Perhaps even more important than makeup is skincare – yes, you heard that right! It’s not that we don’t love makeup, it’s just that having the best skin is the foundation for flawless makeup. So, the first step of looking more beautiful and perfecting your makeup all starts with taking good care of your skin with the right products (being healthy is very important too!). The thing is, there’s no one size fits all answer to skincare, it’s all about understanding what your skin needs by knowing your skin type – and don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds, we’re gonna break it down for you.
Know your skin type:
Everyone’s skin is unique, and it’s constantly changing, but there are certain ‘skin type’ categories you can use as guidelines to help you find the best skincare that will work for you. The common skincare categories are sensitive, dry, normal, oily, acne-prone, and aging skin concerns. You might even be a couple of these; you could be both oily and acne-prone, aging and dry, or even sensitive and acne-prone. You may also be dry during the winter and oily during summer, which is why you should switch up your skincare when summer hits.
You probably already have some idea of what your skin type is, but if you’re not 100% sure, check out our skin type breakdown, so you’re sure what it is that you need to target. Knowing your skin type is important because depending on what it is, you should be using very different products. People who have oily or acne-prone skin will use products with ingredients that could be too harsh for dry, sensitive or normal skin, or if you have dry skin and use a product targeted for combination skin, this could further dry out your skin.
How to pick the right skincare:
This is possibly the most important step in your skincare routine! Without thoroughly cleaning your skin every day, dirt, pollution, and oil can cause congestion that leads to blackheads and pimples, plus your following skincare steps won’t be able to penetrate your skin thoroughly. The most effective method of removing makeup and dirt at the end of the day is to double cleanse, aka washing your face twice. Start with a cleansing oil, which will dissolve, SPF, sebum, and grime, and then use a water-based cleanser that suits your skin type (check out the table below), to ensure the last remnants of makeup, dirt and pollution are thoroughly removed – check out our full guide to double cleansing here. In the morning, you only need to use a water-based cleanser that suits your skin type, which will remove any excess product from your nighttime skincare routine, and any excess oil on your skin.
Find out more about the type of cleanser you should use and the best ingredients to look for in our cleanser guide here.
Toning is an essential step between your cleanser and moisturizer, as it’ll remove any leftover makeup or residue your cleanser couldn’t budge, and skin irritating chlorine and minerals that are in the water. A toner will also give one last sweep of your pores, and can help restore your skin’s pH balance – many cleansers have an alkaline base but your skin’s natural pH is more acidic (5.5). A good toner will also help tighten your pores and the space in between surface skin cells, which helps to reduce the penetration of environmental impurities. Again, it’s crucial you find one for your skin type, here’re the basics:
Sensitive skin: Look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, natural ingredients like chamomile, vitamin E, rose, and aloe, and most importantly, avoid alcohol and fragrance!
Normal/ combo skin: Look for a hydrating toner which will combat dryness, while simultaneously minimizing sebum production by regulating oil control. Ingredients like niacinamide, green tea, and ceramides will help balance your skin’s pH levels, repair your skin, and tighten your pores.
Oily/ acne-prone skin: Oily and acne-prone skin need more powerful ingredients, like AHAs (glycolic acid toners or salicylic acid), which will help to clean deep into pores and dissolve dirt and dead skin cells. Niacinamide is another great ingredient that can help reduce inflammation and control oil production, while witch hazel, tea tree, and green tea, help tone and are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Aging skin: Hydration is key! Look for toners infused with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide which helps protect skin from environmental stressors, just like antioxidants. AHAs are also great for anti-aging, as they help improve the appearance of fine lines, and refresh dull skin.
Hydrated skin is glowing skin, so NEVER skip your moisturizer. The right moisturizer will hydrate, replenish, restore your skin’s pH levels, and nourish and repair any issues like dry, flaky skin. But it’s also essential that you choose one with the right formula and ingredient list for your skin type: If you have dry skin, you need a really rich formula, but if you have acne-prone or oily skin, a lightweight, hydrating gel formula will be your best friend. For our top tips on how to choose the right moisturizer for your skin type, check out our moisturizer guide.
Know when your skin is sensitive
Sensitive skin can flare up at any time due to a whole variety of changes, like hormones, a new product or even external factors like pollution or sun damage. If you do continually suffer from sensitive skin, you can experience a whole range of symptoms such as redness, blotchiness, dryness, itchiness, or flaking skin. You could also suffer from facial eczema or rosacea.
The best way to tell if your skin is sensitive is to press down on your cheek with light to medium pressure using your fingers. If your skin turns red, then you have sensitive skin. Another clear indication a product could be causing irritation is if it makes your skin sting or tingle slightly when you first apply it (although this is to be expected with AHAs and some clay face masks, but people with sensitive skin should avoid these ingredients). For the dos and don’ts of treating sensitive skin, check out our sensitive skin guide.
Serums and face oils are also amazing for your skin and can work wonders for targeting skin concerns like fine lines and wrinkles, acne, and dry skin. Find out the best serums for your skin type here, and check out how to make your own facial oil suited to your skin type here.
The lesson? Use the products designed to work well for your skin. Remember your skin changes over time, so it’s always a good idea to reevaluate your skin when the season’s change, and switch up your products and try new things. If you have dry skin, acne-prone skin or any kind of skin concern, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or derm and ask for a treatment or prescription.