On the whole, beauty writing is not a controversial sport. But I’m going to let you in on something that might be considered a little against the grain, particularly in the beauty world: you really don’t need very much skincare to have good skin. Three or four products across your morning and evening routine is more than enough.
There are brands that would love for you to think you need extensive layers upon layers of skin care, each more complex and mysterious than the last. There are toners, essences and pre-serums. And then proper serums, lotions, creams and post-skincare mists. And while a lengthy, layered skincare routine - a trend which first took off in South Korea - has become increasingly popular, it is both completely unnecessary and costly.
My approach to skincare is skip-care; sticking only to the products I know will actually protect and future-proof my skin. Aside from actually washing your face in the morning, the consultant dermatologist Dr Malvina Cunningham, who often sees patients in her clinic who have used too much skincare and exacerbated skin concerns as a result, recommends using a vitamin C serum because ‘it is well-tolerated for most skin types, helps to stimulate collagen and is a good antioxidant for overall protection.’
I agree: I haven’t skipped a day of vitamin C in years and my skin looks better now than it did a decade ago. I particularly like the Allies Of Skin 20% Vitamin C Serum. Each bottle lasts for months, since you only need a couple of drops each morning.
On top, Cunningham and every single dermatologist I’ve ever interviewed prescribes daily sun protection. And yes, that means year-round - come rain or shine, since UV rays have a direct impact on skin ageing. The formulations in sun protection are far superior to five years ago, feeling much more like luxury day creams rather than gloopy lotions. The Anthelios Age Correct SPF50 by La Roche Posay is one of my favourites.
As for the evening, if you’re looking for skin rejuvenation, invest in a good retinoid (a derivative of vitamin A) serum to pop on after you’ve washed your face. The Skin&Me Daily Doser, which is a semi-bespoke serum you can order online for £20 a month, is an excellent remedy for general skin ageing concerns.
If you’d rather not use a retinoid, there are plenty of well-priced moisturisers. Look out for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which keep the skin barrier happy and healthy. ‘Set a simple skincare routine and stick to it for a few months,’ suggests Dr Cunningham. Like with most things in the wellness world, simple and consistent reigns supreme, and it couldn’t be truer for your skincare routine.