By MELISSA DEDRICK
I know a bit about beauty. I’m no Zoe Foster but after working behind a beauty counter at a major department store, I know a thing or two.
First of all, yes. I understand that walking onto the beauty floor of a large department store can be intimidating. There are ladies trying to squirt perfume on you, there are bright lights, white coats and BB, CC and DD creams everywhere.
And those ladies? They want to sell you stuff. All the stuff. Right? That’s what most people think and it’s sometimes true.
HOWEVER. That’s not always the case. Beauty counter types like me don’t just spend our time trying to get you to add more tricky things to your daily beauty routine. In fact, I find that I actually spend a lot of time helping customers understand and fix the things they’re already doing wrong.
The good news is this: there are many common skin issues you can tackle yourself with just a bit of knowledge. So let’s do this. Here are 6 of the most common skincare mistakes women are making right now. And why you need to stop making them immediately.
1. Using makeup wipes to wash your face
For the love of the skin gods, do not cleanse your face with makeup wipes. No matter what the packet says, using a makeup wipe is not an efficient method to cleanse your face. Makeup wipes are totally brilliant at getting off makeup but it takes more than rubbing a pre-moistened towel over your face for 10 seconds to cleanse your face of a day’s worth of makeup, air pollution, and dirt (from your hands) that has begun to settle into your pores. Always use a proper cleanser (no, soap and water does not count). Makeup wipes are not the every day answer. Save them for when you’re travelling or you’re just taking your make-up off after work to refresh it before you go out.
2. Skipping the moisturiser when you have oily/acne prone skin
If you’ve got oily or acne prone skin, it’s natural to get spooked by the thought of smothering cream on top of your face. It’s just going to make it more oily, right? WRONG.
Our faces get oily when the sebaceous glands are working overtime to produce natural oils in the skin. The drier the skin on your face gets from the winter winds and the hot showers and the no moisturiser, the harder these glands work to produce MORE oil in order to combat it’s dry desert surface. So the more you don’t moisturise and hydrate your face, the oilier it’s going to get. By using an oil-free moisturiser morning and night, your skin will remain hydrated without adding extra oils that your skin doesn’t need.
3. Using harsh scrubs
Let’s just put it this way, nothing good has ever come from scratching your face with a hand full of apricot kernels.
Of course it’s very important to exfoliate your skin a couple of times a week, but pretty please don’t scrub and scratch your beautiful face with harsh facial scrubs.
I know it’s satisfying to feel as though you’re really getting in there with those huge buffing seeds and cleaning that face good, but all you’re doing is scratching the crap out of your face.
This can cause all kinds of problems like broken capillaries, irritation, and small breaks in the skin that are then open to bacteria causing acne. It’s better to use exfoliants with small, gentle beads that aren’t going to agitate the skin.
4. Foaming Cleansers
Foaming agents strip the skins surface of oil and dirt residues, which is exactly what you want your dishwashing detergent to do. But your face is not a frying pan, and it is far too delicate to be washed with these kinds of substances. Foaming cleansers are great for ridding the skin of clogged pores and grime, however they completely strip the skin of its natural oils leaving it tight and dry like a nasty old prune.
If you have oily skin – try a gel cleanser. This is just as purifying without the unnecessary loss of moisture. If you have dry skin – try a cream cleanser. This will cleanse impurities while injecting nourishing properties back into the skin at the same time.
5. Skipping Toner
Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise. This has been the mantra of skincare gurus for decades. These 3 magic words were imprinted on my brain by my mum and grandma from when I was about 10 years old. (oh yeah … the bug bit me young).
A lot of us tend to neglect the second step of this mantra due to the dry, tightening effects that toners have been associated with in the past. But long gone are the days of toner as most of us know it to be. The traditional alcohol-laden mixture of water and witch hazel is dead.
The toner of this day and age is an essential second step in anyone’s facial skincare routine. The first function of a new age toner is to rebalance the ph levels in your skin following cleansing as sometimes the active ingredients on our cleansers can leave the skin a little alkaline. The second function is that it aids in the absorption of products into the skin that you put on top of it. Winner!
6. Missing a serum
A good facial serum is a beauty pro’s best weapon. It may just be that extra little step between toning and moisturising, but let me tell you it is all about the serum when it comes to anything about your skin that you want to treat. Serum’s are the Neil Patrick Harris of the skincare world, they can do everything!
Anti-ageing, uneven skin tone, acne scarring, severe dehydration; whatever your skincare concern may be there is a serum to help correct it. The reason why a serum is so incredible is that it is a super charged treatment filled with powerful active ingredients aimed at solely correcting your skin concern.
Sure, you can buy moisturisers with some of these ingredients in it, but no moisturiser that claims to address multiple skin issues can ever be as powerful as a serum that is specifically engineered to tackle that bad boy straight on.
Melissa works in advertising for Mamamia and also dabbles in writing from time to time. She is a self-confessed beauty junkie, lover of all things caramel, and can aimlessly recall the name of any actor and the character that they played in almost any movie. You can follow her on Twitter here.