Are you getting the most out of your skincare?

There is not one rule that fits all when it comes your skin care routine, everybody’s skin is different but there is an optimal way to apply your products to get the best results from them. The order in which we apply and layer our skin care products is important when we want to get the best out of the products we are using. Whether it be a simple three step routine, or a nine step routine of essences, acids and retinol, it is important to layer them correctly for them to be most effective.

Below is a simple guide to show you the optimal way to apply your products:

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Step 1: Makeup Remover


This step should be carried out in the evening to remove any traces of the days makeup and to prepare your skin for cleansing. This will help make your cleanser be more effective and ensure that any traces of makeup and pollution are removed before applying any more product.

Step 2: Cleanser


Definitely one of the most important steps and one that should never be skipped. In the morning a gentle cleanser should be used to help remove any excess oil and dead skin but without stripping the skins natural oils.

In the evening after removing any makeup you can then follow with a cleanser that is suitable for your skin type, if you have oily or blemish prone skin opt for a mildly exfoliating cleanser that will help unclog pores. If you have dry to normal skin use a hydrating cleanser which is formulated with natural oils and peptides. 

The job of the cleanser is to remove any dead skin cells, excess oil, bacteria and dirt but you need to be careful not to use a harsh cleanser that can either over dry your skin leaving it feeling tight or  that has the undesired effect of stimulating oil production, so try to avoid cleansers with sulphates, especially those with a more sensitive skin types.

Step 3: Toner or Essence


This step should be carried out in the morning and at night following on from cleansing. Originally toners used to be alcohol based liquids that left your skin feeling taught and a bit stingy but there are toners available today that are formulated with hydrating ingredients or exfoliating acids depending on your skin type. Toners are designed to balance your skins PH and prime it for your other products. If you have oily, blemish prone or acne prone skin it is recommended that you look for a toner formulated with exfoliating acids such as salicylic acid, beta hydroxy acid (BHA), alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), lactic acid or glycolic acid. These will help prevent blemishes and breakouts and unclog and minimise the appearance of pores. If you have normal to dry skin opt for a hydrating toner or essence that will help lock in moisture and look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and vitamin E.

Step 4: Eye Cream


The skin around our eye area is thinner than the rest of our face which is why eye creams tend to be of a lighter consistency than our facial moisturisers. Look for eye creams including hyaluronic acid which help lock in moisturiser, natural peptides which will help to tighten the skin around the eyes and caffeine which can help reduce dark circles and brighten the skin under the eye. When applying eye creams gently pat the cream under the eye area to avoid tugging or stretching the skin. 

Step 5: Serums


There are so many serums on the market now for every skin concern, whether it be large pores, dry skin, pigmentation, uneven skin, anti ageing, blemish prone problem skin, you name it there’s a serum designed to help. Serums can be applied in the morning and the evening after cleansing and toning, as a rule you should apply the heavier and thicker formulations last, otherwise the active ingredients in the products might not be able to penetrate to the skin and have the desired effect. During the day apply a serum designed to help lock in moisturiser and protect your skin from environmental factors and pollutants, look for serums with Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. If your skin is more oily or blemish prone apply a serum with Niacinamide (vitamin B3) it helps reduce redness, evens out skin tone and helps balance oil production another key ingredient is Salicylic Acid helps to clear pores of bacteria also green tea which is high in antioxidants. At night you can apply an exfoliating serum these help with cell renewal and rejuvenation whilst also correcting skin pigmentation, these tend to be better applied at night as the key ingredients in these products (acids) can make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight. Key exfoliating ingredients include AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids), BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids), glycolic acid and lactic acid. 

Step 6: Retinol


This step should only be applied in the evening, retinol’s can increase your skin sensitivity to the sun and increase your chances of sun damage. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative, it increases the rate of cell turnover and boosts collagen production. Retinol can be used for many skin concerns including acne, uneven skin tone and anti-ageing. It helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, balances out oil production, helps unclog and reduce pore size and fade pigmentation and scarring. So its a bit of a beauty holy grail but it can take a bit of getting used to and sensitive skin may struggle to use it. It should be added gradually to your routine, start by using it just one or two nights a week to begin with depending on the strength of the product and then increase it over time. Your skin may experience dryness or purging (where your skin flushes out excess sebum and buildup from pores which can result in breakouts, before the healthy new cells can surface) but its worth the wait especially those with acne prone skin and those looking for an anti-aging product that actually gets results.

Step 7: Moisturiser


This step is another must, even if you have oily skin you should never miss this step. Moisturisers help maintain your skins balance and hydrate and lock in moisture. There’s one suitable for every skin type, if you have dry skin use a moisturiser formulated with natural oils, Hyaluronic acid and ceramides which provide the skin with hydration and seal in the moisture. If you have oily or acne prone skin you should still moisturise but chose a lighter moisturiser, skipping the use of a moisturiser can actually stimulate oil production. Look for ingredients like green tea, niacinamide and zinc these all help balance oily production and matifiy the skin.

Step 8: Facial Oils


Applying a facial oil at the end of your skincare routine helps seal in the moisture and all of the ingredients you have just applied to your skin previously and ensures your skin is getting the most out of your products. Facial oils are not just for dry skin types either, they can be greatly beneficial for oily skin too. Oils like Jojoba and Rosehip oil help balance oily, blemish prone skin by decreasing the production of oil and regulating your skin’s sebum production. For dry skin types look for nourishing ingredients such as Marula Oil, Aloe Vera Oil and Almond Oil this provide soothing properties and intensive moisture.

Step 9: SPF


This is another step that should never be missed, even in winter! It is well known that the suns rays have damaging effects on our skin, not only does it speed up the ageing process causing premature wrinkles and age spots, it can also potentially leave us at risk of skin cancer. There are two different types of sun protection products, physical and chemical. Physical blockers are formulated with minerals including Zinc Oxide and titanium dioxide, these reflect the light away from your skin to prevent the damaging rays penetrating your skin. Chemical blockers work by absorbing light and converting it into heat, which then stops the light from penetrating into your skin.