When it comes to skincare, it's never a one size fits all. After years of doing all the wrong things, wasted pounds, products and endless hours of research, I believe I found a skincare routine and philosophy that helps prevent my break-outs, while also fades and diminishes those ever soul-wrenching dark marks left behind after a breakout, known as hyperpigmentation.
So, allow me to share with you my current simplified skincare routine as well as some tips and tricks, targeted towards darker complexion skin tones but useful for anyone just looking for a bit of guidance on where to start when building a skin-care routine. I hope I make your lives just that bit easier.
REMOVE THAT MAKEUP, NOT YOUR SKIN BARRIER!
After finding out the hard way and using products that are sometimes way too harsh, leaving my skin feeling dry and tight, I have opted to incorporate the double cleanse method as a first step to remove my makeup. Using an oil cleanser like Swipe Clean can be an uber hydrating and gentle way to get the job done. Most of us associate our makeup removal with being a rigorous process, sometimes using several makeup remover wipes and a ton of cotton pads that only end up hurting our skin, stripping away the ever-important skin barrier, which in the long run will leave us prone to sensitivity, dryness and breakouts. Instead, try introducing an oil-based cleanser as your first step to remove that initial layer of dirt and makeup.
CLEANSER IS A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND
Another place where most of us make a mis-step, is choosing our cleansers! For step two I go in with a GENTLE cream cleanser and yes GENTLE is always a keyword here. Again that tight feeling you sometimes have after washing your face isn’t what you want to feel and can leave your skin susceptible to more break-outs. Choosing the right cleanser that is deep cleaning and penetrating, yet hydrating can be the most important step to maintaining healthy and clear skin, and can even prevent hyperpigmentation, as it’s usually the aftereffect of a breakout. A cleanser that is packed full of beneficial and potent ingredients to accommodate your skincare concerns is a must-have in your routine! A staple cleanser is a great way to target some of your skin enemies as well as remove the makeup and grime from the day.
Products I'm currently living for:
- La-Roche-Posay Effaclar H Hydrating Cleansing Cream
- BYBI Crystal Clear
- Mario Badescu Acne facial cleanser
WHY TONING IS THE UNDERDOG
If you’re not sure if your skin is completely clean of dirt and makeup, a toner is a great addition to your routine. Toners can add a final step to not only remove dirt but provide another component of hydration or the additional help your skin might need. Some of my current faves like Lactic Acid, add another round of gentle cleansing, helping to remove any leftover dirt. It’s also an AHA that gently exfoliates skin and prevents inflammation or sensitivity and is also great to restrict the pores. Opting for a toner that caters to a specific purpose is important, so leave the gimmicky products behind, and you may just realise that your toner can be the underdog in your routine that you just can’t live without! My skincare philosophy has always been, if it’s not necessary, don’t use it, and that applies to ingredients, products and steps in your skin-care. Take the time to get to know your skin and if you keep that ideal close through-out your routine I promise you can’t go wrong.
- The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
- The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%
TO VITAMIN C OR NOT TO BE?
Being a POC, hyperpigmentation can be a bloody pain. After running through all the products which claim to lighten my dark marks too much of my dismay, I’m proud to say I have found one product that is a holy grail, an essential product if you will, in my skin arsenal to fight against my hyperpigmentation. While you probably already know the spiel about Vitamin C, there is a little more to it for it to be a reliable component in your skin-care, especially for people of colour. Yes, the rumours are true, Vitamin C can brighten your dark marks, but what may not be common knowledge is the potency and form in which you use this product, can directly affect its results. If you have medium to dark skin, you may want to go for a more potent form of Vitamin C, which I believe is best as a serum. Vitamin C can also lose its strength when in clear packaging, because it comes into contact with the sun, lessening the effectiveness of the product. So when picking up a Vit C serum, look-out for those in tinted or opaque packaging. When applying make sure it’s the layer of serum that is closest to your skin to optimise it, if your layering with other serums, then let it sit for 1 minute before putting on additional layers.
My current fave and must-have is The Ordinary’s L ascorbic acid (comes as a powder), I simply can’t function without it. I mix it with either Lactic or Glycolic Acid to create a potent serum and for me, this was the game changer!
RETINOL AND BAKUCHIOL, KEEP’EM CLOSE
Now I know this already it seems like a lot, but my skin-care routine just wouldn't be complete without the mention of these two products, retinol and bakuchiol. Honestly, I love them both equally. When I discovered retinol and bakuchiol, it was like I discovered the world’s biggest and best secret, to the point I wondered why I hadn't heard about it sooner. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin, so for me, retinol is a wonderful addition to my skin-care routine. It helps reduce and keep breakouts at bay, facilitates skin cell turnover, and stimulates collagen repair, which can increase the turnover time to get rid of that pesky hyperpigmentation. But as many know, retinol can sometimes come with some unsavoury side effects, like tightness. So, as I have grown closer to my skincare goals, bakuchiol has been my fail-safe go to that maintains all the hard work of my skin-care routine. It’s much more gentle and is a natural alternative to help my skin stay on track, that doesn’t give me any negative side effects. I love to use the BYBI Bakuchiol Booster in my fave night and day creams or by itself. If you have sensitive skin, you can skip the retinol all together, the bakuchiol has got you covered.
DON’T SKIP THAT SPF, YOU’LL BE SORRY!
Now that we’ve gone through all the basics that keep your skin cleansed and hydrated, let’s talk protection. Even if you live in the not so sunny London town or are basking in the sun on the Islands, an SPF is a total must in your skin-care roster and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Simply being outside or even sitting next to a window leaves your skin exposed to the effects of the sun. Popping on a sunscreen every day not only keeps you protected from harmful UV-rays but can also help with keeping your hyperpigmentation from becoming darker. SPF can aid the control of melanin production on a cellular level, in turn lessening the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Check out these dark-skin friendly sun creams, giving you all the protection you need without that ghostly look:
- Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF 25
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50
- Superdrug Solait Face Sun Cream Fluid SPF 30
Written by Hana, BYBI Intern