Forget shimmery highlights and social-media filters – great-looking skin is achievable with the right skincare routine alone. “The four key rules here are to fight pigmentation, supercharge hydration, exfoliate for a smooth finish, and focus on skin stimulation to keep skin firm and pores tight,” says aesthetic practitioner Dr. Sophie Shotter. Your approach matters, too. “Make sure your products are well-formulated, and use them consistently and for long enough to achieve a truly healthy-looking glow,” says leading dermatologist Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton. So, if you feel like it might be time to update your skincare regime, these are the things you need to make sure you’re doing as part of your morning and evening routines…
IN THE MORNING
Use vitamin C
Our experts agree that we should all be using a vitamin-C serum after cleansing – it’s a powerful addition to any skincare routine, as it tackles myriad concerns, from reducing pigmentation to repairing the effects of environmental damage and boosting collagen levels. Plus, it gives skin an almost-instant brightening effect.
Exfoliation is the crux of achieving an ethereal skin finish – “AHAs help exfoliate and clear dead skin cells so that your skin is naturally fresher and more radiant,” says Dr. Shotter. Whether you choose to exfoliate in the morning or evening is up to you but, either way, make sure you do it after cleansing. New-generation skin peels are low on irritation but still deliver, as they constantly keep skin refreshed. La Prairie’s Cellular 3-Minute Peel is ideal for a once-weekly refresh, La Mer’s The Micro Peel can be used two to three times a week, while Auteur’s powder-to-foam Definitive Enzyme Cleanser is even more gentle but still offers a good refresh. If you have sensitive or rosacea-prone skin, Dr. Shotter says you may struggle with strong AHAs, so substitute those with PHAs instead, which are more gentle but still effective.
Plump and protect
Use a serum or moisturizer during colder months, ideally with hyaluronic acid and lipids, to hydrate and lock as much moisture into the skin as possible. This is what will give skin that bouncy, youthful look. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Glow Drops are great for adding plumpness to skin while refining pores and adding a hit of luminosity. Always finish with a broad-spectrum SPF to prevent further pigmentation or dullness from cropping up. For extra brightening power, we love Chantecaille’s Sheer Glow Rose Face Tint, which is a face cream and highlighter hybrid. Just tap it into the skin around and under the eyes, at the tops of cheeks, on the cupid’s bow and on the bridge of the nose to really enhance where light hits the skin.
IN THE EVENING
For more significant results, Dr. Ingleton advises alternating skincare products to cover a wider range of skin concerns. “I recommend using a retinoid (retinol) for at least two non-consecutive nights per week, and a brightening serum for the other five nights. This way, your weekly evening routine will benefit from two different treatment products.”
Stay away from oils after cleansing
“There is a ‘shiny’ stage that is a step beyond ‘radiance’,” says Dr. Shotter. “Over-exfoliation and an excessive use of aggressive retinoids are the main culprits, as are face oils, which sit on the skin’s surface and do very little for overall skin health.” Dr. Ingleton agrees: “Oils give you an immediate sheen, but that’s not the same as luminescent skin. It’s just shiny.” Instead, our experts advocate emphasizing products that promote skin renewal for smooth skin and brightening for radiance from within. “Focusing on skin that’s supercharged with moisture is a good rule here,” says Dr. Shotter. Think nourishing moisturizers with fruit acids, niacinamide, peptides and ceramides instead – these will really give you that beautiful, inside-out hydration and luminescence.
Have an in-clinic treatment every month
If you show signs of aging or are struggling with pigmentation, in-clinic treatments can help you to achieve better results faster. “My go-to procedure for achieving glowing skin is a chemical peel – glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinol and TCA peels are my favorites,” says Dr. Ingleton. “Peels are quick to perform and not very costly. If you have dull skin, maybe with a rough texture and large pores, you will benefit from microdermabrasion to achieve a healthy glow – as well as an improved texture.”
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