When shop for ingredients and not products you'll really kick your skincare routine into overdrive. Layering skincare is a great way to make sure your skin is getting all the ingredients it needs, but here I have 3 specific examples which are often misunderstood, misused and marketed poorly.
We’ve all seen those beautiful, prestigious beauty counters; a giant poster of a glamourous celebrity face, a podium with a spotlight shining down onto a gorgeous bottle with a gleaming silver cap, and golden lettering – and we want it! But if we step back and see through all the nonsense to the actual product, we’ll not only save a heap of cash but build a great regime that fits our skin.
3 of the most mis-marketed and mis-used products are Vitamin C, Retinol and Chemical exfoliants, aka salicylic acid and glycolic acid. These 3 powerhouses of skincare are known for their retexturising, anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing properties but need to be used in a very specific way or you may as well throw your money down a toilet!
1. Vitamin C
Our skin absorbs vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid - this is the magic ingredient to look out for turn back time and brighten your face. There are other forms of vitamin C out there but if you can afford it, stick to ascorbic acid ftw.Take a look at this post ; Why and How to use anti-oxidants
How to use: Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant which means;
a. It needs to spend a long time on your skin to work
b. It is rendered useless and destroyed by sunlight.
So a vitamin C facewash? Useless! Vitamin C day cream? Waste of money! Apply your vitamin C serum/toner/moisturiser at night time to reap the many benefits.
Excellent for anti-aging and acne sufferers alike. Retinol is the cosmetic name for vitamin A and may also be called retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, or retinyl aldehyde. Again, it needs a long time on your skin to do its work!
How to use: Retinol is an anti-oxidant (not a chemical exfoliant) so also needs to be applied at night time to do its best. Vitamin C and Retinol can be used together and compliment each other beautifully in their different ways, (have a look at this article) but depending on the consistency of your particular products (as well as the size of your bank account!) you may wish to alternate them throughout the week - give them a go and see what suits your skin best.
3. Salicylic/Glycolic acid a.k.a Chemical Exfoliants a.k.a BHA and AHA
Salicylic acid comes in very small concentrations; usually no more than 2% whereas glycolic can be bought in much higher concentrations from 1% up to 10% or even 50% for a salon chemical peel. For day to day skincare 1-10% is usual.
How to use: again, these ingredients need to sit on your skin for a long time to do their work so a glycolic facewash is a USELESS product, so is a salicylic face scrub – no matter what wonderful brand it is, it’s marketing nonsense rearing its ugly head again. Instead opt for a serum, toner, moisturiser or overnight mask.
For acne prone skin types, one daily application is all we need whereas other skin types may suit 1-4 times a week best. The great thing is chemical exfoliants are not affected by sunlight so simply apply the chemical exfoliant in the morning and the antioxidants in the evening.
Be aware: Chemical exfoliants and vitamin C will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight (don’t worry, this doesn’t get progressively worse over time) so make sure at least one of your skincare products contains sunscreen, for example, my moisturiser contains an SPF15 chemical sunscreen, my DD Cream contains SPF25 and my mineral make-up provides a physical SPF of up to SPF15 thanks to the titanium dioxide so I’m covered.
Don’t Shy Away from these Miracle Ingredients!
Antioxidants and chemical exfoliants are some of the most misunderstood and misused ingredients on our shelves, but they're also the most powerful; delivering dramatic results.
There are, of course, many more skincare ingredients which are used and abused by the beauty industry to sucker us into paying far too much for a fancy bottle under a spotlight, but if you're shopping for ingredients rather than products, you won't go wrong.
Find invaluable info in the Paula’s Choice ingredient dictionary – a comprehensive lowdown on all kinds of skincare ingredients.
Ciao for now