What to buy on a budget?

As the K-Beauty fad faded, we came away with an important lesson: less is more, both for your skin and budget. A bulging bathroom cabinet does not equal beautiful skin. Not only can using too many products cause skin confusion (yep, that’s a thing), those products pushed to the hard-to-see back of the cupboard will only go to waste – in just a year, whatever you haven’t yet used will be past its prime. Our motto? Less is best.

So what do I actually need?

That depends very much on your age. With every passing decade, your skin starts to change and, once you’ve hit middle age, it can feel downright demanding at times. But if you buy clever, half a dozen products is the maximum you’ll ever need to make your skin (and bank balance) happiest.

I’m in my 20’s. Do I need eye cream?

If you’re on a budget, this is a product you can skip right now – just massage your facial moisturiser around the orbital bone (but don’t apply it directly on to the eyelid. Ever). You’ll also need a gentle but effective cleanser that can efficiently remove makeup and grime without stripping your skin. Micellar cleansers are the best option because, not only are they super quick at the end of a busy day or fun night out (no water needed!), they’re also extremely gentle on the skin. 

Follow cleansing with a hydrating moisturiser formulated to reduce free radical damage (think grape seed oil, physterols and amino acids that can prevent the muscles contracting, which is how wrinkles start developing). You can use the same moisturiser morning and night, but add one extra step before skipping out the door in the A.M. – sunscreen is essential if you plan to put off pesky pigmentation and fine lines.

Should I use more in my 30s?

Skin cell turnover starts to slow down in your 30s, so you’ll need to add an extra product or two to the cleanse-moisturise-sunscreen regimen. Exfoliating once a week will help keep your skin turning over at a decent rate, plus it allows the moisturiser to absorb more easily (dead skin cells clogging the surface just make it that bit harder for products to penetrate). Just don’t overdo the sloughing – over-exfoliating leads to sensitivity as it can weaken the skin’s protective barrier.

This is also the decade that your skin starts producing less hyaluronic acid, a natural moisturiser that keeps your complexion looking plumper (hyaluronic acid holds an impressive 1000 times its own weight in water). Adding a serum that stimulates the skin to continue producing its own hyaluronic acid is a nifty way to naturally boost levels back to optimum. Look for a serum that contains Hyanify™, a fermented marine extract that does this naturally.

I’m officially middle aged. What should I be using?

In your 40’s and beyond you need the full kit: cleanser, exfoliant, targeted serum, eye gel, moisturiser, and SPF. Once you’re over 40 you start seeing pronounced changes in skin firmness as the levels of collagen and elastin begin to drop faster. Using a targeted serum is essential if helping skin stay as youthful as possible is your goal. Choose something that contains vitamin C and E to zap pigmentation and fade wrinkles, peptides with the power to increase skin firmness and elasticity, and marine extracts that have the power to push your skin to produce oodles of its very own natural moisturising agent, hyaluronic acid. 

A light eye gel that can reduce any puffiness (caffeine is excellent at this), diminish crow’s feet (stevisse is a great alternative to retinol for this sensitive area) and encourage muscles to relax will help this delicate area look smoother and plumper.

The right moisturiser is also crucial – not too heavy, not too light but definitely rich in top notch antioxidants and fatty acids (look for ingredients like rose canina oil, an absolute saviour for mature skin and sensitive skin), Vitamin B5 to calm redness and improve hydration, and amino acids that reduce the formation of expression wrinkles by eliminating excess skin tension

How much should I use?

Regardless of your age, more is not necessarily better. One pump of serum, two pumps of moisturiser and a pea-sized amount of eye gel is all you need if your products contain quality ingredients in concentrations that will deliver results. Happy skin through the decades is as simple as that.

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