Not sure if the skincare routine you are following is the right for you? Confused about how to use all the skincare products you have at home? Or simply curious to know more about skincare basics, whether all plant-based or not?
We have collected the best Skincare Q&A based on the questions that our customers have sent us over the years and added easy to understand skincare guidelines + useful links to our Blog.
If you can't find the answer to your questions, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org .
How do I know my skin type?
Or are you not sure? The easy way is to check at the end of the day if:
- your face feels oily and look shiny with occasional blemishes - then you are a Oily Skin Type
- your T-zone feels oily, but the rest of your face is mostly matte with occasional blemishes - then you are a Combination Skin Type
- your skin flaky or tight and you tend to have try skin on your legs and arms - then you are a Dry Skin Type
- your skin itchy, red, or does it react to some skincare ? then you are a Sensitive Skin Type
- none of the above, then you are a Normal Skin Type
And remember: Pregnancy, diet, location, overall health and many other factors can change your skin type.
How to build a skincare routine by skin type?
Here are some basic tips:
Check out this example of skincare routine for sensitive type with Rosacea here
Is Skin Type the same as Skin Condition?
The answer is nope.
SKIN TYPE = the skin type you were born with (out of the 5 types)
SKIN CONDITION = a skin condition is something that develops over time. It can be caused by illness, pregnancy, lifestyle, diet, hormones, stress. It can be temporary and usually can be treated. For example, eczema, rosacea, dermatitis.
Why layering water + oil works for all skin types?
A balanced combination of water and oil is all it takes for your skin to thrive. Without the lipids found in face oils, a water-based product will only hydrate and deliver antioxidants to the surface of your skin. Still, it will be unable to sustain the cell renewal process and provide essential vitamins and fatty acids.
Using oil-based facial oils without water, meanwhile, stresses and clogs the skin, causing your skin to produce too much sebum and break out. This approach also defeats the purpose of using the oil in the first place: it leaves skin dehydrated, creating a barrier that will prevent your skin from absorbing the oil effectively.
By layering – apply water first and add oil on top – you boost the production of collagen and elastin, those proteins that are vital to keeping skin supple, youthful and wrinkle-free. This way, your skin gets hydrated at a deep level, and antioxidants go precisely where you need them most.
Create your personalized, powerful combinations of water + oil for your ultimate, tailored skin routine.
Is layering water-based products first and oil serums for last important?
Oh yes! It's all down to the way your skin absorbs nutrients and how far antioxidants can penetrate it.
So always follow this order: small molecules first (water = toners, essences, serums, light moisturisers) and larger ones (oils, rich moitsurisers, balms).
What about exfoliation + masking - before or after my serum + oil?
Exfoliation is crucial to healthy and glowing skin, ideally once a week. By shedding dead skin cells with an exfoliant, we prepare the skin to absorb the skincare you apply and to make it work hard for you.
Masking is you go-to for deep cleansing and skin conditioning; exfoliate first, then mask and your skin will be ready for your serum + oil or serum + moisturiser.
So if you exfoliate, don't forget to mask. Your skin will thank you.
Why does the skin need a unique ratio of water + oil to be healthy and delay ageing?
Many factors can affect your skin and what it needs to be effectively hydrated, nourished, and repaired - age, diet, stress, fitness, environment, hormonal changes.
Traditional skincare offers one solution for every day, without allowing you to decide how much water or oil your skins needs day by day.
Some days your skin feels very dehydrated, some others dull or in need of a vitamin boost; our range of essentials allows you of choose to adjust the amount of serum your skin needs or how much night nourishment with our facial oils.
Skincare Patch Test - always a good idea?
To avoid disasters, we always recommend to patch test any new skincare product, especially if you have sensitive skin. All you have to do is to apply a small amount on your inner forearm and wait for 30 to 60 seconds. If no redness or itchiness, you are good to go!
What are the natural ingredients that could be a little bit too harsh on delicate skin?
- Essential oils and Fragrances
- Willow bark extract and Salicylic acid
- Natural Vitamin E (Tocopherol) in high concentrations
- Honey or Glycerin straight on the skin
- Comedogenic butters and oils
- Harsh and irregular size exfoliants
- Fresh Lemon or Grapefruit
- Anything with alcohol
- Harsh clays like Moroccan Rhassoul or Ghassoul
- Benzyl alcohol (natural preservative)
- Nut derived oils (if you suspect you have a nut intolerance)
- Vitamin C
- Retinoids only Bakuchiol, a form of naturally derived Retinol, is mild on the skin
Read more here
How do I use Skincare containing Essential oils?
