Skincare is a complex business. There are so many terms and ingredients—Hydrating! Clarifying! Brightening! Anti-ageing! It all boils down to one thing: everyone wants to feel beautiful in their own skin. That, and the fact that although our lives are busier than ever, nobody wants to look it.
You’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard of the ten-step Korean skincare regime. But today, as minimalism takes centre stage (hello, Marie Kondo), more people are decluttering their top shelves (and subsequently, their complexions) of product.
What this means for those uninitiated in skincare is that building a routine just got a whole lot less intimidating. So if you’re looking for a starting point for taking care of your skin, congratulations! You’ve totally found it.
Acknowledge that skin care is important.
In the words of Michelle Lee, Editor in Chief of Allure and skincare ace: “When I’m patting in my serum at night, I’m not desperately seeking ‘perfect’ skin. I’m happily working toward better. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Caring for its health and appearance is not a worthless pursuit.”
At the end of the day, an interest in skincare isn’t limited to anyone who wants to look prettier or younger—it’s for everyone who has skin. That is, everyone.
Purpose: to wash away dirt and impurities.
This is doubly important if you wear makeup. You want to find something that will do a thorough job of cleansing while also not stripping your face and giving you that dry, tight feeling.
Purpose: to prep and nourish the skin before the next step.
“Think of toner as prep for your pores,” says Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam, foremost K-beauty retailer in the U.S.
After cleansing, the use of a toner helps to remove excess oil and dirt and balances the pH of the face. More importantly, it also helps the absorption and efficacy of ingredients to follow.
Purpose: to deliver a higher concentration of beneficial ingredients.
Start with pinpointing a skincare concern of yours and go from there. Serums generally include active ingredients—for example, Vitamin C for brightening, or hyaluronic acid for hydration—in the form of smaller molecules so as to better penetrate the skin. (Skincare is science, people!)
Purpose: to hydrate the skin and seal in moisture.
Lock in all the goodness from your serum with a good moisturizer. The key here is to find something that is moisturizing enough without being too heavy.
Purpose: to protect the skin from super-damaging UV rays.
Say it with me now: the sun is not your friend. Dark spots, wrinkles, or even skin cancer: SPF is your first line of defence. Look for products that have at least 30 SPF and don’t forget to reapply!
Purpose: to protect the sensitive eye area.
Did you know that the skin around your eyes is super delicate, ages more quickly, and needs more hydration than the rest of your face? All the more reason to take extra care—crow’s feet and dark circles, see you never.
In the end, “It's not about having more products than you can count, but rather about having the right products that do the right things, and using them in the right order,” says Cho.
Like all pursuits, one must start with the basics. Once you’ve mastered the art of the skincare routine and as you grow more acquainted with your own skin, you can start playing around with different products. A glowing complexion has never been more simple.
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