It’s easy to get overwhelmed when adding to your skincare line up.
After all, we’re spoilt for choice; from the overflowing toiletries aisles in Woolies and Priceline to the far more salubrious settings of the DJ and Myer beauty halls; and for the true beauty addict the motherships of Sephora and Mecca. So where to start and with this product and information overload, what do we need to have in our skincare arsenal, what can we quite frankly do without when on a budget – because let’s be honest most of us are – where do we prioritise our spend?
I appreciate that some of you reading this may be more simple creatures, and not want all of the below bells and whistles in your routine and fair play to you I say; if it’s working for you don’t mess with it. You might be even under 30 and therefore not needing the extra oomph of a serum just yet but trust me my friend, it’s never too early to start combatting the damage that Mother Nature and city living throws our way with pollution, sun damage and free radicals wreaking havoc.
Let’s start at the beginning and work our way through:
AM Cleanse: the main point of cleansing in the morning is to prep your skin for the day so think, light, simple and nothing foaming. Think milk, balm, or a gel. You don’t want to strip your skin, it’s certainly not meant to be ‘squeaky clean’ - and only bad things can come from going down that track - and please don’t do this part of your routine in the shower. Just think of the surfactants in your shampoo running over your face. No thanks! You can find cleansers that will do the job nicely from $15 to $50 and more, so there will be something to suit every budget and it’s certainly not a step that needs to break the bank.
PM Cleanse: the main point of your evening routine is to help your skin help itself. Repair and correct, that’s your mantra. It’s been bombarded with aggressors all day and most likely covered in SPF and make up – both of which are designed to stay on your face – so you need to take the time to take them off and do a double cleanse; once to remove the make up, SPF and dirt that you’ve gathered on your travels and a second more nourishing cleanse to finish the job . Yes, you can use the same cleanser as you do in the night time if money is an issue, just go in twice and with a face cloth to make sure that you’ve removed everything properly. In an ideal world and if money isn’t your main concern, have a few cleansers on rotation. For example a good eye make up remover or pre cleanse oil, a good balm cleanser (they come in different price points from the Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter to the iconic Clinique Take the Day Off and Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm) and a milk cleanser.
To my mind, the most effective way to exfoliate the skin without the use of ‘scrubby’ beads and grains. The best ones are more expensive, and if you’re on the more mature side you’ll probably need them, but there are cheaper and less active versions that you can incorporate into your routine and which will do the job nicely. Think First Aid Radiance Pads and Ren’s Clarifying Toning Lotion on the cheaper/lighter side and Pixi Glow Tonic and the Peter Thomas Roth and Kate Somerville ranges at a higher price point and with more wallop.
This is where you treat for specific concerns (pigmentation, dehydration, overnight retinol treatments and the like) and where you will typically spend the most in your routine. They use high performing ingredients that aren’t always cheap; you’ll expect a bang for your buck with these products and will need to pay for it.
These again come at all price points but as with serums, the higher the content of active ingredients, the pricier the product, and given that we typically see the first signs of aging around the eyes, it’s definitely an area to invest in in my humble opinion. We’re looking here to minimise fine lines and wrinkles, brighten dark circles and rejuvenate the delicate eye area.
One of my favourite steps and one that you want to get right pre make up as it ensures that everything that follows looks smooth, plump and beautifully hydrated. Think hydration and protection. In terms of price point, yes you can get basic products off the super market shelves but again, you get what you pay for, and to my mind I like to use one that has a few more active, preventative ingredients to protect my skin every step of the way. Yes we’re a little biased but take a look at Abundant’s Daily Face Cream; it’s beautiful, easily absorbed and instantly smooths giving a lovely base for the next steps to follow.
You can get highly effective face sunscreens at every price point but a simple one from a French pharmacy brand (La Roche – Posay’s Anthelios XL perhaps) will always do the trick very well and allow you to save your dollars for where you need them.
They’re everywhere and can be cheap and cheerful through to the likes of Charlotte Tilbury’s Goddess Skin Clay Mask which is beautiful but on the more expensive side. Masks aren’t a must or a daily requirement but are always nice to throw on at the weekend to have a mini pamper session at home.
These are more a luxury and fall into the nice to have column rather than the must have. Many are beautifully light and fragrant and provide a spot of hydration or an uplifting pick me up mid afternoon at your desk but you really can get by without them.
What do you think? Where do you spend the most in your skincare routine?