In our Rehab Your Skin series, we’re taking things back to basics to help you reset your skincare regimen in the new year and reclaim positive skincare habits.
Hydrating routines are excellent across for most skin types and a staple in every skincare journey. More importantly, they’re amazing skin-resetters when a new product or newfound life stress throws your skin completely off-orbit. The key to any effective hydrating skincare regimen lies in treating skin like it’s very sensitive — even if it isn’t — and then simply throwing moisture and anti-inflammatories at it until it calms down and returns to zero again. It’s exactly as easy as it sounds, and all you have to do is put together the right layers:
A gentle, restorative routine requires an equally gentle cleanser to begin with, and Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser ($25) is a mild lil’ number filled with 25 per cent rosewater to ensure that your face is kindly handled as it’s cleansed. As an added bonus, it also contains extra-soothing vitamin B5 to calm even the most chapped skin.
A quality hydrating toner usually doesn’t hide behind a list of super exotic ingredients, and that’s because the non-offensive and effective hydrators can often be easily found in natural ingredients, like ceramides in rice bran and vitamin E in wheat germ. The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Hydrating Toner ($16) uses the latter to deeply hydrate your skin so that it’s plush and happy for the moisturizing layers to follow.
Every hydrating routine requires an extra shot of moisture somewhere. Plenty of people mix a fatty oil into their regular moisturizer for a boost, but it’s usually more efficient to apply a thinner layer of fluid before the moisturizer instead, so that it can penetrate deeply and kickstart the internal hydration process. May Coop’s Raw Sauce ($54) is made with maple tree sap, which has a smaller molecular size than water so it can dive much deeper into the skin, while The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + b5 ($6.80) features hyaluronic acid of three different sizes to perform the same deep-dive function as a high-end cream.
Once plenty of moisture has been injected into the skin, a lightweight gel-cream like Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream ($50) is perfect at providing a breathable yet lush surface-level barrier of hydration. A thicker or waxier cream might suit some people more depending on how harsh their environment is, but most might want to stick to a light cream that nourishes deeply with rose oil instead of one that might clog pores in the long run.
Finally, for happily hydrated skin, opt for a nourishing sunscreen instead of a mattifying one, and avoid those with too many actives that might distress the skin. Shiseido’s Ibuki Protective Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 18 ($55) is protective but gentle, and features peony root extract and a hyper-gentle active to refine and even out skin texture over time.