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    Dec 8, 2019

    Here Are Some Products To Try If You Want To Start A Skincare Routine But Aren't Sure How

    Perfect if you're just not sure where to begin.

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    Before we begin, let me just say that I'm not an expert (just someone who's really, really into skincare.) Not all products are suited to everybody, and you will def have to visit a specialist for more complex skin conditions like cystic acne, psoriasis, eczema, and more.

    Like everything else you apply to your skin, it's important to patch test products before you start using them directly on your face. Also, if you're completely new to a product (especially if it's got some powerful active ingredients), try to introduce it into your routine slowly, as using too much too soon can sometimes lead to bad reactions from your skin.

    1. Step one of skincare is cleansing. Taking off the makeup, pollution, and general dirt from your day is really important!

    Before you can apply any other products to your face, it's important to make sure that the base is clean. There are loads of products on the market that claim to do this for you, and lots of them offer all kinds of features (like fragrances, microbeads, and more). In reality though, a lot of these add-ons are actually harmful to your skin (fragrances can irritate, while plastic beads are bad for the environment AND your face as they can create tiny tears on your skin called microdermabrasions). Even though they sound a bit less exciting, a lot of really good cleansers are often quite plain-sounding – but this is good news for your skin! Cleansing is supposed to leave your skin clean and neutral before you apply other, more active products later.

    If you wear makeup, you should start your skincare routine by taking it off (I mean, you probably knew that already). This micellar water from Bioderma is very skin-friendly, but that doesn't stop it from being really effective too.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk, Amy Glover / Via BuzzFeed

    Okay, it's common knowledge that keeping your makeup on for too long isn't great for your skin, but there are still mistakes (like using products heavy on drying alcohols or fragrances) that can hurt your makeup removal. This micellar water from Bioderma is gentle, removes even waterproof makeup, and customers say it doesn't leave a greasy or dry feeling on their skin. Just pour a little on a cotton pad and apply it over your face and neck! (I used a tissue in the pics above because I didn't have rounds to hand, but you get the picture!)

    Price: £9.99.

    Or, if you like, you can try an oil cleanser to remove your makeup instead. It's great for most skin types, including sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and (even though it sounds counter-intuitive) oily skin. This one from Simple is really, well, simple!

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Cleansing oil works by dissolving your makeup in oils, allowing you to then wipe all your cosmetics and surface impurities away with the product. It won't dry your skin out (in fact, this product might even help to moisturise it). Don't let the word 'oil' lead you astray though, this stuff won't increase your sebum production and in fact is probably better for oily skin than harsher products that can irritate your face and thus provoke more oil production in response. Just rub a couple of pumps of this product over your face, massage until all your makeup has been loosened and absorbed by the cleaner, and rinse it off!

    Price: £7.69.

    This cleanser from Cetaphil is a great follow-up to makeup removal, or a fab first step if you spend the day barefaced.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Removing your makeup with micellar water or an oil cleanser is important if you wear it, but you'll need to cleanse again to really take the day off. I love this cleanser from Cetaphil! It's fragrance-free and non-comedogenic (meaning it won't block your pores). Suitable for sensitive skin, this cleanser will remove impurities from your face without stripping it of moisture.

    Price: £7.25.

    2. After that, you can tone. This step makes your skin look (and ideally feel) rejuvenated and smooth!

    Perfect for smoothing your skin out and preparing it for the serums that follow, toners can have a range of additional functions too, like exfoliating and hydrating. Again, there are lots of toners around that claim to do things like reduce your pore size, but be careful – some of these can be very drying, and might even cause inflammation. Steer clear of parabens and drying alcohols in your toners (like with all your other skincare)!

    This glow toner from Pixi is a cult product for a reason. It's lightweight and contains calming aloe vera and exfoliating glycolic toner.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Pixi glow tonic is a refreshing and lightweight toner, and it'll remove dead skin cells too via the chemically exfoliating glycolic acid. You apply it to your skin using cotton rounds and leave it to work its magic before applying serums or other active ingredients!

