Confused about the difference between skincare fads and the real deal? We bring you up to speed with the latest beauty essentials for glowing skin.
Traditional face scrubs have had a bad rap lately. Those tiny plastic beads that a glowing skin are synonymous with the product have been washed down the drain and into the ocean, causing all sorts of damage to the environment. Added to that there’s also the school of thought that some are too abrasive for sensitive skin, which can cause the epidermis (the outer layer of cells which makes up the skin) to split. Thankfully there’s a slew of other scrubs out there that use one main ingredient – acid. It sounds harsh, but AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic, lactic, citrus and malic acid) are actually a very gentle way to exfoliate your skin. Depending on which AHA mask you use they will gently exfoliate dead skin cells on your face. Better yet – most of them can be applied before bed and will work their magic as you sleep. Some of these new exfoliators even come in facial pads, making the process even easier. Just take the pad out of the packet and rub it over your face. No scrubbing necessary!
- REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial, $76. A mix of glycolic and lactic acids from yeast, pineapple and passionfruit gently exfoliates and brightens skin tone. Apply at night on clean skin and bear in mind that a slight tingly sensation may be felt. Don’t worry though; that’s a good thing as it means it’s doing its job.
- GlamGlow Flashmud Brightening Treatment, $102. Formulated with multi-brightening complexes including willow bark and salicylic acid, this one will even your skin tone. It also offers a light exfoliation, which will not only get rid of dead skin but also improve your skin’s ability to absorb products afterwards.
- Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, $156. This is a more powerful version of their best-selling daily face peel as it has a higher concentration of alpha beta acids plus mandelic acid and willow bark extract. It also works to reduce pore size and target dark spots, generally improving skin tone and texture. Expect around 30 applications.
- Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys, $51. This natural product uses the most gentle member of the acid family – lactic acid – and mixes it with ultra-hydrating essential oils to remove dead skin and refine the skin’s texture. You’ll be done in under 60 seconds.
Multiply your masks
Can one mask deal to all your skincare issues? Probably not! That’s why we’re seeing a rise in a women applying multiple masks at one time. Sounds crazy, but there are some serious skin benefits to it. The thinking behind multiple face masks is that mixing the products will tailor them to your specific needs in targeted areas. So if you’ve got an oily T-zone, dry cheeks, slackening skin on your jowls, and a dehydrated forehead you can treat each area with a specific mask.
- Detoxifying: Chantecaille Detox Clay Mask, $125. With the use of kaolin – a black clay known for its detoxing qualities – this mask will purify your skin. Peppermint oil, rosemary and burdock root are antibacterial while rose, mimosa, jasmine and narcissus flower waxes are anti-inflammatories which work to heal tired, stressed skin.
- Brightening: Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask, $79. This creamy mask will leave you with a luminous complexion.
- Firming: Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment, $168. Long-term use will even out your skin tone and work to increase firmness and smooth lines and wrinkles.
- Hydrating: Origins Drink Up, $39. Algae extract and apricot kernel oil deliver a hit of hydration.
Strip back your cleanser
Cleansers used to be a one-stop shop to fit everyone. You put it on, froth it up and voilà. Now, the process is the same, but there is so much more variety. You no longer have to settle for a cleanser that promises to be all things to all skin types; you can choose one to tackle your personal skin concerns.
- For dry skin try: Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter, $49. Some dermatologists wouldn’t recommend a foaming cleanser for those with drier skin, but this one is the exception. It’s gentle, creamy and packed with hydrating shea butter, which helps to soften dry skin.
- For ageing skin try: Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser, $62. Formulated with a whole host of anti-ageing properties like alpha lipoic acid, this one will also brighten and smooth the skin.
- For normal/combination skin: Simple Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing Water, $12. Micellar water has been one of the great breakthroughs of the past year because it is known to draw out dirt and impurities from the skin. Its unique formula in this variety works to remove makeup while also unclogging pores.
- For oily skin: Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser, $19. This product is known for being gentle on skin, but it’s also great at removing excess surface oil, not to mention dirt and makeup. The great thing about this unscented offering is it won’t strip the skin of its natural oils.
- For sensitive skin: Kiehl’s Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser, $69. It’s lightweight, alcohol-free and packed full of skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile and tiger herb. The latter is added for its antibacterial and wound-healing properties.
- Take time to tone
As our skincare regimes have been extended over the years with the inclusion of a few other steps like serums and essences (see below for this one), others have fallen by the wayside. Toner seems to be in that camp. Generally it is used after a cleanser to restore the skin’s pH levels back to normal because typically these rise after cleansing. However, if you have normal skin or you don’t suffer from breakouts then this step can be left out and only used sporadically if needed. If you have dry, oily or sensitive skin you might want to keep it on hand.
- Dry skin: NARS Multi-action Hydrating Toner, $52. The alcohol-free formula instantly refreshes and works to refine the pores and give an even appearance. The non-drying formula is infused with ingredients like glycerine to keep skin supple, preventing moisture loss.
- Oily skin: Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Oil-Free Toner, $45. If you have oily skin, this is the toner for you because it will clean pores while calming and refreshing the skin. It also gives a matte finish.
- Sensitive skin: Simple Soothing Facial Toner, $12. Chamomile soothes while witch hazel works to tighten pores.
- Normal skin: You probably don’t need a toner so you can leave this step out if you like.
Give essences a try
Essences made a breakthrough last year, but some of you are still probably a bit confused about what they do – and whether you need them. The watery formula, which represents its own skincare category, was first created in Korea where a 12-step morning skincare regime is not unusual. So what exactly do they do? Basically, an essence looks like a toner but that’s where the similarities end. They’re not meant for cleaning your skin at all. Instead they have higher doses of active ingredients and work to deliver them deep into skin, balancing it after the cleansing process. It’s these active ingredients that accelerate your skin’s natural cell turnover rate, which helps to regenerate it and make it smoother and brighter.
Don’t be deceived by that watery consistency either; some are more concentrated than many serums and creams. Most have ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerine to hydrate the skin, and when they’re suspended in this watery formula they are able to penetrate the skin more deeply than heavier formulas.
So how do you use it? For best results press the products into your face with your hands and let it work its magic. It will feel hydrating and add moisture to the skin – which in turn will keep you looking younger for longer. If you’ve got oily skin or any issues with overproduction of sebum then this product is not your friend. It’s best for those with skin leaning toward the drier side. And because essences are absorbed so fast, you don’t have to lessen the amount of serums and moisturisers you use. In fact, when it comes to using an essence it’s a case of the more products, the merrier.
- Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Essence Treatment, $60. With a velvety liquid consistency this product delivers anti-ageing and hydrating ingredients to the skin.
- Estée Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion, $120. Penetrates deeply to replenish and rebalance the skin.
- Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence, $134. Eudermine is one of Shiseido’s oldest products and has been a hit in Japan for more than a century. This softening, subtly perfumed lotion works to hydrate and keep the skin’s moisture level consistent.
Even when you’ve nailed your skincare regime you still need to hydrate your skin further. Moisturisers are still the best way to do this. Here are our top three:
- Clinique Smart SPF15, $115. This custom repair moisturiser uses ‘smart’ technology to protect the skin against UV rays and to target lines, wrinkles, dullness and a loss of elasticity.
- Darphin Exquisâge Cream, $137. Formulated with skin strengthening probiotics the cream works to give elasticity.
- Lancôme Absolue Precious Cells Revitalizing Care Silky Cream, $345. This one won’t be out till February but we’re excited to see another offering in the Absolue range. The inclusion of rose in this cream works to reactivate the skin while leaving a silky texture.
From the editors of NEXT