We all know that some sort of daily skincare routine is imperative to make sure your complexion stays glowing and healthy. For most, that routine will entail a quick cleanse (of some sort), maybe a toner (if you’re lucky) and a smattering a moisturiser. However, if you find that your skincare routine is usually a race against the clock, it could be that you’re not reaping the true benefits.
To help understand exactly what the perfect skincare routine looks like, I have enlisted the help of some of the best skincare experts in the business. So if, like many, you have found yourself with a little more time on your hands in the mornings and evenings, keep scrolling to discover the ultimate all-frills skincare regimen.
Cleanse (Morning and Night)
Cleansing is the basis of any great skincare routine. Both morning and night, it is essential to remove the troublesome dirt and grime that collects on the surface of our skin throughout the day, in order to prevent further skin issues. Time Bomb skincare expert and celebrity facialist Emma Brown says, “Every day, our skin comes into contact with bacteria, pollutants, sebum and makeup, and without properly cleansing, these particles build up on the skin and can cause a myriad of issues such as congestion, breakouts, irritation, sensitivity, pigmentation and premature ageing.”
However, it turns out that a quick swipe of micellar water doesn’t really cut it. In order to truly rid your skin of harmful build-up, it’s important to really work the formula into the skin for some time. In fact, opting for an oil-based cleanser that has sufficient slip also allows for a depuffing, firming facial massage. “When massaging your face, focus on ‘picking up’ the muscles, rather than just rubbing the skin. Use your thumbs to get underneath the cheekbones, lifting upwards and outwards. Start at the base of the chin and use the flats of your fingers and/or knuckles to kneed the muscle, lifting it outwards towards the base of the ears and then down the neck. At the inner corner of the brow, place your thumb underneath the muscle and lift and move your thumb outwards towards the end of the brow,” explains Brown.
Once you have completed your daily facial massage and rinsed the oil cleanser off with a damp muslin cloth or flannel, it’s important to follow up with a second cleanse using a cream- or gel-based cleanser to rid the pores of any residue missed the first time around.
Serum (Morning and Night)
Once your skin is suitably cleansed, it’s imperative that you’re putting all of the goodness back into it. Time, age, pollution and often the very act of cleansing itself can rid our skin of the essential nutrients and vitamins that it requires to function healthily. It is therefore essential to incorporate some form of serum into your twice-daily routine. Celebrity facialist Lisa Harris explains that antioxidant serums are ideal for morning use. “Stabilised vitamin C is an amazing antioxidant and can be applied daily underneath your moisturiser. It can help to fight against free radicals, inhibit pigmentation to brighten the skin and fights against the ageing process by stimulating the production of collagen.”
And what about the evening? While it’s not ideal to dive right into using retinol every single night, using some form of retinol serum or cream in the evening is highly advised if you want to minimise breakouts, reduce signs of ageing and stimulate collagen production. However, it’s important to always follow the directions on the back on the back of the bottle to reduce the chances of sensitivity. “Retinol is only to be used sparingly on certain skin types, as it speeds up cellular renewal. If overused or used on the wrong skin type, it can cause photosensitivity, thinning and damaging of the top layers of the epidermis,” warns Harris.
Moisturise (Morning and Night)
Ask any dermatologist, facialist or aesthetician in the business, and every single one will tell you that, as a generalisation, most of us have dehydrated skin. Whether you suffer from oiliness, breakouts or dryness, there’s a high chance that your skin is lacking moisture. It is therefore crucial that you replenish any hydration lost throughout the day by using moisturiser (or a hydrating serum) both morning and night.
But that’s not to say all moisturisers are the same. Celebrity facialist Chelseé Lewis says, “The moisturiser you use in any set period of time should be dependent on what your skin concerns are. Perhaps using something that is brightening if your skin is looking a little dull or super hydrating if you can tell your skin is dry.” And moisturiser isn’t just an indulgent, unnecessary add-on either. “If your skin is tight, you know it is dehydrated, so you need to hydrate it. You need moisturiser to rebuild the skin’s structure and strengthen it,” Lewis adds.
Possibly one of the most controversial skincare products of a generation, SPF isn’t the most glamorous of beauty topics. It’s so controversial, in fact, that the easiest way to divide a room filled with beauty aficionados is to utter the question: But what do we really think about daily SPF application? The general consensus at the moment, however, is that we should be slathering it on every day, rain or shine.
Katherine Daniels co-founder Donna Tait says, “You should still wear your SPF every day even if you’re not going outside. SPF works to protect the skin from pollution, UVA and UVB sun rays, as well as blue light from phones and computers. You need to use an SPF which will protect you against both UVB (burning rays) and UVA (ageing rays) and preferably with antioxidants.”
Exfoliate (Twice a Week)
If you ask us, the simple step of exfoliation has had a bit of a rough time recently. While there’s no doubt that exfoliating is essential in keeping skin glowing and minimising the risk of breakouts, many experts have been forced to come out and warn against over-exfoliating and rightly so. While using products to slough away at pore-clogging dead skin cells is wonderful, using them too often can cause skin to turn red, irritated and dry and could potentially lead to more breakouts.
Lewis advises only exfoliating twice a week but insists on its importance. “Our skin sheds every 21 to 28 days, so we need to exfoliate in order for our products to penetrate properly. I would say the best products are scrubs with granules for more of an intense exfoliation. Or if you want a slightly gentler exfoliation, use a peel which rubs off into small bits, removing the dead skin with it,” she says.
If you want to give your complexion some serious exfoliation and don't suffer from highly sensitive skin, this powerful scrub (which should be rolled over the face to minimise abrasion) leaves skin looking salon-fresh in just two minutes.
Mask (Twice a Week)
The product we’ve all been waiting for. Where once upon a time, face masks were reserved only for the time-rich, now mask formulas have improved so much that you can treat your skin to a relaxing, indulgent masking session for just a matter of minutes and still reap incredible benefits. Jam-packed with skin-loving ingredients that help to nourish, repair or detoxify, there’s a face mask out there for everyone.
However, it’s because of these powerful ingredients that it’s important not to go overboard and stress your skin out as a result. “You only need to mask twice a week, maximum,” advises Tait. “Use your treatment mask on the same day that you exfoliate to get the most out of your product. The mask ingredients will be able to penetrate the skin better once you’ve exfoliated the dead skin cells.”