Skin

How To Get Your Basic Skincare Routine Right

A new season can be the perfect time to press refresh and rethink your skincare routine. But a great complexion starts with the basics – cleansing, repairing, protecting. Getting these right – and knowing what to use, when – will make all the difference, says NEWBY HANDS

Beauty

IN THE MORNING

Only wash if you need to

Some skin needs that morning wash or cleanse, while other skin doesn’t. Aesthetician Angela Caglia gave up morning cleansing more than 20 years ago and has never looked back. “If you have dry skin and cleanse it properly at night, then you don’t need to do so again in the morning,” she says. While this may not work for oilier skin types, it’s worth trying if your complexion is chronically dry. In fact, it made me realize that most of my morning regimen was just rebalancing the drying effects of using a face wash and water. If you like that morning-fresh feeling, just splashing your face with warm water or using a toner or essence may be enough for you.

Use vitamin C

In all the confusion of what to use and when, the one key ingredient you do want on your skin during the day is vitamin C; dermo-pharmacist and formulator Dr. Colette Haydon says it’s an “absolute must, as it has so many benefits”. It’s a potent antioxidant and boosts collagen production (strong collagen equals great skin) – plus, to a degree, it can limit UVB damage.

Choose a separate SPF

You can’t guarantee that you are getting the right level of protection by using just a face cream or foundation that includes SPF, so always use a standalone SPF – La Mer’s fast-absorbing The Broad Spectrum SPF50 UV Protecting Fluid is excellent for every day, as it layers beautifully under makeup. Alternatively, you can use an SPF that has a subtle skin tint, such as Sisley Paris Tinted Sunscreen Cream SPF30, which is sun protection first and foremost, but with some added color (in Natural and Golden shades).

Protect yourself

I’m not a fan of barefaced beauty because, contrary to popular belief, skin doesn’t need to ‘breathe’, and if there’s pollution in the air (and where isn’t there?), I’d prefer those particles to stick to the pigments in my makeup than my bare skin. But this doesn’t mean you have to wear a full face of makeup every day. The newer blends of skincare with light coverage, such as Westman Atelier’s Vital Skincare Complexion Drops, are brilliant, and when you remove them, you are removing some of the pollution, too.

IN THE EVENING

Cleanse properly

“In the evening, it’s all about your cleanser,” says Dr. Haydon. “Foaming washes don’t go deep enough to reach inside the pores.” And neither do face wipes, as you don’t just need them to remove makeup, but also SPF and pollution, which degrades the skin. Cream or balm cleansers that can really be worked into your skin are the most popular with experts, and there are also some great non-greasy makeup-melting formulas for oily skin, such as Shani Darden’s Cleansing Serum.

Use a retinol

Ask most skincare experts about retinol and, yes, you’ll find it’s part of a good basic regimen. It’s the gold standard (and scientifically approved) ingredient to reverse skin aging, and also helps normalize the skin. The trick is to start low and go slow to acclimatize your skin to it and avoid the infamous redness, irritation and flakiness that retinol novices usually face. Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman advises applying your retinol just two to three days a week to start. “Also, try layering it with your moisturizer [always underneath], as this ensures your face stays hydrated wherever the retinol is applied,” she says.

Up your hydration levels

Water hydrates the skin and oils nourish it. Don’t get confused between the two, as all skin types – including oily skin – need more water. Whether you use a hydrating hyaluronic-acid-based sheet mask, serum or cream, make sure your face is fully hydrated every day. More than just making skin look plumper, glowing and less lined, good hydration also keeps it healthy and able to function as intended. Put simply, skin can never be too hydrated.

Always use a face cream

Never skip this step, as it helps seal in the hydration, but make sure you choose the texture that suits you best. If necessary, think about switching your night cream for an overnight mask to really nourish dry or dehydrated skin.

RELATED READING

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown