Friday, 29 January 2016
Building A Skincare Regime
The skincare world can be such a jungle, and it's often a little bit confusing to know exactly where to start. When I was a teenager and was trying to find one-stop solutions to sorting out my acne riddled skin, it never felt clear whether you just need a super strong, astringent 'treatment', a foamy cleanser or just cleanse, tone and moisturise. I was often lured in by those adverts that showed colourful beads that roll away the blackheads, leaving your skin impossibly clean... lols.
Fortunately, since I was 15/16 (nearly 7 years then!) I've been reading lots of blogs, mainly beauty focused, and watching lots of beauty YouTubers too so have been exposed to a whole host of fab new brands, products and information. I've taken the time to really understand what products suit my skin and what it needs and I feel I've nailed a pretty decent skincare regime. Mine is tailored towards someone with oily, hormonal, acne prone skin so if that's you take a good look at what products I adore!
So whether you're a teenager who is just starting to build a skincare regime, or your skincare regime has been a little flakey over the years, or you simply have absolutely no idea where to start, here's my tips for building a skincare regime...
Before You Start...
Know your skin type and accept it
Oily, ageing, dry, dehydrated, combination, normal, prone to redness, sensitive, acne prone, hormonal... there can be many factors that contribute to the way your skin looks and feels and it's important you recognise what your skin type is. Paula's Choice created a fab infographic to help you find out what your skin type is so take a look before you start anything.
Based upon your skin type, it's worth seeking out a cleanser that'll suit your skin. Having said that, I personally would 100% recommend an oil based cleanser or a balm cleanser to everyone, regardless of your skin type. Having spent approximately 10 years being told to use a foaming cleanser to 'thoroughly cleanse' my acne prone skin, it was a relief to try a creamy, balmy cleanser and realise that this was exactly what my skin needed. I see cleansing as a chance to get your blood cells moving and to wake your skin up, so a balm cleanser really encourages that. I'd recommend having a 'main' cleanser for the morning and evening, and if you're wearing make-up during the day, remove it with an oil cleanser and then follow up with your 'main' cleanser.
Recommendations: Emma Hardie Morninga Cleansing Balm; Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish: Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm; The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Oil; Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil
This is not a necessary step, and one I have a love hate relationship with. There are some really lovely toners out there, but in all honesty they don't do a great deal for the skin. They promise to calm and 'prep' the skin prior to serums, oils, treatments and so on, but like I said, are not necessary. That being said it can be a nice touch if you're having a big skincare pamper or during the summer, using a spritzing toner during the day or over make-up can be just what your skin needs.
Recommendations: La Roche Posay Serozinc; LUSH Tea Tree Toner; Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic
The idea of using acids seems to have really taken off in the last five years or so, but perhaps that's only because that's when I've been exposed to this idea. Acid enriched pads or toners are now in an abundance on skincare selves, so there's no shortage of choice. For most people, an AHA acid toner is a suitable acid exfoliator that will gently eat away at any dead skincare cells, leaving you with bright, healthy and even looking skin. If your skin is oily or acne prone, try a BHA acid toner, which contains salicylic acid to reduce the excess sebum and buff away dead skin cells for healthier looking skin. Start off by using once or twice a week, and then build up your use as your skin gets used to it. Do not be afraid of the acids! Alternatively, a traditional 'scrubby' exfoliator is just as effective, it just depends on whether you're comfortable with using one. There are some really lovely facial scrubs out there and again, I'd recommend using once or twice a week when you feel your skin needs it.
Recommendations: Alpha H Liquid Gold; Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads; First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads; Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator
This is where you can get a little creative with your skincare and mix and match with whatever your skin currently needs. So yes, you may have skin that's prone to blackheads but that doesn't mean all of your skincare products need to be based upon that. My skin gets dehydrated from time to time, but I don't need the added hydration all year round. So a hydrating serum can be a total dream for my skin when needed, and likewise a retinol based treatment or serum can work wonders on my skin when it's feeling congested and clogged. Just think whatever your skin really needs, and treat it to that.
Recommendations: Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Retinol Skin Resurfacer; La Roche Posay Effeclar Duo+; Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Skin Serum/Treatment; Aesop Oil Free Hydrating Serum
Much like acid toners/exfoliators, oils have really been taken to in a new light in recent years which is fantastic. Regardless of your skin type, there is an oil out there for you that will add hydration and balance to your skin that it needs. Even if your oily, applying the right oil to your skin will balance out any excess oils and leave your skin feeling nourished, hydrated and healthy. Just two-three drops should be more than enough. I tend to apply oils at night so my skin can drink it up over night, and I'm usually in too much of a rush in the morning to let my skin enjoy the oils, so my make-up will only slide off otherwise!
Recommendations: Balance Me Radiance Face Oil; Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil; Clarins Face Treatment Oil - Lotus
If I were to pick two absolute essentials for skincare, it would be cleanse and moisturise. I'm sure your mum and women from your family have been telling your for years to always ensure you moisturise, and maybe even to moisturise in a certain way (upwards!). It's true that moisturising is just so important for keeping your skin hydrated and nourished. The right moisturiser can help your make up apply like a dream, can act as a hydration barrier and an anti-age barrier too. Pick one that suits your skin type (this is very important) as one too rich or one not rich enough can be the be all and end all. Take your time trying samples to find one that suits you, if needs be. Just remember to do it morning and night, as the last step of your regime!
Recommendations: Origins GinZing Moisturiser; Origins Make A Difference + Rejuvenating Treatment; Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel; Aurelia Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser; Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser
7. Masks etc.
If you fancy a spot treatment or a face mask, go wild but this doesn't need to be a necessity in your skincare regime. Maybe once a week once you've cleansed your skin as you run a relaxing bath pop on a face mask, but again just pick one that suits what your skin currently needs. I'm a fan of multi-masking so getting a two-in-one treatment for my skin. Also, if you're after a spot treatment, this isn't wholly necessary but it can be a nice little treat if you have a big beast of a spot brewing and an event imminently that you want the spot hugely reduced by. If there's anything you feel your skin really needs, go for it but don't overcomplicate it.
So, it can feel a little overwhelming, and pretty damn expensive but just keep things really simple. Think of the cleanser and moisturiser as the two slices of bread for a skincare sandwich. Everything in between is just another delicious layer of joy for your skin, but isn't always necessary. Feel free to play around with things, and take away what your skin doesn't need though I'd encourage you to keep your skincare regime following the same consecutive steps as above. Look after your skin, as the sooner you take care of it, the longer it'll look after you.
Do you have a skincare regime? What are your favourite skincare products currently? Do you enjoy pampering your skin? Did you find this useful? What was the first skincare product you ever purchased? Mine was most likely this! Eek.
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