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The way we shop has power, the things that we buy define our beliefs and cast a vote on how we want our world to be. This is because when you spend your hard-earned money on something that you want or need you are encouraging the companies that create or produce them to continue doing so. This means that when you support cruelty-free brands or any socially conscious and ethical company, you are helping to invest in the change that you would like to see and keeping your money away from those companies that don’t.

So how do you know exactly what it is that you are buying? That what you are investing in is truly cruelty-free and meets the ethical standards that you want to support. Many companies greenwash products and brands to appeal to changing shopping habits. This can come in many forms for instance just because a product is classed vegan i.e. it does not contain any animal ingredients, it does not mean that a product has not been tested on animals. Or it may be that a product meets the cruelty-free standards of one country, but is also sold to another country (such as mainland China) where it will then be tested on animals before being sold. One of the hardest ones to spot, however, is when a company does meet all the cruelty-free standards that you would expect but the company is owned by a larger conglomerate that carries out animal testing in other areas of its business or in other companies that it owns.

You might be asking yourself, why do companies test on animals at all, especially in this day and age! Well, it kind of depends on what the goals of the company are. For many, it will be about being able to sell into one of the biggest markets in the world, China. Laws in China, although changing, still require products to be tested on animals before they can be sold. For others, it will be down to the ingredients that they want to use. You will find that many of the cruelty-free brands will look to use more natural ingredients that are less harmful to human physiology. If, however, you are looking to keep your production costs as low as possible to increase your profit, then companies start to look at more many made chemical compounds. If you are interested in learning more about this you can always check out our other blog here.

What we thought might be helpful was to share some of our favourite Cruelty-Free Makeup and Skincare brands that we just know you would love. Also, you might have noticed that we said brands you may not have heard of. That’s because we want to share with you some of the very best companies new and old who are working to change the beauty industry and provide truly cruelty-free beauty as well as ethical and sustainable products. If there are any brands you think we have missed or you would like to see us supporting leave a comment below and we will look to get them on board.

so let’s begin.

1. D’Alchemy

D’Alchemy’s powerful anti-ageing and vegan formulas are packed with potent and effective plant ingredients. D’Alchemy combines natural plant hydrosols with pure essential oils to create their rich creams and cleansers and also my favourite toner. You might be wondering what is meant by ‘plant hydrosols’? Well, in most skincare products the active ingredients (those that affect the skin for example hyaluronic acid) need some way of being absorbed by the skin. Many brands like to use pure or distilled water but D’Alchemy prefers to use plant hydrosol. Plant hydrosols are produced from the fluid in plants that help to carry valuable nutrients from the stem to the leaves. This makes them the perfect carrier in skincare as not only are they more tolerated by people with sensitive skin but also they are more effective at penetrating deep into the skin helping to ensure that you get the most out of your product. This makes D’Alchemys holistic skincare great for focusing on troublesome ageing skin and means that you get quick visibly effective results.

If you want to discover more of D’Alchemy you can check them out here.

2. Jane Iredale

This clean beauty brand has been producing a wide range of mineral makeup and skin care for more than 25 years. Now you may be thinking, what does it mean for a beauty product or brand to be classed as ‘clean’? Well for Jane Iredale this means that not only do their products contain ingredients that are safe for our skin but also they feel that it is important to mindful of how they impact not only the environment but also the community around them. So, how do they make sure that their ingredients are safe for you to use and have a reduced likelihood of irritation? Well, they try to avoid using anything that can be classed as an endocrine disrupter. An endocrine disrupter is a chemical or ingredient that can interfere with your hormonal system and as hormones have an impact on any of our natural systems this can be quite important as they can affect anything from acne to oil secretion. This is why Jane Iredale avoids ingredients such as parabens, talc and synthetic fragrances to create the cleanest products you can buy. Taking all this into account along with their huge range of products it means that swapping to cruelty-free makeup and skincare does not mean compromising on quality or performance. I love their range of high performing mineral foundations because they provide an even, long-lasting natural coverage, smoothing out the skin and leaving you feeling flawless all day. You can find a fantastic range of shades and coverage from light to full.

