What are your best skincare tips?

What you use and how you use it will depend on your age, skin condition and whether you have particular skin concerns (hyper-pigmentation/ dry patches/etc).

If you are under 25 with no visible UV damage, no acne or other specific problems, you should be able to keep your skin that way on a fairy simple routine. I would suggest all that is needed is a good hydrosol to cleanse and hydrate skin (the oils are already naturally in the water, so this will remove oil deposits and oil-based makeup). There is probably no need for a specific balm or serum, just a good moisturiser, and by good, I mean everything in the jar is actually there for your benefit; some nice plant oils, good antioxidants, a humectant and nothing too occlusive, but enough to keep the water from the humectants in your skin, not evaporating back into the air. Sun protection is always wise, if your skin is going to be seeing any sunshine. I know the jury is out, but personally, I don’t see the need for it unless you live at high altitude or where sunshine is strong enough to tan your skin, even a little. I think it’s a good idea to get a top-up of Vitamin D when sun protection isn’t required.

If you are over 25, genes and skin type will start to become more apparent. So, I would either add a specific serum, after the hydrosol, before the moisturiser, or just ensure the moisturiser contains what it is you now need. If your skin is starting to get dry, make sure there are good quality oils and butters, the nut oils are good and avocado, mango and shea butters will help. This might be the time to also look for Vitamin A ( even under 1% can work very well.

pH
If you want hyaluronic acid, for it’s excellent humectant properties, it generally likes a pH higher than 5 and Vitamin A is happy with that in most of it’s forms. There are some forms of Vitamin C that will work with it, but not L-ascorbic acid, it’s most common, and best researched, form, this needs a pH closer to 3 to be effective. If you think you need both, it is probably better to use a Vitamin C serum and then apply a moisturiser containing Vitamin A (give the serum 10 minutes before adding the moisturiser - your skin’s pH will normalise over that time). If you don’t think you need both, don't waste the money, if your skin healthy, stick with what you’re doing.

Between 35 and 50 is the time you may need to start adding more specific ingredients like AHAs, ceramides and peptides. Providing you know what you want (to repair sun damage, lessen lines, even-out colour/texture) you should get by on just one extra product. Possibly alternate a good Vitamin C at night (Vitamin C can react with sunlight) with a Vitamin A serum in the morning. But by taking time to choose a really good moisturiser, you should be able to get a lot of what you need from that. I use Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) in most of my moisturisers and this would be a good time to use it, if you haven’t already started. It will help strengthen the skin. By now, skin is starting to lose the plumped appearance it once had; it doesn't have the collagen and elastin it had 20 years ago.

Between 50 and 70 you are likely looking for as much moisture as possible, you may have sun damage, you certainly want antioxidants doing what they do best and you should become familiar with AHAs, PHAs, botanical extracts and make sure your moisturiser has plenty of humectant and occlusive properties. Dehydrated skin needs both oil and water, not just water. Make sure there are ceramides in the moisturiser, to keep the skin strong; these help restore the fatty layers between skin cells hold them together. There are ways to ensure you are getting these, and the peptides for elastin and collagen restoration, check the ingredients’ list carefully…

The 1% Line
When looking through the ingredients’ list you will find there is a ‘1% line”: anything in the product in amounts over 1% will be listed in order of largest amount first. So the first five ingredients are usually the bulk of the product. That is not to say that finding peptides down at the bottom is necessarily a bad thing, often .5% is working harder than something at 5%. just know what percentage is useful to you. Colours usually have a prefix of D and C, then a colour name, then a number. Find these on the label, anything below that is likely to be used at less than 1%. Preservatives and fragrance are not usually higher than 1%, so they are listed near the colours. Any ingredient used below 1% can be listed in any order, it doesn’t need to be largest first. Whist I would recommend choosing a product without added colours, the preservatives are necessary to make the product safe. But… there are those that do a good job and are safe and those that are there to keep the product stable enough to endure a year under a bright light in an airport duty free - I’d avoid the latter.

So, decide what your skin needs, find out what will supply this and don’t spend money on ingredients that are making the product a pretty pink or smell like a mango smoothie, they are not helping anyone’s laughter lines!