Skincare

The only 10 beauty rules that matter

Wear whatever make-up you like, but skincare rules were not made to be broken.

By Erin Berryman

When it comes to beauty, trends and new products come and go, and a little experimentation is no bad thing. However, there are 10 non-negotiable rules you should always abide by so that you can put your best face forward.

1. Don't sleep in your make-up

We've all been there – you get home late and bed is calling your name so you skip washing your face and hit the hay. You can deal with the remnants of mascara and foundation in the morning… no harm done right? Wrong.

It turns out not washing your face could be what's standing in the way of a glowing complexion. Day-old make-up is a magnet for sweat, oil, pollution and dirt, which all naturally accumulate throughout the day.

During the day, your skin is in defensive mode, doing its best to shield against aggressors, but at night it starts to repair itself, turning over skin cells and replenishing collagen levels. Makeup clogs pores, making it harder for skin to regenerate itself.

If it's just one of those nights where you can't muster the energy, keep a pack of makeup wipes handy; it's better than nothing! And to ensure your skin can truly work its magic, don't forget the importance of that second cleanse!

2. Wash your make-up brushes regularly

It's been hammered home time and again but still, it's often only done with your annual spring clean. Dirty brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, which can trigger acne and skin infections.

Wash your make-up tools at least once a fortnight to limit the chance of breakouts and extend the life of your brushes. Or take them in the shower with you and cleanse with baby shampoo or special brush cleaner.

3. Only ever use lukewarm water on your face

There are many mixed messages surrounding water temperature and face washing. Hot water is a definite no as it damages the skin's protective barrier, but did you know cold water isn't advisable either?

It may be a great way to wake up, but exposing yourself to different temperature extremes can irritate skin, particularly if it's sensitive. Find a temperature that sits in the middle, and if you prefer to wash your face in the shower, make sure to turn the dial down.

4. Always wear SPF

A drop in temperature means a switch from lightweight lotions to thicker creams that combat dry, flaky skin. But think twice before lowering your SPF protection, even on overcast days; up to 80 per cent of the sun's rays can penetrate through clouds. If not for your health's sake, use SPF in the name of vanity as radiation breaks down collagen, leading to premature ageing. And don't forget your neck and hands; they're the first place to show age.

5. Hydrate inside and out

We're often so busy slathering on lotions that we forget to hydrate on the inside too. While an expensive cream sure has its perks, don't underestimate the power of H2O.

Water helps to flush out toxins more efficiently, leaving skin fresh and luminous. Water can also strengthen nails and promote growth as well as maintain skin elasticity, keeping it supple and youthful.

The amount needed varies according to age, size, weather and how active you are. As a guide, adults should aim for 1.5 to two litres of fluid each day. If you're not a fan of plain water, add cucumber or orange for a bit of natural flavour.

Caffeine-free and sweetener-free teas are likewise a great alternative and there are some with calming and beautifying herbs to support healthy skin and relieve tension.

6. Know when to see a professional

Sometimes beauty woes are beyond your knowledge, and delving into search engine territory is a dangerous game. That's when you need to see a professional. Whether it's a stubborn spot, redness, pigmentation or scarring, a specialist can diagnose and treat the problem accordingly.

7. Don't over-pluck your brows

Gone are the days of super-skinny, virtually non-existent brows. Now it's all about embracing your natural arches. If you were a chronic over-tweezer, brow regrowth may take some years. And avoid plucking until you have more to work with. "When it comes to growing your brows back and shaping, the safest place to start is seeking out a professional.

It's important to find a brow artist who will take quality time assessing your brows and face shape," says Sarah Taiapa-Bell, national brow artist for Benefit Cosmetics.

"It's also worth investing in a brow conditioner to stimulate growth," she adds. If the damage is already done, you can mimic the real deal with a brow fibre gel. Or talk to a microblading technician if you want more permanent results.

8. Leave spots and pimples alone

As tempting as it may be, nothing good ever comes from picking or popping a spot or pimple. More often than not you'll make the problem worse by pushing bacteria deeper into the skin and spreading the infection or causing a trauma, which results in a scar. Instead, apply a quick-heal solution with antibacterial properties, like salicylic acid or tea tree oil.

9. Use a serum

After the age of 25 everyone should start to use a serum. Serums deliver concentrated active ingredients directly into skin, penetrating far deeper than moisturisers. Creams and cleansers generally contain between five and 10 per cent active ingredients, while serums can contain up to 70 per cent.

With continual use, you can expect firmer, smoother, more refined skin. They're more expensive, but their high potency means you only need to use a small amount. Apply after cleansing and before moisturising.

10. Go without makeup at least once a week

Few of us are blessed with a flawless complexion but sadly it's a vicious cycle; the more make-up you wear, the more problems you'll have. Taking one day off will let your pores recover from being clogged up with foundation, blush and concealer.

Plus, a clearer complexion ensures a smoother canvas in future. On the makeup-free note, it's cheesy but it's true: it's important to love yourself just the way you are! And when you do wear make-up it should be fun and not used to disguise your features. There's a new wave of 'second skin' foundations that have a weightless, real-skin natural finish.

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