The world of skincare has always been something of a mystery to me. I understand the basics (wash your face, moisturise daily) but other than that I’ve always found the whole experience a bit mystifying. I figured it was something for people with finicky skin or lots of money to spend on products with bizarre ingredients (placenta?!). I always figured it was something women in their 30’s and 40’s do (you know, the age where you start to get your act together), but not me, a young, flighty girl in my 20’s. I decided to do some research into what a skincare routine is and why it is important to have one. This basically meant trawling beauty websites, speaking with my dermatologist, and watching dozens of Youtube videos (I know, it’s a tough job I have).
Let me be the first to say: I was wrong.
All my preconceived ideas about what skincare is and who it’s for has been challenged. A good quality skincare routine is for everyone! Investing in a good quality skincare routine (and the health of your skin in general) ensures that your skin is in it’s best condition year round, and only improves with age. Here are our top tips on how to create the perfect skin care routine for your skin type.
Step 1: Know Your Skin Type
It might seem like a no-brainer, but it is sooooo easy to get this step wrong! Correctly identifying your skin type is the first step to glowing, fresh, pure AF skin. This quiz is a super easy way to work out what skin type you have! The ones we will be focusing on here are normal, dry, oil, and sensitive.
Step 2: Cleaning
Cleaning your skin is the first step of your skincare routine. It helps to wash off all the gunk, dirt, dust, and congestion from the day and preps your skin for the rest of your routine. Regardless of how you choose to execute your skincare routine, cleansing is a must - especially if you wear makeup!
• Normal: Lucky you! Grab something that will cleanse your skin gently and won't leave your skin feeling stripped dry or overly oily.
- Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm
- Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash
• Dry Skin: Avoid any products with alcohol or fragrance. Use cool water to maintain your facial oils, and take the time to gently remove the rubbish from the day. Bliss.
- Kora Cream Cleanser
• Oily Skin: You know the drill - using oil-free cleansers (particularly foaming ones) is a sure way to remove any extra oils and minimise shine. The only thing that we want to shine around here is your personality! (Sorry, that was so lame)
- Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser
- La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel
• Sensitive Skin: Your sensitive skin needs a little gentle loving to keep it calm and collected. Try not to use products that have alcohol, soap, acid, or fragrance (we know, that's a very long list of ingredients to avoid). Opt calming ingredients like aloe, chamomile, green tea polyphenols, and oats.
- Bioelements Sensitive Skin Cleanser
Step 3: Exfoliate
Exfoliation is like a mini-spa in your bathroom! It gently scrubs away dead skin cells and other build-up on your skin to reveal the smooth, radiant layer hidden beneath. It preps the skin for any serums or moisturisers and helps develop your natural glow.
• Normal Skin: Experiment with different exfoliators to find one that targets your specific needs.
- Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula
- Kiehl's Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub
• Dry Skin: You might be tempted to roughly scrub away the dry and flaky skin, but this is a one-way ticket to irritated-skin-ville. Population: you. Use gentle exfoliators and experiment with only exfoliating every few days.
- Elemis Gentle rose exfoliator
• Oily Skin: To keep your pores clean and your skin shine-free, choose an exfoliator that is oil-free. Peels are often preferred to physical exfoliants.
- Alpha-H Liquid Gold
• Sensitive Skin: This one is tricky. Different skin is irritated by different ingredients, so it's recommended you speak with a dermatologist or get really friendly with your sales assistant so you can try various samples until you find a product that works for you.
- Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
Step 4: Tone
Toning is the MVP of skincare. Wiping a cotton ball of toner across your face removes all trace remains of dirt, grime, and makeup, whilst also balancing your pH. The result it a perfectly clean canvas, ready for any serums or moisturisers you choose to use.
• Normal Skin: Witch Hazel is the ultimate natural toner, and if you don't need any extra bells and whistles, you can't go wrong with this organic solution.
- Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Alcohol-free Toner
• Dry Skin: Any way you can add a little extra hydration, the better! Avoid astringents, and look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
- Kiehl’s Cucumber Toner
• Oily Skin: This will be your lifesaver, to break through excess oil and minimise pores.
- Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner with Saw Palmetto and Mint
- Sisley Grapefruit Toning Lotion
• Sensitive Skin: Choose products with soothing ingredients. Opt for organic formulas where possible!
- Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner
Step 5: Serum
A good serum is the pièce de résistance of a high-quality skincare routine and can be customised depending on what your skin concerns are. Whether you are after anti-ageing, radiance-boosting, intensive moisturising, or redness relief, there's the technology available to target it! Some of our favourites include Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (this antioxidant-rich serum is the first step for luminous skin!), Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil (a smooth canvas for sun-kissed glow), and Korres Wild Rose Advanced Brightening and Nourishing Face Oil (highly concentrated, highly indulgent).
Step 6: Moisturiser
All skin needs moisture. Even if you think your skin is sufficiently hydrated naturally or even too oily, all skin needs moisture. Apply whilst your skin is damp to help seal in moisture. Depending on how dry your skin is will determine how light-weight or creamy it is, so be sure to take the time to experiment with samples. We love Darphin Intral Redness Relief Recovery Cream (because sometimes skin needs help recovering), Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturiser (for generous hydration), and Codage Day Cream (a lighter alternative that still packs heaps of hydration).
Step 7: Sunscreen
For healthy and glowing skin that will last for decades to come, you can't go past a healthy layer of sunscreen. Look for sunscreen that works against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 30. Arm yourself with the ultimate skincare tool and wear it every day! Our favourites are Lancome UV Expert Youth Shield SPF50 Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF50.
- Never wear your makeup to bed! No matter how tired, lazy, or drunk you are, you should always do the bare minimum and wash your face before bed.
- Be smart with the makeup you wear. Choose products that say "nonacnegenic" or "noncomedogenic" on the label, and try and choose water-based products over oil-based where possible.
- Try to avoid habits that can damage your skin. These include picking at skin, popping pimples (we're all guilty of it), smoking, or using harsh and irritating products.
- Eat smart! Eat fruits and vegetables for much-needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and make sure you're getting enough lean protein (whether you choose to eat meat, beans, or eggs). Avoid foods that are high in cholesterol3, trans fats, saturated fat, sugar, or salt. And of course - drink plenty of water!
- Get plenty of rest to stay in good health. More than just beneficial for your skin, rest is often the first defence we have against getting sick or feeling run down. Relax when you can and take time to treat yourself!