Are you getting the most out of your skincare routine? If you’re anything like the vast majority of people, the answer to this question is probably no.
With so many goods to choose from and so many different skin types to try and identify, it can be a tough, expensive and lengthy process of trial and error figuring out which skincare routine really works for you; but unless you know what you’re doing you may actually be making any problems you have worse and wasting a whole lot of money.
But don’t fret! TJK is here to save the day. Read on to find out how to establish what your skin type is, find a routine that works for you and how to target common problems seen by dermatologists on a daily basis with natural products.
What is your skin type?
First thing’s first when creating your dream skincare routine – what are we working with? Just as with hair products, if you’re using anything that isn’t suited to your specific needs, then you’re just not going to get the results you’re after: end of.
But how do you know what your skin-type really is? There is a very simple test you can do from the comfort of your own home, armed with a mild cleanser and some blotting paper (or even a post-it note!) to determine which category you fall into, just follow these easy steps:
1. As soon as you wake up in the morning, head for the bathroom and wash your face with your mild cleanser.
2. Pat your skin dry on a clean towel and just this once, forgo the toning and moisturising steps.
3. Wait an hour – check your emails, have a cup of tea, read our blog! Just leave enough time for your newly washed skin to develop it’s natural oils again. Take note of any areas of tightness, how soon this subsides (if at all) and where oil first starts appearing.
4. Once the hour is up and your skin has normalised, take your blotting papers and press onto your forehead, cheeks, chin and nose for 30 seconds (using a new piece each time) and take a look at the results…
If all of the papers show traces of oil, then you have oily skin which is usually characterised by enlarged pores, shiny appearance and can be prone to acne. Whilst, unfortunately, this skin type can be problematic you are also one of the lucky ones who will stay wrinkle-free for longer!
Thorough cleansing is a vital step for the oily skincare routine, but using harsh products which strip the oil away can actually make matters worse by encouraging your body to over-compensate and produce MORE oil. Get yourself a mild but effective cleanser (RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Creamis a really nice one) and if you’ve got the cash, invest in a Pure Konjac Puff Sponge for a really deep clean a couple of times a week. Follow with a clarifying toner such as Nourish Radiance Refreshing Toning Mist to help minimise your pores and the moisturise with something quite light to help your skin re-balance.
You may find that adding a nightly face mask to your skincare routine will also help to normalize your skin, so give that a shot and if you have any acne scarring, Rosehip oil works absolute wonders for getting ride of those whilst giving your skin a healthy glow (don’t worry, it’s a dry oil so it won’t make you greasy). Oily skin and acne is often the the symptom of a hormonal imbalance which really needs to be treated internally rather than externally – consider paying a visit to a recommended Chinese Herbalist for professional advice and treatment.
If no oil is present, you have dry skin (for very dry, sensitive skin you may even seen some skin flakes). For this skincare routine, moisturisation on all steps is key to happy, healthy skin – but don’t over do it on the actual moisturiser itself as if you do all the hard work with products then your skin will think it doesn’t need to produce oil, leaving you with drier skin than when you started!
Dry skin is often very sensitive, so try to go for a cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol and doesn’t strip the skin. You may want to try using a cream cleanser such as the Jane Scrivner Balance Nourishing Cleanser to help replenish your skin’s elasticity. You may already have quite tight pores, so toning isn’t as necessary for you and in fact if your toner contains alcohol – bin it, now! You’d be better off just using a splash of cold water.
Moisturising is a crucial step of course, but many people with very dry skin find that creams don’t work that well and they need to re-apply often. Try a facial serum to quench your skin’s thirst on a cellular level and make sure you a have a good, rich eye cream too to keep those wrinkles at bay!
If your nose and forehead papers show oil but the cheeks and chin come up clean, you have combination skin. This skin type can be bumpy in areas and prone to blackheads as well as the odd cystic breakout, but it’s also not too far off the ‘normal’ zone so it can be easily dealt with!
Start your skincare routine by cleansing with a gentle face wash – many people with combination skin prefer gel washes to foaming or cream cleansers. Follow with a finely ground exfoliating, focusing on the forehead and nose to help eliminate blackheads without irritating your delicate cheek area. You can get wonderful, natural powders which are designed to be mixed at home to create a paste for gentle exfoliation – this sort of thing is generally much better than your average exfoliators as they are much less coarse and harsh on the skin.
To finish your skincare routine, tone, preferably with an alcohol free toner to close the pores and finish with a ‘normal’ moisturiser – nothing too heavy as we don’t want to clog your pores.
If you have faint to no oil showing and your skin feels relatively comfortable, you have normal skin. For the few lucky ones who have managed to stay balanced enough to keep their skin in check, your skincare routine really doesn’t need that much working on. Of course, go for ‘normal’ products that don’t strip or over-compensate and just keep doing what you’re doing! It’s obviously working.