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It’s never as easy as a three-step routine, is it? Once, cleanse, tone and moisturise was the way to go, but these days it’s not that simple. Serums, peels, scrubs, acids: it all adds up, and can get overwhelming without a few pointers.
There are plenty of products out there promising miracles. But we understand skin better than most, and we’re here to lift the shroud of mystery from skincare at home, so you can understand exactly what works, how it works, and what’s sheer nonsense.
The first part of every skincare routine should include removing the dirt and grime of the day. If you wear make-up, then that should come in the form of a cleansing oil.
This is a sort of pre-first step that comes before a more general cleanser, and doesn’t apply if you don’t wear make-up. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
A cleansing oil should remove product from your face gently, including waterproof mascara and heavy-duty foundation. Apply with your fingers, massage across your face, and try not to tug at any delicate areas before removing the oil with a cotton pad.
Once your make-up has been thoroughly removed (or if you don’t wear any), your next step is a good cleanser.
A gentle cleanser works to remove oily residue, dirt and bacteria from the surface of your skin. If you didn’t quite get everything with your cleansing oil, then your cleanser should also finish up for you by removing make-up residue that’s left behind.
The aim here is to get that clean, fresh feeling on your face without dryness and tightness. If you’re feeling a little too squeaky clean, then you might want to find something gentler that doesn’t strip away your skin’s natural oils.
Sonic Cleansing Brush
This step is optional, but can be a great choice if you need to really deep cleanse your skin. Using your fingertips to cleanse your face is effective, but can sometimes leave you just moving the cleanser around.
Opting for a sonic cleansing brush is simply more efficient. And though a little pricey, it’s a great long-term investment.
You’re already spending the time required to cleanse your skin, you may as well do it thoroughly. Using a sonic device can give your face a deeper cleanse that’s up to six times better than without a device. It will also work to soften and smooth the surface of your skin, removing impurities and generally improving blood flow.
An important step in your at home skincare routine is exfoliation. This is one that should be adhered to a couple of times a week, rather than every day – unless your skin is particularly congested.
The unfortunate truth is that the older we get, the slower the turnover of skin on our faces and bodies gets. Exfoliating regularly ensures that we don’t get a build-up of dead skin on the surface, which can lead to various more complicated problems, such as breakouts and dry patches.
Eye Cream or Gel
The skin around the eye is more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face, which can make it more prone to fine lines and wrinkles, especially as we get older.
The most effective way to prevent this is to remember that your eyes need moisture just as much as the rest of your face. Your eyes just require a different approach, as your normal moisturiser is likely to be far too heavy for this area.
You should apply an eye cream or easy-to-absorb gel each morning and night as an everyday part of your at home skincare. Apply gently to your undereyes, across the top of the cheekbone and beneath your eyebrows, and try not to tug or unnecessarily pull at the skin.
A crucial part of your routine, eye gels and creams can prevent and improve the appearance of puffy eyes and under eye “bags”, so this isn’t a step to skip!
If you’re lucky enough to have clear, bright skin, then this step might not be for you. But most of us have issues we’d prefer to prevent or target, and that’s where a good serum comes in.
Even if your skin is fresh and youthful, it won’t always be.
Adding a serum to your skincare routine is the ideal way to ensure your skin gets the hydration it needs as well as singling out our specific skin needs. That can come in the form of skin-clearing formulas like niacinamide, a boost of vitamins such as vitamin C or vitamin E, or anti-aging products like matrixyl.
Regardless of your needs, you should apply a serum after you’ve cleansed but before you moisturise for maximum effectiveness. Using serums at night can be particularly beneficial, as your skin works to recover from the day as you sleep, and serums can help you reap the rewards.
Hydration & SPF
Moisturiser might not add moisture to your skin, but it works to maintain the moisture you already have. Skin without enough moisture will look tired, dull and dehydrated, so adding a moisturiser to your routine is crucial, both for healthy skin and a youthful appearance.
Many of us forget SPF with our moisturiser, but sunscreen isn’t only important during the summer months. The sun can damage our skin all-year round if left unprotected, and your moisturiser should help you maintain moisture andinclude a good SPF to function as a skin protector.
You can probably skip the SPF at night, but only at night. It’s a must-have in your bathroom cabinet for daytime.
Though not an everyday skincare essential, we’re including acids on our list because we don’t know where we’d be without them. Leave-on acids like glycolic acid can be an incredibly effective way to improve the look of your skin as you sleep, gently removing dead skin cells and leaving you to wake up rejuvenated.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention at-home peeling solutions too, as these are acids that can be applied for up to ten minutes and function much like a regular face peel would, but milder.
Though not for those with sensitive skin, a peeling solution acid is great for a quick skin-boosting effect with immediate results. Just remember you’ll need additional sun protection after using one.
There have been a lot of disagreements about retinol in skincare, but as far as we’re concerned it’s an essential you should never be without.
It’s an amazing anti-aging formula for use at home, as retinol actually helps your skin cells to renew themselves. This, in turn, smooths out uneven skin tone, fine lines and dark spots.
If you haven’t used retinol before, make sure you check the concentration before you apply. Some retinols are stronger than others, and we’d recommend you start with a low concentration and gradually increase this over time as your skin becomes more tolerant to it.
Retinols, again, aren’t an everyday thing. Apply two to three times a week, and you’ll soon start seeing results.
It wouldn’t be a list of at home skincare essentials if we didn’t include the ultimate pamper: face masks.
Not only are these a significant addition to a quiet night in, a face mask is a great way to nourish your skin for an extra boost. Masks should be used a few times a week, and those with hydrating ingredients and properties that calm and soothe your skin are the best choice.
If your face is feeling particularly sore and uncomfortable, try popping your face mask in the fridge for ten minutes before you apply for a cooling feeling while it works.