Now, do not worry. I am not suddenly fancying myself to be a beauty blogger and going to claim to be an expert on all things skincare and beauty. Not at all, it’s a huge world! However, this was an area that I was completely clueless about and since something sparked my interest, I have learned a bit and got a grasp of a few skincare basics for complete beginners and I thought it might be useful to some of you if you are newbies like me.
I mentioned in my little pick me ups post last week that skin care is something that I am now enjoying. I find it relaxing and there’s an indulgent feeling to it.
I want to share a few of the things I have picked up, not as an expert, but as someone like you. Someone who was bobbing along, oblivious, and then realising one day that maybe this is something I should pay attention to! I am in my early 40’s now and I know many of you are a similar age or older, so I am sharing my experiences in case they are useful to some of you.
Not everyone goes all in on things like I do. I appreciate that most people, normal people, just want to know a few of the basics to get them by. So I will break a few things down for you and then it’s up to you if you disappear down a YouTube or shopping rabbit hole!
If you are anything like me of a couple of months ago, you have not really given much thought to caring for your skin. You might not have bought any new products for ages and your routine might be very basic, not updated, or even nonexistent!
Well, I have learned that it’s never too late to start introducing a routine and more importantly, I have found that it’s a lovey thing to do, a few moments of self care each day.
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Until recently, I had been following the same, very basic, routine daily. I did have a couple of the basics in there, so I was at least doing something! Just face wash and moisturiser, morning and night. But the products I was using were just so wrong for my skin, I simply hadn’t thought about it or realised. Then there are all of the other products that are available and beneficial.
If, like me, you haven’t really thought about skin care, here are a few basic pointers to get you started, to get you thinking, along with some great resources to check out.
There are, generally speaking, four main skin types; dry, normal, combination and oily. Your skin is likely to be one of these, though do bear in mind that it can change over the years, the seasons, or the products you use can alter it.
For example, you might have been oily in your twenties, but now in your fifties, the chances are you are a little more dry. It is worth understanding your skin type at the outset, and there are plenty of simple skin type quizzes you can take online if you are not too sure having read up on them.
This is different to skin type. For example, you could have oily skin but it could be dehydrated. You might have hyper-pigmentation, sensitivity, rosacea, uneven texture, acne, fine lines, oh so many things!
Having identified your skin type, it is worth identifying your skin conditions so that you can think about what you might want to target or change. And if there is nothing, woohoo!
If there are a few things, and the chances are that there will be, this is a great guide to what to treat first, from Caroline Hirons.
Your lifestyle can obviously impact on your skin, along with the products that you use on it. Things like sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake, sun damage, smoking, lack of sleep and poor diet, for example. Along with looking at those things, there are then a few things to build into your skin care routine that can help you to take care of your skin.
As a basic, you should be cleansing and moisturising, morning and night, and then adding an SPF in the morning. It would also be worth using a flannel (face or wash cloth, I think to those of you outside the UK) or microfibre cloth as this works as a gentle exfoliant. Ideally, you will also want to double cleanse of an evening, as the first cleanse is about make up and sunscreen removal, the second actually cleans your skin.
If you aren’t doing any of that, just start there and find products that your skin likes.
Hydrating your skin can work wonders. Many of us do have dehydrated skins, which is not the same as dry skin. All skin types can be dehydrated, you can find out more here. Tackle this one early as it can work quite quickly in comparison to other products and issues and will help your skin handle anything else that’s thrown at it. It will help to have a good moisture barrier.
You will also probably benefit from exfoliating once or twice a week, to gently remove dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants, as along as you are not sensitive to them, tend to be the gentlest, so look for AHAs and BHAs – acids such as glycolic, lactic, mandelic and salicylic. Here is a guide to acids. You might choose to use a physical scrub, but the jury is out on this one as many experts are not fans of these. They can cause micro-tears on your skin, so go easy with them and avoid harsh scrubs. Be cautious to avoid over-exfoliation, whatever method you choose.
Antioxidants can protect your skin from free radicals and the things it has coming at it daily. Products such as vitamin C, Niacinamide, vitamin E and green tea can all help to protect your skin from these. Look for serums to add in each morning.
The more mature amongst us will probably want to add in a retinol of an evening at some point. Do this, but build it in slowly and carefully. There is loads of advice about how to use retinols, the best ones, what to do and not do do out there, so I will just mention it here and leave you to it. Suffice to say though, it’ s one of the few scientifically proven anti-ageing products.
Think about your morning products as protecting the skin and your evening products should be about being repairing the skin. This will help you to work out what to use and when, and use this guide to routines. Do take care to build it up and make yourself aware of those products that can work well together and those that should not mix.
There are then clay masks, serums, peptides, sheet masks, facial oils, mists, toners, oh, the list goes on! Just start with a cleansing and moisturising routine, with sunscreen in the morning, if you are completely new to this and want to start to get into some good habits. You can move on from there.
When you start looking around, don’t overlook Korean skincare ethos and products. Yes, it’s all the rage and on trend right now, but there’s a good reason for that. So many wonderful products are available and often at cheaper prices than high end UK or US products. Check them out.
You will then find that you can find out what your skin likes, what it needs, and add in other products slowly from there, if you feel the need to.
If this has got you wondering what you might be able to do differently, I would recommend both of these books for more information. I have them both and have read them from cover to cover, and then dipped back in to look into various topics.
This one, Skincare by Caroline Hirons is a great guide as it takes you through every step to help you understand your skin and how to put a routine together.
Skincare is the go-to book for people of all ages and skin types who want to feel and look fantastic. It explains the facts, the myths and the best way to get good skin – on any budget. With everything from Caroline’s signature cheat sheets, simple tips and tricks to glow (inside and out!) understanding ingredients lists, and advice on how to choose the products that are right for you, this is the ultimate guide to healthier, brighter skin.
The Korean Skincare Bible takes you through its origins, step by step routines and products, with plenty of tips throughout.
This is the ultimate no-nonsense manual to daily Korean beauty care; in it you will find step-by-step morning and evening skincare routines, the best product advice and actionable tips on how to take care of your complexion.
In this handbook, the experts in Korean cosmetics will also teach you how to use everyday beauty products, describe the natural ingredients that will best suit your skin type and give you advice on tried-and-tested Korean skincare regimes to make your skin glow.
People I Love to Follow
There are so many great skincare people out there to follow and learn from! I’ll suggest a few below, and link to their YouTube channels for you, and no doubt you will then make your own discoveries along the way.
That’s more than enough to begin with!
The biggest things to remember
Not everyone’s skin is the same, will react the same, needs the same things. It can be easy to see everyone raving about a certain product and you get it and then…nothing. Or even worse, your skin just hates it! Over time, you will work out what your skin likes.
Not all products from all brands will work for you. You might love a Clarins cleanser, but the eye cream might do nothing for you. Experiment and pick and choose from different brands and ranges.
Consistency is key with skin care. Whilst there may be some products that can give an instant ‘glow’, most are long term. You need to stick with your routine for 2, 3, 6 months to see any gains in some areas. I am hoping to see changes in a few months time.
Has this long ramble been of use to some of you, one of you? I’ve enjoyed getting it out of my head so if it helps just one person, I am happy!
Off to commence my skincare routine now…
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