The one constant when it comes to skin is change; it’s estimated that in adults, the skin regenerates every 27 days. Factors like age, environmental stressors (pollution, smoke and sun exposure), hormones, what you’re eating and drinking, and your sleep schedule can all affect how your complexion looks on any given day.

When skin starts to act out, we can be quick to reach for new products as a “magic fix”. But with issues like breakouts, dark spots, dullness and dehydration, sticking to your routine is often the best course of action. The key is making sure you have your regimen down pat in the first place.

Whether you follow 14 steps night and day or abide by the rules of skinimalism (where a less-is-more approach reigns supreme), it’s all about equipping yourself with the right tools and knowing how – and when – to use them. You don’t have to go full mad scientist on the ingredients list, but there are a few rules to keep in mind when choosing your products.

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The morning routine
The jury is out on whether or not you need to cleanse in the morning. In general, a splash of water should be enough to wash away any remnants of your overnight skincare routine and sleep. However, if you’ve been for a pre-work run or used particularly heavy products the night before, a gentle cleanser is called for.

Once your canvas is prepped, it’s time to start layering up for the day. The trick is to go from thinnest to thickest: so essence or toner first, then serums, and finally a moisturiser or face oil to seal it all in.

Vitamin C is considered a morning superstar. A powerful antioxidant, this ingredient is most-loved for its brightening properties and is proven to increase skin radiance. But it also works to neutralise free radicals and protect skin from pollution and UV light – both vitamins E and C can actually supercharge the effects of your sunscreen. The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Glow Revealing serum is *clinically proven to increase radiance in eight weeks – use it before your face cream and let it soak in while your coffee brews.

Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin E are some of your skin’s best friends while the sun is up. Hyaluronic acid is favoured for its ability to retain moisture, which keeps the skin plump. Vitamin E is another hydrating powerhouse, working as both a humectant (to absorb water into the skin) and an emollient (to trap water in the skin). Together, these two ingredients put up a fight against blustery days, overly zealous office heating (or air conditioning) and other potential irritants.

While it’s up to you if you want to use a cleanser or serum in the morning, there are a couple of non-negotiables: a cream that helps to protect skin and lock in hydration, such as The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Moisture Day Cream (which also uses hyaluronic acid for a one-two ingredient punch, and *boosts hydration by up to 38 per cent for eight hours) , and sunscreen – a must for daytime, no matter how much time you spend in the sun.

The night-time routine
Kick things off with a double cleanse – the perfect antidote to long days and all the gunk that lands on your face during. Use an oil or balm formula for the first cleanse to break down make-up, dirt, sebum and debris – The Body Shop’s Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is good for this, and works for sensitive skin, too – then follow up with a second product that’ll really get into your pores. Dry or dehydrated skin types might prefer milky or cream formulas, while acne-prone complexions can benefit from foaming and gel products. You don’t want to be left with tight or stripped skin, but make sure the day is properly washed away.
Just like in the morning, the next few steps should be applied based on viscosity. Again, you want to tone, treat and moisturise, this time leaning into a toolkit of ingredients that work hard while you sleep. The evening is the best time to use chemical exfoliants or retinoids, which can make you more sensitive to light. If you’ve got more sensitive skin, try something with bakuchiol instead – it’s proven to have similar effects as retinol (reduced lines, wrinkles and pigmentation; improved elasticity and firmness), and can also be found in The Body Shop’s high-performing Vitamin C Glow Revealing serum.

Overnight is when you want to make the most of products that lock in moisture and help to repair your skin barrier. A peptide-packed product like The Body Shop’s Edelweiss daily serum concentrate is rich with antioxidants. By supporting the skin’s natural functions, products with peptides can help to repair damage and boost the skin by promoting the production of collagen and elastin while you’re sleeping. There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep, after all.

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This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with The Body Shop. *All efficacy claims were provided by The Body Shop based on their own clinical testing.