Breaking bad habits can be hard, but building a new routine can be difficult too. Creating yourself a thought-out regime needn’t be overly complex, yet will pay dividends in nourished, healthy skin. We steer you through the essential step-by-step processes and recommend some of our favourite toxic-free products to create that natural, healthy glow.
Step One: Cleanse
Taking make-up off before bed, and cleansing skin at the start of the day is your first essential step. A good cleanser will dissolve dirt and make-up, let your pores breathe, and set skin up for moisture.
We recommend an oil or cream-based cleansers to help lift off make-up and grime, while being kind on the skin. Alexandra Soveral’s cleansing milk is vegan and uses lavender and aloe to keep skin clean and comfortable.
Top tip: Try and keep your cleansing at the sink, rather than in the shower. Shower temperature water is often too hot and can strip skin of its natural oils.
Step Two: Exfoliate
Exfoliators remove dead skin cells, allowing products to penetrate better and brightening skin. These products can be physical, like oatmeal scrubs, or chemical, employing alpha-hydroxy acid-based products. Use a few times a week for best results, every day can be too harsh for most people.
Top tip: Steer clear of anything using microbeads – these tiny plastic particles are terrible for the environment and there are plenty of effective natural alternatives. We like AEOS’ multi-award winning Gentle Exfoliant – it features biodynamic spelt oil for antioxidant and regenerative properties that leaves skin smooth and soft.
Step Three: Tone
A step many of us miss, toning helps rebalance your skin’s pH levels and remove the last vestiges of dust and impurities from your skin – including the oily film often left behind by a cleanser.
Toners are often designed to help treat specific problems, such as redness or acne, so it’s worth investigating the product to match your needs.
Top tip: Look out for alcohol-free toners. Alcohol-based products often offer a clean tightening effect, but can be hugely harmful to the skin, causing dryness and free-radical damage, hurting the skin’s long-term ability to heal naturally. The gentle plant-based formula of Kiehl’s Calendula Toner has high levels of herbal extracts that are perfect for calming down sore, tired skin.
Step Four: Nourish
After toning using a serum or oil packs a potent level of antioxidant and repairing ingredients into the skin, helping super-charge the hydrating effects of a moisturiser. We recommend Malin + Goetz’s formula. It uses sodium hyaluronate to draw moisture into the skin, yet is lightweight so won’t clog those pores.
Top tip: Give this step a few minutes to sink in for best effects. To save time, try brushing your teeth while you’re waiting, and by the time you’re done your skin will be well prepped for the next step.
Step Five: Moisturise
The range of moisturisers available now is astounding; a myriad of products all offering to turn back the clock and get skin looking plump and dewy.
For day, a moisturiser with SPF is essential. Sun exposure is one of the biggest contributors to skin damage and premature ageing, so look out for products that offer broad-spectrum, high-factor UVA and UVB protection, like Fountain of Youth’s Daily Protective SPF30.
For night, returning moisture back into your skin is key. The majority of skin repair and renewal is carried out by your body while you’re sleeping, so look out for products like AvantAge’s Restorative Night Cream that offer high levels of active ingredients.
Top tip: Don’t forget to extend your moisturising routine to your neck and décolletage. The skin in these areas is delicate and needs nourishment and protection too.