There was once a time when a quick scrub of a make-up wipe and a smear of Nivea before bed was our go-to skincare routine. Took about 13 seconds, cost about £2 a month, and was as bad for our skin as it was the planet. These days we like something a bit fancier, but with so many different ingredients (which often sound a lot like something we poured into a beaker in year 11 science class), it’s hard not to get a little overwhelmed with the choice out there.
So the clever clogs over at Cult Beauty have created the ultimate skin guide to not only work out which skin type you have, but which ingredients to look out for when you’re shopping for skincare goodies. They’ve also included their pick of the best products for each skin type, as well as handy tips and tricks for application and more.
We thought we’d share their beauty buff know-how with you and introduce you to the ingredients set to be your new skin saviors…
Salicylic Acid – My absolute hero for helping reduce hormonal acne around my chin and jawline, salicylic acid is a BHA which is able to delve deep into your skin and exfoliating it by dissolving the debris that clogs pores and leads to breakouts. It can be quite intense so worth building up a tolerance to and avoiding dry or sensitive parts of the skin to start with. Apply after cleansing but before moisturising.
Hyaluronic Acid – Just magnificent for hydrating skin, making it feel plump and giving it major GLOW without feeling oily or rich. Our skin actually makes hyaluronic acid in small quantities, and unlike other acids – this isn’t about exfoliating skin, rather, about adding in more moisture. It works well with every skin type, but is especially great for combination skin as it can be used all over your face – on both the dry and oily areas.
Green Tea – We’ve long known that green tea has plenty of health benefits when drunk, but it’s also brilliant when applied to our skin too. It has anti-inflammatory products which help reduce any swelling and redness from breakouts, making it the ultimate skin-calmer. It’s also rammed full of Vitamin B2 and Vitamin E which are crucial for skin maintenance.
Squalane – This baby is the hydrogenated version of squalene, a compound produced naturally by our sebaceous glands (which create sebum – the oily substance which lubricates the skin). It’s an ingredient best used for drier skin because it acts similarly to our skin’s natural oil. It’s also unlikely to irritate skin so a great choice is your skin is also sensitive.
Mandelic Acid – This works as an AHA, which breaks the bonds between skin layers to reveal brighter, clearer skin, but is much more gentle than similar acids which is why it’s so great for dry skin as it’s unlikely to leave it feeling stripped of all its goodness. Use after cleansing but before moisturising to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and help with breakouts.
Jojoba Oil – Just like Squalane, Jojoba Oil is incredibly similar to the sebum the skin naturally produces so is a great way to inject more hydration into a parched face. It’s also high in plenty of excellent skin-nourishing vitamins like A, E, and D, as well as antioxidants and it has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. You can add a few drops to your moisturiser or find one that already has it in.
Grapeseed oil – A lot of people with oily skin find using oils as part of their skincare routine a bit hit and miss. Some swear by them and others hate them. Grapeseed oil is one of the lightest variants out there – making it the perfect choice for oily skin. It’s also non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores. It’s full of antioxidants, is great for fading scars and dark circles, but is best not used at the same time as retinol or salicylic acid.
Clay – Both clay and charcoal are great for absorbing excess oil from the skin’s surface, and there’s something quite pleasing about watching the oil draw up through a clay face mask mere minutes after smoothing it onto the skin. It’s great for detoxing skin and drawing our impurities, so the perfect ingredient for oily skin dealing with a breakout.
Niacinamide – This is a water-soluble vitamin (part of the Vitamin B3 compound) which works with your skin to minimise pores, even out skin tone and soften fine lines. It’s incredibly impressive because not only is it a bloody brilliant anti-flammatory, it can also work as a real skin multi-tasker. It can help regulate oil and manage breakouts whilst also helping with hyper pigmentation, and also protect skin from environmental damage and skin damage. Get on it, pronto!
Resveratrol – This powerful antioxidant helps protect the skin; therefore keeping it looking fresh and youthful and fighting signs of aging. It also reduces redness and evens skin, and is commonly found in moisturisers and serums, so best applied after cleansing and exfoliating.
Buriti Oil – This baby has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin A in the world, and is also a natural antioxidant, which makes it great at adding extra protection from sun damage to your skincare routine (also use a SPF, obvs). It’s said to help fight the signs of aging and is great at protecting skin.
Vitamin C – One of the skincare world’s fave ingredients, and with good reason. It repairs signs of sun damage and uneven skintone, and basically does that thing where it’s like your skin, but better. Your skin but with more of that fresh-faced glow we’re all after. It brightens because it speeds up cell turnover, and it keeps skin firm and plump by speeding up collagen production too. Hubba hubba.
Chamomile – The ultimate skin soother and healer, Chamomile alleviates redness, relieves irritation and inflammation and can help with the impact of breakouts, all without any side effects which is what makes it so perfect for sensitive skin. It’s been used in medicine for all kinds of ailments for thousands of years, so we know it’s a goodie. You can find it in everything from cleansers to serums and moisturisers so can be used thoughout your skincare routine, day or night.
Vitamin C – It’s a pretty well tolerated skincare ingredient, but if you have sensitive skin it’s important to find the right product. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is a water-soluble type of Vitamin C which makes it less harsh or drying so sensitive skin. There’s also varying potencies, so it’s best to start with something low like 10%. Expect a more even skintone, diminished scarring and plenty of glow.
Cucumber Seed Oil – A super versatile and gentle oil which soothes and reduces both redness and breakouts, increases firmness and elasticity and is incredibly calming on sensitive skin. It contains phytosterols which help skin become better at holding onto water, so great for improving the hydration of your skin too.
If you want to work out which skin type you are, shop the best products for you, or learn more about these ingredients, head over to Cult Beauty’s skin type feature here.
Shop our skincare faves here…
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