I spend most of my time writing about makeup, but whether you wear makeup or not, the most important thing is taking care of your skin. It seems obvious, but it’s like building a house: there’s no point building the house if it doesn’t have a solid foundation. Understanding what you’re putting on your skin, and why, can be the difference between looking good and looking great.
If you’ve been washing your face with just water, or bar soap (excuse me while I compose myself), and your skin is ‘just fine!’ then please, read on. Your skin must be very brave and strong for putting up with that, but it deserves better. Especially in the winter months, when wind and cold combined with dry, air conditioned air are so harsh on the skin. You can bundle yourself up as much as you like in coats and hats and scarves and gloves, but don’t forget your winterwear for your face!
There are many different types of cleanser, across all price points, so don’t think that I’m going to suggest you go out and spend $100 on something you’re going to literally wash down the drain. My cleanser costs $44, but I am categorically insane when it comes to spending money on beauty and I have my priorities all wrong. I also don’t have a mortgage or kids or pets or an insatiable desire for travel to suck up my disposable income. Spend what you’re comfortable with. There’s nothing wrong with supermarket skincare! (Although if you’re going to the supermarket on a skincare reconaissance mission, leave the family at home. They are definitely not interested in waiting while you read the backs of bottles and compare prices on an overwhelming wall of face goop.)
Think about your skin type. ‘How do I know what my skin type is, Morgan?’, you’re wailing. Touch it. Does it feel greasy? Shiny? Does your makeup ever slip around on top of your skin? Are you prone to pimples? You have oily and maybe congested skin. Or is it dry, crepey? Does it sometimes flake, and does your foundation ever cling in patches? Sounds like you’ve got dry skin. Maybe you’re somewhere in between, with a bit of both, in different parts of your face or depending on the season. Honestly, most people have a combination skin type, or are susceptible to change as the weather and even hormones change.
Now forget about your skin type. Don’t rush to the supermarket and grab a foaming cleanser to strip all that oil out of your skin. PUT IT DOWN. That’s going to make it worse. Forget ‘oil control’, forget ‘bursting beads’, forget ‘micro scrub’. (Definitely forget micro scrubs… they have tiny plastic beads in which get washed down your drain and into our waterways, where they sit forever and leech contaminants and choke fish.)
Treat your skin gently. Choose a gentle cream or gel cleanser and use it regularly. Wash your face morning and night. EVERY morning and night. Make sure you remove all your makeup before you go to sleep. Remove it as soon as you get home, if you can! If you’re not in the habit of cleansing regularly, all this washing might upset your skin. This is known as purging, and it’s getting rid of all the gunk that has been clogging up your pores for so long. You might see breakouts. Give it a couple of weeks and pay close attention to your skin. Let that initial activity (isn’t ‘activity’ a great euphemism for pimples?) die down. If you’re seeing new pimples forming, this is when you should call it quits on that cleanser, look at what’s in it and try something different.
For moisturiser, my advice is basically the same. Pick something gentle and use it in the morning after washing your face. Let it absorb fully before putting makeup on over the top – my system when I’m in a hurry is to shower, moisturise, dress myself and then sit down to do my makeup.
Your evening skincare routine is what the season impacts the most, I think. Harsh cold and wind can mean that even oily skin gets dry and dehydrated, so you can afford to use something richer here. For my oily skin, I use a thin lotion in the morning, but a thick cream moisturiser before bed. Apparently your skin does most of its repairing overnight, so you might as well give it something to work with! You can also layer your moisturiser with a facial oil at this step if you’re prone to dry skin. (I know I said we were keeping it simple, but I lied slightly.) Just make sure it’s a facial oil, like rosehip or almond or jojoba, and not cooking oil.
So! In conclusion, Doctor Morgan’s orders are to take good care of your skin, twice daily. Your face is probably the only part of you that’s exposed to the elements if you’re all wrapped up for winter, so take extra good care of it.