I’m not going to lie to you — changing your skincare routine is a major fiasco. There is such huge potential for disaster. If you have something which works for you, I strongly recommend sticking to it. Don’t get sucked into the vanity of wanting to use Chanel skincare if Johnson&Johnson makes your skin glow — you will regret it.
Why would someone want to change their skincare routine in the first place?
In my case, I had to change mine because my favourite moisturiser was discontinued.. A tragedy, since I loved it and had been using it for years. Other reasons might be that you’re breaking out regularly, your skin is too dry or too oily, your cleanser stings your face, or you want to upgrade to a more adult or glamorous brand (don’t do it!).
Now that you’ve established that you want to pull the great switcheroo, here’s how to go about it.
The first thing you should do is work out the attributes of a product you’d like to use. Does price matter to you? How about fragrance — would you rather something that smells amazing or something fragrance-free? Do you want a product with a good reputation or does that not bother you? You get the picture. For me, the most important thing about a skincare product is that it’s fairly natural, and by this I mean lots of plant-based ingredients and very little in the way of preservatives or alcohol. There aren’t a lot of companies doing that kind of thing, so that automatically narrows the pool.
From here, you need to find out about companies which you think might be in line with what you’re after. The controversial Paula Begoun, aka “the Cosmetics Cop” (pshhhh) has a handy little search function on her website. You can use this to get overall reviews of brands, and also individual assessments of pretty much any makeup, skincare or haircare product ever invented.
Do, of course, keep in mind that this is one woman’s opinion — and of course, she hasn’t tried the vast majority of these things. (Can you imagine what a mess her skin would be if she was using a different product every day?!) No, mostly she just reads the ingredients list and makes an assessment. I disagree with a lot of her reviews, BUT it’s a good place to start.
Once you’ve read up on that, head to Makeupalley for a real review. Makeupalley is amazing, a community site where cosmetics-obsessed individuals write their thoughts on everything in their makeup cabinet. It’s great for getting a balanced perspective on things, and you can rank reviews by average rating, too.
I think it’s important to go to the beauty counter of the company you’re interested in and talk to one of their staff. They know what they’re talking about, and they can look at your skin and make recommendations of what you might like to use. They also have interesting insights — you might think your skin is dry, when actually, it’s just dehydrated. They are trained professionals so take their advice! Don’t feel bad about getting samples: you should take as many as you possibly can.
If they don’t give out samples, walk away. Seriously. WHY anyone would spend hundreds of pounds on a product that may or may not work is beyond me. Some products get rave reviews, but everyone’s skin is different and there is no guarantee that anything will work for you!
Try, try, try again.
When you’re changing your skincare routine, try to go slowly if possible. In my case, I was using a cleanser, a toner and a moisturiser. My moisturiser was almost finished, so when I went to the skin care counter, they gave me a moisturiser which suited my skintype as well as some cleanser. While the temptation to use both of these products was great, I held myself back, and I am glad. Why? Because if your skin starts to break out, you won’t know why. Best to substitute one product at a time.
Here’s the bad news — it can take a long time, sometimes up to 3 weeks for your skin to show a reaction to a skincare product. I know, it’s bad. Often, cosmetics companies aren’t very keen on giving away 3 weeks worth of free product, and I can understand why. My suggestion to you is to use as little as possible, make it last the distance. (The sneaky may like to go back for more samples.)
Buy the smallest size you can and keep your receipt.
Smile at yourself in the mirror. You fought the beauty industry and won!
When skincare goes wrong…
Another week into your routine, you might break out, get a rash or feel like your face is melting. It happens! If it does, you’ll be glad you kept the receipt. Take it back to the store. Usually when you do this and explain the problem, they’ll exchange your bunk product for something which is more suited to your skintype. If not, shake your fist angrily and return to your prior skincare routine.
(All images sources available by clicking on the picture themselves)