correct order?
The order of skincare typically follows a general guide. No one is cleansing after moisturising that much is obvious however when you get down to serums, essences, toners and exfoliators it is difficult to know which order to put these products in. The rule usually to follow is to go by the viscosity of the product from least to most (how thick your product it). Cleanser starts first to remove all the dirt from the day and prepare your skin for the rest of the products you will apply. Depending on the viscosity the order usually goes toner, exfoliator, essence, serum. However, these are not set in stone and can be interchangeable depending on what feels best for you and your skin, and also, what type of product you have. The reason to follow this viscosity rule is usually products that are thinner take less time to absorb into the skin, meaning they penetrate less into the skin’s layers. This is why thicker products like serums and essences which penetrate deeply into the skin are the ones to put on last in the routine. Finally, moisturiser creates that protective barrier over the skin to retain moisture and hydration and allow the rest of the products you’ve just applied, to do their magic.
How to add Vitamin C to your skincare routine?
Vitamin C has multiple skincare benefits:
• Stimulates collagen production to enhance skin elasticity, helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
• Very powerful antioxidant to prevent damage via free radicals in the environment
• Fades hyperpigmentation and acne scars
These are just some benefits but to name a few. But how do we add Vitamin C to our skincare? The most common method is through serums. Pure ingredient Vitamin C or Vitamin C alongside Vitamin E are some of the most found on the market. Vitamin E just helps to prolong the shelf life of your serum however of course has its skincare benefits. After cleansing and before your moisturiser would be the perfect time to pop in a Vitamin C product into the routine. You can also find Vitamin C powders or capsules which you mix in with your moisturiser to receive the same benefits.
How long for the new skincare routine to work?
This simply depends on the product and skincare concern. Acute solutions like current acne, oiliness or elasticity will see improvements after about one to three months. This is because the skin cell cycle is about 3-4 weeks. However acne scars, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles take much longer. This depends on the severity but a rough average is about 9 months to a year. Of course, however, in the long-term, your skincare routine will reap multiple benefits: reduced breakouts, less development of wrinkles, lower risk of sun damage. Also, make sure when starting a routine to not overwhelm your skin all at once as this can irritate your skin. Integrate products and actives slowly to give your skin time to adapt to the changes you’re making.
How often should I do my skincare routine?
As I mentioned earlier, the key to a good skincare routine is consistency. Every morning and evening is when you should be doing your routine to see short and long-term benefits. However, some products like exfoliator should be done 3-4 times a week and face masks about once a week. Although always check the description of your products as this can vary.
It’s easy to get caught up in the amount of information that’s out there about skincare, New products and all these ingredients it can be difficult to know what to try and what you need. Hopefully, this has cleared up a lot of that and you can take my knowledge and adapt it to your skincare concerns and lifestyle to build the perfect skincare routine for you.
Author: Ema Kanlic