There are so many different skincare products on the market today with their own specific claims and list of benefits. Products are even further separated by skin type, skin age and specific problems such as aging, sun protection and sensitivities. The lists seem endless!
Whilst it may seem infinitely easier to pack in the whole lot and simply stick to what you know, you may be missing out on some special products that really will put the glow back into your skin. Take a look at our break-down of skincare products below, and build up a regime that really works for you.
Whatever your skin type, skin age or skin concern, there are five essential products that no skin care regime should be without. With these base product sorted, you can start to augment your routine to suit your specific needs – whether that be wrinkles or blemishes, rosecea or dark circles.
A staple product for all skin types, cleansers come in a range of formulations to suit your skin’s specific needs. For drier and more sensitive skins, creamy, milky cleansers offer added hydration without the need to remove the formulation with water, which can often be harsh and drying. Oilier skins work best with gel formulations that offer a purifying, deep down cleanse to clear and tighten the pores. Cleansers with a gentle exfoliant work well with most skin types to clarify the complexion.
Toners are often water or alcohol-based substances that clear away excess cleanser and brighten the complexion. Toners are especially effective if you have oily skin, as they provide a deep-down cleanse to tone pores and tighten them up. For dry and sensitive skin, an alcohol-free toner is always best as they are far gentler and less likely to sap skin of its natural oils and nutrients.
Day moisturisers infuse skin with hydration following the cleansing and toning steps. A good moisturiser will ensure that skin stays comfortable, supple and smooth all day long. Its texture tends to be a little lighter for the daytime in order to keep moisture levels balanced, creating an ideal canvas for make-up application without being too oily or too dry.
Oilier skins tend to benefit more from mattifying formulations that continually regulate sebum production throughout the day so that skin stays fresh and clear.
Dry and sensitive skin benefit enormously from richer formulations that will keep skin hydrated all day long without flaking and itching.
Mature skins would benefit from an anti-pollution formulation, which includes antioxidant ingredients that won’t allow free radicals to settle on the skin, preventing premature aging.
All skin types need SPF protection in their moisturiser to protect them from UV rays, unless they’re already using a sun screen underneath.
Why do you need two different moisturisers we hear you ask? Well, a day moisturiser fulfils specific skin needs during the day that just aren’t enough for the skin to renew itself at night. Far richer than its daytime counterpart, night cream intensively looks after the skin during its rejuvenation process at night, keeping it steadily hydrated right through to the next morning. As all skins need deep down hydration, there tends to be less focus upon skin type for night moisturisers, though there is still a focus upon skin age.
Mature skins tend to need a more restorative concentration of ingredients that help skin to recover from the wear and tear of the day before, relaxing taut facial muscles and smoothing stubborn wrinkles.
Using an exfoliator once or twice a week will make a humongous difference to the texture and smoothness of your skin. Exfoliators buff away dead skin cells whilst giving a really deep down clean. Traditional formulations contain scrubbing particles such as ground shells, seeds, or more recently plastic microbeads to provide abrasive action. There has been an innovative new way to exfoliate skin of late however, with the use of fruit acids known as AHAs that refine and smooth skin without scrubbing agents.
Oily skins benefit from regular exfoliation to keep their sebum levels in check, whilst dry and sensitive skins should trend more carefully, using very gentle formulations that will enable them to remove dead skin cells whilst keeping skin supple and comfortable.
Eye, lip and neck concerns
There are certain areas of the face that are incredibly sensitive, and need an extra boost to stay looking and feeling great. Additionally, as skin gets older collagen fibres slacken and the skin starts to lose its flexibility. This affects some areas more than others, and these are the places that need some extra protection.
The skin around your eyes is so delicate. You may read the label of some facial creams and lotions and find that they warn users off applying the formulation to the eye area – this is because this thin skin needs a special level of care, and many creams are just too heavy. Eye creams offer lightweight, intensive moisturisation that won’t drag or weigh the skin down, instead smoothing the area and improving elasticity. Dry skin is far more susceptible to aging, and as such very many eye creams focus upon minimising and preventing these fine lines and wrinkles.
Eye creams are an indispensible product for mature skin, as there are very many external and internal factors that can deplete the eye area of moisture – UV rays, pollutant aggressors, free radicals, and a loss of elasticity with age.