If you want to discover more of Jane Iredale you can check them out here.

3. Evolve

They produce some of the best organic and vegan skincare and they have numerous awards for their amazing products which are all handmade in Hertfordshire. Their products are formulated with natural oils, butters and plant extracts for their potent antioxidant qualities. In making all their products themselves in their studio it means that they can carefully control every single ingredient that they use. They can easily avoid any toxic and cheap chemical fillers and closely monitor the origins of all their ingredients. For me, one of the best things about Evolve is just how delicious their range smells and feels. This makes using Evolve products a real treat to the senses and they make your skin feel amazing. Evolve have also recently started a new campaign called ‘dump to pump’, so once you have purchased your initial bottle and pump you can replace it with a pump-free version to allow you to reuse your old pump and help prevent you from having to dispose of plastic. 

If you want to discover more of Evolve you can check them out here.

4. Adorn

This Australian brand of luxury, produce the highest quality vegan and certified organic skincare and mineral makeup. Their formulations use high-quality natural ingredients that are free from any nasties making them perfect for sensitive skin and also reef safe. Adorn’s products are also really concentrated as they avoid any fillers like talc meaning that a little goes a long way. Adorn produce some of the most incredible mineral foundations that provide long-lasting, sweat-resistant and natural-looking coverage. For me, it is all about their loose mineral foundation. Not only is it an award-winning foundation but as it has been formulated alongside some amazing makeup artists so it provides SPF cover and it helps to conceal fine lines, redness, rosacea and hyperpigmentation. You can also find a range of tutorial videos to help you get the most out of your product. 

If you want to discover more of Adorn you can check them out here.

5. UpCircle

After watching the founders of UpCirle (brother and sister) on Dragons Den, I loved their brilliant idea to reuse coffee grounds from Cafes in the London area in their skincare. Although they had a different name then they still hold to their ambition of producing products that were not only cruelty-free and vegan but also super sustainable. A lot of their range (99%) is plastic-free and they always look to repurpose ingredients that would normally go to waste. This is their mission, to create a circular economy where ingredients and products are produced from by-products of other industries. Through this, they have produced some incredible award-winning skincare and body care that is all handmade in the UK. UpCircle’s products all contain natural ingredients especially picked for their skincare properties that help keep your skin looking and feeling healthier and more radiant.

If you want to discover more of UpCircle you can check them out here.

6. Farryn Amber

This open and transparent skincare brand was created by its namesake Farryn Amber. Farryn believed that all cosmetics should be cruelty-free and her mission was to create beautifully effective and natural skincare. All of their products are designed to be powered by plants enabling them to be highly effective and leave your skin luminous. They are formulated and designed to provide nourishment and protection to the skin and be grounded through a connection to the Earth. Their philosophy is simple, the best solutions for effective skincare can be grown, foraged and found from the land that nurtures us. To truly show their dedication to being cruelty-free Farryn Amber have had all of their products Leaping Bunny certified and so they regularly and proactively monitor their supply chain to ensure that their ingredients and products continue to adhere to the Leaping Bunny criteria. For me, it is all about their Superfruit Face Milk which I found to soothe and brighten my skin. 

If you want to discover more of Farryn Amber you can check them out here.

7. Green People

Now Green People is probably a brand you have heard of but maybe not thought about its roots and the ethics on which it is based. Created in 1997, Green People was created when Charlotte Votz (Green Peoples founder) who struggled to find skincare products that were gentle enough for her daughter who suffered from multiple skin allergies and eczema. Their principles have been simple, that their product performance and ethical practice would never be sacrificed for profit. These ethical practices define the company with a promise to never use synthetic chemicals like sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals (formed from oil), alcohol or synthetic fragrances or colourants and of course to always remain cruelty-free. Now, Green People have one of the most extensive ranges of products with everything from sunscreen to mascara and teenage acne treatment to anti-ageing face creams there isn’t much you can’t get that and all meet their strict ethical criteria. This is why I just had to have Green People on this list, I regularly use their toothpaste (I know it isn’t makeup or skincare) as it has such a unique and incredible taste and it also works super well. Their new Age Defy range has several products that are now staples in my skincare routine, the Hydrate and Renew Serum and Line Eraser Serum are absolute favourites

If you want to discover more of Green People you can check them out here.

