The age-old debate of what came first, the chicken or the egg, seems an easy concept to tackle compared to what comes first in your skincare routine - cleanse or exfoliate? Well ladies and gents, we are going to put this debate to rest and take you through our ultimate guide to skincare, which order you should apply each product in and why.
1. Double Cleanse
Contrary to popular opinion, cleansing should come first. Here is why. For those who wear makeup, this step removes your face of the day along with any grime and dirt from your pores. This is also why you should double cleanse (cleanse more than once), firstly to remove any makeup or skincare products used during the day that are sat on the surface of the skin, and secondly to remove the impurities underneath. If you simply went straight in exfoliating and removing dead skin cells, you would be taking all the makeup, dirt and grime into the next layer of skin and deeper into your pores.
So once you have cleaned your skin with a double cleanse, next comes the exfoliator. Not everyone is a fan of exfoliating and more recently in the beauty world we’ve seen an uprising of experts formally going against abrasive exfoliators. We too can agree with this statement - many harsh exfoliants can leave your skin with micro-abrasions and lesions. For a less harsh dead-skin removal technique why not try a chemical peeling exfoliator.
Toners have also been given a bad rep for being too harsh on your skin, causing irritation and dryness. However there are toners out there that work in harmony with your skin to reviatmise with vitamins and help heal open pores, rather than shrink them shut. A toner was originally used to counteract the harsh Ph stripping soaps used many years ago before we double cleansed (what horror!), but now there are plenty of professional and scientifically tested toners to choose from.
Serums are dense with nutrients and antioxidants and choosing the correct serums for your skin concerns can make your life a whole lot easier than piling on different acids and vitamins without knowing if you even need them. This is the one part of skincare that can go horribly wrong and leave you with more problems than you started with. Do your research!
At this stage your skin can benefit from spot creams and eye creams as treatment products. These are used for specific areas of your skin that you want to address, like an anti-ageing treatment cream for crow's feet around your eyes, or an anti-inflammatory gel for acne prone areas.
6. Moisturiser (and SPF if during the day)
Everyone’s favourite step of any skincare routine tends to be applying moisturiser, it’s simple and works every time to reduce dryness and smooth your complexion. Used in conjunction with serums and treatments it can lock in moisture and help hydrate the skin after acid based serums and vitamins that can sometimes dry out your skin. It’s also important to apply SPF at this stage too, even if you don’t live in a sunny part of the world or spend most of your day indoors, it’s still important to protect your skin from damage that you can’t see beneath the surface of your skin.
7. Face oils (night-time only)
You either love them, or you hate them! Depending on your skin type, you many even think if you have excessively oily skin it would seem counterproductive to add yet another greasy layer. But you would be wrong to snap judgment so quickly - because some oils are good (like the ones that come in bottles) and some are not so good (that delightful combination of excessive sweat and dead skin build up that turns into a pulp). You just need to treat them as completely different things. Face oils can bring back plumpness and revive dull looking skin, giving you a healthy glow without the clogging of pores.
• You don’t have to use every step, everyday. You know your skin better than anyone - if you feel you don’t need it, don’t use it.
• Do your research into your skin type and skin concerns, use this as a basepoint of which products to look for when shopping for skincare.
• Don't skip SPF!
• In between applications of each product wait at least 1 minute for the product to soak in or until your skin is dry to the touch.