Gels are different from an eye creams in that they focus less upon correcting fine lines and wrinkles, and more upon decongesting the eye area. Eye gels are particularly effective in the morning to make eyes look more awake and vital, minimising dark circles and reducing puffiness to contour the eye area. These gels are a refreshing treat for those who have to get up early in the morning!
After the eyes, the lip area is one of the places that suffers most from a lack of elasticity and definition with age. Think about it: you eat, laugh, eat, sing, talk and smile, pull funny faces and pout… that’s a lot of movement! If the lip area is a concern for you, you need an intensive cream that will smooth away the fine lines and keep the skin comfortable and plumped up.
The neck has very few oil-producing glands to keep it hydrated, and with age the neck is one of the places that suffers the most. To avoid the dreaded ‘neck crepe’ of sagging skin and deep wrinkles, invest in a good neck cream that will keep skin plump and more resilient. Some creams have added firming agents to keep the skin tightened and lifted, whilst others even have complexes that lighten age spots for truly youthful-looking skin.
Extra dry skin
Sometimes moisturising just isn’t enough for particularly dry skin. If your skin is dehydrated, soothe and smooth it with one of these intensive treatments to combat flaky, rough and inflamed skin for good.
For skin that is persistently dry, even with a rich moisturiser, sometimes a deeply-penetrating, hydrating mask is the answer. To let the cream really sink into the skin and give it a deeply quenching boost, masks are usually left on for around 10 minutes before being gently removed with a toner. This is an ideal product for stubborn dryness or localised areas of dehydration, such as the cheeks and the forehead.
As much as it may feel a little odd to smooth oil on your face, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hydrator for dehydrated skin. Similar to a mask but slightly more potent, oils are very deeply penetrating treatments that minimise fine lines and plump the skin. Apply a little to dampened skin, leave to sink in and then gently wipe away any excess once or twice a week.
Soothing and smoothing, balms are moisturisers with a thicker texture that comfort the skin. Non-greasy and ultra-smooth, balms are a more intensive alternative to creamy formulations and sometimes contain wax blends to moisturise the skin over a more prolonged time. They are deeply replenishing, incredibly nourishing and super-restorative. Balms are often particularly effective to use just before applying make-up, as they tend to have a mask-like texture that settles onto the skin as a layer to provide a flawless base.
Extra Oily Skin
When your skin is particularly oily, there’s nothing like finding a product that gets you through the day with your make-up still intact. Here are some brilliant products set aside from the usual cleanse-tone-moisturise regime that will get your skin cooperating in no time, mopping up excess oil and minimising imperfections fantastically.
When a spot rears its ugly head, you have two options. You can either grin and bear it, or reach for a potent blemish treatment that will reduce inflammation, purify the area, and soothe problem skin. Blemish sticks are specifically formulated to be used locally as a specific spot treatment, and as such contain a powerful blend of antibacterial and clarifying ingredients that will calm and soothe irritations and help to prevent scarring.
Overly active sebum glands getting you down? Then a pore minimising serum may be for you! Large, open pores secrete more sebum, giving skin the dreaded ‘shine’ and making it increasingly difficult for make-up to stay put. To give your skin a fighting chance, smoothing on a potent, serum-based pore minimiser that will refine the complexion and reduce large pores, whilst smoothing and tightening the skin. When applied underneath your usual moisturiser, your skin will stay matte and smooth for longer.
As skin matures, it requires more specialist care. You can buy some spectacularly effective anti-aging moisturisers, masks, cleansers and toners, but sometimes you need an extra added boost to really smooth and illuminate your skin. Try this anti-aging wonders to increase the effectiveness of your regime and make them work a little harder.
Serum / Concentrate
With a potent blend of active ingredients, serums are one of the most intensive anti-aging treatments on the market. Serums work deep-down to improve elasticity, smooth fine lines, reduce stubborn wrinkles, make the complexion more even and boost radiance. The texture of a serum is such that you can wear it underneath a moisturiser to boost its effects without weighing the skin down, doubling the effects and doubling the nourishment.
Similar to a serum in potency but with a slightly different focus, elixirs brighten the skin and boost its natural radiance. Radiance is an issue for more mature skin, as the epidermis can look dull and fatigued due to its depleted moisture levels. A boosting elixir will illuminate the complexion and plump the skin, often containing reflective particles, plant extracts and proteins to make the skin seem effortlessly glowing.