I have far too much spare time on my hands somehow, and put a lot of effort into reading reviews and the musings of Caroline Hirons, closely followed by Meg (from Lipsofacto) and Anna (you know the lady - viviannadoesmakeup). But for other ladies I know, whether they're twenty two of fourty two, they just aren't sure where to start, what things do, or what their skin even needs. So I thought I'd put together a few little basics to get you started...*
First things first. Everyone needs to wash their face. Whether my brother or my mum come to me with skincare quips - my first response is "and what are you washing your face with?" both their answers are normally "water" - DOH!
Secondly - this goes for both cleansers and moisturisers - you need to use products that are right for your skin. It's best not to go straight for cult products when you first start out - they might not be what you need and the person talking about them may have completely different skin issues to you. Example: I once tried to use the Liz Earl Cleanse and Polish - big mistake - it was so wrong for my skin type and I only purchased it because lots of people raved about it.
If you have dry skin, you need something that's going to really hydrate your skin - I've found that milk and balm cleansers are the best for this (note: remember there is a difference between dry and dehydrated). I personally like to use gel cleansers as I find they are better for my skin when it's on the more oily side. However I do try and make sure they don't contain SLS (it's a prime culprit for dry skin, and I want to balance my skin out, not drain it of moisture). Another thing I always shout at my mum is "OILY SKIN NEEDS moisture!" - in most cases anyway - this occurs because the skin is being deprived of oil and is over compensating. Start with a hydrating cleanser and a good moisturiser and see how you go. It's also a good idea to use products that are right for your age - I was recently sent a mystery package (worrying) full of products suited to mature skin. I don't know what they were implying, but these products definitely weren't made for use on youthful skin and, as they were targeted at age spots they wouldn't have been effective at all!
My previous point brings me to anti aging - when I turned 20 I thought that it wouldn't be long until I needed to start using an anti aging cream. But after a little research I found that most creams were far too thick and heavy for young skin. Since then I've been told that a good skincare routine and daily use of SPF is the best way of preventing wrinkles and age spots. In the winter I barely bother with SPF not in makeup, as I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, but in the summer I apply a facial SPF from La Roche Posay under my makeup for extra protection.
Another frequently asked question is "at what point in your routine do you put this on?". Naturally there are no hard and fast rules. But I read somewhere, and have always stuck by that, you should apply the thinnest and most easily absorbed products first, working your way to the heavier ones. My night time routine currently looks a little like this:
toner -> serum -> eye cream -> moisturiser
So any oils or serums go first as they are lighter than your creams. Then heavier products like eye cream and moisturiser and Origins Super Spot Remover can be applied - otherwise I feel like they prevent other products from penetrating the skin in that area.
The final question I'm asked regularly is how much I spend on skincare - I fit into the skincare junkie catagory, so I spend far more than the average person does on different products. But I do believe you should be happy to spend as much on your skincare as you do on your clothes. If a £35 bag is perfectly acceptable then a moisturiser should be the same - after all you have your face for life don't you? It's worth remembering that most people find they need less makeup after implementing a good skincare routine - so savings can potentially be made in other areas through this investment. I understand that not everyone has these extra pennies to spend and I will completely be joining that party this summer once I move, so in this case I will direct you to Megs "Affordable Skincare" video (all links below).
If you're looking to start a skincare routine - it's far more effective to spend time doing your research first - you can save both time and money by not purchasing products that don't work because you don't need them. Once you've figured out your skin type, invest in a cleanser and moisturiser to start. Depending on the cleanser you pick up you might want to invest in a makeup remover too. Micellular solutions are available now from a wide range of skincare brands and will ensure your cleanser will be targeting the skin, instead of a potential layer of makeup before it can even get there. From this basic routine you can then start to add in serums and eye creams as and when you feel you need it. But start small and introduce things slowly - if a product is causing a break out you want to be able to identify which one it is easily.
Oh and finally - Eat a healthy balanced diet! I believe that what you put in your body shows on your face, from smoking to your diet and unfortunately the best things for your skin come from the ground and are green! Laying off the pizza and chocolate might not be the most exciting, but after a while you get used to eating less sugar and other wonderful crap and you can enjoy fish and vegetables and fantastic looking skin. I always use far less skincare when I eat well, so if you have skincare concerns, this might actually be the best factors to address first.
Bloggers Mentioned/Useful Reads:
*Keep in mind that I'm not an expert when it comes to skincare. Everything above is what I've learnt via various sources or have found that this works for me. If you're at all worried about your skin then always consult your doctor!