I’m relatively blessed with a trouble free complexion and whilst I usually appease my mum by saying it’s down to genetics, truth be told I invest time and money in the right skincare products for my skin and look after it well. I always cleanse, tone and moisturise regularly, I don’t smoke and the times I consume alcohol my skin repays me in kind with spots. Of course using a decent moisturiser is fundamental with a good complexion, but cleansing and toning should not be over-looked as plays a very important part too!
The skin is the largest organ of the body; it’s about 2mm thick and made up of 2 layers the epidermis – outer layer and dermis the inner layer. The epidermis seals in bodily fluids and guards against bacteria and foreign objects, whilst the dermis supports and feeds this layer with moisture. The skin also acts as a thermometer, breathes, grows and repairs itself – in hindsight the skin is pretty amazing and should be treated with the respect it deserves.
To keep the skin clear of any blockages and toxins there are two vital steps – cleansing and toning. The role of a cleanser is to rid the skin of any unwanted bacteria however, it’s important to use the correct one for your skin type. Dry, dehydrated skins will be benefit from a rich cream cleanser or balm to add nourishment, whilst oilier skins are usually more suited to a liquid or gel cleanser. It’s imperative not to over-cleanse, twice a day is plenty as any more will affect the skin’s natural PH balance.
Toners, astringents, fresheners are often ignored yet they greatly assist a skincare regime which include removing all traces of makeup, restoring the skins natural acid balance as well as stimulating and brightening the complexion. As with cleansers you should choose one specifically for your skin type. Dry skin should avoid astringents as these usually contain alcohol, whilst oilier skins can benefit from this type of toner as alcohol can help dry out excess sebum. For a quick pick-me-up a simple trick is to rub a raw potato or cucumber over the face! Not keen on smelling like a vegetable, here are some of my favourites.
Vitage Daily Cleanse 200ml £24 (0845 5552121) is suitable for all skin types. Containing Organic Mate (Green Tea) this powerful antioxidant helps protect skin from environmental damage and is gentle enough to use on the most sensitive skin. Suitable for men and women this lathers up well and is great to use in the shower, simply wash and go.
Heaven Hydro Cleansing Milk 150ml £14.50 ( www.heavenskincare.com) is perfect for those suffering from dry complexions. Like its namesake Heaven it has extracts of stimulating Rosemary, soothing Lavender and moisturising Jojoba oil. The perfect partner is their Peppermint Clarifying Lotion 150ml £21.70 which instantly refreshes and awakens the skin ridding of any pallor and leaving the complexion radiant.
Elemis is one of my favourite brands as everything smells divine and their range of cleansers and toners don’t disappoint. Combination skins will thank you for daily use of their Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser 200ml/Balancing Lavender Toner 200ml £21 Duo (available www.timetospa.co.uk), when applied to the skin the cleanser deeply withdraws any impurities accumulated through the day, and is excellent for congested skin types thanks to the combination of Lime Blossom and Vitamin E which also maintains the skins natural oil balance. The toner contains extracts of Lavender and Sweet Betty Flower a soothing concoction which deeply softens and hydrates the skin. The handy spray bottle is excellent for a quick pick-me-up spritz which can also be used to set makeup!
Thalgo Cocooning Cleansing Milk £19.90 250ml (0207 512 0872) is formulated for dry, sensitive and dehydrated skin, simply warm into the palms of your hands and press gently into your face and remove with cotton wool to sweep away impurities. The soft vanilla fragrance makes it a pleasure to use turning a daily regime into a delightful sensory experience. The key ingredient is Date Extract which helps soften and alleviate irritated skin.
Finally those who want a serious regime without all the frills will love the simplicity but extremely effective brand Environ. Exclusive to top salons their anti-ageing Moisturising Toner 200ml £29.95 and Cleansing Lotion £200ml £28 (0208 450 2020) contain a potent cocktail of eleven plant extracts and Vitamin B3. Packed with antioxidants these ingredients help achieve firm and even-toned complexions and with continued use help reduce the depth of fine lines.
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