Everyone has to start somewhere! If you are a skincare newbie, then you’ve found yourself in the right place. I’m going to give you the info you need to create your own skincare routine.*
If you follow the beauty community, you’ll know that lots of people’s skincare routines are very long and comprise of loads of products. When you’re starting out from scratch, you don’t need to include all of these! I’d say to focus on the basics: cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.
First things first: know your skin type. Oily, dry, sensitive, normal or combination. This will help you to choose products that are more catered for your skin.
- If you find that by the middle of the day that your face is pretty shiny and you have blackheads and larger pores in the oiler parts of your face (generally the T-zone – across your forehead and down your nose) then you’re probably oily.
- If you have dry patches around your face and need to use a lot of moisturiser, you’re probably dry.
- If you skin is quite prone to irritation, blotchiness and redness, then you are probably sensitive.
- If you don’t have any particular skin concern, then your skin is pretty ‘normal’.
- Lastly, if you have a combination of these (e.g. an oily T-zone and dry cheeks), then you are combination.
Generally there are two types of cleanser: one that takes your makeup off and one that actually cleans your face. Sometimes they can do both, but more often than not they are separate. If you are still using makeup wipes or micellar water, put them down and step away from them now. Makeup wipes don’t do a good job of cleaning your skin, which is why you probably need to use a few to get all your makeup ‘off’. You’ll probably be tugging on your skin too, especially around your eyes to remove stubborn mascara, which can lead to premature ageing. There’s even been research to suggest that instead of cleaning the skin, wipes just spread dirt and bacteria around your face and push bacteria further in to your skin. Micellar water is also not a great makeup remover. Like makeup wipes, it can be incredibly drying and you have to use a lot of product to get makeup off. Micellar water was originally only to be used when you have no access to water, like backstage at a runway show, so don’t be lazy!
INSTEAD: Consider switching to an oil or a balm to remove your makeup in the evening! Apply these to your hands and rub them gently into the skin. They will both melt your makeup away really easily and will remove your eye makeup with ease. You don’t have to use much product to get really good results either. Go with the less is more approach and add more product if necessary. You can either use warm water or a soft flannel to remove it. Let me tell you, your skin will feel so much more hydrated than when you use a wipe or micellar water! These products don’t need to cost a bomb. Yes they will cost more than makeup wipes, but the results should be far superior and they’re way more gentle on the skin. Here are a few different options for different price points:
BONUS: If you have ever heard of someone ‘double cleansing’, this is when you use one cleanser (usually an oil or a balm) to take off their makeup followed by another (thinner) cleanser to actually clean the face. If you have any skin concerns like acne, this would be when you address this. These cleansers usually are more likely to be a gel (for oily skin) or a milk (for drier skin). You can often use this ‘second’ cleanse as your morning cleanser too.
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – £14 – GREAT for acne prone skin (my personal skin saviour when I had cystic acne). DO NOT USE EVERYDAY.
REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk – £20 – Great for dry or sensitive skin.
Regardless of whether you have oily or dry skin, you should be using a moisturiser. Probably not with the same one, but your skin will need moisture even if you have very oily skin with bad acne. Quite often when our skin is dry (usually from stripping the skin with aggressive products) all the natural oils that the skin produces are removed. In a panic, your skin will actually produce more oils – not less – because it’s so dry and the natural reaction is to try and re-moisturise with oils. You should be applying moisturiser in the morning and evening. They don’t have to be the same – you might prefer a thinner one for day time and a thicker one for night time depending on your skin type, but this is all down to preference.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat – £16 – Oily skin
Clinique Pep Start Hydro Rush Moisturiser – £25.50 – Dry/Normal skin, morning moisturiser
Nivea Soft – £4.29 – Even with all my other expensive moisturisers, I ALWAYS have a tub of this around. This is a good all rounder that may be a touch too thick for oily skin, but great for normal-dry skin.
SPF is your absolute best friend. YOUR BEST FRIEND. Whether you are at work all day in an office or walking out in nature, you need to be wearing SPF. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean that you are not exposed to UV rays. Quick rundown of UV rays – there are two main types: UVA and UVB. UVA penetrates more deeply into the skin and causes aging, while UVB penetrates less deeply and causes the skin to burn. Just because it’s the middle of winter and cloudy all the time, doesn’t mean that UV rays don’t exist. They penetrate through the clouds and come through windows just as strongly as when you’re outside, so you need to be covered! This would be the last step in your skincare routine before you apply your makeup. SPF that is included in your foundation or moisturiser is not sufficient cover – you need an extra line of defence. SPF should be applied 15-20 mins before you go into the sun and you should roughly apply half a teaspoon to your face for sufficient coverage. The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50 is a really nice SPF that isn’t too much money on Amazon. It’s a really watery consistency and is much nicer to apply than regular sun cream. It’s also factor 50 so will give you all the protection you need. I really like the Beauty Pie Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF 25 because the consistency is amazing, but you have to be a member so if you really do want to get into skincare you might like to take the plunge. Ideally you would go for something between SPF 30-50 (I just love the consistency of the Beauty Pie one too much). If you’re out in the sun all day, be sure to apply every 2 hours or so, otherwise it’s your makeup base.
You can add in extra products to your routine with time, but these are the main steps that you should include. These steps are vital to ensure that your skin is kept clean, moisturised and protected from any sun damage.
I hope this run down has been useful for any skincare beginners reading – I have a few people in my life that I’ll be sending this article to! Please let me know in the comments if you have any product recommendations for various skin types and hopefully it can help someone else!
* I am by no means a skincare expert. In my opinion, these are the essentials. If you want to look into anything in more detail, go to Caroline Hirons’ blog, read The Skincare Bible or visit the expert advice section on Paula’s Choice. The products mentioned may not work for you – it happens. What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. It’s a trial and error process, so make sure you do research on the products, read reviews and make sure the product is made for your skin type.
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