Skin Care Routine: Where to Start?
So you want to start a skin care routine. You've listened to the advice of your mum / friend / beauty guru and it's time to take action, but where to start? Staring down the skincare aisles at Boots, Superdrug or Space NK filled with potions full of promise can feel pretty overwhelming, but your face will thank you for taking five minutes to look after it each day. Here are a few pointers on where to begin...
Age, lifestyle and diet all impact skin, so your needs won't always be the same. Skincare is never black and white and everyone's needs will be different, but its needs can be roughly broken down as follows:
20: Keeping skin clean, moisturised and protected from the sun will usually be enough. Gentle brands like Avene, Boots Botanicals and The Body Shop are all good options and Dermalogica do a great Clear Start range for teens. Avoid the foaming face washes often targeted at this age group which can strip skin and make it produce more oil, not less like they'd have you believe.
20-35: Your skin will enjoy the addition of a serum and eye cream to the above. Late 20s and early 30s may also like to introduce gentle exfoliants and facial oils. You may also like to use a cleansing oil or balm, such as REN Rose Centifolia, Skinesis or The Body Shop Camomile.
30+: This is the time to add in treatments for specific skin needs, such as a nourishing oils, anti-ageing products and regular masks. Which brand you go for depends on your own skin's needs and budget - expensive isn't always best, but since we only get one face, it really is worth investing in. REN, Oskia and La Roche Posay are three great skin care brands that I love across different price brackets and I tend to invest the most in serums and cleansers.
I used to get cross when assistants on beauty counters asked my skin type, thinking aren't you the expert... shouldn't you know?! The truth is that only we can actually tell our own skin type, usually falling under dry, normal, oily or combination banners. If your skin is dry it will feel tight after you wash your face, like you can't apply moisturiser fast enough. Oily skin will produce excess oil on the surface and often have enlarged pores (though any of us can be prone to this particular blessing). Combination skin tends to be a mix of the above, usually dry cheeks paired with an oily T-zone. The lucky few, with none of these issues, are considered to have Normal skin. It's important to select products for your skin type as those for dry skin will be too rich for an oily complexion and vice versa. Anyone with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea or acne is best to seek professional advice on specific products to treat these.
What do you expect from your skin care? Bearing in mind that it has limits and can't actually shave 10 years off your age, or I'd be looking like a toddler at the rate I slather it on. For example, dehydration is always an issue for me - and most, it seems, regardless of skin type. I love facial sprays such as Clinique Moisture Spray and hydrating serums like Hylamide or Hydraluron (from Boots). I also use hydrating masks such as The Body Shop Bouncy Sleeping Mask to leave my skin feeling more plumped up. If your skin is congested, you may like to use a weekly clay mask like Pur Minerals Dirty Girl (M&S) to help draw out impurities or one of GlamGlow's nutritious masks to feed your skin.
Skin needs and goals also change according to the season - requiring richer moisturisers in cold weather and extra hydration in Summer. It may not be something you've considered before, but listening to the needs of your own skin and observing its behaviour as you introduce new products is key.
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Nic is a Belfast beauty blogger, freelance writer and mum, with a penchant for Chanel lipstick, shopping & strong coffee. As editor of Strawberry Blonde Beauty, she helps steer women through the beautysphere with reviews, tips and the lowdown on the latest releases. Nic loves exploring Belfast's thriving cultural scene and agrees with Dorothy that there's no place like home.