The 5 skincare mistakes that facialists wish you wouldn’t make

By Fiona Embleton

Photo: Benjamin Vnuk

Facialists are like magicians – they can erase all signs of late nights, carve out more pronounced cheekbones and impart a next-level glow. But it’s the damage that we inflict on our skin in between salon appointments that undoes all that hard work

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Save for dermatologists and a magnifying mirror, no one is as intimately acquainted with your pores as a facialist. These skin whisperers have seen it all – acne, hyperpigmentation, rashes and rosacea – and flooded your skin with whatever it is craving, be that hydration, a detoxifying face mask or soothing LED light therapy.

Crucially, they’re also proficient at reversing the self-inflicted mistakes that have left our skin suffering when we couldn’t resist cranking up the potency of our products in the hope of reaping maximum results faster. With that in mind, these are the most common mistakes – and how to fix them if your goal is a year-round glow.


Avoid over exfoliating

“Exfoliation makes the skin firmer, smoother and more elastic,” says Jennie Andersson, head trainer for Elemis in Sweden. This is a particularly tantalising prospect for city skin left with a dull, grey pallor by regular exposure to hot gusts of exhaust fumes.

Where an ethereal sheen was the goal, overdoing it can actually create the opposite effect. “Over exfoliating can lead to inflammation, increased sensitivity and a deteriorated skin barrier, which actually reduces the vitality of the skin and makes it more easily damaged by UV,” Andersson explains. Given skin naturally sheds dead cells in a 28-day cycle, a good rule of thumb is to use an AHA peel no more than once a week and manually exfoliate twice a week if you prefer a scrub.


Don't skimp on eye cream

The skin around the eye is described as delicate for a reason: it’s 40 per cent thinner than elsewhere on the body, has fewer lubricating oil glands and is constantly exposed to environmental damage. So you’re looking at a complex set of demands that your regular moisturiser simply doesn’t address. “For one, your regular face cream is too heavy for the skin here,” says Andersson, who points out that puffiness and milia can be a side effect of using a thick, unguent cream. “A good eye cream also works more effectively with the moisture barrier, helping the thin skin under the eyes remain elastic and look fresh.”


Avoid washing your face with hot water

“Hot temperatures will strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it feeling dry and potentially more sensitive,” explains Elina Lei, a Copenhagen-based facialist whose clients include Danish stylist Pernille Teisbaek. Another concern is dilated capillaries, which can contribute to skin redness and trigger rosacea, as well as ultimately leading to broken blood vessels. For this reason, Lei recommends cleansing with lukewarm water instead.


Stop – you don't need all those products

With the vast array of skincare products on offer, it's easy to forget that sometimes less is more. “Overloading skin with too many actives worsens the majority of skin concerns,” warns Lei, who urges her clients to “keep things simple as the ingredients in your routine may not be compatible.”

Cleansing twice daily is non-negotiable, as is a light layer of moisturiser plus SPF for daytime. The serums that are sandwiched in between are where you need to proceed with caution. For example, if your cleanser contains AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), doubling up with a glycolic acid serum can be shockingly irritating. “Rather a serum that contains vitamin C is a good staple to include in your routine – I love the U Beauty Resurfacing Compound as it has multiple benefits including skin brightening and protecting against damage from pollution and UV rays,” advises Lei.


Neglecting the décolleté

Skin on the neck is predisposed to ageing faster than its facial counterpart. Yet, while we lavish due care and attention on our faces, the décolleté is often overlooked. “A lack of sebaceous glands means the skin here becomes easily dehydrated, which, in turn, accelerates ageing,” Andersson explains.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, now that we’re checking our devices 13 times an hour, there is a new foe for the skin below the jawline to contend with. ‘Tech neck’ is a condition where you crane down and forward to stare at a screen, resulting in creases, folds and laxity as a result of the extra pressure on your neck muscles. “So it’s more important than ever to remember to take your skincare all the way down the décolleté or to invest in a product designed specifically for the area,” says Andersson. Good neck creams to try are Elemis Pro-Collagen Neck & Décolleté Balm and Vichy Neovadiol Phytosculpt Face and Neck Contours.