Suffering from tonnes of blackheads, bumps and imperfections on your face with no explanation? It could come down to the ingredients found in your daily skincare and beauty routine. Avoid the following ingredients next time you’re looking for a new beauty product – it could just be the trigger of bad skin!
Although it’s commonly used as an anti-ageing cream, Retin A can cause the skin to lose its elasticity and thin over time.
Mostly found in shampoos and conditioners, this cleansing agent could be detrimental to the skin on your face.
Although this one is too common to avoid, more skincare and beauty companies are eliminating this preservative in their products. Not only has it been proven to cause damage to the endocrine system, it can also break out the skin on a cellular level.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Not only is sodium lauryl sulfate bad for your skin, it can also cause damage to the immune system – eek!
Who knew that something so sweet could be so bad? Steer clear of fragrance if you suffer from extremely sensitive or dry skin, since it can cause breakouts and irritation.
Make sure you restrict shea butter to just the body, it can clog pores and disrupt the natural oils of your face.
Stay well away from mineral oils since they are actually made from petroleum. Who knew?
Image via iStock
Whether you’re laying out by the pool or travelling through Europe this summer, it’s important to make your skincare count. Swap a few of those heavy-duty winter creams and serums in favour of SPF, exfoliators and dry oils, which will protect you skin and keep it hydrated at the same time.
Red Earth Sheer Canvas Moisturising BB Cream, $28
Who wants to be applying layer after layer of thick foundation only to sweat it all off? Choose a BB cream since it’s lightweight, provides enough coverage for your pimples and blackheads, but also features SPF to protect your skin from the sun.
Avene Thermal Spring Water, $9.99
Give your face some instant hydration without even ruining your makeup. How? Thermal water is a fantastic way to keep your skin feeling hydrated without removing (then re-applying) your makeup throughout the day. Simply spritz it all over your face and neck, then pat dry with a tissue.
Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion, $12.95
If your skin is feeling dry and burnt after a day at the beach, make sure to use a fragrance-free moisturiser. It won’t cause your skin to breakout like others might and it will help to heal the burn before you know it!
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50, $29.95
Protect your skin from the suns harmful rays by re-applying SPF every few hours. If you’re extra worried about burning your face, make sure to use a BB cream with added SPF to prevent that awful white caste from showing up on your face.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Masque, $50
To avoid peeling and dry patches, treat your skin to a hydrating face mask at least 1-2 times per week. You can apply the masque for 20 minutes then wash-off, or leave it on overnight for a truly intensive moisturising treatment.
Image via RY
Regardless of your age and skin type, it’s important to get started in a solid evening routine in your early 20s.
This way, your skin will feel nourished, hydrated and will know what to expect every evening before bed. Follow our standard evening routine below, which will cater to all skin types.
Cleansing the skin after removing makeup is so important since it helps to remove that extra bit of residue on your face and neck. Depending on your skin type, you might use a lightweight cleanser and follow-up with an exfoliator for an extra treatment.
ModelCo Gel Cleanser Daily Gentle Cleanser, $15
This doesn’t need to be the case every single evening, but try to exfoliate your skin at least 2-3 times per-week. Avoid using formulas with micro beads since they can scratch the surface of the skin and cause unnecessary breakouts.
Coast To Coast Pore Refining Facial Exfoliant, $26.95
Rather than toning your entire face, concentrate on the nose, forehead and chin. These are the areas which require toner since pores can look quite enlarged after cleansing and exfoliating. Apply the toner onto a cotton pad, and gently press it over your face.
Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Facial Toner, $65
Use a lightweight eye cream every evening to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Rather than swiping the product across your delicate eye area, pat it gently into the skin with your ring finger.
Alpha-H Age Delay Eye and Lip Treatment Cream, $72
If you summer from particularly dry or dehydrated skin, a serum can dramatically help to balance out any dry patches. Apply just 2-3 drops over your face and neck, then pat into the skin with your fingers until dry.
