I often get asked questions about skincare; or I encounter people who (oh, heaven forbid) know nothing about skincare or why it’s necessary. I’m no expert, by any means, but I’m 31 and vain. And I can’t rely on my Asian DNA forever to keep me looking younger than my years.
Besides, while skincare isn’t a necessity the way water and air is, it will make a hell of a difference to the appearance and texture of your skin even if you just do the bare minimal. Give it a try for just two weeks, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy how much softer, smoother, even and hydrated your skin feels. Also, and I’m a firm believer in this, it’s an absolute necessity to have moments in your day that is just for you. For me, that’s the time I take to apply my skincare at night. The steps I take are integrated with blow-drying my hair, and starting my bedtime reading, and the routine helps me sleep.
Before I start, and far be it that I tell people what to do with their children when I have no intentions to have children of my own at all, but please consider introducing SPF to your kids sooner rather than later. There are sunscreens formulated to accommodate the delicate skin of children, and it won’t hurt to have them get used to slapping it on every morning before they go to school. Of course, this requires thoroughly taking it off at night, but I say that’s what baby wipes are for. I’ve yet to meet a makeup artist without baby wipes in their kit: if it’s gentle enough for a baby’s bum, it’s likely gentle enough for the skin on the face. Otherwise, teach them good cleansing habits while you’re at it. I trust they’ll thank you when they’re older.
Below is everything I know. DISCLAIMER: the following won’t work for everyone, because our skin is all different. But here’s what I know works for most people.
1) Day and night routines shouldn’t be the same. For one thing, SPF should always factor into your day routine, and SPF is bad for your skin at night. Your skin absorbs a lot more while you’re sleeping, and absorbing the ingredients inside SPF products can lead to clogged pores.
2) Assign your “care” products to your night routine. These are products made to help your skin find its balance and optimal condition, and they will be different for everyone and will change over time. For me, that’s any serum that “does” something: restore, replenish, even, smooth, brighten, clear, and the list goes on. At night is also when I use my beauty oils. Again, my oils all serve different purposes.
3) You should always give each step of your skincare routine a little time to sink in. That’s why at night, which is when my regime is a bit more complicated, I also blow-dry my hair in between. It needn’t be long. 40-60 seconds will do. Lip sync to your favourite song if there’s nothing else to do.
4) Cleansing is just as important. This not only removes the gunk you accumulate on the surface of your skin throughout the day, it helps to clean your pores of impurities. Things like pollution, residue from your products, sweat, and things your skin comes into contact with while, y’know, live.
5) Toning isn’t something I recommend to everyone, just because it may not be necessary for everyone, but I find it helps my skin stay calm, and it’s just one extra step I like to take to help make sure my pores are clean before I start putting on my skincare products. Personally, I need this step because my skin is acne-prone.
Toner also helps refine the appearance of your pores. Continuous use will help your pores stay small as you age. Some good ones to look for regardless of skin type: ones that contain witch hazel, cucumber, or aloe vera.
6) Exfoliate once or twice a week. This will help remove the build-up of dead skin cells so it doesn’t get clogged in your pores. Clogged pores is what leads to acne or even skin infections, so it’s a good idea to prevent against build-up. For me, because I wear makeup almost everyday (well, before my current skin infection from hell that’s prevented me from wearing makeup for about four months *cries*) I exfoliate everyday. But I make sure to use a very gentle one that isn’t abrasive on most days, and I only use one with larger scrubby particles (technical term, yeah?) once a week.
Again, this is what works for me, and may not work for everyone. If you find your skin gets too dry after you exfoliate, just keep to once a week. My skin is well-trained and -abused. It can take a lot, and sometimes it needs it!
7) Your skincare will change; and it should. As you age, your skin will have different needs, it’s worth it to pay attention to your skin to help you figure out what it needs and change your routine accordingly. For example, when I was younger, I stuck with cleansing and moisturising, but as I got older, I introduced serums and oils to my routine. The way I cleansed also changed as I aged. Right now, my regime isn’t like what it was six months ago before my skin freakout. So listen to your skin, and accommodate its needs.
I was going to describe the correct order to apply products, tips on how to pick products for your skin, and recommend items I know most people will enjoy, but that’s perhaps best left for another post. Happy Sunday, everyone!