I get so many requests from readers asking me exactly what they need in the way of skin care.
Some don’t use anything yet, and are not quite sure where to start, some have a variety of products, but maybe not all the things they need, and others, like me, are product junkies!
So here is a list of the basics.
You need to have a good cleanser. Soap is not OK! You need a cleanser that will both remove and dissolve all makeup as well as clean out your pores.
Its really important to get a cleanser that is right for your skin type. I’m constantly finding that people are using the wrong type of cleanser for their skin type, either stripping their skin with a product designed for oily complexions, or using a product designed for normal to dry skin when they are oily.
2.) Eye Makeup Remover.
If you wear waterproof mascara, you need to remove it with an eye makeup remover. Some stubborn mascaras and eyeliners need eye makeup removers too. Often you’ll find that a good cleansing milk or cleansing oil will dissolve eye makeup, so you can sometimes get away without having to purchase a separate product, but make sure that whatever you are choosing to use does not require any rubbing around the eye area – your eye makeup should glide off easily.
I only use toner on oily skin, or on the T zone of combination skin if the T is particularly oily, otherwise I find it too drying. But that’s just my opinion.
4.) Eye Cream.
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest, most delicate skin on your body, and it requires it’s own specialty care. If it’s not kept well hydrated it will fast track the appearance of aging.
You need to use an eye cream or an eye gel to keep the eye area well moisturized. There are plenty of great eye creams/gels that have firming ingredients in them, others that help with dark circles, some that just hydrate.
Eye cream needs to be used every morning and every night. You only use a tiny amount, so it lasts a really long time.
5.) Daily moisturizer.
Your daytime moisturizer has several jobs. First it has to keep your skin nicely hydrated, without leaving a film on the surface. It also has to protect your skin from pollutants in the environment, and in some cases provide some UVA and UVB sun protection with SPFs.
6.) Facial SPF
Even if your daily moisturizer has SPF in it (plenty have SPF 15, some have SPF 30), you still should use a free standing facial SPF every single day, come rain or shine. I have yet to meet a dermatologist who isn’t adamant about it!
It must be a product specifically designed for the face, and I always recommend going for the highest SPF number you can find. Although there is debate as to how much more effective an SPF85 is over an SPF30, there is no debate that an 85 stays active on the skin for much longer.
We tend to put moisturizer on quickly and unevenly, so the sun protection value of a built in SPF can be marginal. When you apply a free standing facial SPF you not only get more protection, but you get it more evenly too.
7.) Night Moisturizer
Night cream/moisturizer has a very different job from your daytime product. Our skin does all of its repair and rejuvenation work while we are sleeping, so we need to use products specifically designed to meet those needs, as well as give us a hydration boost. Most will address anti aging and firming concerns.
So those are the lean basics that you need in your skin care wardrobe. They are like the little black dress and pair of killer pants in your closet. They provide the great framework, and a perfect place to start. But you also need other products to flesh it out and accessorize it.
Here are some (but not all) of the bonus round of booster products that you can add in.
I am not a fan of scrubs. I prefer enzyme masks for exfoliation. You can also use over the counter peels to take away the dull surface cells – there are lots of options to choose from. The important thing is that you keep removing the surface cells and debris, and let your beautiful, luminous skin show through.
There are many types of serums available, and they do a variety of different things, but most are designed to boost the efficiency of your moisturizer. Perfect for night time use, they can also help during the day in the drier months to boost your daily moisturizer if its not working well enough, or in some cases instead of a daily moisturizer when the weather is too humid.
There are loads of different masks to choose from. Some are deep cleansing, some are brightening, some exfoliating – what ever your skin needs, there is a mask to help it.
4.) Retin A
Every skin specialist I know swears by RetinA. I am always being told that every woman over 30 should use it every night. I use it regularly.
And don’t be alarmed – its not the same vicious beast that was attacking skin in the early 90s, modern day Retin A’s are much gentler, and much more refined.