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Skin

How to get your skincare basics right

The start of the year is the perfect time to press refresh and rethink our routines, and that includes how we look after our skin. A great complexion starts with the right basics – cleansing, repairing, protecting – as getting these right, and knowing what to use and when, will make all the difference, says NEWBY HANDS

Beauty

IN THE MORNING

Peel gently

Most of us use a peel at night, but I’ve switched to the AM since hearing that most makeup artists use a peel pre-makeup, as it makes applying foundation easier and creates an almost seamless, smooth finish. Plus, post-peel is the best time to apply a face mask, and again, using a mask to give skin a glow in the morning makes more sense than using one at night, when all you are doing is going to bed. Just don’t over-peel – once or twice a week is enough.

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 healthy collagen (strong collagen equals great skin) – plus, to a degree, it works as a natural UVB protector.

Build your defenses

Load up on antioxidants as your daily defense against the damaging effects of stress, sun and pollution. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair is the one non-negotiable in my morning routine (ignore the name, it works day and night), because it has a blend of antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory and super hydrating.

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 – need more water. Whether you use a hydrating sheet mask, serum or light textured cream, make sure your face is fully hydrated every day. More important than making skin look plumper, glowing and less lined, it keeps it healthy and functioning as intended.

Protect yourself

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, I’d prefer those particles to stick to the pigments in my makeup rather than my bare skin. But this doesn’t mean wearing a full face of makeup every day. The newer blends of pigments, 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.

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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 today we’re not just removing makeup but also pollution, which degrades the skin. Cream or balm cleansers that can really be worked into your skin are the most popular with skin experts – there are some great, non-greasy balms for oily skin, like Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser.

Repair with retinol

Retinol is still the skincare gold standard, as it regulates everything from cell turnover (good for both anti-aging and breakouts) to the production of collagen and elastin. But it can initially leave skin red or reactive, so go gently, using it once a week, and build it up as skin acclimatizes. Alternatively, layer a cream over your retinol – it’s what many skin doctors do themselves as it minimizes any reaction and keeps retinol-dried skin nourished.

Get enough sleep

Science shows that vital cell repair happens overnight. After years of personal research, my ‘prescription’ for a better night’s sleep is this: add Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil to a bath. Post-bath, massage in This Works Deep Sleep Night Oil all over your body, turn off any screens in the room, put on a Slip silk eye mask and, finally, take a magnesium supplement – it’s my mind and muscle relaxation kit.

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