Philosophy No Reason To Hide Multi-Imperfection Transforming Serum, $75
Once the serum has settled into the skin (this can take 3-5 minutes), apply a moisturiser to lock-in your skincare.
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate Moisturiser, $35
Image via The Liquor Store
In recent weeks we’ve covered essence, serums, but what exactly are ampoules?
These very similar skincare secrets are most popular in countries like Korea and Japan, and are used to repair the skin after stress or breakouts. Shop a few of our personal recommendations below, and share some of your own in the comments.
What are ampoules?
Ampoules are tiny containers filled with extremely concentrated amounts of botanical extracts, vitamins and even enzymes for skincare. Although they aren’t as common as serums and essence, they are used to gently penetrate the layer of skin after cleansing. Since ampoules are so concentrated, you only require a few drops all over the face and neck for best results.
Types of ampoules
Ampoules usually come in two different types: gel and liquid oil.
If you’re using a gel ampoule, pat it gently across your main areas of concern (cheeks, forehead, chin), and use in conjunction with a facial mask. It will absorb better into skin which has been freshly cleansed and moisturised.
Liquid or oil ampoules can be applied at any part of the day, and will give your skin an instant glow. They can be used as part of a nightly routine, or in lieu of a moisturiser or primer. The downside? They’re quite costly, but they will last for years.
How can I use ampoules?
Rather than using them on a daily basis, ampoules are sort of a quick-fix, especially if you’re having some kind of skin breakout or issue. Use a few drops of ampoules after a long and stressful week of work, if your skin is feeling particularly dry and flakey, or if you’re recovering from a large skin breakout.
A concentrated vitamin C serum which is ideal for those suffering from hyperpigmentation or other skin woes. Apply to freshly cleansed skin to instantly re-hydrate.
Ella Bache Radiance C Ampoules, $189
A nourishing formula which is ideal for skin suffering from dehydration, stress, and even breakouts. The formula is packed with 50% Propolis extract and 20% multi vitamins to nurse the skin back to good health.
LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule, $38
Image via Yur Topic
Since winter is just around the corner, it’s time to prep your skincare and devise a fool-proof plan which tackles your common skin concerns.
Invest in a few extra skincare products such as serums, cleansers, face masks, and at-home facials to give your skin the extra hydration it needs in winter.
Use: Face sheet
About once a week, use a hydrating face sheet which locks-in moisture and will make skin feel smooth and shiny in no-time. Generally, the best time to use a face sheet is right after cleansing but before bedtime, since the product can really penetrate your pores while you sleep.
Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask, $29.99
Use: A thicker moisturiser
Invest in a heavy duty moisturiser if you suffer from dehydrated skin or patches across your face. These places are most commonly the forehead and chin area which need some extra TLC, especially during the winter season. Apply a pea-sized amount of moisturiser to this area and remember to exfoliate on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to remove any dead skin cells.
Natio Evening Primrose Moisturising Face Lotion, $13.95
While serums are often misunderstood, especially amongst those who suffer from oily skin, they are nothing to be afraid of! The molecules found in serums are actually more concentrated than your typical moisturiser, and that’s why they’re more hydrating.
If you want to start using a serum, apply just 2-4 drops on your entire face and neck to really quench the skin. They help to add a lot of external moisture back into the skin, but should only be used once per day.
Grown Alchemist Facial Serum: Rosehip & Camellia Seed, $24.95
4. Remove dead skin cells
If your face is prone to the occasional break out, then it’s time to start using an exfoliator on a regular basis. Not only does it help to unblock pores, but it will actually remove the layers of dead skin from your face. You could try using a PMD (personal microderm), but a cream exfoliator works just as well without being too abrasive.
Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Exfoliant, $40
The secret to glowing, radiant skin is by consistently using a toner after cleansing morning and night. Not only does it help to control the amount of sebum your skin produces, but it actually brings the skin back down to a suitable pH level, which sometimes tap water can interfere with.
