Cleanse, tone*, moisturise: that’s how you look after skin, right? Wrong; what used to constitute a really good skincare routine is now hopelessly outdated – skincare, and knowledge of how skin function is improved through topical treatments, has evolved an awful lot since the birth of the original three step routine.
Let me offer you an alternative. You see, three steps is kind of all you need to do morning and evening to look after your skin (unless, like me you’re in a bid to replicate the famed Korean eleven step skincare routine, in which case revert to my last post) – provided they’re the right ones. Here’s how I reckon your routine should look:
STEP ONE / CLEANSE // Vital, cleansing well is. Morning cleansing is still a subject of debate – some think it useless if you’ve cleansed properly before bed, others (myself included) think it important to gently remove sweat and oils before applying skincare. How you do it is up to you – I like a rinse-off formula (at the moment I’m alternating between Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip and Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel), but some like to use their evening balm at this point. Both are equally as acceptable.
STEP TWO / SERUM // So ardently do I love serum that I’ve taken to thrusting them into the hands of all my friends who claim not to use them. Read my post on them here for more about why they’re brilliant and for recommendations (I’m currently obsessed with Zelens Antioxidant Defence in the morning).
STEP THREE / SPF // If for some reason you find yourself in a situation in which you can only do one of these three steps, this is the one. Safeguarding your skin with an SPF is the single best thing you can do for your skin’s health and, trust me, no suntan will ever be worth the nuisance of pigmentation, premature ageing and potentially skin cancer – if you want to be brown, just fake it. Read more about SPFs in my post here.
STEP ONE / CLEANSE // Technically this is two steps – best practice in my opinion is to remove make-up and debris with an oil which will emulsify in warm water, taking the day’s grime with it (I’m using Clinique Take the Day Off Oil at the moment), then work a balmy cleanser into skin before removing with a flannel or muslin soaked in warm water. Doing both takes me all of three minutes nightly.
STEP TWO / SERUM // Same as before, though angle your evening serum towards skin hydration – a hyaluronic acid-rich one is ideal.
STEP THREE / OIL OR MOISTURISER // My preference is a botanical oil as it agrees with my skin, but a nice comforting layer of moisturiser to seal in serum is a perfectly serviceable alternative. A note here: using just a serum or oil/moisturiser/nothing at all can do skin a world of good at times – monitor how yours gets along and you’ll come to realise it has different demands depending on your health/time of the month etc.
* I still think the insertion of toner in a routine has value if you can bear to add a forth step. Slip a treatment toner between steps one and two to augment the effect of your other products.