A Beginner's Guide to a Skincare Routine
Skincare is not rocket science, but with so many people telling you that you need about 10 different products in your routine, it can definitely get confusing. While I am a skincare junkie, as one would call it, and do have about 10 different things (maybe more) to take care of my skin, you don't actually have to. Here I break it down to a simple 5-step skincare routine that will form your basic skincare regimen.
Step 1: Makeup CLeanser
If you're like me and use makeup nearly everyday, you know this step is crucial. I'm a firm believer in double-cleansing and have been since I've first used makeup. If you really want to limit your products (going minimal yasss), Coconut Oil is a great makeup remover that works to remove even the most stubborn mascaras. What's great is you can also use it for many different purposes. At the moment I use it daily as a body moisturiser as well as a hair mask fortnightly. I love Kopari's Coconut Melt but Vita Coco's Coconut Oil works just as well (but smells a little bit more like baked coconut). If you're not into Coconut Oil, you could also use either a bi-phase makeup remover like this (which I've also reviewed) or a cleansing oil (also reviewed here).
Step 2: Facial Cleanser
I like face cleansers that are non-stripping so I've been using either the Simple Moisturising Facial Wash or LUSH's Angels on Bare Skin. These are both very gentle yet effective cleansers that have worked for me for years now. This step is mostly to clear out whatever residue you have left on your face so you're left clean and clear. Whatever your skin type, I feel like cleansers that are gentle and non-stripping are always a safe option. Even when I was on acne treatment, I was never prescribed a super clarifying or 'acne-fighting' cleanser but instead a soap-free one to avoid aggregating my acne further. I'll do a post soon about my acne experience, battling it and going through the treatments to get rid of it.
Step 3: Serum
You might think that step 3 should be toner. I really don't see any benefits whenever I use one to be very frank. In fact, a lot of toners have alcohol in it which you know I am totally against. Instead, serums are great to give your skin a little boost. I have tried several different serums. At the moment, I'm using The Ordinary's Advanced Retinoid 2% and Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA (PM ONLY!) to improve my pigmentation issues and overall skin. However, I've had very good results with both The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and Hylamide's SubQ Anti-Age (reviewed here). I use serums mainly to hydrate the deeper layers of the skin that moisturisers might not reach (since serums are lightweight) and target any skin issues I might be having at the time.
Step 4: Moisturise
When it comes to moisturising, I'm a little extra. I love to mix a regular moisturiser with a face oil to make a very moisturising and nourishing concoction (I have dryer skin). However, I have found a moisturiser that does it all: Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream which is a one-step that does it all. The texture is so beautiful–creamy but easily absorbs into the skin. If that is out of your budget (I admit it's very expensive), First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Cream is a great no-nonsense moisturiser (I have to mix it in with Trilogy's Rosehip Oil though) or check out Facetheory's Rejuvenating Moisturiser M2, which, in texture, is a denser version of Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream. It's a tad heavy so if you have more normal to combo skin, I would suggest looking at their other moisturisers.
Step 5: SPF
SPF is soooo important and whatever skincare routine you have, it's always great to finish it off with a great sunscreen. I've spoken about my favourites here but at the moment I am using Drunk Elephant's Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 which is a great mineral sunscreen with no white cast and a super dewy finish.
The totally optional if-you're-extra-like-me steps
I love illuminating moisturisers! On days where I don't wear any makeup on at all, I whip out one of these bad boys and look like I've just got 8 hours of sleep in (which is nearly impossible). At the moment, I'm loving the First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturiser. Tata Harper's Illuminating Moisturiser is great if you either have a money tree growing at your backyard or the balls to spend £75 on a moisturiser (a very good one though–gives a really youthful glow). I'm also trying out the GlamGlow Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturiser in Nude Glow. Hopefully that works well! Review coming up soon.
Masks are also an extra step that you won't necessarily need every day (in fact don't use them daily) but are nice to pamper yourself with. I'm partial to Tata Harper's Resurfacing Mask because it's literally the only mask that gives me instant results. It gives you the same results as a chemical peel but without any downtime or skin-thinning. Also, I found it to be super gentle on the skin and has never irritated me. For super dry skin days, I like to use Antipodes' Aura Manuka Honey Mask to really smooth my skin. It also calms inflammation.