Today I just wanted to share some really simple tips that can improve the results you get from your skincare routine. Whilst some of this might not be super helpful for seasoned users, I hope it can be for the many people who feel like they bought the right products but they're not quite working for them...
Apply leave-on products to damp skin (except retinoids)
Applying products to damp skin (not sopping-wet - even a quick mist will do the trick) increases penetration. This means that if you want to get the most bang for your buck: apply your active skincare products whilst your skin is still a little damp after cleansing. Conversely, if you're using a strong retinoid, you might want to avoid increasing penetration, so these should be applied to dry skin. If you're using a humectant like hyaluronic acid, damp skin is really important because it's a water magnet, so that water will be drawn into the deeper layers of your skin, then you want to lock that hydration in with a nice, well-rounded moisturiser. If you're comfortable with your actives and want to give them a boost: definitely try the damp skin trick.
Apply oil-based cleansers to dry skin
I honestly thought most people knew this, but I still see those Harper's Bazaar Go to Bed With Me videos and these celebrities are wetting their skin before using an oil or balm cleanser. These sorts of cleansers are designed to be used to remove makeup and / or sunscreen (but can also be used as a moisturising morning option for dry or mature skin types). To make them easy to remove, they usually contain emulsifiers, meaning that on contact with water, they turn into a milk. By applying them to damp skin, you're instantly emulsifying them before they've had a chance to break down what's on your skin.
Do your routine as soon as you get home or finish work
This is honestly one of the best things you can do for your skin! We've all been there: you get in, you have stuff to sort, then you're making dinner, then you're cleaning up and washing up and before you know it: it's half 9 and you're fried. Actually, the closer you do your routine to bedtime, the more likely it is that a lot of it will end up on your pillowcase. I'm assuming you've bought these products to get the most benefit possible and you've dropped at least some cash on it, so there's no point in wasting anything. Doing your routine as soon as you're home or you've finished work means you're not so exhausted that it feels a total chore and also you've allowed your skincare some time to work before you hit the sheets.
Wait 15 minutes on either side of your sunscreen application
Sunscreen needs to be able to form a layer on the skin without mingling with anything else on your face, so you might be compromising your level of protection by not allowing it this time. It sounds faffy to work this into your routine, but it's just second nature for me; I'll do the rest of my skincare routine, do my hair then apply my sunscreen. Then I'll go and make a coffee or iron my clothes if I'm going out somewhere, and come back and do my makeup. Whatever works for you!
Don't wash away excess product, wipe it on the backs of your hands
Sometimes, due to dispensing too much product or even because of the texture of a product, you end up with a bit of excess product on your hands once you've applied it to your face. The backs of the hands are often neglected yet they're the first place signs of photoageing appear. Obviously, at some point you're going to wash your hands fully but the product will still have a good couple of hours to get into the skin. Instead of wasting that product, give a helping hand to your hands!
Each time you up the strength of your retinoid apply it after your moisturiser for the first 2-4 weeks
This is a tip that can also be used if you're new to retinoids and trying to get your skin used to them, but I also follow this when I'm moving up a step in terms of concentration or intensity. A moisturiser forms a bit of a barrier on the skin, trapping hydration beneath it but also preventing as much of whatever you apply over the top of it penetrating. That's why, if you're trying to amplify results, you want your actives to be the first leave-on products in your routine. However, it can work the other way too: if there's something you want to be less intense on your skin then apply your moisturiser first to avoid irritation. The retinoid can still get through but not as much as it would do otherwise. If you do this for a few weeks, it can help your skin acclimatise and then you can swap the order to increase the benefits.
What are some easy skincare tips and application methods that totally changed your routine?