If you’re like me, your skincare routine is probably a patchwork of stuff you picked up along the way – meshing them together from the advice you received from friends, your mom, beauty magazines and probably too many beauty store assistants. And while it may be working well for you, it never hurts to take a look at what is really required in a skincare routine.
Let’s start at the beginning – there are only 2 steps you need for basic skincare: cleansing and moisturising. If you can manage these two steps twice a day, you’re done. But if you can, try to find time to build in these 3 additional steps to your routine: misting, exfoliating and masking. Together, these 5 steps will make up the bulk of your simplified skincare routine, helping you to achieve healthy, younger looking skin.
Cleansing your face is the first and most important step in any skincare routine. Dirt and dead skin cells build up on our skin’s surface during the day and overnight when we sleep – and when it isn’t washed off properly, the skin breaks out or can look dull and tired. When this happens, our natural tendency is to spend money buying more products to fix the problem, rather than looking at the source of it. So before you head to the shops, try to work on cleansing your face properly first.
Need another reason why properly cleansing your skin is vital? It allows your skin to function properly. The skin’s role is to protect your body from infections and environmental damage, regulate your body temperature and keep your skin and body hydrated. In essence, cleansing will allow your skin to do its job well.
You should aim to cleanse your face twice a day – once in the morning and again at night. Use gentle, circular motions when cleansing and rinse off with lukewarm water. Pat (not rub) your face dry with a soft, clean towel.
Cleansing not only removes dirt from your face, it will remove your skin’s natural oils (also known as sebum) too. Sebum is our body’s way of keeping the skin moisturised so it’s important to replace any lost moisture from cleansing as soon as possible, to stop the skin from drying out. If you can, apply moisturiser on to damp skin, as this allows the water droplets to be absorbed into the deeper layers of your skin – resulting in a fresh, dewy glow.
If you choose a quality, high performance moisturiser in the first place, you can stop paying ridiculous sums of money on eye or neck creams. These products are marketed as being better than moisturisers and comes with a price tag to match. But often, they are just slightly improved versions of moisturisers. So if your moisturiser is good enough, you can very well skip these products as their effect is often negligible compared to what you would pay for them.
Improving on your basic skincare routine
When time is on your side (we get it, life tends to get in the way!) try to incorporate 3 more steps to your skincare routine: misting, exfoliating and masking. These will complement your basic skincare routine and help sort out any skin problems you are struggling with.
The purpose of misting your face is to replace the moisture you have stripped off from your skin during cleansing. Facial mists are primarily made up of water and although this means that they are hydrating, they cannot be absorbed into your skin. This is due to sebum, the protective layer of oil covering the surface of skin. Since water and oil don’t mix, the facial mist can only sit on the skin’s surface. And while that’s great for the topmost layer of your skin, their effect is only temporary as they will eventually evaporate.
What we want to do is to capture the moisture and lock it into the skin. And you can do this simply by blending in your moisturiser with your facial mist. The moisturiser will absorb into the skin – and bring the facial mist along with it. Therefore, the best time to apply facial mist is right before you slather on your moisturiser. I love floral water (also called hydrosols) for this purpose as they are natural, stuffed with amazing skin-loving properties and smells wonderful.
One of the causes of dull, tired looking skin is the build up of dead skin cells on the surface of our skin. Although our skin normally shed them on its own, the speed of this process slows down with age. Exfoliating can help regenerate your skin but be aware that this should be done no more than once or twice a week as over-exfoliating can cause skin sensitivity and dryness.
Do remember to start off with clean, wet skin before exfoliating to avoid scratching the surface of your skin. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you could still be inflicting micro-scratches on your skin without realising it, which can cause wrinkles. The best way to exfoliate is to use slow and gentle circular motions, making sure you go over every part of your face – including your neck but avoiding the eyes. Rinse off, pat dry and moisturise.
Masks are a great and easy way to give your skin a boost. Depending on the mask type, they can help draw out toxins, hydrate or nourish the skin. Before you start, think about what you want to achieve first and don’t forget to take your skin type into consideration. If you’re finding it tough to settle on just one mask, why not multi-mask? This simply means applying different masks to different parts of your face, all at the same time.
Apply a thin layer of mask on to cleansed face and neck, while staying clear of your eyes and lips area. Leave for 15-20 minutes or until it is dry. It’s worth noting that the mask stops working once it’s dry so there is no need to leave it on beyond that. To remove, rinse off with lukewarm water, pat dry and moisturise.
And you’re done! How easy was that? It takes barely any effort while doing your skin a world of good. Of course, what you use on your skin is just as important as the routine itself. It’s no use perfecting your daily habit when the products you use aren’t optimal for your skin.
Ready to take charge of your skin and go back to the basics? Check out our natural skincare buying guide for tips on what to look out for, and if you want to get more details on how to wash and moisturize your skin – check out my video here.