So skincare can be overwhelming, whether you're a seasoned skincare aficionado or a relative newbie, there is a constant torrent of new products released each week and the pressure of having the new "must-have" item makes your credit card cry out in despair. Which is why we are (always) here to help, guiding you to what you need, what's just a trend and stripping away all that beauty-gibberish, leaving you with - hopefully - perfect skin, some great tips and our favourite products.
1. Get to know your skin type
Everyone's skin is different, understanding your skin type is the most important thing you can do. What your favourite celebrity uses on their skin might not work for yours, in fact it could cause irritation and breakouts. The main types are: oily, acne-prone, dry, sensitive, and mature skin; it’s important to recognise that you can be more than one in different areas or times of the year. Try and have a few products outside of your "everyday" skin type for when your skin changes.
2. Popping a spot will NEVER make it better, faster
Basically, stop touching your face! We've heard it all before "your hands are dirtier than a toilet seat" and it's pretty much true. Your hands are covered in bacteria for the majority of the day. So if you're touching an already inflamed spot with bacteria-laden fingers you're only delaying it's disappearance. Plus, there are different types of spots, if you try and squeeze a red cyst or boil with no visible head you're only going to damage your skin.
3. Pop spots with clean hands
Right, we know what we just said but we also know if you want to do it - you're going to. Ensure it's the right type of spot, a white head with visible puss on the skins surface. Make sure you've just washed your hands, grab some clean tissues to wrap around your finger tips and if it doesn't pop within 2 squeezes - stop or you risk leaving a scar.
4. Always double cleanse
Double cleansing has transformed our skin here at ALF, we all swear by it but don't worry, you only need to double cleanse at night - just use whatever is quickest for you in the morning. By cleansing twice you're ensuring your skin is free from any dirt, bacteria, oil and pollution, leaving you with a perfectly clean base to begin your nighttime skin regime.
5. SPF is everything
If there is one thing any skincare expert will tell you, it is to wear SPF. 90% of how your skin ages is due to sun exposure, which means you are in control! Also, UV rays are beating down all year round, even on the cloudiest day, so protect your skin by using a SPF 30 - your skin will be thanking you for years to come.
6. Period skin is a thing
And yes, it's rubbish and some how ALWAYS falls on the day of an event. Our hormones don't just affect our mood, they change our skin too. It's best to figure out your monthly cycle, if you are regular, and tweak your regime to suit your skins needs. If your cycle greets you out of the blue - or red - then make sure you've got a few products handy whenever you might need them.
7. Don't forget your neck
Although your neck and décolletage (fancy french word for skin around your chest) aren't part of your face doesn't mean you should ignore it! In fact it's considered, by dermatologists, as all one-skin, meaning it'll show all the signs of neglect, sun damage and age as your face does - yikes. So make sure you're continuing your regime down your neck but in an upwards motion.
8. Moisturiser is key
No, we don't just mean moisturising. Keeping hydrated is vital to your skin's condition so try and drink 2 litres of water a day. Use a light moisturiser in the morning so you're not looking greasy and a heavier one in the evening, which is when the skin is repairing itself.
9. You don't need to spend hundreds for it to be good
We've all heard the tales of incredibly expensive lotions and potions being the only way to perfect skin but it's simply not true. You needn't spend your months mortgage to get the glowy skin of your dreams, in fact there are so many affordable solutions that are the preferred skin care for celebrities and dermatologists.
10. Watch your diet
Done all of the above and still you've got problematic skin? Look at what you're eating. No matter how miraculous a product is supposed to be, it'll never compete against a poor nutrient-lacking diet or against foods your gut simply doesn't like.
Cleansers are used to remove make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other types of pollutants from the face. Depending on your skin type will change which cleanser works for you.
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser has been specifically formulated for sensitive skin that is normal to oily and prone to discomfort & imperfections. Would avoid for dry skin and instead go for their Hydrating Cleanser.
Frances Prescott Tri-Balm a luxurious oil facial balm which cleanses, exfoliates and moisturises in one simple step. Would avoid for very oily skin.
Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm is another oil formulation with a heavenly spa-like fragrance and also comes with a fantastic cloth with two different sides. Good for all skin types.
Moisturisers lock in hydration, protect sensitive skin, improve skin tone and texture. Depending on your skin type will change which cleanser works for you.
Weleda Skin Food has a cult following amongst celebrities, models and make-up artist. Ultra-hydrating and extremely effective for dry skin all year round or to use as your winter swap-in.
HealGel Face harnesses the power of multi-active ingredients to take transformative skin therapy to the next level. Triple phase hyaluronic acid complex delivers an instant firming and plumping effect. Great for all skin types.
Balance Me Moisture Rich Face Cream contains Arctic Cloudberry is an anti-oxidant rich fruit that protects the skin from environmental damage like high-pollution. Ideal for sensitive or easily irritated skin.
Other things we love
Here are a few team favourites to compliment your skin care regime.
Konjac Sponges, these have won tonnes of awards and it's easy to see why. There is a sponge to meet any skin type. Gentle enough for sensitive skin and babies, the Konjac Sponges are the ultimate tool in natural, effective skincare and cleansing.
Salicylic Gel, this clear product deals quickly and easily with the bacteria that can cause problem skin, while being gentle enough for all sensitivity levels. Ideal for those who suffer from oily skin but suitable for all skin types, the gel has been formulated to heal skin that has been affected by blemishes, improving the clarity but not leaving skin irritated.
Exfoliate Glycolic Acid Toner, a gentle yet effective toner which evens-out skin tone, brightens the complexion, tightens pores and promotes skin cell renewal. Suitable for all skin types unless very easily irritated.