After years of impulse buys, product hoarding and a dressing table filled with a large collection of random ‘stuff’, I realized I was a product junkie. A trip to Boots for toothpaste invariably turned into a wander down the face care aisles searching for nothing in particular but purchasing plenty. Did this teach me anything? No! Certainly not discipline, which is important in truly discovering your skin’s needs, likes and wants. Fast-forward several years and relocating to Nigeria, where Boots was no longer down the road, I was forcibly taught to simplify. During this process – I promise it wasn’t as hard as you might think – I learned a few things that I will share with fellow product junkies. You may or may not be seeing results, you may or may not really know your skin, but you certainly are spending a lot of money.
- Simple is better
We’ve all heard about the 10 step Korean skincare regimens and quite frankly if you have the time and dedication and its working for you and your pocket, go right ahead. But for the rest of us, here is my advice. The key steps you need in your skincare regimen are Cleanse, Tone, Treat, Moisturise and Protect. I will add that my treatment step doesn’t always happen in my AM routine because I like to keep things really simple for daytime. You may have guessed that ‘simple’ is the buzz word for this article.
- Learn about your skin
After all these years of spending so much money, there are a few things you should know about your skin. A few examples are, your skin type, triggers for breakouts, ingredients your skin responds to and how and your skin’s tolerance level (tolerance for acids and high strength vitamins for example). Once you know these things you can make more informed decisions when purchasing skincare products. Please note that you should use a new product for 6-8 weeks before concluding on its effectiveness, unless it causes you to break out. There is a difference between breaking out and purging, but that’s for another article.
- Topical is important but so is what goes in
Watch your diet! Do your research and you’ll find that a lot of the vitamins that are good for your skin can be found in easily accessible fruit and vegetables (e.g. oranges and limes have high vitamin c content and green tea is loaded with antioxidants). If you can’t commit to eating enough of the right stuff, you should consider supplements or vitamin injections. Don’t forget to drinks lots of water, at least 1.5 litres a day.
- Sun protection sun protection sun protection
This is paramount and dare I say detrimental to everything else you are doing with your skin. You should invest in a really good sunscreen. This is sub-Saharan Africa and the sun is angry. Even when it’s not, don’t leave your house in the daytime without this. In fact even if you are indoors all day, I assume there are windows in your home and UVA rays can penetrate. USE SUNSCREEN! SPF 30 and above is ideal and research has found that sunscreens containing anti-oxidants are more beneficial to your skin.
- Fight the temptation.
Anyone that has spoken to me asking for advice on products to purchase will tell you that I don’t advocate buying for the sake of buying. I will first ask you what you already use and if it’s working for you. So, lets assume you have followed steps 1 to 4 and figured out what works for you and you are sticking with it, then out of nowhere this new cult product comes out and everyone is raving about it. Don’t be swayed by new trends and fads! I’m a believer in, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
So there you have it, the lessons I have learned along the way and the key to spending less on products that I don’t need. So, give steps 1 to 5 a go and feel free to reach out to me for moral support or to tell me how it’s going. Good luck!