Getting the basics down: the timeless skincare routine
Here’s a little disclaimer before you embark on discovering more about skincare. It’s always better to have a skincare routine that is doable, practical and catered to your routine and needs. You could level up your routine with more specialized products once you get comfortable with a basic routine.
Just two golden rules to remember:
Universal & unique:
While the fundamentals of skincare are universal and are almost the same everywhere, it is also unique.Unique to your skin type, age, the external environment, seasonal changes. So ifyou’re wondering why that toner your friend recommended is not suiting you or why your face broke out even after using the same product when you went on a holiday - you now know.
The product could be great, however, you might have to do some trial and error before finding the products that suit your skin type. And it could change with time, the environment and the place.
Gender, age no bar:
A good routine is essential regardless of gender and ageand it’s never too late to start an effective skincare routine.
The bare essentials
Alwaysdetermine your skin type before planning your skincare routine. Your skin type will help you look for formulations and ingredients best suited for your skin. The wrong product could have an adverse effect on the skin, like drying or breakouts. The right products will do wonders.
That said, let’s look at the steps in effective skincare routines.
There’s more to cleansing than simply removing dirt, oils, bacteria and debris from your face. It helps prepare the skin to better absorb any other products you follow this step with.
Of course, you know how to wash your face, just a few highlights:
- Wash your face 1-2 times in the day (morning and night) and more often if you have oily skin.
- Always pat your face to dry off, never rub after you finish cleansing.
- It’s best to spend around 30 seconds massaging your face with your fingertips as you clean it. This increases blood circulation.
- Depending on your skin type and any specific problems you’re facing, you could look for certain ingredients in your cleanser. For instance, choose a cleanser with salicylic acid if you have acne-prone skin. It will aid in treating acne blemishes too. A dry skin type would benefit from a cream cleanser while a foam one will help the combination skin type.
The golden rule: your skin must feel smooth and soft post-cleansing. If it’s feeling dry, tight and overstripped of natural oils, you are using the wrong cleanser. It’s time to change it.
There is a lot of information on double cleansing and this has emerged as an important step in dealing with certain skin conditions. Since double cleansing is a very detailed topic by itself, we will be dedicating a lot of space just for that. Subscribe to the blog and stay tuned for more.
This often-skipped step is actually very important. Toning helps to close and tighten your skin pores which open up every time you cleanse. It also helps in dealing with signs of aging, acne, ingrown hair. It’s important to find the right toner for you. If you’re looking at fighting aging and dark spots, look for a toner with glycolic acid, AHAs, or BHAs. An astringent-based toner is great for oily skin, while an alcohol-free toner is exactly what dry skin needs.
It’s easy to apply: Soak a cotton pad with the toner and gently rub it on your face and neck. Or you could put a coin-sized amount on one palm, rub into both palms, and gently apply it on your face. Wait for it to semi-dry out before moving onto the next step.
Protip: If you’re somebody who loves wearing makeup and does it regularly, you could use Micellar Water. It is designed to remove makeup and you get the bonus benefits of a good toner as well.
You’ve seen them everywhere and wonder if you need to add them to your routine. Serums are highly concentrated, nutrient-rich formulas that target any skin concerns you might have: spots, wrinkles, dryness, dullness, or even to retain a healthy glow.
Today’s lifestyle brings with it environmental pollution and exposure damages our skin; from increasing the skin’s oxidative stress to harming its health. Do I need a serum, you ask? If you’re in your 20s or above, the answer is a big yes.
Serums penetrate your skin quickly and must be used immediately after a toner. You could use a serum to maintain your skin and give it a boost or correct a skin concern. For instance, Hyaluronic Acid is excellent for dry or mature skin, while the reduction of hyperpigmentation and skin brightening is an outcome of the Vitamin C serum.
Explore layering the serums too. For example, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C can be applied in the morning and the evening before moisturizing, while Retinol is great as a PM product. Use serums and slowly build them up into your routine.
Remember to pay attention to the eyes too by using a good eye serum or gel. That will help to prevent fine lines and collagen loss.
Every skin type (including oily skin) needs good hydration and moisturizing. That’s why you find a range of moisturizers available. Choose a gel or water-based moisturizer if you have oily skin. Very dry skin will require a creamier base, so don’t be afraid if you need to switch your moisturizer if you’re traveling to a drier climate.
A good moisturizer hydrates your skin and makes it soft, and healthy. If your face feels too oily or dry by midday, consider switching the formula or texture of the product.
UV protection is critical. Ensure you choose a product with broad-spectrum UV protection. This will protect you from UVA rays with longer wavelengths and cause aging, and from UVB rays which have shorter wavelengths and result in sunburn.
Choose your sunscreen based on your activity and exposure levels. For instance, if you’re playing volleyball near a beach, you will require a sunblock or sunscreen with a higher SPF. However, applying sunscreen with higher SPF does not mean that you need to apply it only once a day. A higher SPF gives your longer protection but if you’re planning to stay outdoors for the whole day, do reapply the sunscreen.
Difference between sunscreen & sunblock
A sunblock will do literally that - block off UV rays. Sunscreen absorbs UV rays before they can enter your skin. If you are planning to holiday at a beach or will be out in the sun for the whole day, choose a sunblock. For a regular office goer, a good sunscreen will do the job.
WHATEVER YOU DO, BE CONSISTENT.
Give your routine at least 6-8 weeks before you can gauge whether it’s working for you or not. These routines will help you look and feel your best.
Be aware and change your products based on the place, and season of the year. Your skin will behave differently in winter depending on whether you’re in Goa or the mountains.
If you’re unsure of what to do, speak to a skin consultant or cosmetologist. And keep equipping yourself with knowledge so you can decide.
Most importantly, have fun with the routine.
And here’s a friendly reminder: embrace your skin, own your age.
***And some more: We’ve shared a solid, basic skincare routine. As you get comfortable with the basic skincare routine, here are a few additional steps you could add.
Exfoliate: Introduce this step right after toning and slowly build it upto 2-3 times a week. Choose a product with AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) or BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids). These are the master chemical exfoliates that clear sebum and debris from your skin.
Spot treatment: This step is only if you have acne spots or scars on your face. Usually, spot treatments are applied topically, instead of the entire face. Effective and quick, the most commonly used spot treatments are Benzoyl Peroxide, Tea Tree oil or Neem oil, Sulfur, Salicylic acid (which could come in your exfoliator, if you use one).