You may sometimes wonder whether it is worth having a skincare routine; I mean what actual benefit does it offer and what do half the products do anyway? Well, we’re here to help you better understand it and highlight our favourite products that deliver results.
A skincare routine isn’t just about taking your makeup off at the end of the day. A good skincare routine has bountiful benefits. The combination of specialist ingredients and technique not only can help correct skin concerns or issues such as rosacea, acne and pigmentation but your skincare products and application can help support your body’s functions; including the production of collagen, which after time our bodies start to lag in. It also supplements your skins needs for vitamins which, when our bodies have to work super hard to distribute the nutrients we take in through food, and our skin is often the last to be fed or neglected altogether, supplementation is essential. In addition, our routines can help protect and even reverse the effects of sun damage, stress and environmental factors such as pollution.
Coming back to specialist ingredients within our favourite products, we’ve already highlighted that a key ingredient in many products is Vitamins, namely A (also known as Retinol) which helps cell turnover to keep skin firm, help even out skin tone and brighten and vitamin E which helps boost hydration. But as science leads in skincare development, our favourite brands are looking more to nature to harness their powerful properties to deliver the desired result. The field is constantly advancing and although you may have a favourite cream today, as we get older and/or our skins needs change, our favourites may become ineffective. So when you notice changes in your skins behaviour it may be time to make the switch.
So what does a good skincare routine entail?
After a day of wearing makeup and exposure to dirt, debris and pollution, cleansing your face thoroughly at night is essential in keeping your skin clean and healthy. Our cleansing ritual at night also allows for better absorption of treatment products and as our bodies go through a regenerative process whilst we sleep, targeted products will help to support this function. The additional benefit of ‘free’ time for your skin whilst you sleep allows for full benefit of specialist ingredients to get to work, giving you every bang for your buck.
At night you want a cleanser that fully removes all traces of makeup and excess oil. Personally, I’d recommend a dedicated cleanser for your eyes and one for your face. Although many products are stipulated as multipurpose, the eye area is super delicate so you want a cleanser that’s gentle but hard working. We recommend the water-proof activation makeup removers and in particular the La Roche-Posay Respectissime eye makeup remover; give the bottle a shave to activate, apply to a cotton pad and hold over the eye for 3 seconds. Then gently sweep the cotton pad over the eye to remove all traces of eye makeup and no panda eyes the next morning.
As for your face, we love the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser. This product goes a long way so you’ll not need much to get the full benefits. First splash your face with warm water to activate the cleanser and make it easier to distribute. Next, using a pea sized amount of product, work the product between your fingers and onto your face in an upwards circular motion. To get the best cleanse possible we love Liz Earle Muslin Cloths to remove our cleanser; these cloths gently exfoliate as they remove traces of makeup and cleanser, are more eco-friendly than using cotton pads, are easy to clean (rinse after each use and hang to dry, wash on a 30c cycle) and are super durable.
Toners are used as an additional cleanse, ideal for the end of the day when we’ve been wearing makeup and affected by environmental factors such as pollution- we find using toner after a night out particularly effective. It helps to rid any final traces of makeup and when the pores are opened up through our cleansing ritual, it allows for a deeper clean here too.
We love the Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner. It effortlessly sweeps any excess traces of makeup or dirt. It leaves skin feeling fresh, clean and provides a perfect canvas for your serum and moisturiser allowing them to be most effective. It also has a lovely, calming scent, helping you to feel relaxed.
Eye cream is as essential at night as it is in the day, especially when you hit your 30s and beyond. You don’t necessarily need the collagen boost or active treatment for the upper eye but intense hydration on the under eye will be extremely beneficial. The one you use for the day will be just as appropriate as for the night.
Serums unlike creams can penetrate into the deeper levels of the skin, whereas creams generally offer surface benefits. They’re able to tackle concerns like aging, hydration and acne from the inside out.
As mentioned, your night-time routine is the best time to work with specialist products because it has even longer to absorb and take from it the benefits we spend so much on. In addition, products that contain retinol are best left to the night because it can make your skin extremely sensitive to sunlight and increase the risk of burning.
For your night-time serum we recommend paying particular attention to your skins needs and find a serum that’ll help tackle that. If it’s hydration you need, look for hyaluronic acid; for anti-aging look to retinol or vitamin A and as for oil production or spots look to salicylic acid; Vitamin C is what you’re looking for if you want brighter looking skin. Bobbi Brown have introduced a whole range of remedies formulated to tackle specific skin concerns.
