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 just using a face cream or foundation that includes SPF, so always use a standalone SPF – the Supergoop! Unseen range is excellent for every day. Alternatively, you can use an SPF that has a skin tint, such as Ultra Violette’s Daydream Screen Tinted Veil SPF50, which is sun protection first and foremost, but with some added color (in 10 shades).
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
“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 balms for oily skin, such as Eve Lom’s Gel Balm Cleanser.
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. My advice is to look for a retinal, or retinaldehyde, a potent but less-irritating version, as found in the excellent Medik8 Crystal Retinal range. Available in levels 3, 6 and 10, and with hyaluronic acid and glycerine, you can steadily increase the percentage of retinal to reap all its benefits without the side effects.
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.