Essential Oils, despite being 100% natural and plant-based, may cause a potential skin sensitization and trigger an allergic reaction. Skincare made with essential oils must be professionally formulated and have a low concentration of a selection of essential oils (not all oils are suitable for the thin and delicate skin of the face). Essential oils (and synthetic fragrances) are not suitable with sensitive skin.
We always recommend a skin patch test before purchasing any skincare product containing essential oils. Read more here.
Do I need a toner in my skincare routine?
Toners (always alcohol free) are astringent skincare products that should be used only with oily and combination skin. All other skincare types can use hydrating essences.
Read more here
How much product shall I use?
It depends on many factors, your skin type/condition and how your skincare product is formulated. If you apply too much of any products, your skin will not be able to fully absorb it and it will sit on top of the skin.
The general order is:
AM ROUTINE lighter, water base products should make up to 90% of your daily routine and 10-20% richer products with antioxidants (moisturisers, creams, face oils).
PM ROUTINE lighter, water base products should make up to 60% of your daily routine and 40-50% richer products with antioxidants (moisturisers, creams, face oils).
I have combination skin, but I am hesitant to use facial oil and rich creams. Am I doing the right thing?
If you use non-comedogenic oils, Non-comedogenic oils will not clog the pores and help balance the skin.
As crazy as it sounds, combination and oily skin are oily on the surface but dehydrated inside. This is because the skin tends to over-produce sebum (your natural oil) to compensate for the lack of moisture: too much sebum = clogged pores, more frequent breakouts, and shiny-looking skin.
Read more about comedogenic oils here.
How often should I exfoliate my face?
The frequency of exfoliation depends very much on your skin type, age and the type of exfoliant you are using.
If the exfoliant is just mechanical and does not have any acids (like AHA's), you can use it every 5-8 days; if the exfoliant is formulated with acids then we recommend every 7-10 days.
The general rule is that once a week is good. Remember - over exfoliating is worse than skipping exfoliation so be aware.
Is probiotic skincare really effective?
Absolutely yes. The skin is an organ with a delicate micro-biome. Adding pro and pre-biotics to your skincare, will strengthen the skin barrier and can help improve recurring skin conditions like acne, rosacea acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Read more here
What’s the best age to start using anti-aging products?
Anti-ageing? Gracefully ageing sounds better, right? The skin starts slowing its regenerating process at around age 30 so we can consider that as the first skincare milestone. There are various types of 'age-delay' antioxidant skincare ingredients, but if you are in your 30s and have normal skin, you must have in your skincare routine:
- an hydrating serum ideally with Hyaluronic acid
- a light moisturiser ideally with Ceramides or Squalene
- a UVA/UVB sunscreen
I have invested in a new skincare product - how fast can I see results?
Regardless the formulation of your product, you age and skin condition will be crucial factors in determine how fast you can see if that product really delivers results. It's all down to how fast your skin cells regenerate. The younger you are, the faster you will see a change.
Read more here
What is the difference between UVA and UVB?
An easy way to remember is:
UVA = UVAging that do not tan, age your skin and damage DNA
UVB = UVBurning tan your skin but cause redness, sunburn, skin cancer
In other words, UV radiations penetrate the skin at different wave lengths. UVB rays reach the outer layer of the skin, the Epidermis, while UVA radiation penetrates deeper into the skin, all the way into the Dermis.
The sun is one of the top 3 causes of skin ageing and sadly a trigger for skin cancer. That's why a good broad spectrum sunscreen is a must for everyone.
Is Hydrating and Moisturising the same?
To Hydrate means to absorb moisture from the air and then channeling to the dermis. Typically, water-based serums and essences are hydrating. Face Oils and Balms can't hydrate as they if they are anhydrous (they do not contain water).
To Moisturise means to trap moisture and keep it within the skin. The only way to retain moisture is to add to the formulation lipids, because they will lock in water thanks to their bigger molecular size. Serums made with water and lipids, moisturisers, creams have the ability to moisturise the skin.
Do I need different products for morning and evening?
Most definitively you do! Your skincare routine should follow a very simple principle:
MORNING: Light cleansing, boost hydration, use a time release moisturiser and SPF
EVENING: Thorough cleansing, toning if you skin need it, hydration, skincare with antioxidants and vitamins, richer skincare (creams, face oils)
In the morning your skin needs to be well hydrated and moisturised for the whole day, so using only a serum , will not be enough. SPF is also super important, as it prevents cell damage.
In the evening you need to deep cleansing and remove makeup, rebalance your PH, and apply all high performance actives (anti-oxidants, vitamins, fatty acids...) that will be metabolised while you sleep. The best way to deliver them is to use an hydrating serum (that delivers antioxidants) and a rich moisturizer or a face oil to deliver vitamins and boost the skin barrier with fatty acids. And remember not to skip a good cleansing before applying any skincare with actives. Cleansed and exfoliated skin = optimum actives absorption
When should Vitamin C be used? In the morning or at night?