Moisturiser or mask
Finish your bedtime beauty routine with a dedicated night-cream; though the same one you wear during the day is better than nothing. A night cream is generally thicker in consistency than a day cream, formulated to offer an intense hydration boost whilst you sleep. Avon’s new ANEW Infinite Effects cream is a combination of hydrating and collagen based formulas that you alternate every 7 days to get the optimum benefits of each formulation whilst protecting your skin- Retinol can dry the skin out so hydration is essential, this particular formulation gives you the antiaging benefits but a healthy dose of hydration to help keep the skin calm and even; it’s actually lighter in consistency than most night creams, helping your skin feel hydrated but not greasy with visible difference in just a few applications.
Alternatively, if you’re using a serum that boosts hydration, you could opt to use a moisture mask just once a week for a richer, more intense treatment. The Body Shop’s Sink In Mask comes highly recommend; it’s a gel like cream that with its active ingredient vitamin E, helps to boost your skin with antioxidants to protect against the damaging effects of free radicals and simultaneously hydrate the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles often made harsher by a lack of water. This product will become more beneficial as we head into winter where the fluctuation between cold air and heating dries our skin out.
Cleansing your face again in the morning may not seem essential but if you’ve slept in a mask or applied specialist treatment, especially containing concentrated quantities of ingredients, we’d recommend a second cleanse. You may even consider a second cleanse if it’s been a particularly warm night to remove excess oil. With this wash you want something a little lighter and more hydrating than your night cleanser as the following products in your routine are generally a little lighter too. For this cleanse we love the Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk. Splash your face with warm water, work a pea sized amount of the cleanser in an upward, circular motion on your face and rinse.
After you’ve cleansed it’s worth applying a serum that tackles your skin concerns. Personally, as an all-rounder, I’d recommend Sarah Chapman’s Hydrating Booster which penetrates the deeper level of skin offering long lasting hydration throughout the day. The instant hydrating properties smoothes uneven skin tone and visibly reduces the signs of lines and wrinkles, often exacerbated when dehydrated. It also offers an additional level of protection against stressors and environmental challenges.
The skin around our eyes is the most delicate than anywhere on the body and is most affected by dehydration and ageing. Using a good eye cream as early as possible is a sure way to keep your skin looking younger for longer.
The Anew Clinical Eye Lift (currently £10, normally £20) from Avon offers fantastic dual benefit; the cream has been created with over eye and under eye and their specific needs in mind. The orange top is plumped with collagen to help your eyelid and under your eyebrows stay firm whilst the rich cream boosts the under eye with hydration helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
You want this to be lighter in consistency than your night counterpart and offer surface level hydration throughout the day, at a minimum. Your moisturiser is what you need to even your skin out to ensure even application of foundation; the last thing you want is dry flaky patches. Aurelia Skincare’s Probiotic Cell Revitalise Day Cream is a game changer. It’s light, floral scent is deceiving; it feels luxurious on the skin without leaving a heavy residue but will instantly brighten your complexion, boost the skins hydration levels and thanks to its advancements, has specially formulated antiaging properties to help support and protect you day after day. Don’t neglect your neck! Apply the cream in an upward sweeping motion.
It is also worth buying an additional/specialist cream for your chest/décolleté/neck area as much like your eyes, the skin in this area is lighter and more delicate than your face; your moisturiser could be too thick for this area and lead to breakouts and premature sagging. This area is also one of the most tell-tale signs of dehydration and aging so a boost of moisture goes a long, long way. Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Neck and Chest Rejuvenating Complex is incredibly light but absolutely fierce in delivering instant results.
Come rain or shine; always finish your routine with some sunscreen. In addition to the broad spectrum protection it offers from the sun, our favourite one from Lancer offers a boost of antioxidants, helping to protect your skin from other concerns too. It’s also a wonder cream; brightening your skin and acting as a primer too.
Exfoliation and Masks
Exfoliating your skin on a bi/weekly basis not only helps clean your skin to a deeper level than your cleansing routine but your skin will look brighter, feel softer, smoother and younger and it makes it easier for moisturiser to be absorbed into the skin and you’ll find you need less product overall, helping you save money in the process too. Wins all round.
The Liz Earle cloths we recommend will help in some ways to help slough away dead skin cells but you ideally want to incorporate a product into your routine that will also encourage cell turnover in a bid to keep younger, fresher looking skin. The Clean Tech Pore Minimising Mask is an exfoliator and mask all in one. Its combination of crushed diamonds, salicylic and glycolic acid exfoliate the skin to a deeper level; bringing out brighter, fresher skin, smoother looking skin.