The basics of starting a skin care routine
How to piece together the perfect line-up for your skin’s needs
Navigating the skin care counter can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re unsure of what your complexion requires. We’re breaking it down, from the skin care essentials to the extras, so you can nail the right regimen for you.
#1 / The basics
You likely used a three-step system at some stage during your adolescence—a simple combination comprised of a cleanser, toner and moisturiser. If it’s still working for you, stick with it, but ensure you add a broad-spectrum SPF...
“Women today don’t have time for an overcomplicated routine,” says Dr Barbara Sturm. The celebrity skin care expert and creator of her namesake range—Kate Moss and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are fans—is talking about her skin care philosophy, specifically the products we should stock in our cabinets. Ultimately it should be built on three principles, she says: “it must be anti-inflammatory, hydrating and nourishing, and charged with the right combination of anti-ageing properties.” Here’s what you need to know.
Kick off with a simple cleansing formula, such as Goldfaden MD. Detox Clarifying Facial Wash, and make it a double in the evening. “The first cleanse just removes makeup, dirt and pollution, whereas the second cleanse is purely for your skin. It prepares the surface for the next steps, including the optimal absorption for your moisturiser,” says Nicole Stubbs, skin care expert and owner of Tribe Natural Beauty in Sydney’s Bronte.
While they have earned a bad reputation for stripping the skin in the past, the new breed of toners have been formulated to work with different skin types, and are more gentle—they also boost hydration and help to balance pH levels. Try Aromatica Sea Daffodil Aqua Toner. Just splash some on post-cleanse.
While it might sound obvious, “moisturiser is essential for protecting the natural skin barrier, and keeps it well-nourished by providing it with valuable oils,” says Dr Sturm. Tatcha The Water Cream can be applied morning and night, and uses Japanese wild rose to not only boost hydration, but refine uneven skin texture.
Even if you spend most of your time inside, it’s still extremely important to use a facial sunblock daily as your first line of defence against skin ageing. Try Skinceuticals Ultimate UV Defense Sunscreen, which offers a broad-spectrum SPF that’s specifically suited to facial skin. It won’t leave you with a white pallor or excess grease, and works to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget: sunscreen should be applied regularly through-out the day if you’re spending extensive time outdoors.
#2 / The next tier
Ready to amp up your regimen? Incorporate these products on a regular basis—we promise they won’t involve taking too much time away from your latest Netflix obsession.
So, you have the basics down pat but you want to see an improvement in your complexion, such as a more even tone or a smoother texture. The good news is that these issues can be addressed with the addition of a few products to target your key concerns, such as dryness, pigmentation and wrinkles.
They’re one of the more crucial components that make up any routine—think of them like a specialist treatment product. Thanks to their smaller molecular structure, the active ingredients in serums are able to penetrate deep into the dermal layers much more effectively than a traditional moisturiser. To treat dehydration and the signs of ageing, seek out serums containing hyaluronic acid, which traps and retains moisture—you can find it in Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum. Make sure you press—don’t rub—it onto your face after toner, then follow with a moisturiser to act as a barrier and add a layer of protection, says Stubbs.
The skin around your eyes is thinner than the rest of your complexion and doesn’t contain as many oil glands—cue dryness, fine lines and puffiness. This area needs a little extra TLC, which is where an eye cream or treatment, such as Bioeffect’s EGF Eye Serum, comes in to hydrate and promote cell regeneration.
At night, skin goes into repair mode, working to restore damage while you’re sleeping. It’s not battling the impurities and pollution it faces during the day. “Your night cream should enhance this rejuvenation process and should target your concerns and aid repair,” Stubbs says. Try a rich formula infused with essential oils, such as Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon.
“As a general rule, you should exfoliate once to twice a week. For sensitive skin, stick to once a week, or for oily complexions you can do it twice,” says Stubbs. Avoid harsh granules that can strip and stress your skin, and opt for fruit enzymes, such as those found in Ella Baché Tomate Granule Free Micro Exfoliant.
#3 / The extras
If you’re booking in for regular in-salon facials and already have a regular routine sorted, supplement your current line-up with these specialist buys.
You may not use these boosters every day but they’re a worthy investment—and are the ideal way to give your face some TLC.
Slick on a face mask at least once a week. “It’s a great gift for the skin,” says Stubbs. “Whether it’s designed for a deep cleanse or to boost hydration, it will heal and nourish your complexion.” Give yourself a thorough overhaul and draw out impurities with Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask.
You may typically associate a peel with a professional clinical treatment, but DIY variants can be very effective. Peels are chemical exfoliants, as opposed to a manual exfoliant like a scrub, and are infused with a blend of acids to refine skin. Applied topically on a regular basis, they work to remove dead skin build-up and are guaranteed to give you extra glow, says Stubbs. Try Murad Rapid Resurfacing Peel.
Think of a retinol product, such as Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment as your face’s secret weapon. The ultimate all-rounder, it deals with pigmentation, acne, wrinkles and scarring. “You want to slowly condition your skin to retinol, so gradually introduce it to your skin to allow it to adjust and prevent a reaction,” Stubbs explains. Don’t be scared: when used correctly, it will dial up luminosity and re-texturise your complexion.
You may look like a member of Daft Punk when using them, but at-home facial light therapy devices are hugely popular, thanks to their fast-acting results and cost-per-wear benefits. These tools, such as Dr. Dennis Gross SpectraLite EyeCare Pro LED Device, use the brightening and anti-ageing benefits of light to fight fine lines and wrinkles.
For more skin care advice from the InStyle beauty team, head over to instylemag.com.au
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How many steps and skin care products do you have in your routine? We'd love to know! Share with us in the comments section below.
Main image credit: @dianekruger
Inset image credits: Philip Le Masurier