It’s the dreaded sentence all teens couldn’t bear hearing – you know, the one we knew was coming without fail, especially after a night out. My mom would yell it at me from across the house: “Don’t go to bed without taking off your makeup!” In my teens and early 20s, it made me cringe and bordered on the side of annoying. But fast forward to my mid-thirties and, yes, I can admit it now: Mom is always right!
As I got older, and hopefully a little wiser, my skincare routine has evolved and become something I take such pride in. Think about it. Your skin is like your business card; you want it to make a great impression. It’s so important to know your skin, use the right products and maintain the results.
With brands launching new skincare products every day, it can be really intimidating to know the difference between an oil cleanser and a cleansing balm, vitamin C and Retinol – or how hyaluronic or glycolic acid treatments can leave your skin healthy and glowing. I love to think of my skincare routine and the steps I use as an investment in myself, and I want to share my beauty secrets with you!
Everyone should be using active, high-performance ingredients in their skincare routine to target the key signs of ageing: fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, uneven pigmentation, melasma, inflammation and dullness to help deliver a fresh, youthful appearance. Rich antioxidants can combat inflammation and help repair and restructure skin.
Step 1: Cleansers
I am a huge fan of double cleansing. Using either a micellar water or cleansing balm first, I then use a foamy cleanser to finish the job. A cleanser kicks off your skincare routine. Use it morning or night, or both. Find a cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin and after rinsing it off, your skin feels clean but also very soothed.
Step 2: Toner
This is a step that a lot of people skip, but it’s imperative to tone the skin to assist in giving you a clear complexion. Applied after cleansing, a toner is a fast-absorbing liquid that helps to remove excess dirt, traces of oil and makeup. It also corrects and balances the pH level of your skin, which helps control acne by helping to clean and close pores.
I love using a toner with glycolic acid in it to help exfoliate my skin naturally, remove any blemishes and brighten the face. Some toners come in the form of spritzers, which can be applied to the face as a fine mist, but most toners come in a bottle where you can apply some into a cotton pad and rub gently in circular motions on the face.
Step 3: Serums
My favourite skincare step is the application of my serums. I use a vitamin C serum every day and night, after toning. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient for your skin and helps boost elasticity while evening out your skin tone and adding moisture. I then layer a hyaluronic acid serum over that, my personal favourite being one that uses watermelon as the main ingredient.
Hyaluronic acid helps promote glowing skin while reducing fine lines, wrinkles and signs of ageing. It also helps plump the skin and assist with collagen production. The trick with your serums, whether it’s day or night, is to layer by consistency. Lighter serums are easily and quickly absorbed by the skin, while the heavier hydration serums/oils seal in the ingredients and leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. For serums with more or less the same consistency, go with the ingredient you most want for your skin.
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Step 4: Retinol (night time)
Next is probably the most important ingredient you can feed your skin – retinol serum. I have to admit I was so nervous to use retinol for the first time a few years ago, but I can honestly say I have never looked back. Retinol is a potent form of vitamin A and many dermatologists prescribe it for severe acne, known as RetinA. The Retinol everyone has access to is fabulous, easy to use and gives you immediate results.
Retinol is the star ingredient of many anti-ageing serums and creams. It works to neutralise free radicals, stimulate collagen production and accelerate skin turnover, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and blurring acne marks and other blemishes in the process. If you’ve never used retinol before, start this product out slowly and only in tiny amounts. I started using it every third night, and have gradually worked my way up to both alternately or nightly use depending on my need.
I smooth it onto my face and under the eyes (mainly the contour of the under eyes) using a patting and pressing motion as I do with all of my serums. This helps to prevent stretching the skin and the products are absorbed more effectively. Retinol can cause a three-day purge and unclog pores you never even knew you had! It even helps to reduce the veins on the side of the nose. I cannot live without this product! I saw instant results and I continue to see them each time I look in the mirror.
Step 5: Moisturiser
A daytime moisturiser with an SPF is essential! I also love an oil-free gel or light-consistency moisturiser for the day, especially in summer when your skin produces more oil and natural sebum. You’ll want to compliment that in the day with a lightweight moisturiser. I also love using a moisturiser that is a makeup primer, tint and SPF all in one, as well as adding a few drops of day oil into the moisturiser which helps to seal my daytime products.
When it comes to a night-time moisturiser, you can definitely use one that’s thicker and, depending on your skin, richer in ingredients and consistency. A night cream is such a treat for the skin and a tiny amount goes a long way. I really love how this type of moisturiser melts beautifully into the skin and you see results in the morning. My skin feels firmer and plumper and looks more luminescent than ever.
Step 6: Eye serum and cream
One of the final steps for me is using an eye serum and cream. Many people dismiss these, but as I’m getting into my mid-30s, an eye cream is vital. The skin under your eyes is as thin as the skin on the back of your hands, which means it needs extra care. I love using two products under my eyes, a gel-like serum in the day and a thick and creamy, revitalising cream at night. My under eyes get the best of both worlds. Remember to pat your eye cream in gently with your ring finger, starting from the inner corner outwards. Eye creams target all eye concerns and help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, puffiness and dark circles.
Step 7: Facial oil (night time)
Many people skip this step, but I find that it brings my entire skincare routine together. I love using a facial oil made with lots of botanicals and soothing ingredients. I put five to six drops into the palm of my hand and then I rub my palms together to heat the product up, which I then gently press into my skin with my palms. Facial oil is always the last step of your skincare routine – think of it as a seal of approval!
Our heroine Coco Chanel once said: “Nature gives you the face you have at 20; life shapes the face you have at 30; but at 50, you get the face you deserve.”