Unlocking Skin Perfection: The Must-Have Skincare Ingredients for Every Routine

Unlocking Skin Perfection: The Must-Have Skincare Ingredients for Every Routine

In 2020, I lost faith in skincare. I tried different products I felt as though I was purchasing based on social media and often didn’t see a difference. Granted, I don’t have problematic skin but as a dry skin babe I kind of wanted products to make my skin brighter and hydrated. 

I did a lot of research and discovered Dr Kay’s podcast and learned a wealth of knowledge related to skincare. I stopped caring about products and cared more for the ingredients and the potency of products, instead of brands. 

My objectives for skincare tend to be quite simple:

  • Hydrate 
  • Exfoliate 
  • Brighten 
  • Deep Cleanse (when I wear makeup)
  • Prevent Ageing 
  • Protect

I address these objectives with the following ingredients 

Glycolic acid 

Personally, I have given up on mechanical exfoliation. It feels horrible and I feel like I’m doing more bad than good. I’m not necessarily sensitive but I don’t think sandpapering my skin is a good idea lol. Instead, I stick to glycolic acid, whilst it shouldn’t be used daily in high concentrations it’s important to make use of exfoliation to encourage skin turnover and get rid of dead skin. The older you get, the slower it is which is why we need a little help. 

Glycolic acid has many forms and I tend to use different forms ie. toners, washes, serums, peels. I’m still determining my favourite but in short, make sure to use it a few times a month. I tend to take a look at my skin and decide if I need it. 


Tretinoin. Now I’m not a skin specialist but tretinoin is the only ingredient with a proven ability to reverse ageing. As a babe in her mid-twenties, I use it to prevent wrinkles and encourage the production of collagen. 

Now.. not everyone may be able to do this but I don’t waste my time with retinol. It’s a very weak form of tretinoin that requires the skin to do more work to convert it to a useful product to actually work. Tretinoin is prescription strength, available in a handful of concentrations. It is a powerhouse of an ingredient and used correctly can be a useful addition to a skincare routine. Note: to avoid peeling, I cushion it with moisture eg. Hydration - pea sized tretinoin- night cream - thick occlusive - face oil 


Hyaluronic acid is super trendy but honestly, it did nothing for my super dry skin.  I’ve tried a couple of hyaluronic acid serums and I finished the products but it did nothing for me. Whilst scrolling on tik tok I saw a lady using glycerin as a makeup primer and remembered using it as a child. Now, it’s probably best to use it at night if you mind looking like a disco ball. Glycerin like hyaluronic acid is a humectant except it pulls moisture from deeeeeeeep inside the skin. Look it up, glycerin is a powerhouse ingredient amazing for the winter.  Super inexpensive, a little goes a long way and makes your skin incredibly soft. 

Clay Masks 

Clay, in any form is AMAZING for a deep cleanse. As a heavy makeup wearer sometimes a face wash is just not enough, there’s something about a clay mask that I feel pulls deep into my skin and extracts all impurities. My favourite ingredients have been kaolin clay, calcium bentonite clay and activated charcoal. 

I normally use a clay mask about once a week and after wearing makeup, after using it my skin feels clean, pores feel tighter and feels reset so to speak. 

Vitamin C 

The market for vitamin c is particularly rubbish.  I’ve tried a number of vitamin c serums and seen so many reviews. I feel as though many formulations are not appropriate for its use and the packaging is equally useless. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage, sometimes having a brightening effect. The market is particulate confusing as there are many products, vitamin C derivatives and concentrations all at different price points. It would be easy to choose the highest percentage or the highest price point. But research has shown that neither factor impacts the effectiveness. Vitamin c denatures and oxidises very easily making its packaging very important to get the maximum benefit. When purchasing your vitamin C ensure you buy one that has a dark, airtight container. I have only found one that I like, ordinary 100% l ascorbic acid, it’s had mixed reviews but as a tough-skinned babe I like it :). Inexpensive and in powder form which means I get maximum efficacy. Job done. 


Protect. Protect. Protect. Over 90% of skin ageing is caused by sun damage, so do with that information what you will. If you’re going anywhere near actives (glycolic acid, tretinoin, etc) without spf I’m here to tell you that you’re insane :). If you’re dealing with dark marks, sunscreen will prevent further darkening. For protection factor, I tend to go for 50 and reapply as the day goes on. Although you need a minimum of 30, I opt for the higher percentage to increase the chances of guaranteed coverage. There are many sunscreens on the market 

My new, ingredient-led approach has yielded better results than being obsessed with brands and reviews, there is a lack of transparency in the market I feel. But above all, for someone like myself who has dry, unproblematic skin there’s no point in ‘investing’.

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