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There is something for everyone, but if you have more than 2 serums what do you use first? And what about eye cream? And double cleansing and and and…
Before we go in:
You’re going to need to buy some flannels (face cloths)
All stages suitable for all skin types unless otherwise stated. Without further ado:
The main point of the morning routine is to prep your skin for the day.
Taking care of your skin in the morning is no different to having a shower before you put clean knickers on. You may think this is obvious, but I am contacted regularly by people who say ‘Do I really need to wash in the morning, if I washed last night?’.
Why wouldn’t you? Who doesn’t wash their face? No, I mean really? Don’t get me wrong, I am the first to say do not over cleanse your face and you could just rinse with warm water and a face cloth in a morning, but you still need to do something. Your skin doesn’t sleep and has been busy over night absorbing all of its creamings and giving them its full attention instead of having to fight pollution and daily dirt, we need to wash.
I don’t know about you, but I wake up with a lovely glow in the mornings – maybe you do too? It’s called sweat. Please wash your face.
Use a clean face cloth
Cleanse – Use a nice refreshing foaming wash cleanser, or like I said rinse your face and use a warm face cloth. Yes, you can use the same cleanser as you do in the night time. Use a wash with a gentle exfoliating acid such as salysilic acid. This kick starts your skin into work efficiently.
Lower your skin’s PH by rinsing with a cooler temperature water.
Avoid alcohol where possible.
Eye cream/gel – don’t apply your eye cream last. No matter how careful you apply your serums/moisturisers you will always get some in the eye area and then your eye cream won’t absorb where you want it to. Pointless.
Eye cream first. Everything else afterwards (and on top if you like and it’s not a contra-indication). Applying your eye cream last is like wearing knickers over your trousers.
Serum/Oils – this is what I am asked about the most. I use a mixture of oils and serums and application goes by texture.
Serums –Next, a couple of drops of facial oil (if you are using one!), topped off with your moisturiser.
Take a couple of drops of serum on the end of your fingertips, pat them quickly on to the fingertips of the other hand and then apply immediately. Spending 20 seconds ‘warming’ your serum in your hands by rubbing them together is a complete waste of time, money and product, unless your intention is to have fabulously soft palms.
There will always be exceptions, so if what you are doing works for you – don’t change it on my account.
Moisturiser – choose your moisturiser by your skin type, not condition. Your moisturiser is your coat/protection.
People tend to spend far too long choosing their moisturiser and far too little taking care of what goes on beforehand. For example, using a quick swipe of a wipe, slapping on a £150 face cream and then wondering why their skin isn’t great.
Remember nothing ‘mattifying’. Skin is not designed to be ‘matte’. You know – no signs of life? That’s matte. If you know you are excessively oily, just go for light hyaluronic acid serums and oil-free moisturisers. No need to force the issue. Leave that to your makeup.
Whatever moisturiser you are using that is right for your skin, whack it on now. And how much? Aim for around a 10p size – a quarter for US readers. Adjust according to your face obviously.. less is more. Your skin should feel comfortable. not ‘wet’.
Beauty myth: ‘Warm product in hands before use.’ A good formulation will be ready to go – warming a product in your hands will only put most of the product on your hands. Oil doesn’t need to be warmed to absorb. If you want to rub it in your hands and inhale it before you apply, your choice. I prefer to put it on my face and smell it while it gets to work on my face – not my hands. It’s another ‘habit’ that brands have got into the habit of putting on their packaging.
If your product is such that it needs to be ‘warmed’ I probably wouldn’t bother.
SPF – both chemical and physical – is a dominating ingredient and if you load a skin cream with it – that’s the benefit.
If you apply a moisturiser with SPF15 in the morning and sit out in the sun at lunchtime I guarantee you – you will not be covered enough. If you want to be in the sun, if you have to be in the sun, use SPF. A dedicated SPF.
And no, you cannot use an SPF instead of a moisturiser. That’s like going out all day with a raincoat on and only bra and knickers underneath. Unless that is your everyday outfit of choice, I suggest you wear actual clothes (moisturiser) underneath your raincoat (SPF).
The main point of your evening routine is to help your skin help itself. Repair and correct.
Beauty myth: ‘Your skin repairs itself at night’ is the biggest old wives’ tale out there about beauty.
It’s nonsense. And please don’t get me started on ‘your skin sleeps at night’. No, YOU sleep at night.
Your skin does not have an on/off switch like your heating. Your skin is repairing itself 24 hours a day – the reason you use treatments etc while you sleep is because you have the full attention of your skin.
Your face is not being bombarded with sunlight, dirt, aggressors etc so you get the treatments in while they actually have a better chance of them being effective.
‘Your skin repairs itself at night’ is like ‘closes your pores’. It doesn’t happen.
‘Do I need to double cleanse?’ is another commonly asked question about evenings.
The only time I don’t double cleanse is if I have been indoors all day and have applied neither SPF nor makeup. If you wear SPF you need to double cleanse. A lot of people who think they are allergic to SPF because it breaks them out are simply not taking the time to wash it off properly. (If you genuinely are allergic to SPF – I’m clearly not talking to you.)
SPF is designed to stay on your face. Take the time to remove it.
Makeup is designed to stay on your face. Take the time to remove it. Using the face cloth from the morning is fine.
I use the same cleanser as the morning, Squeaky Clean Cleanser. When your cleanser has exfoliating properties, it will get deeper than some creamy or milky cleansers.
But if you are wearing an SPF or heavy makeup you still need to go a couple of rounds with a face cloth. Do not be lazy, your skin will thank you.
Acid tone – as above
Eye cream – as above. I always recommend using a gel, not creams to avoid puffy eyes.
Treatments (serums) – my favourite step. This is where you can really go to town.
A good facial oil, a good anti-ageing treatment (like anything Vitamin A/C for example), whatever you need for your skin. And before you ask me what you need, really think about it. You know your skin and what it needs. Listen to it.
Whether or not you use a night time moisturiser is dependent on what treatment you use. If your treatment is IN your moisturiser, you’re done. If you are using a lovely night time oil you may not want/need anything else.
Personally, I am a fan of the ‘piling it on lightly’ approach. All this ‘cleanse and then just let your skin breath’ is daft. Your skin is always breathing, if it wasn’t you’d soon know about it.
Your skin will breath regardless of whether you put product on it or not – the alternative is suffocation. I love the soft as silk serum as a stand alone product, but I also love layering it with the plump me up gel moisturiser too. Just depends how my skin feels.
My PM routine is literally: pre-cleanse, cleanse, eye gel, oil/treatment (serum) and night cream (it can be the same as the day)
And don’t forget: put your face cloth in the wash and pick black, to help remove that pesky mascara xx