Where to begin? What’s the most important cosmetic? What’s a good daily routine? Well I guess it all depends on what it is you want to achieve. I have my opinions, but they may not be yours.
Anyone’s attitude to and use of makeup will of course depend on their personal preferences:
- Do you want to look polished and put-together for work?
- Do you apply a full face of makeup every day?
- Do you want to look fresh and healthy and only need a little help?
- Do you want to look fabulous for a special event such as a wedding or prom?
- Are you a teenager, a new mom, a workaholic, a grandmother?
All of the above require different needs and different answers.
My first priority is always skin prep. If the canvas is good, the finished product will be better. So how do we achieve that?
You have to determine the condition of your skin and then treat it well. That part is very important. Treat your skin well! It is your body’s largest organ, it protects you and presents you to the world, it’s your wrapping!. You’ll have it your whole life, treat it accordingly! Advice to women of every age, especially the 20-somethings: take care of your neck and hands. I wish someone had told me that.
Is your skin dry? Dehydrated on the surface only? Oily, or oily in only a couple of areas? Do you have severe or mild acne? Is it super sensitive and prone to redness, or rosacea? Be honest about your needs without judging yourself for it, and then go from there.
Most makeup artists and skin specialists would agree that there are basic steps to achieving the best skin possible. These are Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise. I would add three more: Exfoliate, Treat and Protect.
Let’s call this Six Basic Steps to Our Best Skin.
There are products out there that do these things for us, some even do two things at the same time. I’ll try not to go on and on about product, because when I get started there’s no stopping me! I will get to my faves/ least faces in other posts. For now I’ll start with a general overview:
In addition to removing makeup, washing your face removes excess buildup that can occur throughout the day like pollutants, oils, and debris. To wash your face effectively use lukewarm water to open pores. Water that is too hot or too cold can irritate the skin. Then apply cleanser in a circular motion. Your choice of cleanser will depend on your skin type. I like creams for drier skins and gels for oilier ones.
Toners rebalance your skin after cleansing. Some toners will help the absorption of other products onto the skin. A toner’s function is to complete the cleansing of your skin removing the dust, pollution, and impurities that can still be lingering after washing with a cleanser. Getting off all the last bits of dirt with a (damp) cotton pad soaked in toner makes me feel like my skin is really clean. There are hydrating toners and more astringent types, again depending on what it is your skin needs most.
For a radiant, healthy glow, moisturising needs to be an essential part of your skincare routine. There are water-based moisturisers, oil-based, products with SPF (sun protection factor) and salicylic acid. So many! Choose one that fits your needs and budget and it will be invaluable. The one thing I will recommend here, for everyone, is pure hyaluronic acid. It’s my No. 1 for adding moisture (i.e. water) to the skin. Applied to a damp face it will plump and smooth the skin. I use it under my regular moisturiser and it gets my skin through winter and summer alike. It’s available at most health food and natural product stores.
To exfoliate: to “wash or rub (a part of the body) with a granular substance to remove dead cells from the surface of the skin.” Pretty self-explanatory that! Some skins can only tolerate a weekly treatment, others are better with every day.
There are extra boosters that can be added to your personal routine depending on what it is that ails you. Products that fight the aging process, acne, rosacea, and more are in abundance. Target your needs and desires and you are bound to find something to help.
The final step is protection from sun damage. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen and while you’re at it apply some sunscreen. Not forgetting your hands and décolletage. Do not forget this! Unless you like the look of a sun damaged chest. Think Donatella Versace. It’s just not good. the sun is good for us in small doses, not large ones. Nothing will age you faster.
These six steps for great skin may seem like a lot of work, and they are. I get irritated sometimes going through all these steps morning and night when time is of the essence (and, truth be told, don’t always manage all of them all of the time) but if you conscientiously work hard to perfect your canvas, you will be rewarded, whether you apply very little make-up to it or a lot.