Intelligent Beauty

It’s time to get serious about skin care

As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. It’s never too early (or late) to begin taking care of your skin, which doesn’t mean a convoluted 10-step beauty ritual (unless that’s your bag, in which case, go for it) – it just means making savvy skin care choices to prolong the health and vibrancy of your complexion. Lines are inevitable (and beautiful!), but by subscribing to these simple beauty rules you can ensure you’ll always put your very best face forward.

A lot of us (Millennials especially) are taking stock and gradually shifting our focus from ‘instant results’ to slower, more long-term investments in cellular health. Obsessed as we are with wellbeing, it follows that making the effort to nurture our skin is becoming a priority. A bit like a ‘pension’, we’re taking the time to invest in our face’s retirement fund – asking ourselves from an earlier age about steps we can take to delay the depletion of collagen (production starts slowing around age 18) and prolong our youthful vitality.

A survey of 2,000 women in the US found that almost one-third (30%) of those under 35 regularly use ‘anti-wrinkle’ products, and this includes one in five women under 24 (source: Dermstore) but, unlike our mothers before us, this isn’t a quest for the next ‘wonder’ cream but instead, a holistic approach which encompasses all beauty categories. 

{Teens and Early 20s…}

Begin respecting your complexion and surrender harsh, dehydrating agents to your teens. If you’re still battling with blemishes, back away from the benzoyl peroxide – it leaves your skin stripped and incredibly over-exposed while DESTROYING your much-needed collagen.

Cleanse with a gentle, conditioning balm – Emma Hardie’s {Moringa Cleansing Balm} works a charm (and smells delectable) – then address individual pimples with something that’s brimming with salicylic acid. It penetrates pores to dissolve dirt and grime without disrupting equilibrium. We swear by Kate Somerville’s (millenial pink!) {EradiKate Acne Treatment} – it looks cute on your shelf and kicks spots bots.

Up your exfoliation game to pre-empt cellular slowdown. Switch between a polish and an acid to refine skin’s surface whilst also optimising cell function on a deeper level. Aesop’s {Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant} can be added to your favourite cleansing formula to polish and promote skin’s circulation, while Pixi’s bestselling {Glow Tonic} boasts glycolic acid, to dissolve dulling dead cells and stimulate collagen synthesis. Use 2-3 nights a week to spur sluggish skin cells into action.

ALWAYS wear sunscreen… even if you live in deepest, darkest Britain. It’s the best thing you can do to maintain your complexion’s integrity. You don’t need an ultra-high factor – around 25-30 will do – but apply it religiously. Something with added free radical-fighting antioxidants will tackle two skin-ageing birds with one stone – invest in de Mamiel’s miraculous {Atmosphériques Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar SPF 30}, which marries sun-protection with anti-pollution powerhouses.

{Mid 20s…}

Supercharge your serum – opt for something vitamin-rich, that will help to combat free radicals, preserve precious collagen and maintain skin’s strength and elasticity. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, as well as being brilliantly brightening. A force field for your face, apply to clean skin after cleansing, or add a few drops to your day cream. With only five ingredients, Mabel + Meg’s {Lumilixir Serum} is a perfect plumping (and protective!) priming potion.

Try a facial oil. They’re brilliantly balancing as well as being ideal for elasticising skin. Effectively a ‘top coat’ for your visage, apply on top of day creams (before sunscreen), to seal the ‘good stuff’ in and keep the ‘bad stuff’ out. Or, use ‘neat’ at night-time, massaging into skin to boost blood flow and enhance penetration of the pure, potent ingredients. The Ordinary has a wardrobe of {treatment oils} to target every common skin concern, while Caudalie’s {VineActiv Overnight Detox Oil} is a brilliant way to replenish and fortify skin as you slumber.

{Late 20s/Early 30s}

Get serious about eye cream. It’s no longer enough to whack cucumber slices on your eyes to disguise signs of one-too-many vino tintos, you need to become militant about maintaining your skin’s elasticity and density. Notoriously fragile, it’s crucial to respect the delicate eye area and in turn, help prevent expression lines becoming prematurely permanent fixtures. Choose a potent eye cream packed with peptides, retinoids and line-smoothing hyaluronic acid, to combat crêpey-ness and minimise dark circles. We love Dr. Dennis Gross’ impressive {Ferulic and Retinol Eye Cream}, or try Jonna Vargas’s concentrated {Revitalising Eye Cream}. 

Add a retinoid to really up the age-defying ante. One of the best ways to help counteract cellular slow-down, vitamin A works wonders – boosting synthesis of precious collagen, which keeps skin firm and ‘bouncy’. A rich, replenishing night cream is the best way to introduce retinol into your ritual. Invest in VERSO’s pioneering {Night Cream}, or introduce Oskia’s brilliant {Super 16 Serum}, which stars bakuchiol (a ‘natural’ alternative to retinol), alongside a cocktail of brightening, lifting and line-lessening ingredients.


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…