Today I’m going to write about something I’m super interested in and one of the most-requested topics on the blog, SKINCARE! Now I know make-up is more exciting with all it’s colours and glitter (ermagerd glehtur), but I love skincare because it really changes your natural appearance instead of just altering it superficially. I love beauty products (dur) so I really enjoy the rituals of skincare and make-up routines and find them relaxing, but I know tons of you would much rather it was just quick, easy and cheap! I’m going to try recommend products and techniques for different price ranges and attention spans. However I do think that with skincare you get out what you put in. The more effort you invest in it the better your skin will look.
I’m not a dermatologist, so please do consult one if you have specific skin worries or difficulties. I’m going to offer my best advice for those of you looking for an easy skincare routine to keep those gorgeous faces looking pretty! Let’s start at the beginning.
1. Assess your skin type and needs
I think that one of the biggest myths in the beauty world is that our skins are either dry OR combination OR oily. Your skin can be any and all of these things. My skin is combination because I have a shiny T-zone and dry cheeks, but I still get zits on my cheeks (joy), plus it’s super sensitive and prone to redness. So I need a routine that sorts out break-outs, doesn’t dry out my skin and keeps it calm. Plus we all need a routine that gets rid of make-up and dirt while protecting our skin.
This is so important! I’m too OCD to fall asleep without cleansing (drives my friends crazy after a drunken night out), but I know most people skip it. Wash your face in the morning and evening, taking extra care in the evening. Your morning cleanse is going to get rid of sweat and all the skin you shed whilst sleeping (sies), and your evening cleanse is going to get rid of make-up, sunscreen, dirt, sweat and any pollutants you’ve encountered during the day. This is why I recommend a double cleanse in the evening using an oil-based cleanser first, and your usual cleanser second.
Choose a formula that works for you.You get cream, balm, foam, milk, gel and oil cleansers. I’m currently using a milk cleanser because it soothes my skin, plus an oil cleanser at night. If you struggle with oiliness, go for a gel formula. Drier skin types will enjoy milk, cream or balm cleansers. To cleanse my skin at night, I massage my oil cleanser (The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Oil, R150 but get it on sale!) into my skin for as long as I can without getting bored. I then rinse it off, and apply my milk cleanser (Naturals Beauty Essential Collection Milk Cleanser, R80). I massage this in and rinse off with a warm facecloth. In the morning, I apply my milk cleanser and rinse off. Easy!
3. Exfoliation (once or twice a week)
Next up, let’s get rid of all the dead skin clogging up our pores. You don’t need to do this every day, I do it about once a week. There are 2 types of exfoliators: Physical and Chemical. Physical means that they contain grains/particles that physically remove dead layers of skin. Chemical formulae contain acid or enzymes that melt away the dead skin. I’ve yet to find the right chemical exfoliator for me, so at the moment I’m using the Naturals Beauty Essential Collection Face Exfoliator, R90, because it has a nice fine grit that really leaves my skin feeling smooth. Massage this into your skin and rinse off. Pat dry.
Beth wrote about her feelings on toners here. She mentions the toners we’re all familiar with…super-drying liquids that smell of alcohol. Do not put that stuff on your skin!! What a toner should do is add another layer of moisture to the skin, which your moisturiser will then trap. I absolutely love my toner, and it’s a real bargain buy too! It’s the Clicks Aloe and Omega Refreshing Toner (around R30). It removes any leftover make-up and soothes my skin whilst reducing redness. When I ran out of my first bottle, I didn’t repurchase immediately because I thought a R30 product probably made no difference. I was so wrong! My skin was tight and uncomfortable, and didn’t absorb moisturiser as well. Go for a gentle toner containing ingredients such as aloe, vitamin E or rosewater, and your skin will thank you.
This is a non-negotiable. Moisturiser is made to increase your skin’s hydration by reducing evaporation and form a protective layer over the skin. They can also contain ingredients that soothe, reduce oil, treat blemishes, fight wrinkles, etc. Choose one according to your skin concerns, bearing in mind that you may need a lighter formula for hot weather and a heavier formula for colder weather. At the moment I’m using The Victorian Garden Baobab and Marula Day Cream (R90, Wellness Warehouse).
You’ve heard it a hundred times! Just slap that SPF on. You don’t need a high SPF for every day if you work inside. There are tons of sunscreens now that don’t feel oily and uncomfortable. Find the one you like best and apply daily! I’m currently using a sample from Kiehl’s which is great, but I’ll recommend some more budget-friendly options in my next post.
7. Spot treatment
Here’s an extra to use when needed. I always get zits on my cheeks (but why?) and would prefer to spot treat them rather than cover my whole face in product. My go-to skin saviour is plain old tea tree oil. It’s cheap, lasts ages and does the job! I have the Soil Tea Tree Oil (R45.99, Wellness Warehouse)
8. Hydrating Mask
To use when your skin’s feeling tight and uncomfortable. Great for the changing of seasons when your skin’s all over the place. I’m currently using the Naturals Beauty Essential Collection Hydrating Masque (R72) when I feel like my skin needs calming down.
9. Deep-Cleansing Mask
To use when you’re struggling with breakouts or uneven skin tone. Masks containing kaolin (clay) will absorb oil and impurities. I adore The Body Shop’s Warming Mineral Mask (R149). Jodi’s also a huge fan, check out her review here.
Remember that, with masks, you don’t need to apply it all over your face. When my skin’s having a real combination moment, I’ll put my deep-cleansing mask on my T-zone and my hydrating mask on my cheeks and neck. You know your skin best, so don’t feel you need to stick to any ‘rules’ that you may think exist.
And that’s it for now! Part 2 and 3 will feature my product recommendations, plus what you can do to fancy up your routine once you’ve got the basics down :) Let me know if you have any questions you’d like me to investigate, or if you have any products you’d recommend! I love hearing what you all think.
Have a great day!