These simple mistakes could be stopping you from perfecting your skincare routine

After many years of tinkering with combinations and tailoring each step, most of us have our skincare routine down to a T. But what if we told you a few simple changes could make all the difference? From the easily avoidable to the truly clever, these habit-breaking tips and tricks can help you make the most of your daily skincare regime.

Washing your face in the shower
The shower is undoubtedly the ideal spot for multitasking, the only place where you can shave, condition your hair and practise your vocal range in one fell swoop. As a place where seemingly anything goes, it may come as a surprise to hear that washing your face is the one task that you really should be abstaining from. The hot water can dry out skin and strip the face of its natural oils, leaving the skin barrier weak and prone to irritation and dryness — instead, wash at the sink with a gentle cleanser like this creamy Codage one, using lukewarm water only. 

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Not washing your pillowcases enough
While they may look clean on the surface, our pillowcases harbour a shocking number of nasties that can cause breakouts and spur on imperfections. To minimise oils, dirt, bacteria and hair product residue transferring onto your face, we recommend rotating or washing pillowcases at least once per week. Another tip? Silk pillowcases, like this sleek Slip number, help reduce the sign of wrinkles, prevent face creases and serves as a luxurious addition to the boudoir.

Using a dirty washcloth
Speaking of harbouring bacteria, if you’re a fan of using a washcloth to wipe off your cleanser, we don’t recommend using the same cloth several times in a row. Stock up on a collection of several cotton flannels and use a fresh one each day. This will mean you’re not reapplying any makeup, dirt or oil from the day before to your clean visage.

Not applying products correctly
Tugging and pulling your skin downwards when applying moisturisers and products will only spur on the sagging, anti-ageing process. You should be moving the products in the way you want your face to go, in future apply moisturiser under the eyes in upwards, circular motions and use light upward strokes everywhere else, especially on the neck area.

From left: Emma Lewisham Skin Shield Take On The Day Crème with SPF 30 from Spring Spa; Sothys Face Scrub from Sothys; Codage Cleansing Cream from Spring Spa; Slip silk pillowcase from Superette.

Vigorous towelling
Scrubbing at your face or rubbing it roughly with a towel can drive bacteria deeper into the pores, irritate the skin and bring on a tirade of skin issues. Instead, opt for a lighter approach and gently pat at your face after washing. Got a few minutes to spare? Those who want to take it a step further can skip the towelling process altogether — let your face air-dry for a few moments before applying serums and moisturisers, your skin actually absorbs products better when it’s damp anyway.

Applying SPF
The jury is still out on the best time to apply SPF — some dermatologists claim that putting it on first is best, as it can sink deeper into the skin, while others say that the successive layering of products dilates the SPF and reduces its effectiveness. Until the hot debate is cleared, try opting for a two-in-one moisturiser with SPF instead (like this Emma Lewisham one) and be sure to apply it daily, even when you don’t think you need to. (Note: you always need it — even in winter.)

Over-doing it
Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and a common mistake many people make is to slather on products in a ‘the more the merrier’ approach. However, over-exfoliating the skin can remove its protective barrier, leaving it exposed to a bevvy of environmental toxins and sun damage, and over-cleansing can irritate it. Limit exfoliation to 2-3 times a week with an effective exfoliator, like Sothys Face Scrub, and stop cleansing in the morning. The oils that our skin produces while we sleep are beneficial and shouldn’t need to be stripped away.

Sleeping with your hair loose
Your hair’s natural oils combined with the residue from your shampoos and conditioners can transfer onto your skin while you sleep and clog your pores, polluting your skin and triggering the return of unsightly blemishing and pesky pimples. Instead, tie your hair away from you into a loose ponytail or plait — but be sure not to tie it too tight as this can snap and damage your hair.


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