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Here are the products you need for great summer skin

Words by Alyce Greer

Illustration by Twylamae

Upgrade your everyday routine.

Winter is not kind to our skin. It’s not kind to anything really, but most of all, our skin. While our bodies can be covered up to combat vicious winds, freezing temperatures and lots of rain, our faces are out there, taking the worst of it. When the warmer weather does finally roll around, we’re often left with pale, dehydrated, itchy skin that’s begging for some love.

Enter: a new skincare regime – one that will transform your skin to its plump and juicy former glory, ahead of the summer season. First, you want to start with a range of good quality products. Second, you want to learn how to apply each of these products correctly, to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.

Cleansers

Ah, cleanser. What would we do without you? Our best friend at the end of a long day (or night), this product is highly skilled at washing away your makeup, plus any dirt and oil you may have encountered.

How you apply cleanser really depends on which formula you prefer. Gel? Cream? Milk? Oil? Personally, I like a foaming wash – my favourite is The Body Shop Drops of Youth Gentle Foaming Wash. It removes every scrap of makeup and leaves your skin super fresh, ready for toning.

The best way to apply is to wet your face before dispensing one to two pumps onto your fingertips and working it into your skin. Get a good lather up by going in circular motions, then rinse with warm water.

Toners

The almighty toner follows next and is basically there to pick up on anything your cleanser might have missed. It has lots of other benefits too, from shrinking pores to restoring your skin’s pH balance and assisting with oily skin or acne.

That said, there are some amazing toners that don’t dry the skin out. The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner is alcohol-free and uses wheat germ oil to remove leftover traces of makeup, or bits of cleanser. Because your skin will be insanely clean and hydrated, it will also maximise the absorption of your following products.

While many toners come in a spritz form, by far the most effective way of applying it is the old-school way: squirt a small amount onto a cotton pad and wipe over all areas of your face.

Pro tip: Store the toner in the fridge, and it can double as a cooling, hydrating spray throughout the day. You can thank me later for that one.

Exfoliators and scrubs

While most of us would rather not think about it, our dead skin cells shed naturally, meaning they often hang around on the surface of our skin clogging up pores and hiding our glow. An exfoliator or scrub once or twice a week will do the trick in buffing away any dry, flaky skin and uncovering the *real* you.

As tempting as it is, try to avoid very rough scrubs – our skin is far too lovely for that. Instead, go for a polish, like The Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Glow Cleansing Polish.

To apply, dampen your face, squeeze a pea-sized amount of the polish onto your fingertips, and work it around the face in small, circular motions, avoiding the eye area. A cleansing brush can also help to dislodge any makeup or dirt too.

Eye creams

You’ve probably watched your mum apply her eye cream every night since you were born, and there’s good reason why: eye cream is essential in reducing those pesky wrinkles and dark circles that come with ageing.

The Body Shop has stepped up the eye cream game with its Drops of Youth Eye Concentrate – a cooling, roller ball applicator that glides around the eye contour, reducing puffiness and fatigue, and adding moisture into those fine lines.

All you need to do is roll it in a figure-eight motion around the eye area, then pat the product into your skin using your ring finger (it’s the softest of the bunch).

Face masks

I don’t think I need to tell you why face masks are so great. Other than drenching the face with moisture, improving skin texture and controlling oils, face masks are the perfect accompaniment to your Friday night Netflix plans.

Like cleansers, how long you leave your mask on for depends on what style of mask you’ve gone for. Clay masks do their thing in just three minutes, while sheet masks can be left on for 20 minutes before they start to dry up. If you prefer a luxe creamy mask, leave on for five to 10 minutes. I like The Body Shop’s Mediterranean Almond Milk with Oats Soothing Mask because it has a creamy, porridge-like consistency. You can also massage this one into the skin before removing with warm water, for extra hydration.

Makeup removers

Some people are religious about their makeup removers. Other people are a little bit lazier and expect their cleansers to do all the heavy-lifting. That used to be me – until I experienced the luxury that is The Body Shop’s Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing ButterAs the name suggests, a butter has a thicker, creamier consistency and is quite thick on the skin, meaning it spreads out and picks up all the makeup in its path.

Scoop out a small amount and work into your makeup (even the eyes), before removing with warm water or – for a more thorough clean – a muslin cloth. Way easier than a liquid or gel, in my opinion.

Moisturisers

Moisturiser is a non-negotiable in most beauty kits. Partly because most of us know the benefits of a good moisturiser, and partly because most of us have skin so dry and tight from winter, we wouldn’t last until 10am without it.

There are a few rules when it comes to applying your moisturiser. Firstly, avoid slapping a huge amount all over your face – this can result in clogged pores, especially near the hairline. Instead, take a small amount and work it outwards, starting at the centre of your face. As hard as it is, hold back from adding layers – your skin can only drink so much, and this will lead to clogged pores and wastage. And lastly, never, ever skip your neck!

A good alternative to heavy moisturisers, especially for daytime use, is a fresh and lightweight gel formula. The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser is a great one because it brightens and awakens your skin too.

Night creams

Contrary to popular belief, we should all start using a good quality night cream before the age of 70. In fact, experts say we should be incorporating a night cream into our daily routine as early as our 20s, to prevent the ageing process.

The magic of night cream is that is works while you sleep, giving you smoother, radiant and more youthful skin when you wake from your peaceful slumber.

But, there are some fun alternatives to a traditional night cream, if you feel you have enough products going on in your routine. For example, The Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask (cute name!) can be used as an overnight mask for younger, healthier skin. The best part? All you have to do is apply a thin layer and go to sleep. Where do I sign?

Serums

If your regime includes cleanser, toner and moisturiser, but not the all-important serum, you’re missing out on some serious thirst-quenching benefits.

A brightening serum, like The Body Shop Drops of Light Serum will plump your skin with moisture, lighten dark spots, even skin tone and give your face a dewy, luminous glow.

The trick is to go easy on the application; just two to three drops goes a long way and is all you need to reap the benefits. Squeeze the drops onto your fingertips and spread across your face, taking the opportunity to give your face a nice little massage while you’re at it.

This article is brought to you by The Body Shop

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