    Price: £20.

    Or, if you're after a hydrating toner, this rosewater-enriched one from Sukin will sort you out.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Containing no parabens or alcohols, this hydrating toner from Sukin is in an easy-to-use spray bottle! The formula contains soothing chamomile and rosewater, and it can help your skin look dewier and more moisturised as well.

    Price: £5.30.

    This witch hazel toner is anti-inflammatory and calming, and it's great for sensitive skin too!

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Containing soothing aloe vera, calming rose water, and antibacterial witch hazel, this toner is perfect for keeping your skin soothed and dewy.

    Price: £9.99.

    3. After toner, you might want to add a serum. These contain the active ingredients that really tackle specific areas in your skin, and there are different types available. It's the part of your routine you'll really want to customise to fit your own needs!

    Serums are often what confuse people most about skincare – there are loads of them out there, and it can be hard to work out which ones are actually best for your skin. If you haven't really got any skin problems beside the occasional spot, you probably won't need to use specific serums often. Even if you do have stuff you really want to target, you likely won't benefit from using too many of these, as overdoing some products (such as chemical exfoliants) can damage your skin even further. We've included some basics below!

    Some vitamin C will brighten and exfoliate your skin.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that helps to encourage your skin's rejuvenation. The ingredient is actually quite strong, so you'll only need a few drops of this serum to help you smoothen and brighten your skin! This bottle also contains hyaluronic acid, a serum that bonds with the moisture already in your skin to help it stay there for longer (more on that later).

    Price: £18.95.

    Struggle with blackheads? Salicylic acid is a really good chemical exfoliant that might just help you out.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Without trying to get too much into the science here, the structure of salicylic acid means that it absorbs really quickly and evenly into the skin. Once it's in there, it gets right into the stuff that holds your skin cells together, and basically de-plugs and deep-cleans your pores while it's there. Be careful, though – you can definitely over-use this product, so try to only use a little (especially to begin with!)

    Price: £16.99.

    Retinol is a strong chemical exfoliant with anti-ageing and smoothing properties.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Retinol is a type of vitamin A that chemically exfoliates your skin. That means it helps to remove dead skin cells and excess oil buildup, helping your skin to renew itself and giving it a fresher, plumper look! Just add a couple of drops to your routine once a week to start with, and ramp it up to two or three times weekly once you get more comfortable with the product! Again, you definitely don't want to overdo retinol, especially if you're new to the stuff (FYI, pregnant people are advised against using it at all, and it's generally not needed until later in your 20s).

    Price: £14.97.

    Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that can help to reduce the appearance of clogged and enlarged pores, uneven skin, and dry skin.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    One of the great things about niacinamide is that it mixes really well with other active ingredients (it helps to absorb moisturiser brilliantly). It works as a brightener, a smoothing agent, and an anti-ageing serum!

    Price: £7.99.

    Lactic acid may help with your skin texture, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation or dark spots.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    It's essentially a chemical peel, however your skin should absolutely not flake or peel when you're using it. Lactic acid is gentler than other chemical exfoliants, but it's really effective! It'll help to remove dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin in minutes, and it can help to fade hyperpigmentation over time.

    Price: £8.25.

    4. Moisturiser is really important for your skincare routine, even if you've got oily skin (I promise it won't make your skin produce more sebum, and a good one won't make you look shiny either).

    The biggest secret to great skin is hydration, hydration, hydration. Moisturised skin is more likely keep its skin barrier intact, meaning you won't become as affected by irritants and your sebum levels are actually more likely to remain at a healthy level for your skin. A great moisturiser will give you a dewy finish in the short term and hydrated, plumper skin in the long term. We've suggested some incredible products for each skin type below!

    HydroBoost Water Gel is actually a really effective moisturiser for all skin types (including oily skin). It's lightweight, packed with hyaluronic acid, and it's surprisingly inexpensive too!

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Hyaluronic acid (as we've mentioned before) is a real hydrating hero. It binds to the water molecules already in your skin to make it much, much harder for moisture to escape! This moisturiser comes in gel form, won't feel heavy or greasy on your skin, and is completely oil-free (perfect for folks with oily skin, which doesn't always take well to cream moisturisers).

