Investing in new skincare is a very exciting time, so full of hope and promise! It can be tempting to start applying your entire beauty haul to your face, body or hair immediately (maybe all at once!) however this could spell disaster. Introducing new products, particularly those formulated with active ingredients, into your routine should be approached with caution. Here are our tips for ensuring you get the results you’re looking for without disappointment:
Start by introducing only one new product at a time
The minute your new products are on the bathroom shelf, you’re probably already dreaming of the results and want to make their magic work as soon as possible. Unfortunately, using more than one new product at a time makes it really difficult to know which one is either working for you or causing a reaction. You are more likely to see better results if you work products into your routine individually, so that you can identify potential triggers or skincare heroes.
Follow the product’s directions for use
It may sound obvious but as skincare becomes ever more sophisticated (read: complicated), it pays to read the label. Some formulations do not work well with other types of ingredients, and some products must be used at a particular slot in your routine to work effectively, for example actives which need to be applied right after toning or which do not work well with other acids or vitamin A (retinol). Don’t take any chances and do your homework before you throw something new into the mix.
Keep a skincare diary if you have sensitive skin
Just make a few notes on your phone. It sounds like a big ask, especially at the end of a long day, but making a quick and simple note of how your skin reacts as you introduce new products will be very helpful in the long-term. You will find it easier to read the label and identify which ingredients you should be staying away from, and which you should be running towards. This approach is particularly important if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, so that you can make more informed decisions about which products will work well with your skin in future.
Introduce powerful actives slowly
What are actives? They’re products which include a high concentration of the key ingredients addressing the product’s focus concern and making a physical change in the appearance of your skin. They are usually products which work to exfoliate or stimulate collagen production, or both. Examples include vitamin A or retinoids, vitamin C and chemical exfoliants such as glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids – also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). As actives are triggering a physical change in your skin, they must be introduced slowly to avoid an adverse reaction or compromising your skin’s natural moisture barrier. For example, if you are new to retinoids, which are notorious for requiring an adjustment period, they should be worked into your routine from a frequency of once to twice a week at most, increasing very slowly so that your skin has time to adjust. If you are already using products with active ingredients, such as AHAs or vitamin C, take it even easier and avoid using both on the same day to avoid over-exfoliation. An over-exfoliated face is an irritated, dehydrated, sensitive face so the danger is real!
Know how to distinguish ‘purging’ from a regular breakout
Your skin will tell you if something is working, and if something is wrong. Trouble is, they can sometimes be difficult to tell apart! When you start using new products with active ingredients, it is not unusual to experience a period of adjustment. During this period, you may experience flaking or whitehead pimples emerging. This is often referred to as a ‘purge’ where the clogs underneath the skin are brought to the surface on the way to a smoother, clearer future. These reactions should not last more than a couple of weeks to 28 days (unless otherwise advised on the label) and should not be too extreme or persistent in nature. If they are, it’s time to move on. Happy shopping beauties!