A Salon Style Special: A Skincare Glossary To Ace Your Beauty Regimen

Know your skincare basics 

Since the skincare boom, we’ve come to know a ton of products that have hit the market and have gone viral on social media. Hyaluronic acid? Retinol? Parabens? What are they exactly? Trying to understand these terms can be quite overwhelming, right?

Don’t worry. We started out this way, too. And now that we’re acing our beauty regimen game, treat us as your skincare BFFs you can turn to for that quick advice. After all, knowing what’s inside your products and what they’re used for is good info to have when you’re starting to build your skincare routine. 

Skincare 101

First thing’s first, the best way to find the right product for you begins with a trip to your dermatologist. Finding out about your skin type and skin issues can make shopping for beauty products feel like a breeze. You’ve got the science behind you, girl! 

Make skincare be worth your while by knowing what's inside each skincare product

This handy no-nonsense guide will give you a head start on looking fab with your skincare journey and also know what to look for when you shop. This mini skincare bible will also get you into the whole lingo and speak skincare like a connoisseur! 

Antioxidants

Essential to maintaining healthy skin, antioxidants protect your skin from damage from free radicals. This ingredient works in two ways: protecting the skin’s surface and repairing stressed and damaged skin underneath. 

Fight free radicals with Aspect Fruit Enzyme Mask, Dermalogica MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque, and ECOCOCO Face Moisturiser.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) 

Beta Hydroxy Acids is most commonly known as salicylic acid. These ever-reliable oil-soluble acids can penetrate deep into your pores, dissolve that sticky sebum, and exfoliates dead skin cells. BHAs are great for folks dealing with acne and oily skin. 

Treat acne and oily skin with Aspect Exfoliating Clay Mask, Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque, and asap Clear Complexion Gel.

Ceramides

Ceramides naturally occur in sebum. These lipids hold the cells of the epidermis together to strengthen your skin’s barrier and seal the moisture in so your face stays hydrated. Our skin produces ceramides. However, as we age, it reduces production and weakens that barrier.

Say yes to hydrated skin with asap advanced hydrating moisturiser and Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair. 

Double Cleansing

This method is as easy as it sounds—you cleanse your mug twice. Before it became a global hit, this practise has been done by South Koreans for a long time and is the pillar of many K-Beauty regimens.

To effectively perfect the double cleansing method, use a micellar cleanser like Thalgo Micellar Cleansing Water to remove the gunk and makeup on your face. Heavy makeup users may find an oil-based cleanser like MODELROCK’S Skin Essentials Oil Cleanser to be a better option to remove those water-resistant products.

The second cleanse is when you apply a gentle foaming cleanser like Aspect Gentle Cleanser on your face. Choose a cleanser that suits your skin type like Dermalogica’s Daily Glycolic Cleanser for oily skin, Cosmedix Clarify Salicylic Acid Foaming Cleanser for acne-prone skin, and Skin Regimen Ginger Cleansing Oil for dry skin.

Emollient

You know emollients for their more popular and simpler term, a moisturiser. Emollients soothe, soften, and hydrate skin and are ideal for our girlies whose skins are on the dry side.

Increase the water level on your skin’s epidermis with natural emollient blends like Aspect Phytostat 9 and Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery.

Essence

Lightweight and concentrated formulas with water and serum-like consistency, a splash of essence is what you use to prime your face before applying your moisturiser. Don’t confuse it with serum though! They may be similar to serum but it provides extra hydration benefits, protects and boosts your skin’s health.

Refine skin texture and moisturise it further with Thalgo Micro-Peeling Water Essence and Dermalogica Redness Relief Essence.

Exfoliants

Typically found in scrubs and applying (skin-friendly) acids, exfoliants remove dead skin cells from your skin’s surface and improve its appearance. Exfoliating also prevents clogged pores and dullness.

Tighten your pores and achieve great skin texture with ECOCOCO Face Exfoliator and Anesi Aqua Vital Exfoliant

Face Oil

An ideal partner for moisturiser, face oil is formulated with rich natural ingredients suitable for most skin types. Regular use can do wonders for your complexion and can give you that healthy glow and supple skin.

A face oil like the Skin Regimen 10.0 Tulsi Booster is a good moisturising agent and a cherry on top of your nighttime skincare routine as it makes sure that the products you applied don’t evaporate quickly.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is a common type of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that comes from sugar cane. When applied to your skin, it exfoliates the outer layer of skin cells for a brighter and smoother texture. It also minimises pores, fights acne, and speeds up cell turnover for younger-looking skin.

Skincare brand asap has a good range of products that contain glycolic acid like asap daily exfoliating facial scrub and asap Hydrating Night Repair+.

Hyaluronic Acid

This hydrating acid naturally occurs in our body and can be found in our skin, joints, and connecting tissues. It’s literally a water magnet! Each molecule can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Sing praises to your bod as natural hyaluronic acid and the ones formulated in your skincare product hydrate and smoothen fine lines on your mug.

Get hydrated, plump, and lifted skin with the Bioline Jato Linea+ Aqua+ Intense Moisturiser Nectar in Drops or Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance.