Antipodes Ananda Gentle Toner, $24.99
Recently, one of my friends asked if I noticed any difference after using an eye cream in my skincare routine: “Does it smooth out dry patches? Has it made your makeup glide on better, easier?”
Truth is, we won’t actually know if any of these products are actually working, all we can do is wait and see. Sticking to a solid skincare routine of cleansing, exfoliating, moisturising and applying a serum is the best way to fight premature ageing, but what are some of the best products to use in your early 20s?
The purpose of cleansing is to gently remove any makeup and other impurities from the surface of the skin. There is even a variety of cleansers (foam, liquid, powder, gel) which all work well to keep your skin looking fresh and radiant.
If you’re searching for a daily cleanser, look for something with mostly natural ingredients and with no strong fragrance. This is a deal-breaker for most women, especially those who are already suffering from sensitive skin.
Nuxe Lait Demaquillant Confort, $24.99
Think about the layers of dry skin and makeup that your face has to deal with on a daily basis – the idea is somewhat scary, right? Regular exfoliating helps to renew the skin cells and will actually help to fight against the build-up of acne spots and clogged pores.
This can get a little tricky for women suffering from dry or combination skin, since it can strip your face of all its natural sebum. Rather than using a scrub which can potentially damage your skins surface, use a warm flannel and hot water to carefully wipe away any impurities. Always follow any type of exfoliating regime with a solid moisturiser.
Jurlique Daily Exfoliating Cream, $60
Regardless of our skin type, it’s important that we all moisturise on a daily basis – even those who suffer from oily skin! If you’re heading out into the sun, make sure your moisturiser has an SPF of at least 20. Anything lower won’t give your skin the protection it needs and can lead to premature fine lines and wrinkles.
A pea-sized amount is enough to hydrate your entire face, but don’t forget to pay attention to your neck. With an open palm, swipe the products upwards into your jaw line. It will help against lines in the future.
Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturiser SPF15, $50
One of the most important (but neglected) parts of a solid skincare routine are serums. Serums are often misunderstood because, well, who wants to apply a think oil onto their face every morning and evening? The truth is, serums are actually more concentrated than moisturisers and when used properly, can dramatically change the appearance of dull, patchy skin.
If you are interested in using a serum for the first time, choose one which has rosehip oil. Not only will it leave your skin with a sweet fragrance, but it’s suitable for all skin types – even those suffering from extremely oily patches! Just two drops is all your need for your entire face and the correct way to apply it is to pat it gently over the forehead, cheeks, and neck.
Tarte Maracuja Oil, $47
When is the correct time to start using an eye cream? Answer: whenever you want. Eye creams are usually more concentrated than your average moisturiser, therefore, a little goes a long way. Even though you won’t see any drastic changes any time soon, they will help to smooth the appearance of dry skin and bring moisture to the delicate eye area.
It’s easy to get carried away and search for a formula designed for mature skin (we’re talking for women 50 plus), but honestly, this won’t prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As long as you’re using it consistently (and not abusing it), you will see results over the next few years.
Indeed Laboratories Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue, $34.99
Image via The Beauty Club
Ever thought why we need to use a toner on clean, dry skin? Toners work in a few different ways to keep acne in order, minimise pores, and even help to control the vapid pH levels on our skin.
Although they might take a while to work, they are an essential part of a balanced skincare routine – just as much as cleansing and moisturising!
How do they actually work?
Toners are made from super-fine formulas which look and feel like water (but there are also cream toners) and work best when applied to clean, dry skin. Firstly, they help to balance the pH level on skin to 5.5 which is ideal for clear, healthy skin. Sometimes using too many chemicals and even tap water can turn the pH level too acidic, and this in turn creates redness, irritation and even increased amount of pimples.
Does my skin need a toner?
Your skin doesn’t need a toner, but is it important to use one. Over the years, toners have been used after cleansing to remove any extra bit of makeup or residue from the skin. Apply a few drops onto a cotton pad, and gently swipe upwards to the forehead. Take special care when using around the mouth, hairline, and eyes since it is ultra sensitive.
