By Amanda Anastasiou
By Amanda Anastasiou
If there is one topic that I have thoroughly taken an interest in during lock-down, it is most definitely skincare, which is why I have put together this comprehensive list of my best skincare products and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
Let me start by saying that for a long time I didn’t look after my skin and I didn’t even know where to begin. And so, I developed a bit of a healthy obsession with teaching myself how to use the correct skincare for not only my skin type, but for all skin types.
Let’s be honest, we all dream of flawless, glowing skin, I know I do! Not only is skincare the most important part of makeup application, it is the most essential part of anti-ageing. With new products constantly hitting the shelves it probably feels overwhelming to begin a skincare routine that works for you. You probably know the basics such as drink plenty of water and get lots of sleep but I’m hoping my guide to better skincare will help you understand why we need everything else in between.
Possibly the most important part of skincare is correctly identifying your skin type. Your skin type can change throughout different stages of your life and we all have different skin concerns, so when you’re choosing products for your skin care routine it’s important to choose products suited to meet your current concerns. And remember, just because a product worked for you previously, that doesn’t mean it’s the correct choice for you now, you have to adjust the products you use accordingly. It is also important to consider things such as sun damage, fine lines and acne prone skin.
Start with a cleanser
Cleansing should be the first and most thorough step in your routine. The aim is to clean the skin of any build-up and to prepare it to absorb the products that follow in your routine. Aim to use your cleanser twice a day to remove dirt, oil and other impurities. At night, your cleanser also has the important task of removing left over make-up from your day. I would recommend double cleansing if you wear heavy make-up, this is simply repeating the process twice.
I recommend ‘The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser’
Use a toner
Essentially, a face toner removes dead skin, oil, dirt, and whatever else is left after cleansing, it also acts as a daily gentle exfoliant. While toner is not absolutely essential, it can be so helpful for those who are prone to acne. This is because it lets other products penetrate your skin easier. A toner reinforces any products in your routine to absorb more effectively. It is important to remember that a toner is not a cleanser or a substitute for one. A toner will pick up whatever your cleanser missed, but it only focuses on the skin’s surface whereas a cleanser will go much deeper into your skin.
Once you have identified your skin type, different skin types benefit from different active ingredients. For example, glycerine is a good ingredient for dry skin as it is very moisturising but acne-prone skin would benefit from salicylic acid instead to help treat and prevent breakouts. For mature skin, keep an eye out for antioxidants such as vitamin C. Those with normal skin should opt for hyaluronic acid to keep the skin balanced.
As an all-rounder, I would recommend ‘Glow Tonic’ by Pixi, it is moisturising but also exfoliating as it includes Glycolic acid, so it is the best of both worlds.
Once a week you’ll need to add an exfoliating product into your skin care routine. Unlike the Pixi toner I mentioned above, this step solely focuses on removing the top surface layer of your skin. Exfoliators offer a more intensive cleansing experience by physically clearing away the top surface layer of the skin. This action not only removes any dead skin cell build-up but also encourages the skin cell turnover process, which can leave the skin looking renewed and glowing. Be careful not to over exfoliate! If your skin is excessively oily or extremely dry and itchy these could be signs of over exfoliating.
Give Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant a try, it is for all skin types.
Add a serum and eye cream
I would consider a serum a specialised product that is catered to your requirements. If you prefer a low maintenance skin care routine, then you may want to skip this step. However, if you have specific skin concerns (for instance; pigmentation, wrinkles, blemishes, dehydration, under eye darkness) then this is the point in your skin care routine where you should invest in a specialised serum. Serum particles are very small and lightweight which means that they penetrate into your skin easily and this is why we use them to target our skin concerns and always apply them before a heavy moisturiser. It’s a good idea to also add in your favourite eye cream at this stage.
A vitamin C Serum is a great serum to start with, as vitamin C is considered a wonder ingredient. Along with retinol, it is one of the few proven anti-ageing skincare ingredients as it encourages collagen production. These ingredients combined can also improve visible signs of sun damage and scarring and helps defend skin against environmental damage caused by free radicals.
I recommend Clinique fresh presssed 7-day system with pure vitamin C
Apply a moisturiser
Every skin care routine must include a moisturiser, even if you have oily skin. Throughout the day our skin loses moisture. This could be due to a combination of physical and environmental factors. Therefore, the goal of your moisturiser is to replenish this lost moisture and prevent the skin from dehydrating. The secret is to choose a moisturiser that’s geared towards your particular skin type. For instance, people with sensitive complexions will benefit from a gentle formula moisturiser.
It’s so important to understand that if the steps 1, 2 and 3 above haven’t been included into your routine, you will not see the best results from your moisturiser. This is because your skin will not be free from dirt and blocked pores to be able to reap the rewards.
My favourite ever moisturiser is ‘Revitalizing Supreme +’ by Estée Lauder
Always wear sunscreen
No matter if it’s in the middle of winter, or on a rainy day, the final step in your skincare routine is to apply a sunscreen. UV rays are a major contributor to visible skin conditions such as pigmentation, discolouration and fine lines.
I know that sometimes a sunscreen can be heavy on your skin so I would recommend a Silicone free sunscreen such as ‘Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defence’ by Drunk Elephant.
Finally, I have shared my go-to list of key ingredients used within skincare products. I know that it can seem like a whole new language to learn but it’s so important to understand what we are putting on our skin.