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 26 years ago and has never looked back (and having followed her advice for my equally dry skin, it’s been a game changer). “If you have dry skin and cleanse it properly at night, then you don’t need to do so again in the morning.” 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 using toner 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; cosmetic scientist 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.
Build your defenses
Load up on antioxidants as your daily defense against the damaging effects of stress, sun and pollution. Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair is the one constant in my morning routine because it has a blend of antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory and super-hydrating – ignore the name, it works day and night.
I’m not a fan of barefaced beauty, partly 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 rather than my bare skin. But this doesn’t mean you have to wear a full face of makeup every day. The newer blends of light coverage, SPF and anti-pollution tinted bases are brilliant, and when you remove them, you are removing some of the pollution, too. Plus, they make skin look fresh, healthy and natural, so there is no excuse for not using essential daily protection.
IN THE EVENING
“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 we’re not just removing makeup but also SPF and pollution, which degrades the skin. Notoriously tenacious, your regular aesthetician will tell you how, after the summer, virtually everyone’s skin will be clogged to some degree by their suncare products. 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 balms for oily skin, such as Eve Lom’s Gel Balm Cleanser.
Less is more when it comes to skin peels, but during the warmer months, with the drying effects of sun, sea and swimming pools, as well as the ‘stickiness’ of SPFs, doing a gentle daily peel makes good skin sense. Remember, it’s about removing that dull, dead surface layer only, not going any harder, harsher or deeper. Daily peel pads can be great, as they can’t be over-used – in fact, one of the key issues dermatologists and aestheticians now see is self-inflicted damage from excessive home care, especially peeling and microneedling.
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, summer skin can never be too hydrated.