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Must-have skincare products for your 20s

Carene Chong

Fri Jan 31 2014

must-have skincare products for 20s

CAN’T tell a toner from a moisturiser? Beauty writer Carene Chong speaks to the experts to get the secrets of the perfect skincare routine.

If you find yourself constantly standing in the skincare aisle for hours, lost in the plethora of items on the shelves, you’re certainly not alone.

Cleansers, toners, essences, face oils, exfoliants, sunscreens, serums, anti aging creams – do you really need all of them in your routine to get bright glowing skin like a Korean pop star?

The answer is no. Your skin is at its prime in your 20s and while it’s a good idea to start using some products to care for it, overdoing it may just backfire on you.

I spoke to skincare experts Amy Erbacher and Craig Beaglehole to decode skincare and find out which products deserve to be in your beauty bag.


What is it and why you need it: It cleanses the skin of any impurities, grime, makeup, excess oil and dirt.

Tips on using: First find a cleanser that is suitable for your skin.

“Look for the right cleanser, whether it be gel, milk or foam as the incorrect one will strip your skin,” former TV presenter turned skin clinician and beauty expert Amy Erbacher says.

If you tend to have oily skin, opt for a foaming wash, while drier and more sensitive skin needs a gentler gel or non-foaming formula.

Cleanse the skin first thing in the morning before applying any other product and also at night before sleep. Amy suggests cleansing the skin twice at night to ensure it’s squeaky clean.

“If you don’t cleanse properly the first time around and wipe your face with a tissue, you’ll see grime and dirt still lingering on your face and that is what will clog your pores and cause your skin to age,” she says.

Products to try:

neutrogena natural wash simple facial wash

(L to R) Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser, $14.99 and Simple Moisturising Facial Wash, $9.99. Both available from major pharmacies and supermarkets.


What is it and why you need it: Cream or gel face wash to help get rid of dead skin cells. Can either be chemical, which is non granular or mechanical, which has a granular formula.

Tips on using: Simple Australia skincare expert Craig Beaglehole suggests using an exfoliant once or twice a week.

“Exfoliating the skin helps get rid of dead skin cells, unblock pores and just brightens and freshens the skin,” he says.

Amy agrees: “Exfoliating allows for serum, moisturisers and whatever other products you’re using to really sink in,” she says.

However, be careful not to overdo it as skin can get irritated from over-exfoliation.

Products to try:

st ives apricot scrub and trilogy facial exfoliant

(L to R) St Ives Fresh Skin Invigorating Apricot Scrub, $9.99 and Trilogy Gentle Facial Exfoliant, $36.99. Both available from Priceline


What is it and why you need it: Product containing a sun protection factor (SPF) to protect the skin from sun damage. Harsh sun rays can deplete skin collagen and cause skin pigmentation problems such as freckles and sun spots.

Tips on using: Again, find the right one for your skin and it doesn’t have to be pricey. Whatever brand you use, keep reapplying.

“Most people, especially those from overseas just don’t realise how harsh our sun is,” Amy says.

“You can’t just rely on the product’s high SPF. You have to keep reapplying throughout the day to ensure your skin is really protected from the sun.”

Amy’s tip is to have a mineral makeup with SPF, so you don’t have to remove your makeup to keep applying sunscreen.

To save time and money, look for products such as tinted moisturisers or BB creams with SPF which acts as a sunscreen, moisturiser and makeup base.

Products to try:

Cancer Council Day Wear sunscreen invisible zinc tinted daywear

(L to R) Cancer Council Day Wear Face Sunscreen with SPF30+, $18.49 and Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear with SPF30+, $34.99. Both available from major pharmacies.


What is it and why you need it: Cream or lotion to keep skin hydrated and wrinkle free.

Tips on using: Look for a light moisturiser that suits your skin, Again, it doesn’t have to be pricey. If you have sensitive skin, there are products you can buy at the chemist or supermarkets that are especially suited for sensitive skin and don’t break the bank.

Craig suggests using a 10 cent piece-sized amount and gently massage into skin. “Whether it be cleansing the face, applying toner or moisturiser, just be gentle to your skin.”

Craig adds there is no need to use more than required as massive amounts of product will not help.

Better yet look for a tinted one with SPF to kill three birds with one stone.

neutrogena oil free oisturiser simple radiance brightening moisturiser

(L to R) Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturiser, $13.99 and Simple Daily Radiance SPF10 Moisturiser, $19.99. Both available from major pharmacies and supermarkets.

Once you get all these down pat, you’re done and good to go. Yes, that simple.

“Start with a basic regime and once your skin is healthy, then start adding more products into your routine as you see fit,” Amy says.

“It’s the basics that sets the foundation for good skin health,” she says. “Once the skin has got that great foundation, we don’t have to do a lot else.”

But what about anti-aging? The experts have spoken and the verdict is in:

You do not need anti-aging while you’re in your 20s.

That is unless your skin is very dry and needs that extra replenishment and moisture.

Amy says it is reasonable to consider adding certain products with active ingredients into your routine that can calm the skin and help fight signs of aging.

Instead of forking out wads of cash for a top-end serum, look for products that contain active ingredients like vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that also has a calming effect on the skin; vitamin B which helps boost skin immunity; and vitamin A, which is the main ingredient in most anti-aging products.

A good product to consider is rosehip oil, which contains the active ingredients mentioned above without the hefty price tag.

Some extra expert tips for healthy, happy skin:

  • Consider a toner, which is not absolutely necessary but according to Craig, works wonders for his and his clients’ skin. A toner is a lotion used to further cleanse the skin and minimise pores, to be applied after cleansing the face.
  • Stay away from the sun as much as possible, and if under the sun for an extended period of time, wear a hat and lots of sunscreen.
  • Clean your brushes weekly.
  • Take off your makeup at night.
  • Find products and a routine that works and stick to it. “Stick to your regime for at least three to six months,” Amy advises. “If you just try out one product for a week and try out another one after, your skin is bound to show some signs of sensitivity.”
  • Drink plenty of water and eat well. No rocket science here. It’s not just about what goes onto your body, but what goes into it as well that counts.
  • Visit a skin therapist at least once every three to six months to get expert advice and professional treatment for your face.
  • Stop using products that are not agreeing with your skin. Don’t continue using them just so your money doesn’t go to waste or that you are expecting new baby skin to surface after your skin stops burning or peeling. “The less irritated your skin, the happier it is and that’s the most anti-aging of all. It’s just coming back to keeping your skin simple and happy,” Craig says.

Do you have a favorite skincare product? Share with us in the comments section below.