Similar to a master mixologist, we’re compelled to cocktail many of our products for two main reasons. The first reason emerges from the sea of choices and the second reason is to optimise skin health. In the same way that one combines an expensive trouser with a high street blouse, or a designer bag with a mid-priced shift dress, doing the hi-lo with your skincare can indeed work, if well thought out.
1. Skin Intention
What are you aiming to do? Whether it’s to hydrate, correct blemishes or improve skin texture, your routine should be designed around that.
2. Think Texture
Go from thin to thick. Toners, serums and boosters will always be lighter and thinner, while moisturisers and oils are naturally heavier and should round out your routine.
3. Be Mindful
You don’t want the clash of the titans to happen on your face. Nor do you want to nullify the power of the ingredients by cocktailing products that won’t layer well and result in allergic reactions, pilling or destroying your makeup over the course of the day.
4. Can You and Your Skin Stand It
How sensitive is your skin and are you willing to commit to cocktailing. If your work schedule is erratic, if you’re a student clocking late nights regularly, if you’re a mum with young ones or if the wave of skincare maximisation has your head in a flat spin, I’d advocate for a soft start by choosing a multi-tasking product or one powerful item that you can commit to, before branching out to a more varied routine. For scope, here are the items I reach for and how I use them, post cleanse.
The Post Cleanse Shuffle
I begin with Avène Eau Thermal Spring Water to give it a bit of a water blast, as I find that textures are easier to work into the skin on a slightly damp face. This is not just any water in a canister. Avène has a long, rich history and is always testing its mineral rich thermal water which comes from the Cévennes mountains in Avène, France and is channeled straight from the source into the canister.
Thereafter, I reach for Dr. Alkaitis Organic Herbal Toner. Dr. Alkaitis is an organic brand, and this toner is formulated with wild crafted herbs including Myrrh, Chamomile, European Elder Flowers, Rosemary, Fennel and Kelp among other good green elements. I use it by applying to a multi-layer cotton square and swiping my face with it. I also drop a penny-sized amount into my palm and press into my face. With the cotton square I also lightly go over my lips to remove lipstick and beverage residue that may not be visible to the eye. For oilier skin types, this toner also works a treat.
There are a few schools of thought as to when eye cream should be applied. I was taught to apply it before the heavy hitter products so that the eyes are looked after first. Once toning is completed, I apply Payot Techni Regard, an eye cream that contains diamond powder to brighten the eye contour and dextran sulfate to smooth lines.
Following this, I apply Oskia Get up and Glow, a brilliant, brightening, reinvigorating serum that combats signs of fatigue, lines and dullness. Oskia also recommends tapping over makeup for a re-up during the day. I find it provides an excellent base for makeup, and also works for no makeup days as well.
For sun protection, using just a sunscreen is perfectly fine. But about a year ago, I discovered Institut Esthederm UV in Cellium, a product that works to prepare the skin for sun exposure. While UV in Cellium Spray is formulated without conventional filters, it works to enable the skin to defend itself against environmental aggressors, such as pollution and sun and works to combat the formation of dark spots and sun-induced aging. There is the mildest scent and the texture is akin to spraying water, albeit water that has a bit of ‘slip’ to it.
To round out the routine, I finish with Suqqu Face Protector 50 Advanced. This is a Japanese product that delivers hydration and sun protection. It has a pearly finish that is more akin to a moisturiser than a sunscreen. Pleasurable to use, it does not leave any odd residues or casts on the skin except to make it look plump and ready to face the sun.
For night time, I switch serums and reach for Vichy Idealia Life Serum which also works to reinvigorate the skin and offers exfoliation without a gritty texture. This serum is on the creamy side, making it perfect for night time although it can be used for daytime as well. It also smoothes fine lines and has helped in chipping away at some pigmentation.
Lastly, a cream to seal it all in before my head sinks into the pillow. Fermented skin care is a mainstay in the Asian cosmetic market. Su:m 37 is a Korean brand that uses fermented ingredients, which are meant to increase the skin’s vitality. Containing six types of fermented herbs in addition to terabin which is extracted from fermented beans, this cream is visually thick but its texture is lighter than you would expect. Absorption is quick and there is the mildest herbal scent, which never fails to thrill and reassure me. Also oddly cool to the touch, this cream makes massaging the face a joy and is a perfect end to my skin care duties for the day. If you can’t be bothered or are too tired and need just one worker bee for nighttime, this is the one.
Cocktailing your skin care is hardly a novel concept. While the push behind the practice is to increase skin’s health and appearance, both aspects to me, are interchangeable and the same. In other words, healthy skin will look the part.