Which skincare ingredients should I use?
There’s never been a better time to treat your skin well, with 1000s of products and new technologies launching all the time. But it can also be tricky trying to navigate through so many different options and deciding which products work together and which are a no-no for you. In this guide we’ll tell you about all the latest ingredients, what to look out for and how to combine different ingredients safely to give you the best results. A good skincare routine shouldn’t be rocket-science, but sometimes it feels like it!
What are the latest skincare ingredients?
2021 has been one for the history books – with lockdowns, working from home and zoom meetings, we’ve all turned to self-care and pampering as a way to de-stress and unwind (plus look our best for those video call close-ups). As a result, there have been some new skincare ingredients trending this year as we look to make the most of our beauty routines – here are some of the newbies to look out for.
This one won’t sound new, but rather than taking collagen capsules with water there have been some new arrivals that let you apply collagen straight onto your skin. Known to boost elasticity and reduce wrinkles, the hydrating and plumping properties have taken the beauty world by storm this year.
Korean skincare is always full of the latest ‘ones to watch’ ingredients and this year every beauty blogger has been talking about Cica, which is also known as Tiger grass. This has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, but now it’s a go-to beauty staple for reducing irritation, soothing redness and hydrating even the most sensitive of skin.
In recent years there has been a massive shift towards incorporating natural ingredients into skincare, this year has seen a rise in products using this wonder root. It’s antioxidant and can really help with red skin tones and blemishes, plus it gives you that instant skin brightness.
Beloved of those prone to skin breakouts, it’s a really gentle exfoliator that helps remove dead skin cells from pores and also helps stop them clogging up again. Not only that, but it also serves as a skin protector, helping it fight off external skin-stresses.
While this isn’t a new ingredient technically, it’s been on the shelf for many years while beauty aficionados have reached for newer, more scientific options. But 2021 has seen a massive rise in its popularity, as people have re-discovered its huge hydrating properties and formulas have become much more lightweight. The best bit is that it’s super versatile, so it’ll work with pretty much anything in your routine.
How do I create a safe skincare routine?
One of the hazards of having so many products to choose from, is that from time to time you may end up mixing ingredients that can cause an adverse effect. Layering two or three products at a time has become the norm and can really boost your beauty routine, but there are definite dos and don’ts when it comes to certain combinations. These are some of the pairings that really don’t like each-other!
Vitamin C & acids
When you’re using Vitamin C it’s important to remember that it is actually an acid so shouldn’t be mixed with things like glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids as it’s complete acid overload and potentially quite toxic for your skin. Other acids can also destabilize the pH balance and cancel out any positive effects.
Retinol & acids
Similarly, you should never combine retinol with other acid-based products (or Vitamin C) as this can lead to dryness, irritation and damage to the skins natural barrier leaving you more exposed to sun damage. If you want to use both, do so over alternate days or weeks.
Oil & water
Ever heard the old saying “oil and water don’t mix?” – well it’s true for your beauty routine too. If you use an oil-based product on your face and then try and use a water-based product, it won’t get through the barrier. When using these two products, always apply your water-based product first.
When it comes to beauty short-cuts, applying your SPF shouldn’t be one of them. Your SPF needs to be applied as a single layer to maintain its protective properties – you should never cheat by mixing it with your moisturiser or make-up. Because it’s so important (probably THE most important) it definitely deserves the extra time to apply it in the right way.
Are there any ingredients I need to avoid?
Normally, beauty ingredients are pretty safe and besides getting some irritation or breakouts, there are no major concerns. However, there are some definite watch-fors to be aware of if you’re pregnant. Pregnancy often brings a sense of wanting to eat clean and opt for lovely, organic ingredients and pregnancy skincare is the same. Experts always advise that you should avoid Retin-A, Retinol, retinyl palmitate, benzoyl peroxide, hydroquinone, and prescription acne medications as they aren’t healthy for your developing baby, and you should also opt out of professional treatments like Botox and laser treatments. Instead, go for plant-based options that are high on antioxidants and super-gentle.
Our skincare picks for 2021
Now you know what to use and how to use it, here are some of our beauty editor faves to treat your skin to.
- This new arrival is all our skincare dreams come true. A 4-in-1 cream, it hydrates, protects, primes and plumps and is full of nourishing ingredients like green algae to help skin fend off blue-light damage and a skin-smoothing, age-defying Ceratin Complex.
- Made using one of this year’s most sought-after ingredients, this cleanser is super-restorative and healing while improving your skin tone. It’s a cooling gel that removes all traces of make-up and leaves you feeling fresh-faced and fabulous.
- This handy little stick is a cleanser, exfoliator and toner that foams on application and uses charcoal and Moroccan lava clay to draw out impurities. This has been specially formulated to help with acne-prone skin.
- Designed with new mums in mind, this refreshing spritz contains naturally collagen-boosting properties like aloe vera and lime oil which help to improve skin-tone and banish dark circles. The perfect pick-me-up after a sleepless night!