I hope you have enjoyed your skin journey with me so far. This post will go into the process of developing a skin care routine for yourself. Whether you are a health nut, a beauty junkie or just like nice skin, a good skincare routine is crucial. Your makeup will only ever look as good as the skin underneath it. Let us start with the basics of a skincare routine. This is for a skincare beginner or people who are happy with where their skin is at right now and are just looking at a simple daily minimalistic routine. To my male readers, this beginner routine is perfect for you!
The purpose of this step is to remove dirt, makeup, grime and contaminants from the surface of the skin. Proper cleansing not only removes impurities but also clears the way for all the active ingredients in the next few steps to really penetrate the skin. Do not over-cleanse! This will strip your skin and that is not want you want. Go pack to parts 1 and 2 where I recommend if your particular skin type needs a more gentle cleanser than others!
Often touted as an essential step in a skin care routine. Guess what? It’s not! The only exception to this is very oily skin. Do you remember what the difference between oily and dehydrated skin is? Go pack 2 steps to part 1 and 2. It is best to avoid toners that have a base of alcohol. You do not want to strip every last molecule of oil from your skin. Only grime, makeup and excess oil on the surface needs to be removed. The underlying thin coat of fresh sebum is best left undisturbed. Toners, especially those with alcohol, tend to be quite stripping and leave the skin dry and irritated. A simple, cheap, gentle and effective toner for most is just cold water. So cleanse your face in the shower and give your face a quick wash in cold water before you jump out!
The role of moisturiser is to plump up the upper layers of the epidermis with water. It fills surface lines and makes sure the skin looks and feels soft and hydrated. While moisturisers may also include active ingredients the molecular structure of most creams and lotions means that the penetration of these active ingredients will be less than if you were to use it in a serum or treatment product. Take home message from that? Skin care is expensive, save on the moisturiser and spend on a serum or treatment if you need it.
You should start this step right from teenage years. This is because once puberty hits, your skin starts to produce excess oil. You should always exfoliate on a regular basis, for most about twice a week is enough, but I love a good exfoliation. I tend to have quite thick resilient skin so I tend to use a light exfoliating face cleanser, designed for everyday use and then a more heavy duty number twice a week. You should determine optimal frequency based on your skin type, strength of exfoliants you use, application technique and other factors. If you develop irritation, increased sensitivity or dryness then it’s your skin telling you you’re overdoing it!
5. Sun Protection
For most of us, the sun is our worst enemy when it comes to the health of our skin and ageing. The easiest step to prevent premature ageing is to use sunscreen. We have the option of using a moisturiser or foundation with sunscreen in it or we can add it separately. If it is a separate product, it should be applied after all the skincare has been absorbed and before your makeup. Products that include sunscreen should ideally not be used at night time as the skin is in a regenerative state. I would recommend at least SPF 30+. Just a thing to keep in mind with SPF products is that they are not cumulative. If you use a moisturiser with SPF 30 and a foundation with SPF 15 you total sun protection is not 45, it is still just 30.
So if you have a keen mind you may have realised a basic skincare routine can have as little as 2 steps (3 if you have oily skin)
1. Cleanse (get an exfoliating cleanser to combine two steps in one)
2. Tone (only if oily)
3. Moisturise (get one with SPF to take care of your sun protection)
Looking for more heavy duty advanced results? Consider popping these extra steps in for that added pamper.
The Extra Mile
Serums contain all of the active ingredients (antioxidants, messengers and vitamins which we will cover in a post soon) and are in a smaller molecular form so they are able to have a greater effect on the lower layers of the epidermis. Serums are used to target specific skin concerns or conditions such as pigmentation and dehydration. Do you have any of these problems? Find out in my part 2. Serums can also be used around the eye area. Use your serum before your face moisturiser so the active ingredients can really penetrate.
The skin around the eye area is much finer and far more delicate than the rest of the facial area, so give it some extra loving. These re no sebaceous glans (sebum or oil producing glands) in this part of the skin so it does not have the protective coating over the skin. As the eye area is very expressive it is also prone to developing fine lines as a result of laughing and facial movements. The reason that we use a specific eye cream is because the pores are also much smaller around the eyes. The molecular structure of facial products general means they are not able to penetrate around the eyes. So, either the product is ineffective and wipes of on your pillowcase or it can collect on the top layer of the skin which can cause millia (little fatty deposits) around the eyes. I would suggest that you use a specific eye cream from your 20’s onwards and always apply it before your serum and face moisturises.
Additional benefits can be gained from using masks (purify, hydrate, brighten, firm) to address more specific concerns. In most cases these would be used once or twice a week and the skin should always be exfoliated before use so as to maximise the benefits of the mask.
Check out an old post I did with some of my favourite picks: https://abohemianexistence.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/skincare-favourites/
This are is also very delicate and prone to premature ageing and sun damage. If we use moisturisers that are intended for the face they can be too heavy and rich and drag the skin downwards. My personal opinion is you probably don’t need a cream as specific as this until at least your mid thirties, focus on the one million other products if you are any younger than this.
Night Time Products
Some active ingredients that are particularly good for resurfacing and smoothing the skin are photosensitive (reactive to light) and too active to use during the day. Anti ageing products that have active ingredients such as retinol, vitamin c and glycolic acid are best used at night.
There you have it my little bohemians. Leave a comment telling me what your current skincare routine is or if this post has helped you develop one or refine yours.
Part 4 will by a bit of a science based post and explore the basic anatomy of the skin. It really is all about knowing the skin you’re and this series is intended to take you through a journey of maximising your skin care so familiarise yourself with these 3 posts and keep an eye out for the fourth instalment.
xox your local bohemian