When I was in my twenties my skincare regime consisted of little more than a bottle of Simple cleanser and some eye makeup remover to help rid me of the Sunday morning hangover. Although I neglected my skin and thought moisturisers were only suited to super dry complexions, I was lucky enough to get away with it; I’ve never been one to massively suffer with breakouts or congestion, so I guess there was never really a huge issue for me to tackle or a reason to build a skincare regime. My interest in skincare only really peaked when I started blogging, having access to a huge number of experts alongside great products to try. Something finally clicked and I was consciously starting to take care of my own complexion alongside helping readers to make the most of theirs; over the years I’ve spent a huge amount of time researching, learning and getting to know ingredients so I can tweak my regime and ensure my face looks as good as it can for as long as it can – and I’m aware my regime is more complex than most!
The skincare market can be an absolute minefield and it’s hard to navigate through the constant claims brands are making. How do you know what to buy and what to pass by? What do you actually *need* and what’s just excess? If you’re confused, hitting your thirties and beyond and just want your skin to look fabulous without having to adopt a fifteen step regime, then these are the products I’d recommend to pretty much everyone. (I’ve even popped five recommendations for each underneath to help you navigate the millions available!) Put simply, here’s how to build a skincare regime – both morning and night.
It was Caroline Hirons that got me onto this, but those foaming cleansers that leave your skin feeling squeaky clean also leave them absolutely parched; they strip the skin of essential oils and moisture, so in the morning you definitely want a non-foaming cleanser to wash away the dirt, grime and sweat from the night before. I use mine in the shower to speed up my mornings.
Rather than buying serums that you think look and sound nice, or your favourite beauty guru is recommending, pick a lightweight treatment that really targets your own issues. If you’re prone to breakouts then choose one that targets pimples; if ageing and pigmentation is more your concern then hunt out a serum that really gets to work on those fine lines and sun spots; if you’re not sure what you need and just want your skin to look radiant, look out for claims that include ‘brightening’ and ‘plumping’ to leave your complexion full of life. A pump massaged into skin will help deliver an intensive shot of goodness that you’ll be thankful of in the short and long-term.
LIGHTWEIGHT MOISTURISER & EYE CREAM
Everybody should be using a moisturiser every day, unless your skin is super oily or really prone to breakouts. We lose hydration just by going about our daily lives, and few of us drink enough to effectively replenish it (don’t even get me started on coffee!) Moisturisers no longer have to be heavy, greasy or leave white residue behind – thanks to massive leaps in technology they’re now super light, fast absorbing and packed full of ingredients to plump skin and leave it feeling radiant. An added step would also be an eye cream, applied just to the lower eye crease before your moisturiser, to help tackle fine lines and dark circles; although not essential and totally down to personal preference, it’s something I love to use every morning as a way of tackling that delicate skin. You don’t need to spend a fortune, instead find a texture you love and a formula enriched with hylaronic acid.
Absolutely non-compromiseable from my point of view is sun protection. We’re exposed to damaging UVA rays every single day, which are responsible for skin ageing amongst many other things, so it’s essential to minimise potential damage as much as possible. The final stage in your skincare regime, before you apply your makeup, should always be a small amount of SPF massaged into your entire face – even if your makeup contains SPF (because it won’t actually deliver anywhere near the amount you need.) With so many lightweight/non-sticky products now available, there’s no excuse not for popping on a bit of suncare every single day.
CLEANSING OIL OR BALM
Whether you wear makeup or not, you should be removing the daily grime before bed with an effective balm or oil cleanser; it helps to break down the dirt and remove anything that may compromise the appearance and performance of skin, while leaving the surface clean and ready for your skincare products. A face wipe or micellar water is not enough, providing only a superficial cleanse, and will actually reduce the effectiveness of the creams to follow. Use a fresh face cloth daily, and double up if you’ve been wearing heavy makeup.
Although the majority of cleansing products no longer leave behind residue, I always think it’s a good idea to follow with a clarifying toner that helps to gently remove any dead skin that causes dullness or blockages. Using an acid-based toner will help skin to look radiant and revived, while minimising the appearance of blackheads and pores; although not suitable for really sensitive or broken skin, for most it gives the pick-me-up you need.
While you sleep there’s optimum opportunity to help inject a bit of goodness to skin, targeting problem areas or helping to tackle those signs of ageing. After you cleanse and tone it’s always a good idea to use a rich cream to hydrate and plump the skin, using a great night cream or oil massaged delicately into the face ideally about an hour before bed. Personally I love added Retinol as a way of targeting fine lines, blemishes and pigmentation – you can get it in oil, serum or cream format so you don’t have to layer if you’re not down with that. Although it takes about a month to see a real difference, and some strengths you’ll need to build up tolerance too by using three times a week to start with, the long-term benefits are refined skin and reduced signs of ageing. Worth the wait!
Although you can add in any number of extra steps (essences, oils, masks, exfoliators, spritzes) and targeted ingredients (Vitamin C, Hylaronic Acid, AHAs) for specific issues, this should form the fundamental basics. If you’re ever confused, going back to basics and ensuring you have a great cleanser, moisturiser and targeted treatment will always ensure you’re on the right track. You never have to be confused about how to build a skincare regime again!
If you want to look at some of my previous reviews, features and favourite skincare, check out my posts here.