8. Zao

This natural and sustainable makeup brand was formed by 4 friends in France to address the impact of our consumption on the environment. With a love of nature set within their values, Zao Makeup has become the first rechargeable makeup brand that is 100% natural and certified organic by Ecocert. What makes Zao stand out from other natural Makeup brands is their dedication to sustainability which is recognisable through their use of bamboo in both their packaging and as an active ingredient in some of their products. You might be asking, why bamboo and not another form of natural packaging? For Zao, bamboos exceptional growth rates means that it is a super sustainable material to use. This is because through its lifecycle it is a carbon capture champion helping Zao to reduce its overall carbon footprint and overall effect on the planet. As for an ingredient in their products, bamboo is rich in organic silica that helps the body to produce collagen which then, in turn, helps your skin to preserve its electricity helping to reduce wrinkles and the signs of ageing. As for everything else that goes into these amazing makeup product, everything is sourced from natural ingredients, earth minerals and plant extracts. Also, all of their products are free from synthetic ingredients and obtained from eco-friendly and non-polluting methods, what’s not to love!

If you want to discover more of Zao you can check them out here.

9. Bellapierre

If you are looking for a variety of makeup and bright colourful looks or natural nudes then look no further. Bellapierre has one of the most amazing ranges of 100% mineral makeup products that are always on-trend. Although Bellapierre products are affordable this is still achieved without compromising on quality and ethics. All of their products are made with naturally derived ingredients and never contain any talk, parabens, bismuth oxychloride (used as a cheap filler) or any other harmful substances. Bellapierre has received numerous awards including the Best Natural Cosmetic Product at the Natural & Organic Awards. They are also Leaping Bunny Certified making them one of the best mineral makeup brands on the market today.

If you want to discover more of Bellapierre you can check them out here.

10. Lani

Founded in 2014 by Vi when she wanted to create a range of skincare that was vegan, cruelty-free and made from simple and recognisable ingredients. This is what makes Lani so special, all of the products are made from the heart and are personal to Vi. Not only are they affordable (so no silly price tags here) but they are honest and as ethical as they can be. I love how transparent they are about what they do, they have tried to make the packaging as low waste as possible, I mean they are basically plastic-free, but they would never claim that as by law they have to have a little EPE liner in the lid. Although this EPE liner is recyclable it is produced using a form of plastic and they are open and clear about this. Although the products are simple, they are effective. There is no need to be overly complicated when it comes to your skincare. When it is produced from natural, effective and active ingredients like cold-pressed oils with a colourful twist you end up with Lani. 

If you want to discover more of Lani you can check them out here.

SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a chemical foaming agent which is added to products to create the foaminess or bubbly effect in most drug store cleansers, body washes, toothpaste and shampoos etc. This synthetic ingredient can be derived from petroleum (most commonly), palm oil or coconut oil to create a surfactant and although SLS from Coconut or Palm Oil may seem more natural, unfortunately, they need to be processed so heavily that they are not really still natural. Also, we have all seen the news about the destruction that unsustainably sourced palm oil is causing to rain forrest and natural habitats. So, what do surfactants do? Well they lower the surface tension between different ingredients which helps them to bind together. This is beneficial in beauty products in a couple of ways; they help to trap oil-based dirt so it can be lifted away by water and it helps turn liquids into foam which gives the effect of the product deeply cleansing.

Although SLS has been used in beauty products for many years, dating back to the 1930’s many people are now choosing to avoid products that contain SLS. It has come to light in more recent years that this synthetic ingredient can be very drying and irritate sensitive skin, especially those with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or dermatitis. It can be harsh on the skin and damage the acid mantle which is the protective outer barrier of our skin made from its natural sebum and oils.

What is SLS

The creamy lather that is created makes it a popular ingredient in many shop bought shampoos, however it can also be very drying to your hair and strip the hair of its natural oils.

