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The skincare ingredient wardrobe everyone should know for the best skin of their life

Skincare, streamlined.

I love the idea of curating a 10-step skincare regime and I actually followed Miranda Kerr's laborious routine with great success (goodbye, acne) but as lockdown lifts and normal life resumes, time is of the essence.

After a stressful day in the office, one-too-many cocktails with friends resulting in both a "social hangover" and an actual handover, our lockdown lives and all the extra moments spent at-home seem a distant memory.

As a result, our skincare routines need to adapt. Not only do they have to undo all the additional stress and exposure to pollution, but they also need to fit into our new busy schedules. Gone are the days of misting, masking, toning and serum-ing. We need quick results and minimal hassle.

That's where the skincare 'ingredient wardrobe' comes in. Coined by Bobbi Brown Senior Pro Aritst, Warren Dowdall, it's a super simple 5-step process that will give your skin all the TLC it needs in a few short steps.

“Creating a great skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated," says Warren. "A few essential steps are all you need: a gentle cleanser, an exfoliant, a serum, an eye treatment, and a moisturiser. It’s also a good idea to have a facial oil on hand for the times your skin needs some extra TLC."

The exact products you plump for completely depend on your preferences and skin type but Warren has a few insider tips that will help you select the perfect ingredients for you.

Warren says that no matter what our age or skin type, one key aim of a skincare routine is to protect the skin from free radicals - unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage, which can result in damage to the skin’s DNA and accelerate skin’s ageing process. "This process is called oxidisation so to help fight this, we should reach for products that are rich in protective and reparative antioxidants like Vitamins A (Retinoids), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), and Vitamin B (Panthenol), as well as Niacinamide)."

As well as the aforementioned vitamins, Warren suggests looking for products packed with humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which he says are wonderful for all skin types especially if the skin has become dehydrated. "Always apply your hyaluronic acid serum or essence to slightly damp skin to maximise the benefits," he suggests.

For drier skin, Warren advises looking for barrier restoring ceramides and plant oils to help smooth dryness and plump the skin. For oilier skin, look for oil-free water based formulas that hydrate without being heavy. Prone to breakouts? Salicylic Acid is a fantastic ingredient to look for if you have break-out prone skin or blocked pores.

So now you know which ingredients are best for your skin, how on earth do you apply them properly? There is, in fact, a method, which Warren dubs 'the rule of thumb'.

“The rule of thumb is lightest texture to heaviest texture," he explains. "This allows the lighter, water-based formulas to be absorbed into the skin quickly to maximise the benefits.

"After cleansing, apply your exfoliant, apply your essence or toner, then follow with your serum, eye cream and moisturiser. If I’m using a face oil, I’ll apply it last as a seal to the other formulas. Applying it first can hinder other products from working as effectively.”

And Warren says the old adage 'size does matter' rings true when it comes to your skincare application.

“With skincare we often think that a little is great so a lot must be amazing! This isn’t the case and not only is using too much of a product bad for your wallet but it can also potentially cause irritation and oversaturate your skin."

So how much should we be applying?

For your cleanser, aim for a about a 5 (R1) pence amount.

For active products like serum, a pea size is more than enough as these are usually quite concentrated products.

You should be using moisturiser on your face and neck so about a 20 (R2) pence size is more than enough.

For eye cream, a rice grain sized amount is perfect for both eyes.

The only product you cannot use enough of is SPF - apply about a 50 pence (R5) sized amount daily for all over protection and long term skincare benefits.

Skincare ingredient wardrobe, sorted.

Written by Bianca London.

This article originally appeared on Glamour UK.

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