With so many brands to choose from, selecting the best skincare products for your individual skin type can be quite daunting. Vitamin C, AHAs, Retinols and Parabens are just a few of the seemingly endless ‘buzz words’ that make selecting the right products even more complicated.
As a beauty professional with almost 20 years experience, the question of how to select the right products is by far the one I’m asked most often. Unfailingly, my answer has always been very simple. You need to find a product, or range of products, that works for you. You need to feel comfortable with the brand and it needs to fit with your lifestyle and budget. Often, I speak with women who purchase an entire range of products only to abandon the complicated regimen within a matter of days because it’s too time consuming and doesn’t fit their busy lifestyle.
Another important consideration is that your body chemistry is ever-changing. Environmental conditions, diet, weather, seasons, hormones and stress, can all affect the way your skin looks and feels. With so many factors to consider, how do you choose a skincare brand that works for you? Here are some points to consider:
Product Formulation: Look at the active ingredients list, known as the INCI, and consider what they will do for your skin. The INCI lists all the ingredients in the product in a particular order. A really good ingredient formulation will have the active ingredients (these are the main ingredients that will address the condition/concern) listed higher up in the listing sequence. Research what ingredients work best for your skin concern and look out for these on the list.
Active Ingredients: The thing to bear in mind is that there is no single miracle ingredient. Products that contain “cell communicating ingredients”, such as Vitamin A, Hyaluronic Acid and Biopeptides are good anti ageing formulas. Look for products with a combination of active ingredients that work in synergy to address your skin concerns. For example, for a skin prone to break out, you may want to look for a product that contains a combination of ingredients such as Salicylic Acid (BHA) to clean and unclog the pore and help shrink pore size; some antioxidant ingredients, such as Vitamin C or green tea, to reduce inflammation and redness; a sebum stabilising or mattifying ingredient; and ingredients to keep the skin hydrated. By selecting a product with these active ingredients, you are holistically addressing a skin condition to get optimal results. The percentage of the main active ingredient is an important factor, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Texture of the product: With creams, gel-creams, fluids, gels, milks and serums to chose from, texture is an important consideration. Some creamy products can leave your skin feeling greasy and make the pores appear larger in certain areas. Be aware of pore clogging products, which are generally thick in consistency with a rich feel. If your skin feels dry, it may be a case of dehydration, in which case you will be better off buying a gel cream or an enriched fluid, which will leave your skin feeling comfortable but not greasy. I always recommend incorporating a serum in your regimen because it contains a higher percentage of actives and will penetrate deeper to give faster results.
Try to avoid: Products containing large amounts of Propylene Glycol and preservatives such as Parabens are best avoided. There are claims that these chemicals are linked to endocrinal activities, cancer, liver and kidney damage. However these ingredients have their place in skincare formulations. Propylene Glycol acts as a humectant and epidermal delivery agent, whilst Parabens act as a preservative against bacterial, mould and fungal contamination. Both are used in very small quantities in skincare which is considered safe and non irritative.
Making the right product selection for your skin type can be complex, but don’t let it intimidate you. Use the guidelines I’ve shared in conjunction with professional advice and your own personal requirements. Remember, your skin may require different brands for different concerns and a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not always best. Don’t feel pressured to buy the entire skincare line from one brand, to cover all your skin concerns. A good tip is to try products from across brands to see what works for you and find your own personal formula.