Is it exfoliate then clay mask or clay mask then exfoliate? Face oil, before or after moisturiser? OH FOR GOODNESS SAKES! WHEN DID SKINCARE BECOME ROCKET SCIENCE?! Exactly our thoughts when we first started our skincare routine. With an overwhelming amount of information and products currently in the market we see how it can all get too confusing. While there’s a lot to process, it is important to have a correct skincare routine suited for YOUR SKIN. Without knowing what to use or how to layer them, it’s pointless to even have the best skincare from the best brand because it’s going to end up doing nothing or even worse - wreak havoc on your skin.
Alright, let’s do this!
Contrary to popular belief, YOU DO NOT NEED an 8-10 step skincare routine.
1. Who has the time for that?!
2. Way too many chemicals in one hit
Believe us when we say that your skin will actually react better when you use fewer products. The base of any skincare routine is - cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen (day time). If you’re only just starting out or only have 30 seconds to get ready for the day or night, stick to the basics. As your skin begins to adapt to your products you can start introducing extra benefits such as a face oil for dry skin, clay mask for clog pores, and Vitamin C for anti-aging protection.
Now into the nitty gritty…
Step 1: Cleanser (when we say cleanser we mean double cleanse, if possible)
“What double cleanse? You just said keep it simple?”
Yes, but hear us out! If you wear makeup or sunscreen (and you should be wearing sunscreen) a simple aqueous gel cleanser won’t do the trick. In order to remove oils, makeup or dirt, you need a product that dissolves these. This is where a cleansing oil or cleansing balm comes in. It cleans the skin without leaving the skin dry. These days there are heaps of cleansing oils/balms which emulsify and can wash away with water and there won’t be a need for a gentle surfactant cleanser. However, if you feel like there's still some oil residue left behind then a gentle surfactant cleanser will get rid of this.
No matter how tired you are after a long night of dancing or Netflix binging, please don’t skip this step. Cleansing ensures that your skin is clean and ready to absorb all the beneficial ingredients you’ll be treating it with after.
Extra: Exfoliate and Purifying Mask
Every 2-3 times a week or when the skin feels a little clogged, treat your skin with gentle exfoliation followed by a purifying mask. These products are aimed to do a deep clean and remove grime deep in the pores.
Step 2: Toner
Do we need this, do we not? It essentially helps to prime the skin to readily absorb concentrated treatments that follow. Your skin, however, won’t throw a tantrum if you skip this step.
What’s the difference between toner and essence?
These two are pretty interchangeable. You can use a toner only or essence only, or por que no los dos? (Why not both? For those who don’t speak Spanish). The main function of a toner is to rebalance the pH of your skin whilst an essence’s purpose is to begin the process of hydration and nourishment. You can think of it as pre-drinks. In skincare terms, a pre-serum. You could go without but it’s always a little more fun when you do.
Step 3. Serums
Serums are your tequila shots - strong, powerful, effective. They’re essentially concentrated nutrients, hydrators and antioxidants that give your skin health a major boost. Once again, serums are also optional but in our opinion this is the point in your skincare routine where you can really target specific skincare concerns. Acne scars or dull skin? Potent Vitamin C Serum. Fine lines and wrinkles? Retinoid Serum. Super dry skin? Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Also, serums tend to have a smaller ingredient list - a medium/carrier and the hero ingredient. Less junk on your face and more of the good stuff.
Extra: Sheet Mask
Sheet masks are essentially facial fabric sheets soaked in a highly concentrated serum. You would normally apply it on clean skin (or after toning) and leave it for 20-30 minutes to allow the nutrients to penetrate your skin. The sheets prevent quick evaporation so it allows the ingredients to have time to penetrate deep into the skin and do its thing. Not necessary for a daily routine but a great way to give your skin an ‘at home’ facial/spa treatment #selfcare
Step 4: Eye Cream (interchangeable with moisturiser)
The most polarising product in our opinion. Do we need it? Do we not? How is it different from a normal moisturiser? Some swear it’s a must have and some are adamant that it’s total rubbish. Look, it really comes down to the ingredients. A lot of eye creams do contain ingredients that are more targeted for the eye area concerns such as brightening of dark circles, reduction of crows feet wrinkles or plumping the under eye. There are even some eye creams that claim to give an instant firming effect to reduce fine lines around the eyes. This type of action would really help with preventing foundation or concealer settling into the fine lines. Imagine eye creams as another layer to achieve a more awake and youthful look.
Step 5: Moisturiser
This is another “don’t skip this” step. Remember, cleansing, moisturising and protection. You need to moisturise. PERIOD. ALWAYS. Morning and night. You’ve got oily or acne prone skins? Please don’t fear! There’s a moisturiser for you! Your skin is a very temperamental organ and it has a crucial role in keeping the whole body healthy. It keeps the bad guys out and the good guys in. A moisturiser helps to keep the skin adaptable, flexible and well hydrated even in the harshest conditions. To skip moisturiser, you’re pretty much neglecting your skin health and saying, ‘screw you, face and body!’
Step 6: Face Oil
For our dry skin pals, face oils probably make up 50% of our shelfies. Face oils are occlusives which means they act as a seal to lock in the ingredients and moisture you just curately applied on your face. Our skin is made of lipids, so adding a face oil helps to restore and strengthen the lipid layer. Make sure to always apply the face oil last because serums, moisturiser and treatments cannot penetrate oil which therefore won’t be able to reach your skin.
Step 7: Sunscreen
The final must-have and crucial step - sunscreen. Unless you’re cool as a cucumber about premature aging, hyperpigmentation, inflammation and increased cancer risk, DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. If you plan to use a face oil during the day you will still need to apply your sunscreen last. Why? Because it acts as a shield against environmental stressors. At this step, you’re not necessarily adding more nutrients or moisture, it’s just to protect your skin.