    Price: £6.66.

    I love CeraVe's moisturising lotion for my dry skin! It's got a rich, cream formula that feels really indulgent.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    When used twice a day, this moisturiser can help to tackle dry skin via a formula rich in ceramides. Ceramides are lil' waxy molecules that form what's basically your skin's glue, and when they're all present and correct, moisture escapes and enters the skin in about the right quantities. With ceramide loss, though, skin can become dry (sometimes very dry). This moisturiser replenishes your levels, leaving your skin feeling smoother and more hydrated!

    Price: £6.75.

    Squalane oil is a lightweight formula that suits pretty much all skin types, and because it's a product our body naturally produces, it's absorbed really easily into the skin.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    This oil will sink into your skin in no time, because squalane is something our skin is used to (our bodies produce it naturally, though levels dip as we grow older). Because it's a substance your skin really understands, it penetrates deep into your skin layers, hydrating really thoroughly.

    Price: £12.99.

    5. The last step of your skincare routine should always be SPF. You need it for all weather (yes, even when it's cloudy), and all skin types can benefit from a good sunscreen.

    Okay, I know, I live in a cold, wet country too. It can be really hard to motivate yourself to apply sunscreen every day, but it's super important. UV rays can age, dry, and cause premature wrinkles on your skin.

    The Body Shop do an SPF 30 lotion that dries quickly and contains glow-enhancing vitamin C!

    Amaozn / Via amazon.co.uk

    This SPF will work on a variety of skin types, and it contains smoothing and brightening vitamin C too! Plus, its small size makes it handbag-friendly, perfect for top-ups.

    Price: £17.92.

    This SPF claims to protect you from UV rays for up to ten hours, and it has over 3,720 reviews with a 4.5-star average!

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    The perfect foolproof SPF, this one from Riemann is a classic for a reason. It's easy to apply, water-resistant, and won't give a greasy or chalky finish!

    Price: £9.55.

    6. And then there's all the other fun stuff, like weekly treatments, peels, facemasks and more!

    Not every product is going to be a part of your everyday routine, but that doesn't mean they don't have their uses. Peels, masks, and more can be an indulgent skincare experience that will help to compliment your everyday routine!

    This AHA and BHA peel from The Ordinary is a great weekly or twice-weekly treatment.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk, Amy Glover / Via BuzzFeed

    Containing powerful chemical exfoliants, this peel is perfect for a once a week (or possibly twice weekly) treatment. Just add a few drops to your face, wait about ten minutes (ideally no longer), and wash it off for a fresher, smoother face!

    Price: £8.79.

    A Sand & Sky Australian pink clay mask will remove impurities from your skin.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    It comes with a handy brush that you can use to apply the mask hassle-free! The naturally-occurring clay withdraws toxins and impurities form your pores, and it's suitable for pretty much all skin types.

    Price: £39.90.

    Hydrate your skin with this moisture bomb mask from Garnier.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Containing super-moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid and nourishing plant serums, these masks will leave your skin feeling hydrated and soft. Plus, they come in packs of five, which should last you a good while!

    Price: £9.75 for five.

    NIP + FAB's Dragon Blood Fix plumping mask does exactly what it says on the tin.

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    This intensely hydrating mask will brighten, plump, and smooth your skin in an easy-to-apply gel treatment. The formula contains sap from the Croton Lechleri tree, which helps to protect and maintain your skin barrier!

    Price: £7.48.

    Treat your eyes to some of these collagen eye masks!

    Amazon / Via amazon.co.uk

    Packed full of plant-based collagen, these eye masks are the perfect, slightly ~luxe~ way to de-puff and smooth! They come in packs of 12 sets, so there should be enough to last you weeks (or provide the perfect relaxing night in with your pals!)

    Price: £7.59 for 12 pairs.

    And there you have it! Go forth and begin your routine, folks!

    NBC / Via giphy.com