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How to structure a basic skin care routine using active ingredients
And if you have an interest in slowing down the ageing process and taming your stress-induced acne flare-ups, you may have found yourself losing hours indecisively putting items in and out of your cart.
If you’re still unable to pull the trigger out of utter confusion (what's priority? And what's worth splurging on?), we enlisted the help of Paula's Choice Senior Research and Education Manager, Desiree Stordahl, to advise us on how best to structure a basic active ingredient routine.
And don't worry, it doesn't require 50+ steps OR for you to re-mortgage your home...
Tip #1 Layering
Layering simply refers to the order that skin care products are applied. To ensure your products are working to maximum potential, there's one main guideline to stick to: "generally speaking, go in order of thinnest to thickest texture," says Desiree.
e.g. Cleanser, serum, moisturiser and oil
And remember that in a morning routine, you should "always make sure sunscreen is your last step".
Tip #2 The basic foundations
Below is a simple morning and night routine that should work for most 'normal' skin types and incorporates the basic essentials. This is great to use as a stand alone guide, or, depending on your particular skin care concerns, you can supplement for any other necessary products. But keep in mind that not all actives play nice together.
A BASIC MORNING ROUTINE
Step 1. Cleanser
bh recommends: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Step 2. Vitamin C
Desiree says this is "great for brightening skin and fading discolourations", recommending Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster.
Step 3. SPF
A BASIC EVENING ROUTINE
Step 1. Cleanser
bh recommends: Clearasil Daily Clear Oil-Free Daily Gel Wash
Step 2. Retinol (aka vitamin A)
Desiree says "this multi-tasking ingredient will ensure brighter, younger looking skin. Applying retinol once every few days, instead of daily, is ideal to reap the benefits." She recommends: Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment.
Step 3. Niacinamide
Desiree says this one can be used daily to help "diminish break outs and reduce pore size", recommending Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster.
Step 4. Night cream
Tip #3 Tailor your routine to your skin concerns
According to Desiree, the best thing you can do when structuring your skin care routine, is to hone in on your individual skin troubles.
Your concerns are going to be different to those of your mother, sister or best friend. So make sure you are always tailoring every step to YOU.
Once you've nailed the foundations of your routine, then you can start to look at levelling-up in terms of actives and treatment products.
If you're someone with acne-prone skin, Desiree says she's a huge fan of salicylic acid and azelaic acid "to keep break-outs at bay and speed up the healing".
After a shot of skin-plumping hydration? Hyaluronic acid is where it's at. Increased firmness and minimised wrinkles? Desiree points us in the direction of a robust mix of peptides.
But, we've all go to walk before we can run, so stick to the basics to start and then assess your skin's needs only once (and if) it needs something more...
Main image credit: @paulaschoiceau
What active ingredients are you currently using? If none, would you give this routine a try?