We always recommend to use Vitamin C in the evening because:
- your skin repairs itself while you sleep and at night Vitamin C has the strongest impact
- If a product is not well formulated and if you don't wear a good SPF on top, you may risk skin discoloration
However, you may be advised to use Vitamin C + SPF during the day because Vitamin C can 'fix' UVA damages. We don't think this is the correct approach for your skin and for your wallet, but if you decide with use Vitamin C in the morning, please make sure to wear and reapply a good SPF.
What is INCI?
INCI names (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) are systematic names internationally recognized to identify cosmetic ingredients, synthetic and natural. INCI list includes more than 16,000 ingredients.
Every skincare products commercially available should have a complete INCI list on the label, not only to be transparent on all ingredients used, but also to be fully compliant with skincare safety requirements (variable by country).
Here's is an example of incomplete/incorrect INCI for a
Water, Evening Primrose oil, Jojoba oil, emulsifier, preservative, Blue Tansy oil, Green Tea.
The correct INCI should be:
Aqua, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cetearyl glucoside, Glycerin, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Tanacetum Annuum Flower Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract.
I have acne and normally my serum with Salicylic acid works well. However, I have started adding to my am routine a serum with Vitamin C and my acne worsened. Why?
Oh my! Vitamin C is a potent skincare ingredient and one of the first effect on the skin, is to acidify your PH. AHA's, BHA's and PHA's do exactly that - they lower the skin PH.
Because the skin becomes easily irritated if the PH level drops to 3 from the optimum 5.3-5.5, by combining two ingredients that acidify your skin, you have created the perfect storm for irritation, inflammation, acne fare up.
Our suggestion - if you want to use both Vitamin C and Salicylic acid, do it never together.
Is Chamomile Essential Oil ok to calm irritated skin?
Yes and no.
YES - in very low concentration (less than 0.8% if you have normal skin), and only if the irritation is mild.
NO - some essential oils can notoriously trigger a skin allergy if they are applied neat (undiluted), or if their concentration is too high or if you use them everyday for months in a row.
If you have sensitive skin (or for little ones), you can use:
- 0.2% Chamomile Essential oil (Ideally Anthemis nobilis or Roman Chamomile)
- Chamomile hydrosol (water distillate from chamomile flowers)
- Chamomile extract in glycerin
I bought a quartz Guasha stone - shall I use it on dry skin or after applying a serum or a face oil ?
Using Guasha on your face it's a bit like going to the spa for a body massage.
The best thing it to use 2-3 drops of a face oil or a rich moisturiser and give yourself a complete face and neck workout + stretching at the same time. This is because Guasha needs to glide on the skin and release both fascia and muscles tension.
However, If you want to give yourself a gentle acupressure massage and a lymphatic drainage, you can apply a light serum or a light moisturiser first.
Do I keep my skincare in the fridge?
Professionally formulated and properly preserved skincare should not require refrigeration, especially face oils, because lipids will crystallize at low temperatures.
However, if you like to keep your products cool (how nice is to have a cooling face mask in the summer!) or if you live in a very hot country with limited air con, look at storing them in a skincare fridge (set ideally at around 10-12 degrees Celsius or 50-55 Fahrenheit) or in a wine fridge. Do NOT store your skincare in your kitchen fridge (too cold).
What is really important to keep the integrity of the ingredients is to keep your skincare in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and to avoid temperature fluctuations (say air con during the day and high temperatures during the night).
BEST TEMPERATURE TO STORE SKINCARE: 10-20 degrees Celsius (50-70 Fahrenheit)
OK: room temperature, skincare fridge, wide fridge
NOT OK: kitchen fridge, hot-cold-hot rooms, direct sunlight, too close to radiators or air con units.
Can a moisturiser replace a face oil ?
It depends on:
- your skin type and condition
- what other products you use
- the formulation of the moisturiser and face oil
Overall, a good moisturizer with a high percentage of fatty acids (oils) and antioxidants can be the winner for normal and young skin; this is because a face oil will need a water based serum to really do its magic. However, if your skin is very dry, depleted and ageing, a moisturiser + a face oil is the way to go.
Face oils tend to be more budget friendly than moisturisers because you would need a few drops a day only.
Which supplements can I take to improve my skin?
If your diet and water intake is balanced, avoid excesses like alcohol, you are overall healthy and wear sunscreen regularly, you probably would not need any specific supplement.
Here are 6 nutrients and vitamins for oral intake that will boost your skin health:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Omegas 3,6,9 (the vegan option would be Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn or Evening Primrose oil Capsules)
- Vitamin C, E
I have a limited budget and I have visible file lines (I am in my early 40's). What type of products shall I prioritize?
