Earlier this week I shared my advice for building a skincare routine - detailing the types of products that I use on a daily basis, and when and how I do so. I'll save the full story for another day, but will suffice to say that my skin and I have been through a lot of aggro over the years, and have come a long long way from where we started (acne-ridden teen). In today's post I'm sharing the tips and tricks that I've picked up on after a fair few years of skincare experience, research, and the good old process of trial and error. As with my skincare routine, this advice may not work for/apply to everyone, but I've curated them to be as comprehensive and universal as possible - pens at the ready!
+ Do your research. I never buy a product without reading up on it first, and it saves a lot of wasted time and money. Obviously I would never just read one review and take it for granted, but getting a general consensus and learning about the type of product you're buying will allow you to make an informed purchase. + Be consistent (regularity pays off). + If you use an exfoliating toner (AHAs and BHAs) then be sure to use an SPF, as these increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays. + Avoid products with alcohol in the top 50% of ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin. + Similarly, be wary of anything with mineral oil within the first few ingredients. It's not as lethal as some make out, but it's a cheap filler which does nothing beneficial for the skin and can cause some people to break out. + Less is ALWAYS more. If you have problem skin it can be tempting to go all out with the scrubs and exfoliants, but this will simply aggravate your blemishes. A gentle calming cleanser will have far better results. + NEVER sleep in your makeup. + Don't disregard a product because you broke out a few days after using it, it's probably just doing it's job. Often the only way for a product to 'draw out impurities' is to bring underlying blemishes to a head. It is perfectly normal to have a bad breakout a few days after using a really deep-cleanisng mask or treatment (which is why you should never use one immediately before a big event). I suffered two weeks worth of terrible skin when I first started using (my hero product) La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, and then voila, clear skin! + Don't fall into the trap of stripping oily skin and avoiding moisturising products if you're shine-prone, this simply causes the skin to overproduce oil and so intensifies the issue. Using a facial oil and moisturising regularly is far more likely to balance and calm your skin than industrial strength alcoholic wipes, which would be better suited to cleaning your sink. + Remove your makeup as soon as you get home, not right before you go to bed. + It's an obvious one, but if you're on a 'good skin mission' then smoking, drinking, and eating junk food isn't going to help. Cut the crap and drink lots of water. + Stick to what you know. If the moisturiser that you've used for two years works for you then stick with it. Don't be tempted to try something different for the sake of it. + Expensive products are not always the best, and there are some great affordable skincare ranges out there (but my rationale is that if you spend more on your skincare and it works, then you don't need to spend as much on makeup). + Ask for help. Many stores have fantastic options for skincare consultancies these days - large Boots stores have skincare advisors on the shop floor, and in my experience the staff of Kiehls, Origins, Lush, and Space NK can be especially knowledgeable and helpful if you need skincare advice. Alternatively, you know my email. I'm not an expert but I'm happy to help. + If in doubt go French - its affordable, brilliant, and there is always something for everyone (namely La Roche-Posay, Avene, and Bioderma). + Be patient (only time will tell). + Everyone is different (adapt your routine to suit YOUR skin).
PS. Skincare is not just for girls! Skin is clearly not gender exclusive so WHY we don't place more emphasis on the universality of good skincare practice baffles me. There can be some differences in the needs and requirements of male and female skin however, and Kiehls, The Body Shop, and No7 have some great male skincare ranges, so spread the word!
What are your skincare tips and advice?