Skincare essentials are no afterthought. With makeup-tutorial-boom getting huge social recognition, more and more people are aware of the power and importance of skincare and makeup. I mean even the most clueless of people can’t deny knowing the makeup buzz-words! The influence (of their friends, partners, siblings, and kids exposing them to those videos in the background) is real! Not to mention that it is not limited to certain ages and genders anymore either.
My mother has always been into skincare. Since my young adult days, I would sneak her stash and use simple things. She got me into the habit of using different creams for my skin type religiously. I got ridiculed by friends when in college and uni, for HAVING a skincare routine! Well, who’s winning now, eh?!
Beauty is only skin-deep if your SKIN is actually taken care of.
Disclaimer: your partners and friends may think you are crazy to take your skin so seriously. They may laugh at you / make fun of you / tell you that you should save this money to buy a house or something. But you will have the last laugh, I promise. I sincerely live by these rules and have seen results first-hand. Even the cream-stealer* has now begun to follow a few of these rules; and after only 10 years of nagging! Read on for some skincare essentials that any skin type should ideally be following at any age.
- Wash your face with cold water-ALWAYS. Nothing like it to keep the pores closed, skin tight and glow intact. Rubbing ice on face is a go-to for many celebs. If you have the patience: freeze milk or green tea into ice cubes to get the quickest facial with glowy results.
- NEVER rub your facial skin. Gently dab. A towel hasn’t touched this face in ages; I either air-dry or dab with a fresh clean tissue. “Ew germs” is a real thing people.
- Sleeping on a silk pillow-case has merit (even if it feels EXTRA AF), to avoid skin-irritation and get smooth frizz-free hair. I carry mine everywhere I travel, even if just for a night. I have been using one for over 5 years (not the exact same one obviously) and the day I sleep on regular pillowcase-I can tell the immediate difference in my skin and hair. Some beauty bloggers and YouTubers misinform that the silk does not retain bacteria and that is why you should use one. This has ZERO scientific and sensible evidence. The only way it helps is by not absorbing any of your skin and hair’s natural oils+moisture and avoiding any friction.
- Skincare is NOT optional. Neither is the concept of using a day-cream, night-cream, eye-cream and using anti-aging products. Your skin may not need harsh chemicals (depending on skin type and genetics) but it certainly needs way more than slapping on kitchen-pantry products. Especially once you hit 30. Natural is safe, while other products aren’t, is a myth. If you have sensitive skin, there are products like retinol, abrasive scrubs, chemical peels etc. which you must stay away from (I unfailingly do). But since we all live in a polluted world and consume a bunch of things that chemically also interact with our body from the INSIDE, we need just as strong solutions for our skin on the OUTSIDE sometimes.
Having said that, it is also important to know that many ingredients that skincare products have, are toxic too. Petrochemicals for example are horrible for the skin and come from awful practices too!
And if you buy things based on them saying “organic” on the label, pay attention. Most of these are doing what we call “green-washing” where one ingredient is natural and rest is still garbage! Many ethical and eco friendly brands will go all the way and eliminate waste in their packaging etc. along with claims of being 100% organic. You can trust them to have safe ingredients.
My friend Olivia is a beauty blogger who reviews and recommends great products. Her blog post here talks more on what brands we could choose for ethics and safety here. Check it out!
Your skin may not need harsh chemicals (depending on skin type and genetics) but it certainly needs way more than slapping on kitchen-pantry products
- Anti-aging is NOT a scam designed to sell more products. And it is not only for people hitting 40s and 50s. ‘When’ you introduce these, is the key. Ideal time is around mid-20s. Because 30 is when our metabolism and cell-repair begins to slow down and needs help to actually look like a 20 year-old. Investing in skin-care is smart and much better than spending time and money on makeup to hide any of the skin’s insecurities (which never get hidden really by the way).
- Identify your skin-type. Dry skin gets break-outs too! Yours truly included. And that’s from irritation of skin. Dry skin needs gentle ways to remove dead skin. I am now a devoted user of microdermabrasion for over 3 years (every month) and not once has it irritated my skin; only made it better each time.
- Do not skip hydration on any day. Period. Dry skin, oily skin, all needs hydration. Oil is NOT equal to hydration. When you are thirsty, you wouldn’t drink oil now, would you? Thoroughly moisturised skin will always look young, fresh and will result in the makeup not looking like putty slapped onto your face. Find a good moisturiser for your skin and learn to use it right.
- Remember that changes in age, hormones, weather and geographic location change the skin. What works today may not work tomorrow and vice versa. So be forgiving to your skin. My skin used to be normal in India but in Australia and non-humid countries, it officially identifies as very dry.
- The more you obsess over a breakout or a spot, the more lack-lustre your entire face would look. I used to be obsessive and watching the light literally go away from my face used to be the saddest part. Just letting it go and covering the problem areas up, I have noticed drastic speed difference in healing of any breakout, and the overall glow of my face still remains solid despite the trouble spot(s).
- Eat the right foods and drink plenty of water. I have now been drinking 3-4 litres of water each day since almost 4-5 years now. While going to the bathroom frequently is the annoying bit, I can vouch for it being the best way to keep your skin supple and glowing. AND getting rid of bloating.
- I have noted my skin become supple and glowy since I introduced berries in the form of smoothie every morning a year ago. Also helping currently: head-stand at the end of each workout.
- Sun-Screen! On its own or as an ingredient of your day cream. This one is non-negotiable in any weather. It is greasy and turns the face white, it is an extra step, it costs more etc. is not an acceptable excuse. There are plenty of good brands that do non-greasy and even tinted sun-screens. Remember that sun-damage causes aging and can cause breakouts. For oily skin, it becomes especially hard to find a decent sun-screen, but it is worth the effort I promise. A couple I tried here and here, are non-greasy and do not make the face look dark.
- Masks of any kind are excellent to give your skin that extra oomph for any special event. I have a couple of uber faves which I shall cover under product reviews. The one in the picture is my current staple and I cannot praise it enough: watch out for the review to come soon!
- This last tip is a fairly new addition to my routine and I am happy with the results. Derma-roller! In brief, it is a roller with micro needles. I use a 0.3mm one and can feel slight tingle after and on the next morning. It has significantly helped plumping my skin and giving it a glow. I do it twice or thrice a week maximum.
Biggest thing to hurt your skin is being stressed and unhappy. Do everything that is essential, possible and affordable but outside of that, just fight the urge to go into a bad place and feel crappy about it. It is only a matter of identifying a few mistakes you may be making or finding the right product for YOUR skin.
Husband steals my cream almost every single time he begins to note any problem with his skin. He knows I use all the good stuff, eh. When asked to get one of those for himself, he is like ‘nah, I don’t need to waste money on this!’. What he doesn’t know, is I keep stuff for him separately to give him every time he wants to “borrow” my cream.
Where’s the hygge?
The actual act is very boring to do day in day out, not gonna lie. The hygge is in the confidence and compliments you get from good skin. Once it’s a daily routine, it makes you slow down and focus on yourself for a few minutes. the calm it brings is worth looking forward to every morning and night.