Long gone are the days when we’d remove our make-up with a wipe, slap on the closest moisturiser and call it a day. Now, many of us pay close attention to our skincare regime, experimenting with different ways of keeping our skin aglow and plump.

And as the weather gets colder, dry skin becomes an increasing problem, making us even keener on moisturisers and serums that work properly, to keep skin as hydrated as possible.


The key? Skin prep – which can also help with wearing make-up, as products are likely to apply more smoothly and last longer.

Unfortunately, there’s no set routine you should follow, as everyone’s skin reacts differently to different products. However, medical director of CosmedicsUK, Dr Ross Perry says: “The best advice involves a bit of trial and error, or else a professional skin diagnosis to help you choose a suitable skincare regime.”

If you want your moisturiser and serums to work harder and your foundation to sit flawlessly, here are Perry’s top tips…

Cleanse properly…

Cleansing isn’t the most exciting part of any skincare regime, especially when you could be trying flashy new vitamin C serums or facial scrubs. However, it’s still fairly crucial.

“Whatever products you choose, it is vitally important that the skin is thoroughly cleansed morning and evening to get rid of grime, sweat, oil and make-up,” says Perry. “Any traces of cleanser should be removed before applying moisturiser and any serums, so the cleanser is not leaving a barrier.”

Great cleansers to try:

REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm - Foam cleanser guide

REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, Amazon

Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm, Amazon

Avon Distillery Clean Break Cleanser, £12 (was £15)

Avon Distillery Clean Break Cleanser, Amazon


Eve Lom Cleanser, £40

EVE LOM Cleanser, Amazon


Exfoliate regularly…

Exfoliation is a thorny issue in the skincare world: You want to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, but don’t want to damage your skin. Even if you’re nervous, don’t make the mistake of avoiding it altogether, as Perry says: “Regular exfoliation is good for helping moisturisers and serums to penetrate.”

Again, this is all about finding out what works for your skin. “For some people, a daily exfoliating wash is ideal, whereas others find a daily cleansing lotion gentler, with a weekly scrub to loosen dead skin cells and exfoliate the skin,” says Perry. “Alternatively, you could visit a beautician for a professional microdermabrasion or gentle peel – this would be less often as it’s a more intensive treatment.”

Great exfoliators to try:

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads, Amazon.

Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator, Amazon.

Ahava Facial Mud Exfoliator, Amazon.

Espa Refining Skin Polish, Amazon.

Lancer Skincare The Method: Polish, Amazon.

Consider using a toner…


View this post on Instagram

Go-To founder @zotheysay on why prep is the most important step if you want your skin care products to, y’know, work.

A post shared by Go-To (@gotoskincare) on

Toners have somewhat fallen out of fashion, with skincare gurus increasingly advocating for fancy cleansers and exfoliators instead. But this doesn’t mean there’s no place for a good toner in your routine, with Perry calling it “a great product to use after cleansing”, particularly “for those with oily skin and more susceptible to breakouts, as toner contains high levels of alcohol to dry the skin out.” Toners can also “ensure you are getting rid of any extra excess dirt and impurities on the skin”.

“There are now toners available with retinol for help with skin renewal and anti-ageing; toners designed specifically for acne prone skin containing witch hazel and aloe vera; and toners with added hydration for those with dry skin,” adds Perry. “It’s about finding one which works for your skin and may be a case of trial and error before you find the right one.”

Apply toner after cleansing but before putting on any other moisturisers, serums or SPFs, “to ensure skin in squeaky clean, as this will help keep make-up on and give an overall smoother appearance.” At this point it’s worth remembering to “always include an SPF in your morning regime year round,” says Perry. “Don’t rely on what’s in the moisturiser, as that’s rarely adequate.”

Great toners to try:

Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner, Amazon.

Mario Badescu Witch Hazel & Rosewater Toner, Amazon.

REN Clean Skincare Glow Tonic, Amazon

Pixi Glow Tonic With Aloe Vera & Ginseng, Amazon.

You may also be interested in…

This article may include affiliate links to products and services where we may receive a small fee to support the running of this site if you make a purchase or is a sponsored article from one of our select editorial partners providing valuable advice and information to our readers.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.