There’s one miracle serum that we must always have in our skincare routine; the one product we use to the last drop, bottle after bottle.

Sometimes though, its effects reach a plateau. The complexion starts to look dull, and it seems as if our serums are just sitting on top of the skin’s surface.

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When this happens, try going on a “skin dissociated diet”, to “awaken” fatigued skin, says YSL Beaute’s Scientific Communication Director Caroline Negre. This “diet” spans over two-days.

“It can (also) be done when you want to switch from one serum to another,” she says.

Here’s how it works:

DAY 1: RESET YOUR SKIN
On the first day of your skin “diet”, focus on removing the layer of dead skin cells that may be preventing your skincare products from penetrating the skin. You should also replenish the skin with “basic elements” – as Caroline terms it – to strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier, allowing it to hold moisture better.

STEP #1 CLEANSE WITH A GENTLE FOAMING WASH
Your regular foaming wash will do for this step.

STEP #2 EXFOLIATE WITH AN ENZYME PEEL
Do not confuse chemical peels with enzyme peels – the latter tends to be gentler on the skin, and are usually made with fruit acids from papayas, pumpkins and apples, to name a few.

There are many mask-type enzyme peels or gel-textured ones that dissolve dead skin cells on the skin’s surface.

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Drier skin types can try Peter Thomas Roth’s Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, which is a wash-off product. If you have normal to oily skin, Arcona’s Cranberry Gommage acts a little more like a traditional exfoliator and is great for de-clogging pores.

STEP #3 MOISTURISE YOUR SKIN WITH AN ESSENCE
These essences contain more potent ingredients than toners, but still maintain a watery texture, some a little more viscous than others.

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YSL Beaute’s Forever Youth Liberator Essence-in-Lotion is said to contain twice the amount of hydrating agents compared to the classic lotion. It hydrates, plumps and preps the skin to better receive other products layered on top.

Use about a 20-cent coin sized amount, or more if you have dry skin. Apply it using a cotton pad, from the centre of the face and smooth outwards. Then, lightly pat your face, starting from your forehead and moving down towards your neck in circular motions. Finally, use your palms and apply light pressure on the face.

STEP #4 REPLENISH WITH A FACIAL OIL
Apply a nourishing face oil to help strengthen the skin barrier as you sleep.

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YSL Beaute’s Or Rouge Oil is a luxurious lightweight oil that’s perfect for our weather.

STEP #5 RESET WITH A CELL TURNOVER BOOSTER
Finally, apply a product which contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to help boost cell turnover at night. Examples of AHAs include glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid and mandelic acid. (If you have sensitive skin, use mandelic acid.)

DAY 2: RECHARGE YOUR SKIN
Now that your skin is hydrated and healthy, it’s primed to better absorb the active ingredients in your serum.

STEP #1 PREPARE YOUR SKIN WITH A CLEANSING LOTION
You can use a cleansing toner or a micellar water solution like Creme Simon’s Brightening Detox for this step.

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STEP #2 AWAKEN YOUR SKIN WITH A MASK
Pop your favourite mask in the fridge and use it for 10-15 minutes to cool and hydrate the skin.

STEP #3 HYDRATE WITH AN ESSENCE
This follows step #3 from day one.

STEP #4 ACTIVATE WITH A SERUM
Choose one that fits your needs the most.

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For example, for firming, try YSL Beaute’s Forever Youth Liberator Y-Shape serum, and for brightening, Shu Uemura’s Youthful Radiance Enhancer.

STEP #5 TREAT WITH A CREAM
Finish off with your cream and wake up to brighter and more balanced skin the next day!

Photography: Vernon Wong; Art direction: Eugene Quek and Sabrina Tiong; Hair and makeup: Rina Sim using M.A.C Cosmetics (9762 6084); Model: Sherena Ng / Basic Models

Sherena is wearing a polyester-viscose blend tee, $56.90, from Topshop. Topshop store locations can be found here.