Fresh start II
Date: 26 May 2016

The mantra to set up (and follow) a winning skincare routine is this: start small and stay strong. Our two-part basic skincare cheat sheet has all the answers to help you fulfil every skin goal you’ve ever had - By Parizaad Khan Sethi

If you’ve ever wanted to streamline your beauty routine but didn’t know where to start, here’s your ticket to skincare success. Your biggest organ has some simple needs: it has to be kept clean, needs to be gently exfoliated, fed with moisture and nutrients and shielded from the sun. In Part 1 of our basic skincare guide, we demystified cleansing and toning. Read on to know about nourishment, hydration and protection. Your skin will thank you.

Step 3: Serum or Treatment
A.M. and P.M.

Spend the maximum amount of your beauty budget on this step. Serums and treatments are targeted, potent products that contain a concentrated amount of active ingredients. Choose one based on your skincare concerns. Serums rich in Vitamin C, like Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate are great for dullness, while spots will benefit from Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. Potent anti-ageing benefits can be gained from a retinol or Vitamin A serum. We love the home-grown ingredients like saffron, sandalwood and liquorice in Kama Ayurveda Kumkumadi Miraculous Beauty Ayurvedic Night Serum.

Before cocktailing—layering one serum over the other—be aware that the active ingredients in one might clash with another. For example, using retinol and Vitamin C products together might make some people sensitive, so mix with caution. To be safe, split between day and night: Vitamin C and E serums work well for daytime use, as they increase the protection sunscreen gives you, while retinol is best after hours, as it tends to make skins more sensitive to the sun.

Step 4: Moisturize
A.M. and P.M.

A moisturizer is meant to hydrate your skin and seal in all the skincare ingredients you’ve applied so far. Choose one meant for your skin type. Dry skin moisturizers will hydrate deeply; try Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. Oils like Forest Essentials Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Oil Coconut, Kama Ayurveda Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil are also genius for dryness, as they seal in moisture.

Oilier skins would benefit from lighter formulations like Forest Essentials Light Hydrating Moisturising Facial Gel Pure Aloe Vera, and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer. Oily ones, as tempting as it may seem, don’t skip this step. If you strip oily skin of moisture and avoid hydrating it, it encourages the skin to pump out even more sebum, creating a vicious circle of oil-producing madness. Stop the madness, use a moisturizer.

A daytime moisturizer with SPF is okay if you’re not going to be out in the sun, but if you are, you need a dedicated sunscreen, which brings us to…

Step 5: Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the single best anti-ageing action you can take for your skin, and in this case, there is no such thing as starting early. This step is seriously non-negotiable, and as uncomfortable as sunscreen might feel due to our climate, it is essential. There is no cheat to sunscreen—just suck it up and use one that suits your skin best.

Choose a broad spectrum product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays: the former will cause skin to prematurely age and wrinkle, while the latter is responsible for causing skin cancer. Try Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++. And if you’re using an AHA, BHA or retinol product in your routine, you can’t afford to ignore sunscreen. Sunscreen will also protect you from pigmentation, which is a sign of ageing in south Asian skin types (we are less prone to wrinkles and more susceptible to developing uneven pigmentation as we grow older). Pigmentation problems are notoriously difficult to erase once they get started, so start early and be consistent.

If you feel your skin is breaking out because of sunscreen or is otherwise sensitive to it, you just might not be cleansing it off right. See Step 1, and do a double cleanse.

This may seem overwhelming at first, but like most things, it gets easier with practice. And as much as we love Netflix, our faces go with us everywhere, so we’re kinda obliged to love our faces more. Remember that when you’re about to skip skincare and get comatose on the couch after a long day.

Fresh start II
Parizaad Khan Sethi

is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.