What is SLS

SLS is also associated with a negative effect on the environment due to the production of the ingredient. The use of palm oil in products is controversial due to the destruction of tropical rainforests for palm tree plantations, however there are some sustainable palm oil plantations now which strive to protect the environment. Products used it the bathroom ultimately get washed down the drain so it is also more favourable to avoid products with chemicals that could potentially be damaging to aquatic life.

The most popular eco-certified alternative to SLS is SCS or Sodium Coco-Sulfate which is classed as being kinder to the skin. Although SCS is a little more gentle on the skin it is actually made up of around 50% SLS. SLS is a single molecule (sodium salt of lauric acid) or in other words a fatty acid from coconut, palm oil or petroleum that reacts with sulfuric acid to create a sulfate. SCS, however, is a mixture of sodium salts of all of the fatty acids that are present in coconut that also reacted with sulfuric acid to create sulfate.

What is SLS?

This means that the production method of SCS and SLS are the same with the difference being the material used to produce it i.e. SLS is the lauric acid only, a single component of coconut oil and for SCS the starting material is the whole coconut. It is the use of the whole coconut which allows for the presence of numerous fatty acids in SCS making SCS less irritating to the skin than pure SLS.

So when it comes to choosing a more natural or gentle alternative to SLS it means that it is not as simple as just looking for one of its alternatives like SCS. Instead, it means finding a brand that you trust who can guarantee that the surfactant (or foaming agent) they are using are derived from natural and sustainable sources and although it will still go through extensive production methods that it has been produced to the highest standards possible to ensure it is safe for gentle skin.

As the season’s change, your skincare routine should too! When the weather starts to warm up your skin’s needs will alter. The temperature rise can increase the activity of sebaceous glands and the heat makes our skin perspire more which can leave it feeling oily. The warmth from the sun can cause pores to open which can lead to dirt and bacteria entering these pores resulting in acne, blackheads and blocked pores. Spending more time outside makes wearing broad-spectrum protection an even more vital part of our morning skincare routine.

Cleansing

It may be time to introduce a gel or foam cleanser into your cleansing program, especially in the evening. This will ensure sweat, excess oil, SPF and daily pollution which can build up over the day is thoroughly cleansed and removed from the skin. This will reduce the chance of breakouts and blocked pores from bacteria and dirt that could be left behind.

Exfoliation

A gentle physical exfoliator can help slough away dead skin and unblock clogged pores which can lead to blackheads and blemishes. Whilst an acid exfoliator can help remove excess oils, smooth out uneven skin tone and brighten the skin. Gradually adding gentle exfoliation into your skincare routine will encourage cell renewal and reveal a more radiant complexion.

Moisturiser

Our skin tends to feel that it requires less hydration in summer. In winter the cold weather can leave our skin crying out for hydration and so a heavy thick cream-based moisturiser is often essential. However, in summer our skin often requires a lighter moisturiser like a moisturising fluid or lotion. This can help keep the excess oil at bay but still provide hydration.

SPF – Sun Protection

As much as we love the sun it can cause sun damage and premature ageing. UV rays cause photo-ageing of the skin which is normally characterised by discolouration i.e. dark spots. UV rays also lead to a breakdown of collagen, this contributes to an uneven skin tone, lines and wrinkles and causes the skin to lose its elasticity. So as you tend to spend more time outside in summer it is even more important to ensure you are wearing sun protection. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will help protect your skin from the damaging rays but make sure you are topping up throughout the day.

Face Mist

Apply a face mist during the day to help cool you down and make your skin feel refreshed!

When you have combination skin you can have both oily areas (usually the t-zone) and dry areas (generally the cheeks), creating a skincare routine that addresses both the dry skin and the excess oil can be difficult. Having combination skin can be a challenge and finding products that simultaneously work for both dry skin and oil skin is the key too healthy, happy skin. Some products may over hydrate oily areas whilst others designed for oily skin can be too drying and leave the skin irritated and sensitive. Heres some skin care tips to help care for and balance combination skin.

