by Emily Smith
People are all different. We’re all unique with our own individual styles and tastes, we all like and dislike various things, and our skin is the same. Like us, our skin has its own preferences, what we call “skin type”. The skin type is self-explanatory and dependent on how much water and collagen is in your skin as this determines its elasticity and sensitivity.
Identifying the skin type identifies what the skin needs more of, what it needs less of, and therefore what products are right for you when thinking about how to make your own skin care routine. So, before you go out and buy any old skincare product, it’s vital you identify what your skin type is.
There are four basic skin types: Normal, Oily, Dry and Combination - each with their own characteristics and each all likely to change over time.
“Normal” skin means the oily-to-dry ratio is well-balanced, the complexion is even and soft to the touch. Only the simplest of routines are needed to keep your “normal” skin happy.
“Oily” skin refers to the over-production of “sebum”, an oily substance that is produced to naturally lubricate and protect the skin. This oiliness produces a bright, dewy, and porous appearance, but one susceptible to change. Changes are dependent on temperature, humidity, stress, and hormones meaning that oily skin is more prone to breakouts. But there are many ways to manage oily skin.
“Dry” skin then produces less sebum, meaning it has less elasticity. The skin feels tight, looks dull and exposes blemishes. The severity of dryness can range from just roughness and discomfort to scaling and flaking, so dry skin needs a routine that focuses on restoring moisture.
Finally, “Combination” skin refers to a mixture of skin types. This skin can be normal or dry in parts but oily in others e.g., the T-zone. This is perhaps the most common skin type and can require a more varied routine to reset the equilibrium within the skin.
That may have felt like a lot, but it’s important to know your skin type for in working that out, you can establish the routine. But it doesn’t need to be a highly specialised and rigorous routine to be effective. So, here are some tips to get started.
- Start simple. Yes, I’ve said your skin type will change and it’s important to be open to that knowledge as you must be versatile with what you buy. But for the most part, every skin routine is founded upon three main products: Cleanser, Toner, Moisturiser. These alone are the essential building blocks.
TIP: Before applying these three main products, washing your face with a facial soap and a warm, damp cloth will help prep the skin for cleansing, open the pores and remove any surface grime.
A Cleanser removes dirt from the skin and when you’re shopping for one, you’ll see they come in many different forms. I’ve used products that have been described as a cleansing cream, milk, balm, jelly, but all penetrate the pores to remove that surface dirt. It’s important to apply these cleansers to damp skin and wash it away before applying toner.
A Toner refreshes the skin, rebalances its pH and reduces the appearance of pores. Then finally, the moisturiser.
Your moisturiser is that final step for making you feel that you can take on the day by locking in that moisture and all the prep you’ve done.
TIP: Make sure you buy a moisturiser with an SPF of no lower than 25 – the moisturiser I use is marked SPF 40 and does wonders!
What I will add is that you will want to top off your routine with a sunscreen – no routine is complete without it. Even on the most overcast days, those UV rays are breaking through and will do damage to your skin, so always, always wear your sunscreen. It also gives your skin a beautiful, romantic dewiness, a very fashionable, “clean” look.
- What you put on in the day must come off! As much as your morning routine is vital for prepping for the day, I cannot stress enough how important taking the day off is. Night routines are a must. Never sleep in your makeup so make it your mission to get it off either with a make-up remover or with micellar water if you want glowy skin. Following this, you may want to give your face a splash with some warm water before applying your cleanser.
Like your morning routine, follow with your toner, maybe a facemask to lock in moisture for the night if you suffer from dryness. Finish with a night cream. Night creams are heavier than your day creams as they are designed to be slowly absorbed by the skin to restore moisture. If you’re not sure what to pick, moisturisers with retinol or collagen supplements in them are your go-to.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that promotes skin renewal and enhances collagen production - perfect for that beautiful, bouncy skin.
TIP: Be careful with retinol – it’s harsh. Although it is highly beneficial, your skin needs to adapt to it, so only use it a couple of nights a week.
- Get to know your skin and build up over time – Regardless of skin type, there are still many different skin qualities to consider when building your routine. For example, if you have sensitive skin, choose hypoallergenic products, if you have acne-prone skin, pick a toner with salicylic acid in it, if you have dull skin, try out a hyaluronic acid serum. Personalise your routine - but only once you’ve got the basics down.
It’s important with these extra serums to do your research, buy what’s right for your skin and don’t be swayed to purchase products because you’re being told to by influencers.
Building upon your skin care routine is all a trial and error-based method – and it’s one based on budget. When you’re just beginning your routine, all those new products are expensive, so stick to investing in your staples and take it from there.
Don’t be afraid to stray from your “set” routine. There are thousands of skin care products out there that are all designed to benefit your skin in different ways. But the appeal of having a skin routine is the fact that it is a “routine” right? No. Please don’t think like you can’t add/change/take away different products from your regime. The skin changes and the products you use will need to change with it. But at the end of the day all routines are giving you the same message: if you look after your skin, it will look after you.