A top facialist reveals her skincare routine
They have access to the fanciest products and latest beauty innovations, but what does a beauty insider actually use herself? To find out, we quizzed Kate Kerr, an acclaimed facialist with years of experience working with the skin, on her routine and the products she rates.
Notepad at the ready? Here we go:
Kate’s morning routine
Step 1: cleanse
In the morning, the first step I recommend is cleansing. Just as cleansing at night removes the oil, dirt and debris from your skin incurred during the day, cleansing in the morning also serves a special function. The goal is to awaken your skin by increasing circulation, clearing away dead skin cells, and preparing the surface of your skin to effectively absorb your targeted daytime products.
Step 2: prevent
The best way to restore skin to total health is to take a one-two punch with your daytime skincare regime, pairing a potent antioxidant serum with a broad-spectrum high SPF sunscreen (see step 4). Even when you are using a SPF as high as 50, the sun’s UV rays still manage to penetrate after time, so an antioxidant serum is an essential step to ensure long-lasting protection and repair as the day goes on.
Step 3: hydrate
This may come as a surprise given everything you’ve been taught about skincare, but moisturiser is a completely optional step. The only reason most of us feel our skin is dry is because we’ve depended on moisturiser for many years, the effect of which compromises our skin’s natural moisturising processes. The key is to reactivate this natural ability in the skin to cause an overall rejuvenating effect and help the skin to function optimally.
My top hydration tips:
If you have a truly dry skin you will have suffered with dry skin your whole life. You won’t have had teenage breakouts and you have probably suffered from dry skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema. For true dry skin use a lipid rich moisturiser morning and evening to help alleviate the discomfort and dryness that comes with a dry skin.
However, if you don’t have true dry skin you can opt for a hyaluronic acid (HA) based serum to hydrate. Lightweight, yet effective, HA serums contain the same water-binding compounds naturally found in your skin, helping to maintain ideal hydration levels in the most natural way possible, without upsetting your skin’s processes.
Step 4: protect
The sun’s rays have been proven to accelerate the signs of premature skin ageing. Regardless of the weather, the sun’s damaging UV rays will always find you, so it’s important to wear a high SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen every day without fail to keep your skin properly shielded from its number one enemy. I recommend using an SPF of at least 30, though 50 for the best possible protection.
Kate’s night time routine
Step 1: makeup removal
Use a gel-based cleanser to gently remove makeup. I leave my makeup on until bed, but if you prefer to take it off earlier, say when you get in from work, you will need to reapply sunscreen after removal and cleansing – this is to protect against HEV light. This is the blue light emitted from our screens and devices, and it is just as damaging, if not more, then UVA and UVB, but the studies are ongoing. Blue Light infringes on the transportation of minerals in and out of the cells causing irregular cell function, leading to DNA damage and premature ageing.
Step 2: cleanse
This crucial step not only removes every last bit of makeup from your skin, but also ensures the spoils of the day go with it, such as pollution, and the natural oils that build up and oxidise on the skin’s surface. Use a cleanser containing AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) like glycolic or lactic, or BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) such as salicylic, to help speed up cell renewal and brighten the skin.
Step 3: correct
While you sleep your skin goes into healing mode, so it’s the best time to give it a boost with a variety of active ingredients that help with cell renewal and damage repair. The most popular of the ‘active correctives’ is retinol, due not only to its high efficacy, but also to the wide variety of products and formulations designed for various skin types.
My top correcting tips:
No matter what your skin concerns are, it’s never too late to start correcting past damage and restoring your skin’s beauty, health and radiance. Whether it’s fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, sensitivity, open pores or breakout, there is a multitude of corrective products suitable for your skin concerns.
Most corrective products contain high levels of active ingredients so it’s best to start using them just in the evening. Eventually, you can start gradually introducing corrective products into both your daytime and evening regimes for round-the-clock skin restoration.
Step 4: hydrate
Use a lightweight hydrating serum only on the nights you’re not using retinol to counteract any dryness and irritation, as well as restore your skin’s natural moisture balance. For true dry skin, use an emollient-rich moisturiser ten minutes after the application of your corrective serums.
If the skin feels like it needs added moisture, use a hyaluronic acid-based serum every night – this should be used under your retinol.
Step 5: eyes
Give your eyes the same repair boost as your face with a product formulated to deliver active ingredients specifically to the delicate eye area.
Kate’s beauty heroes
The ingredients we should all be stocking up on:
An absolute must in everyone’s skincare regime. Holding one thousand times its own weight in water, hyaluronic acid is a natural humectant meaning it attracts and binds water to provide a hydrating and plumping effect to the skin. What I love about hyaluronic acid is that it doesn’t upset your skin’s natural moisturising factors and therefore won’t make your skin sluggish and dry like many moisturisers can. It is great for all skin types and won’t cause problems with oily or acne prone skins. It is important for fibroblast proliferation, and fibroblasts produce collagen, so it’s anti-ageing as well as hydrating.
Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is the most well-known and widely used AHA. It is a favourite of mine as it targets both the skin’s texture and tone. The sugar acids dissolve the bonds that hold the dead skin cells onto the surface of the skin revealing younger, plumper cells. Exposing these healthy cells ensures that light is reflected rather than absorbed, for a brighter complexion. Glycolic acid is also known for helping reverse sun damage and pigmentation and is thought to stimulate the growth of collagen and elastin.
I use antioxidants every day to neutralise free radicals, which helps prevent the breakdown of collagen and premature ageing. A good serum will help counteract oxidation, repair damage and protect the skin against future damage by encouraging a healthy skin barrier function.
A Vitamin A derivative, retinol helps to stimulate a large percentage of the different cells within the skin to behave as fresher, healthier and younger versions of themselves. This not only improves collagen and hyaluronic acid production, but also speeds up cell turnover to improve skin function and hydration, and to smooth and brighten.
When it comes to pigmentation specifically, the melanocyte within our skin is designed to protect it from light. HEV and UV light infringes on the transportation of minerals in and out of the cells, causing irregular cell function and leading to DNA damage and premature ageing. Wearing an SPF every day that contains fractionated melanin will help shield your skin from UV and HEV light.
For almost two decades expert Clinical Facialist Kate Kerr has specialised in skin therapy and skin rejuvenation creating bespoke treatments targeting skin-ageing as well as skin health.