We'd say that you need 1 water based product (serum or moisturiser) + 1 face oil. So 2 products.
Face oils and Balms are definitively the best value for money in terms of antioxidants, vitamins and protective skincare. Serums and Moisturisers can be quite expensive because they are formulated with the most effective antioxidants and cell boosters.
Use more serum/moisturiser in the morning and a tiny bit of face oil, while at night use more face oil.
Does whitening skincare really work, especially for hyperpigmentation ?
FACT: Over the counter skincare can brighten the skin but it can't whiten it. A Dermatologist will be able to lighten pigmentation with prescription skincare and the use of lasers.
Lightening = reduce pigmentation, discoloration and even skin tone (strong skincare actives + dermatologist)
Brightening = increase natural radiance and skin glow (over the counter skincare)
Some powerful skincare ingredients can lighten photoaging and hyperpigmentation are:
- Vitamin C
- Konjic acid
- Licorice extract
- Glycolic acid
- Azelic Acid
- Retinoids (prescription)
These are well tolerated skincare ingredients that can brighten and restore the natural glow of your skin:
- Vitamin C
- Licorice extract
- AHA's (lower Glycolic acid concentration)
- Green Tea extract
Is Hyaluronic acid really important?
Hyaluronic acid is THE SKINCARE INGREDIENT.
- regulates and channels smart essential hydration
- it's the first line of defense from fine lines and wrinkles
- stimulates collagen production
- shrinks down pores
- regenerates adipocytes (fat cells) so improves the skin structural volume (aka lifts your skin)
- enhances the penetration of active ingredients
- it is well tolerated by all skin types and conditions
What shall I use for neck wrinkles?
The skin on your neck is very similar to the face.
You can apply what you use for your face all the way down to the décolleté, including the area behind your ears.
My skin changes dramatically before and during my period. Shall I use different products?
Let's break down the menstrual cycle by phases.
PHASE 1 (day 1-6) Menstrual Phase
- Estrogen and Progesterone decrease
- The skin tends to be dry, with fine lines or wrinkles more visible and sebum production decreases.
What to do: increase hydration with Hyaluronic acid and keep the skin moisturised and nourished with moisturisers and face oils.
PHASE 2 (day 8-16) Follicular Phase
- Estrogen and Testosterone increase
- the skin produces more collagen, so feeling firmer and more elastic
What to do: the skin is more balanced so keep up with regular hydration and skin barrier protection.
PHASE 3 (approx day 14-15-16) Ovulation Phase
- Estrogen at its peak
- the skin is plump and glowing
What to do: the skin it at its best in this phase so keep up with regular hydration and skin barrier protection.
PHASE 4 (day 18-28) Luteal Phase
- Progesterone and Testosterone increase
- The skin tends to be more oily (good news if your skin type is dry), with acne breakouts and possible inflammation
What to do: increase hydration with Hyaluronic acid, limit rich skincare (face oils), use astringent, antibacterial and balancing ingredients, increase probiotics both internally and topically.
Should you use Coconut Oil on your face ?
We all love anything Coconut, but when it comes down to skincare, Virgin Coconut oil is not ideal because:
- it it very comedogenic so will tend to clog pores and increase the chance of breakouts
- its fatty acid profile lacks omegas 3
- because is too thick and greasy, it can disrupt the acid mantle of the skin and can cause dehydration, tightness, flaking and itching if used regularly, even if the surface of the skin feels ok.
Virgin Coconut oil is a wonderful emollient, mildly anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal but we prefer to use Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, a shorter fatty acid chain form of Coconut oil, very light and fast absorbing.
My skin gets even drier after I apply a few pumps of Hyaluronic acid serum. Why?
As strange as it can sound, Hyaluronic acid can actually dry out your skin if:
- HA is applied to a very dry face, because it will draw moisture from the deeper levels of your skin
- HA alone and no moisturiser or a face oil layered on top, as HA does its magic only if the moisture is sealed off by a more moisturiser / occlusive product
- if your HA serum is formulated primarily with low molecular size HA, you may want to swap to a serum with a balanced mix of low + medium or even high molecular size.
Can I use AHA, BHA and PHA or shall I just stick to one type of acid?
We suggest to use one type of acid according to your skin type and stick to it. However, AHA, BHA, and PHA can also be mixed if you have combination skin.
- AHA | Normal to Dry Skin
- BHA | Oily Skin + Acne-prone skin
- PHA | Normal + Sensitive Skin
Don't forget that the % of an acid is also important. For instance, a safe % of AHA is 5% - anything lower than that will not work but anything higher than 10% will be quite strong on normal skin.