Cleanse

Find a cleanser that will gently mattify and purify. A gel based or cream cleanser can help remove excess oil and build up without stripping the skin to leave it feeling tight and dry. Avoid cleansers with SLS, this foaming agent can over-strip the skin of its healthy and natural oils and actually stimulate oil production to oily areas and irate sensitive skin.

Tone

Follow on from cleansing to help restore your skin’s PH levels. Choose a toner that will help balance the skin by regulating sebum production but also hydrate dry areas.

Moisturise

It is very important not to skip the moisturiser just because you have oily areas. Neglecting to moisturise can actually cause your skin to produce more oil to compensate the lack of hydration. 

Oils & Serums

Serums are a great way to supplement the skin with ingredients that are packed with properties that benefit the skin. Serums for combination skin can provide moisture to the dry areas whilst also helping to balance sebum production. Serums are lightweight, so easy to layer with other products and provide potent ingredients to the skin.

Exfoliate

Gentle exfoliation once or twice a week helps lift off dead skin cells, dry skin, over built up sebum and excess oil to reveal a healthy and refreshed complexion. Using a mask at least once a week helps remove impurities and reduce excess oil, leaving the skin looking clearer and softer to the touch. A gentle physical exfoliator can help unblock pores and remove dead skin cells to leave the skin feeling smoother and looking brighter.

When the skin can no longer retain its moisture levels it results in dry, unbalanced skin. It occurs when the skin’s barrier is compromised. Winter weather can easily tip the balance, the cold air, rain, central heating and icy winds all contribute to the breakdown of the skin’s barrier and can result in dry, tight and sensitive skin. 

Caring for dry skin doesn’t just mean applying generous amounts of moisturiser. Skin prone to over-drying requires careful management and a skincare routine to suit.

Key Points

  • Use Mild Cleansers and Deeply Hydrating Ingredients – Nourishing plant oils, moisture rich natural butters, ingredients high in natural fatty acids and vitamins are key ingredients to look out for.
  • Avoid Harsh Ingredients – Products containing SLS, strong alcohols and fragrance can strip the skin of its natural oils and disturb the natural balance.
  • Protect your skin from environmental factors – apply SPF daily to shield the skin from UV light and use products containing Vitamin C to protect the \skin against pollution.
  • Use warm water rather than hot when cleansing. The temptation to use warmer water when the colder weather arises can have a negative effect on our skin and result in the skins natural oils being disrupted.

A skincare routine designed to nourish and protect the skin can help win the battle against dry skin, below are some products designed to nourish, treat and to prevent dry skin.

Light Exfoliation

It is important to gently remove the dead skin to allow your moisturisers and serums to penetrate, otherwise they sit on the surface of the skin without being absorbed correctly. It is important that a gentle exfoliator is used as you don’t want to irritate sensitive skin. Either a mild chemical exfoliant with lactic or glycolic acid or a gentle physical scrub. Use a couple of times a week to lift away dead skin, this then allows the products applied afterwards to be absorbed and the skin can benefit from the ingredients invaluable properties. 

Avoid Harsh Cleansers

Cleansers formulated with SLS or fragrance can be super drying for the skin. They strip the skin of its natural oils and can leave it feeling dry and irritated. Chose a gentle cleanser and wash using warm but not hot water 

Switch to a deeply hydrating moisturiser

Opt for a heavier cream moisturiser rather than a lotion to provide deep hydration. Moisturisers rich in fatty acids and omega’s help keep your skin deeply hydrated and supple whilst natural peptides and hyaluronic acid provide and lock in moisture. 

Nourishing Oils

Oils are a great way to nourish the skin and help build the skins lipid barrier. Oils provide deeply moisturising qualities and can help protect the skin against environmental factors. 

  • Argan Oil is rich in soothing vitamin E and contains anti-inflammatory linoleic acid whilst also delivering highly moisturising properties.
  • Jojoba Oil is rich in nourishing fatty acids it helps lock moisture in by creating a protective layer on the skin.
  • Olive Oil is a soothing oil which has antioxidant properties which help fight free radical damage and prevent premature ageing. 

