Most of us know that just washing our face isn’t going to cut it when it comes to a good skincare routine, but after that it can become a bit hazy. Should you use toner? And what about serum? It’s easy to get confused and not know where to begin, which is why we’ve called in the experts to find out what we should be using, and in what order, to reap the most benefits and achieve glowing skin. One final tip before you start: “Identify what skin type you are – oily, dry or combination,” says skincare expert Niki McEwan (nikimcewan.com). “This will help you to select your products, as most brands cater for each type. Once you know that, the rest is easy!” With that in mind, here’s what your twice-a-day skincare routine should look like…
“The first step in any skincare routine is to start with a clean black canvas by removing any make-up, dirt and impurities from your skin,” says Lucy Hilson, co-founder of SKN Rehab (sknrehab.com). “If make-up isn’t taken off properly, it can clog the pores, meaning it may become congested. As a result, your skin will feel and look greasy, unhealthy and dull.”
“Everyone needs a good cleanser,” says Niki. “Don’t use cleansing wipes because these tend to move the dirt around your face instead of removing it. Try a liquid or cream cleanser – these are suitable for all skin types. You’ll notice that all of the make-up and grime has gone, leaving your skin feeling fresh and clean. If you don’t clean your skin properly, it can look dull and more mature than it perhaps is.”
You may think that a toner is an unnecessary step but Niki explains why it’s vital to any skincare routine. “A toner will remove any stubborn dirt or residue left behind from the cleanse,” she explains. “It refreshes the skin but, most importantly, hydrates it after you’ve given it a good clean. Always use a toner because it leaves no room for error in making sure you have a completely clean complexion.”
“Exfoliating the skin once or twice a week will help remove those dead skin cells that build up,” says Lucy. “If they’re not removed, these cells can sit there and essentially create a barrier between the products you apply and your live skin cells, meaning treatments won’t work as efficiently. Exfoliation is key to achieving beautiful, healthy and youthful skin and can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
“This is the time to apply treatments such as serums, or sheet masks – the active ingredients in these products can work their way down to the cellular level of the skin for a faster and more powerful result,” says Lucy.
“Choose ingredients that target different concerns, such as hyaluronic acid for dehydrated skin, vitamins A and C for ageing skin, and salicylic acid for problematic and blemished skin. Always apply your skin treatments at night because your skin regenerates while you sleep and, as such, repairs itself.
This is why a night care routine is so important – it is then that the skin absorbs products more effectively.” However, Niki warns that it’s best to skip this step if you have oily skin. “Yes, your skin still needs hydration but don’t overload it with oils and serums it cannot absorb and that make you look even more oily,” she explains.
“Your eye cream should go on before your moisturiser – this is generally because they tend to be lighter formulas and need to be free of any barriers that might prevent them from working efficiently,” advises Lucy. “By applying eye cream at the correct time, you will see a better result in reducing fine lines and dark circles.”
“This is an important step in any routine and key to keeping skin healthy, hydrated and youthful,” says Lucy. “Apply in an upwards and outwards motion to prevent dragging which can lead to sagging skin. When choosing your moisturiser, be sure to pick one that’s right for your skin type to prevent skin irritation or inflammation.”
“The damaging effects of the sun are responsible for up to 90 percent of ageing skin,” warns Lucy. “Using an SPF all year round (yes, even in winter) is crucial in protecting it against the sun’s harmful rays – prevention is better than cure! Use a broad spectrum protection that will defend against damaging UVA and UVB, rays and help fight external factors such as pollution and other environmental damage. Apply your SPF every morning, using at least an SPF30 during the summer months and an SPF15 during the winter.”