Toners are also used to tighten the skin, and minimise the appearance of enlarged pores. Think of it this way; hot water has the ability to open pores and remove any excess dirt and bacteria, but toners close them up afterwards. Don’t let this scare you! They are really easy to use, and help to remove any excess build-up of bacteria which cleansers can miss.
Can toners over-dry my skin?
Most toners are made from natural, plant-based ingredients and help to tighten the appearance of pores. Your skin might feel a little tight afterwards, but this is just because the toner is working! Only apply a few drops over problem areas such as the t-zone – you don’t need to apply a toner all over patches of skin that don’t require are not problematic.
Despite this, there still are a number of toners which are packed with alcohol to tame oily skin. This is probably why toners are initially feared in the beauty community, because some can completely dry the skin out and create extra irritation. Use a fragrance and alcohol-free formula if you suffer from extra-dry or sensitive skin, just to be safe. Follow-up with a hydrating moisturiser to lock-in a soft, smooth texture which is perfect for any skin type.
How can I use a toner?
The best time to use a toner is after cleansing the skin. Make sure your makeup has been completely removed (even that pesky mascara), and dry your face with a towel. Apply a few drops of toner onto a cotton pad (or between your palms), and gently pat onto your problem areas. As a general rule, don’t apply any type of skincare product over inflamed or damaged skin, since it could only make the area more irritable. Follow up with a serum, eye cream, and finally a hydrating moisturiser on both your face and neck.
Shop from three of our all-time favourite toners below:
1. Aesop B & Tea Balancing Toner, $55
2. Puretopia Refresh & Balance Hydrating Soothing Mist & Toner, $14.99
3, Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner, $30
Image via iStock
Just imagine applying twelve different products on your skin every morning and evening – sounds a little excessive, doesn’t it?
This basically describes the 12 Step Korean Skincare Routine which brightens skin and creates a soft, supple visage that hardly ever breaks out.
We will take you step-by-step into this misunderstood skincare treatment, which can take up to one hour!
Step 1: Cleanse I
Remove your makeup with a mild cleansing solution (usually a gel), or a micellar cleansing water. Take care around your eyes, and don’t forget the neck!
Step 2: Cleanse II
Double-cleansing is also popular in the western world, so use an overall facial cleanser to remove any residue left by your moisturiser and makeup.
Step 3: Exfoliate
To allow your skin to take in the products better, use a gentle exfoliator. This will also help to eliminate dry and flaky skin from your face.
Step 4: Tone
Apply just a few drops of your favourite toner onto a cotton pad, and press over your nose, cheeks and forehead. This helps to remove dirt from the skin, and minimise pores.
Step 5: Essence
Usually a toner with added emulsion, this helps to keep skin looking soft and moist. Apply a few drops onto your hands, and press over the skin.
Step 6: Eye cream
Apply an eye cream around your eyes, and press lightly with your ring finger. Avoid tugging at the skin, since this will only tear the delicate area.
Step 7: Treatment I
Use a brightening treatment under your eyes to improve the texture of your skin, and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Step 8: Treatment II
Follow with a regenerating night serum which locks in moisture, and keeps skin looking hydrated and healthy.
Step 9: Moisturiser
Seal your previous skincare treatments by applying a light moisturiser all over your face and neck. Choose one with a hyaluronic ingredient to keep your skin super-soft.
Step 10: Mask
A sheet mask is a great way to give your entire face a deep-conditioning treatment. Relax, and leave the sheet on for 10-15 minutes. Once your time is up, apply any excess product onto your neck.
Step 11: Night moisturiser
Apply a night moisturiser all over your skin and wait for it to completely settle. This may take a few minutes.
Step 12: Sleeping pack
A sleeping pack is essentially a light cream which sets all the previous treatments, and keeps them from evaporating while you sleep.
Would you try the 12 Step Korean Skincare Treatment?
Image via ELLE