[This is not a sponsored post. Some of the products mentioned are gifted press samples. Links marked * are affiliate, meaning I earn a small commission from any purchases made.]
Sometimes it seems like, no matter how many products we use, it’s impossible to bring dull, tired skin back to life. In the winter especially, it takes a fair dose of skincare magic (and, admittedly, a few coffees) before it finally gets back up and running and ready to face the day. But when it comes to revitalising ourselves on the outside, it’s quality over quantity, and with the right ingredients, getting your glow back doesn’t have to be difficult.
When I test products, that’s one of the big things I look for – because whether I’ve been out drinking until some unspeakable hour or just had a dreadful night’s sleep, I all too often need a pick-me-up first thing. Whatever the reason, these are the ingredients I stick to day in, day out, to ensure I start the day looking and feeling fresh.
Hyaluronic acid binds to water molecules in the skin to help retain moisture, keeping you nourished and delivering a plumped up, smoother complexion. Not only will it maximise the hydrating properties of the serum itself, but it’ll also latch onto moisturiser, and bring out the best in what’s on offer.
It’s a massive one on the market at the minute and, from drugstore aisles to beauty counters, you’ll be pushed to find a hydrating formula that doesn’t contain hyaluronic acid. However, when it comes to what’s most effective, I find sticking to a serum and layering with moisturiser works best. Why? Generally speaking, hyaluronic serums contain a higher concentration, meaning you’re getting a potent, dedicated formula onto which you can layer your moisturiser. Also, don’t leave without moisturiser, as the hyaluronic acid can latch on to molecules in the air which, in turn, dry out the skin.
As serums hold the majority of the active ingredients in our skincare routines, that’s the best place to focus the majority of your skincare budget. Working on a 20/60/20 per cent ratio between cleanser/serum/moisturiser will really help you get the best for your buck.
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Vitamin C is a super-powerful antioxidant that helps protect your skin against free radical damage caused by the environment. In recent years, anti-pollution skincare has soared in popularity, and if you use the right ingredients long-term, they’ll help boost your collagen levels and prevent wrinkles and sagging. Really, it’s the basics of anti-ageing – and it delivers a healthy glow too!
For anyone living in the city, vitamin C should be the go-to, and there are hundreds of skincare products – from serums and masks, to cleansers and exfoliators – that’ll deliver exactly what you need. If topical products aren’t your thing, one of the best alternatives I’ve found is the Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C 1000 mg supplement. This oral supplement is one of the only independently verified products of its kind on the market, that’s been proven to increase skin firmness and elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on both the face and body (approx 2/3 of those sampled).
If you’re clueless on skincare, Altrient’s a great place to start. Otherwise, stick with a serum under your moisturiser to ensure you’ve got that baseline protection. Another point to mention with serums is you can alternate depending on your skin’s needs. For example, switch between vitamin C and hyaluronic, if you’re looking for anti-pollution properties but are struggling with particularly dry skin. Similarly, you can add and remove ingredients as and when you need.
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Vitamin A (retinol)
Who hasn’t heard of retinol? It’s been massive in LA for years, and now it’s gone global as one of the only anti-ageing ingredients actually proven to work (along with SPF). Retinol can combat a number of signs of ageing, and also helps clarify skin tone. From the late 20s onwards, collagen production decreases – for women its a gradual decline, whereas for men it usually happens in late 30s/early 40s, and is a more noticeable drop – so the sooner you start the better.
Retinol is the perfect nighttime product – not only because it can work wonders while you sleep, but it also makes skin more sensitive to sunlight. There’s a lot of scaremongering around this – you can wear it during the day, as long as you apply a high-factor SPF over the top. But, as a rule, stick to retinol as part of your nighttime regime, and you’ll wake up with noticeably clearer, more radiant skin the next morning.
Again, it’s up to you how much you use retinol and the potency of the products you choose. If you’re only just beginning, start low and build up, as it can irritate the skin. Similarly, if you struggle with dry skin, be cautious, and pair up with hyaluronic acid during the day to counteract the downsides. Apart from that, the sooner you get a head start on anti-ageing, the sooner you’ll begin to fend off the earliest signs.
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