Ingestible

Topical skincare may still be everyone’s go-to but ingestibles work their magic from within the body. Ingestibles like VANI-T’S Lumiere Collagen Beauty Peptides are formulated with natural and organic ingredients to nourish your skin by addressing a number of skin issues and concerns.   

Kaolin Clay

A sebum-absorbing clay-like substance, Kaolin also absorbs your skin’s impurities like dirt and pollution without leaving your skin red or irritated. Often found in masks, Kaolin Clay can make your skin look fresh as ever!

Smooth and remove gunk in your face with Kaolin Clay-infused products like Aspect Exfoliating Mask, Comfort Zone Active Pureness Mask, and Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask.

Lactic Acid

ICYDK, Lactic Acid is Glycolic Acid’s made-for-sensitive-skin sister. Another type of AHA, lactic acid is a gentle ingredient that is derived from fermented milk. It exfoliates and removes dead skin cells on the surface. Since it’s molecules are larger, it won’t penetrate too deeply into the skin and is the perfect tandem for sensitive skin and folks with rosacea.

Treat sensitive skin with extra care from Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel and Comfort Zone Sublime Skin Peel Pads.

Masks

There are different face masks that address various skin needs. They come in exfoliants, clay, cream, gel, and sheet. Masks are used a couple of times a week and contain essential “skin food” with instant results like hydration, suppleness, preventing breakouts, and minimising fine lines and pores. Also, they’re great for 

Get radiant and flawless-looking skin using Bioline Jato Primaluce Brightening Illuminating Mask, Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask or Comfort Zone Hydramemory Mask.

Niacinamide

Also known as Vitamin B3 (derived from niacin), niacinamide may not be naturally derived from the body, but is a great skincare ingredient for different skin types and concerns. It improves hydration, reduces breakouts and redness, and minimise oil production.

Improve your skin tone with Dermalogica AGE Bright Spot Fader, Cosmedix Shineless Oil-Free Moisturiser, and asap SPF50+ hydrating defence with niacinamide.

Parabens

Parabens are synthetic preservatives to prolong a product’s shelf life. When you check the label of a product (super important that you do), there are three paraben ingredients that should be on your watch list that may cause irritation on your skin: butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

As parabens in high amounts can be harmful to the body and the environment, paraben-free products are becoming quite common and have been the go-to for the health conscious.

Peels & Treatments

Hearing chemical peels and treatments can be intimidating and send you running in another direction. However, chemical peels are solutions for different skin concerns such as wrinkles, acne and hyperpigmentation. It removes skin layers and improves its appearance.

While there are a number of at-home peel sets, it is recommended that you let your trusted dermatologist do this treatment.

Retinol

A derivative of Vitamin A, retinol reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. This vitamin-rich and fat-soluble ingredient is an OTC skincare hero that fights ageing. It stimulates cell turnover in the lower layers of skin. While loose skin, through recommended use, will plump up your skin.

Boost your skin with retinol-infused products from Aspect Retinol Brulee and Skin Regimen 1.5 Retinol Booster.

Serum

A staple in skincare regimen, serums contain a lot of active ingredients that quickly absorb into the skin and improve its appearance. While they come in high concentrations, they are more lightweight to hydrate skin, minimise dark spots and blemishes, boost collagen, and soothe and nourish sensitive skin.

Add another layer of moisture to your routine using Thalgo Hydra-Marine Serum, Anesi Aqua Vital Serum or Bioline Jato Lifting Code Filler Serum.

Toner

Often used after cleansing, a toner is a gentle watery liquid that removes oil and traces of dirt and bacteria, balances your skin’s pH levels, and hydrates your skin. It's also a product that preps your skin before the heavyweights of the skincare game.

Find your skin secret weapon from Comfort Zone Essential Toner or Anesi Lab Institute Luminosity Toner

UVA/UVB Rays

It might be nice to see the sun glow and make our days extra brighter. But every single day, we are exposed to UVA and UVB Rays from sunlight and even on cloudy days. UVA Rays penetrate our skin and may even damage it through burning and photodamage. Exposure to UVB Rays can lead to darkened pigments on your face and can manifest in the form of tanning, freckles, and age spots.

No time to be complacent even when we’re indoors we need to protect our skin—stat! Protect your mug with Aspect Sun Hydrating Face SPF 50+ and Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30.

Vitamins

A lot of skincare products are loaded with vitamins. The most common and important among the Vitamin family are Vitamin A, C, E, and B3. These skin saviours block out free radicals, boost collagen production, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and repair damaged skin.

eXpiration Dates

Skincare products don’t last forever and don’t even try using them beyond their intended use. Always watch out for expiration dates so you can effectively use them without damaging your skin. Always check the logos behind your bottle or jar with the 6M, 12M, and 24M labels. 

Zoe Evans

She knows what works, and that's what she loves. She is a hair and beauty ̶a̶d̶d̶i̶c̶t̶ enthusiast. She researches this stuff for fun on a Saturday night.