Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Your Daily Skincare Routine: What You Really Need
When it comes to skincare, it can be tempting to think that more equals better. After all, if one great product gets rid of your wrinkles or acne, maybe two great products will get your skin glowing in double time! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that—and with so many products out there (serums and creams and oils, oh my!), it can be incredibly confusing to figure out what you really need for your daily routine… and which products can get a pass.
“We are all trying to improve and transform our skin, whether it be clearing up breakouts, reversing fine lines, shrinking large pores, or giving our skin an overall healthy glow,” says Sonya Dakar, celebrity aesthetician and founder of Sonya Dakar Skincare, whose clients have included Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sofia Vergara. “This does not happen overnight or by using a few skincare products once in a while. Real change happens with consistency.”
The good news? You don’t actually need that many products. “A daily skincare regimen that includes cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen in the morning keeps the skin healthy and youthful looking,” says S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, celebrity dermatologist and CEO of Miami Skin Institute.
I’ve gone sleuthing, breaking down the essentials on your definitive skincare routines—for both day and night.
One of the biggest secrets of gorgeous skin? Exfoliation. “While regular skin cleansing is clearly beneficial, exfoliating your face on a regular basis can improve the results of your skincare routine and help rejuvenate your skin. Whether you have dry, normal, oily, or sensitive skin, exfoliation can bring new life to your complexion,” explains Dakar. Many experts agree that morning exfoliation is best: not only does it work with your natural skin cycles, but it’s also less likely to interfere with your night products and cause irritation. For gentle but effective sloughing, try an at-home electric cleaning brush, like the Clarisonic Mia ($129) or the Pro-X by Olay Cleansing Brush ($20). Don’t worry about using an actual cleanser in the morning; a few passes with the brush will do double duty, and help keep precious natural oils on your skin.
Powerful vitamin C is at the top of many dermatologist’s must-use lists, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-aging properties. The benefits of vitamin C are numerous, including improving hydration, evening out skin tone, and helping resurface skin. Apply it in the morning in moisturizer or serum form to boost the antioxidant properties of your sunscreen and get your skin started out right for the day.
Try Avalon Organics Intense Defense with Vitamin C Facial Serum ($17) or Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer ($28).
When you’re on the beach, you can get by with something heavy-duty—but in the real world, on a day-to-day basis, it’s important to find a light sunscreen that sinks in and works well underneath makeup without producing a chalky effect. (Try applying it about five – ten minutes before makeup to give it time to absorb properly.)
Try Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 55 ($7) or bareMinerals PrepStep Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Mineral Shield Daily Prep Lotion ($30).
Cleanser: Part 1
“Cleansing your skin well is critical—it removes makeup, excess oil, dirt, and debris from your skin, preventing them from clogging your pores,” says S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD. A double cleanse to fully remove makeup, get rid of any impurities, and set the stage for the rest of your products is the proper way to put your best face forward. Start with a makeup oil (or if you’re on the lazy side, with makeup wipes).
Try Dermalogica Precleanse makeup oil ($40) or Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil ($10); or Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($8) or Honest Beauty Refreshingly Clean Makeup Remover Wipes ($10).
Cleanser: Part 2
Use a foaming cleanser to remove any residue and really complete the clean. Avoid using steaming hot water and instead turn your taps to lukewarm to keep from drying out skin (a common mistake). One caveat: “Do not look for squeaky clean…that means stripped skin,” says Dakar. “You want skin that is not red post cleansing, but fresh feeling, soft and, most of all, clean.”
Try Simple Foaming Cleanser ($6) or Sonya Dakar Buriti Purifying Cleanser ($67).
One of those mysterious products that makes everybody think, “Do I really need this?” a pH balancing step is actually incredibly helpful for prepping skin. We like Korean toners or “essences” which also add a gentle dose of hydration and nutrients, acting as an extra layer of goodness before your night cream or serum.
Try SKII Facial Treatment Essence ($179) or try Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Hyaluronic Essence ($20).
Here’s where skin type truly comes into play. While it’s important to feed your skin with nutrients, no matter your skin type, whether you’re dry or oily will determine whether you reach for a night cream or a night serum. Those with oilier complexions should look for something repairing and anti-aging full of vitamins, such as Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate ($89) or Yes to Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum ($11). Drier skins will want to concentrate on a sumptuous, emollient hydrating cream that will keep skin plump, like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel ($20) or Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb ($38).
No single skincare ingredient makes a bigger difference on your skin than a vitamin A derivative used at night. If you can get a prescription for tretinoin from your doctor (otherwise known as Retin-A or Renova), go for it; otherwise, the drugstore alternative, known as retinol, is slightly less intense but nearly as effective. Start by using the retinol cream, like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream ($20) or Advanced Skin Technology Green Cream Retinol ($36), once a week at night (never during the day, because it will increase sun sensitivity!). After your skin has had a chance to get used to it, increase application, eventually working your way up to three times a week. You’ll see a noticeable difference in fine lines, skin tone, and texture. And don’t give up if you don’t see results overnight. “If you are looking to transform your skin, you will need to spend two minutes working on your skin every morning and every night,” says Dakar. “It’s not hard, you just need to stick with it.