‘Which skincare brands do you really rate?’ is always the first question someone asks when they find out I’m a beauty editor. What follows is usually a list of products and a debate on whether or not they delivered results. Then we tend to move onto their favourite make-up buys. But not before they discover that I don’t follow a high-tech, elaborate 14-step beauty regime – in fact, it’s borderline basic. Disappointment follows when I struggle to name one single product that will solve all their skincare issues in one swift swoop.
It’s not that great products don’t exist, there are plenty of incredible brands creating groundbreaking, skin-transforming products. But for every game-changing product, there are at least ten duds that come beautifully packaged, feel and smell divine, but do next to nothing for your skin.
Over the past eight years, I’ve learnt to cast a cynical eye over any buzz ingredients or all-singing-and-all-dancing beauty brands. Instead, keep your routine straightforward, take note of any changes in your skin and switch up your products one at a time. While most of us are fascinated by others beauty habits, be it friends or celebrities, what works for them might not work for you.
There are several lessons I’ve picked up from experts along the way that will hopefully pique your interest or at least give you food for thought though …
Know where to splash the cash
When it comes to beauty products, a bigger price tag doesn’t always mean a better formula. A lot of face creams and cleansers are actually very similar in terms of ingredients and composition. However, it is worth spending more on your serum as this is where you’ll get the highest concentration of active ingredients in a more sophisticated formula.
Personalise your skincare routine
Cleanse, tone and moisturise used to be ingrained into women from their early Twenties, but we didn’t all reap the benefits. If you’ve got dry or sensitive skin, some toners can contain too much alcohol and end up drying out your skin.
Likewise, if you’re prone to blackheads, like me, you might find it more beneficial to use two serums and skip cream altogether. And, if you’re worried about lines and wrinkles, rather than splurging on a night cream, invest in a silk pillowcase. As long as your day cream doesn’t contain SPF, it can double up as a night one.
Try the 5:2 skincare diet
As much as I advocate a straightforward skincare routine, it can be hard not to get swept up into the hype, especially if it’s all over your social media feeds. Rather than jumping straight in and spending a small fortune on a brand you’ve never tried, invest in one or two products and incorporate them into your routine at the weekend. It gives your skin time to adjust and can help minimise any irritation.
Don’t feel bad about breaking the rules
You might be hard pressed to find a skincare expert who would actively champion face wipes, but not everyone has time to remove their make-up and cleanse every night. Don’t feel guilty about keeping a stash by your bed and using one a couple of times a week. As with most products, there are good face wipes and bad ones. Several of the bigger brands use a lot of plastic in their wipes, so look for biodegradable fabrics made from plant-based fibres to help reduce your carbon footprint. Also, look for formulas where ‘alcohol’ is at the bottom of the ingredient list as these can be slightly less drying on your skin.
Why concealer should be prioritise
It doesn’t matter how much sleep we’ve had or how much water we’ve drunk, most of us still need a little helping hand when it comes to smoothing out uneven skin tones. Whether you’re 30 years old or 60, unless you’re on camera, few of us look incredible with a heavy layer of foundation. Invest in a full coverage concealer instead and use it in the areas that need evening out, in particular on the cheeks, around your nose and on your chin. You’ll find that you not only end up with less foundation, but showing more raw skin makes you look younger.
Beauty comes from within
It’s a phrase we’ve all read time and time again, but it feels apt to finish on this one considering Gill and Shabir introduced me to the idea. Almost six years ago, I told Gill that I doubted the power of supplements. After receiving and religiously taking several parcels of probiotics, I was won over and have since followed the science breakthroughs around probiotics, in terms of our skin, mood and energy levels. It’s safe to say I’m converted.
It goes without saying that as science and technology advances, our approach to health and beauty is continually evolving, so keeping an open mind is key, especially in the pursuit of good skin.