Hydrating Treatment Serums

Apply after cleansing but before your moisturiser to help plump, smooth and hydrate the skin. Serums have a lightweight fluid texture which means they are easily absorbed and their beneficial ingredients penetrate the skin. A serum with Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is great for adding hydration, known for its extremely hydrating properties, it has the ability to hold up to six times its own weight in water. Our skin naturally produces Hyaluronic Acid to aid the skins moisture levels but due to ageing and environmental factors these levels can decrease.

The Vegan lifestyle is not just about the food we eat, there’s lots of areas it covers including beauty.

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.”

The Vegan Society 

In beauty some products may be cruelty free but not vegan. For a product to be vegan it must not contain any animal ingredients. The most common ingredients to look out for are; lanolin (wool grease), squalene (shark liver oil), carmine (crushed-up beetles), gelatin (cow or pig bones, tendons or ligaments) and ambergris (whale vomit). 

Here’s our top 10 Vegan Beauty buys:

Adorn Anti-aging AWARD WINNING lightweight, yet full coverage loose mineral foundation with SPF 20+is both sweat & water resistant, and requires little to NO need for touch-ups giving a flawless finish that lasts all day long that will NOT clog your pores or accentuate fine lines or wrinkles.

This moisturiser restores normal to dry skin with a blend of pure organic oils. Organic Argan oil nourishes whilst natural hyaluronic acid soothes and hydrates. Delicately fragranced with soothing hypoallergenic vanilla & coconut.

This wonderfully rich and nourishing shampoo bar is made by blending high-quality organic oils such as avocado and olive oil, as well as bergamot and sage with gentle coconut-derived cream cleansers and adding deep penetrating moisturisers.

Juice Cleanse effortlessly melts away the day, removing make up, impurities, dirt and environmental toxins without stripping or drying skin. Made with a clarifying, yet hydrating blend of super boosted plant oils and with notes of creamy vanilla, juicy mandarin and sweet orange, it’s the ultimate deep cleansing treatment.

Feed your skin with Farryn Amber’s Superfruit Face Milk. Hand blended with potent raw botanical plant oils, natural minerals and rose quartz crystals to brighten, detoxify and soothe stressed skin.

UpCircle Herbal Blend Coffee Face Scrub

Formulated for oily and combination skin, this natural facial exfoliator uses repurposed coffee grounds and a blend of rosemary, thyme, petitgrain and tea tree essential oils to help keep breakouts at bay and gently exfoliate away any dead and dry skin. A powerful antibacterial and antiseptic, rosemary oil helps keep acne, blackheads and whiteheads away whilst thyme has strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which help against acne and spots.

An exceptionally gentle formula based on rose hydrosol, Damask rose oil, and soothing sea algae extracts. Perfectly refreshes and tones the skin, preparing it for further treatment. Juicy toner mist instantly quenches your skin’s thirst, soothes irritation, and remineralises. Restores natural skin pH and prevents ageing. Sea algae extracts help combat acne. Thanks to their gentle constricting properties, they close up pores and regulate sebum secretion.

Revive and refresh the complexion with this hydrating cream cleanser, developed to glide over the skin to gently yet effectively remove light make-up and impurities. Enriched with 23 beauty-enhancing actives to revive the skin it gently, yet effectively cleanses away make-up and impurities. Aloe Vera and Jojoba rehydrate and soften even sensitive skin whilst Hibiscus helps firm and lift the skin and reduce wrinkles.

It leaves your hair feeling rehydrated, strong, silky and shiny. Marula oil and Icelandic moss lock-in moisture, protecting from the effects of UV exposure and environmental toxins. A rich and deeply nourishing treatment for dry and colour treated hair.

Bloomtown Charcoal and Tea Tree Mask

Give your skin a much-deserved breather with Bloomtown’s Charcoal Mask for oily and acne-prone complexions, formulated with anti-bacterial tea tree oil and white willow bark extract, a natural pore-exfoliant.

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:

The best vegan and cruelty free skincare routine | How to apply my moisturiser to get the best results | How to apply my skincare

Step 1: Makeup Remover

PM

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

AM/PM

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

AM/PM

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

AM/PM

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

AM/PM

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

PM

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

AM/PM

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

AM/PM

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

AM

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.