From The Straits Times    |

Mid-20s to 30s skin is kind of frustrating, and not in the traditional combination skin sense; the kind that you can easily control with the help of a balancing toner, moisturiser and just a bit of pimple cream when you need it.

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Image: Girls’ Generation Yoona for Innisfree

It is rather, erratic on the T-zone and dry on the cheeks that rise and – let’s be honest – mostly fall according to how many hours you slept the night before. (Read: Elongated pores and laugh lines that threaten to get deeper everyday.) Getting the skin to recover to its usual state isn’t as straightforward as a good night’s rest anymore. The cumulative effects of stress and adapting to many life changes during this period are still visible, and is sadly, all part of the ageing process.

Which is why it’s never too early to start thinking about an anti-ageing skincare routine. We’re not talking about the “rich” creams that feel much like a thick paste on your palms – leave those stuff for when you (may) have very dry skin and deep wrinkles.

Instead, just daily use of some of these “supercharged” lightweight serums, creams and toners, as well as cultivating healthy habits will help to prevent the common signs of ageing, such as fine lines, dullness, dryness and sagging skin. After all, prevention is better than cure, right?

Here are three easy ways to kickstart your anti-ageing routine today:


#1 Start looking after the skin around your eyes
As you may already know, the skin around the eyes is the thinnest and most delicate. It has few sebum glands and the production of collagen and elastin – the stuff that keeps it soft and firm – decreases as you age. The muscles around the eye are also subject to a lot of strain from blinking and squinting, making the area prone to forming fine lines faster than the rest of your face.

You can start preventing the formation of fine lines with an eye cream that will sufficiently hydrate the skin under the eyes. But if you want more out of your eye cream, some can help to boost collagen production as well as blood circulation to not just improve the look of fine lines, but also puffiness and dark circles.

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We love Shiseido’s Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Concentrate, $98 for 15ml, available at all Shiseido counters. This gel-like serum transforms into a dewy oil veil that works to hydrate and strengthen the skin under the eye, making it more resilient to environmental damage during the process. A little goes a long way for this product – we needed less than half a pump for both eyes.


#2 Masks are great maintenance products
With many life changes – be it a new job, travel, marriage, a baby or a promotion – happening during this period, you don’t always have the time and spare cash for more intensive treatments to help rejuvenate your skin. Which is why masks have become so popular over the recent years – they offer a quick and easy option to treat certain skin concerns within 10 minutes, or even while you sleep.

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Our favourite for giving dull and saggy skin a little bit of a boost is Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask, $129, available at Fresh and Sephora stores. The antioxidant-rich mask has a velvety, whipped texture that applies smoothly onto the skin, giving it a cooling sensation that instantly soothes tired skin. Leave it on for ten minutes, then rinse the mask off and follow up with your usual skincare routine.

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And for extremely late nights, opt for the Black Tea Overnight Firming Mask, $144 instead, which only requires a single step before bed for firm and hydrated skin in the morning.


#3 Consider targeted skincare solutions for anti-ageing
Try adding a lightweight, anti-ageing essence or serum to your skincare routine. They help to support your skin’s natural cycle, which tends to slow as we age, as well as combat existing problems we may have on our skin, such as dullness or acne.

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There are many skincare brands that offer products like this, like SK-II’s new R.N.A Power range, which focuses on improving the common signs of ageing – sagging skin, fine lines and dullness, to name a few.

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If you still suffer from acne, then Skin Inc provides a great option for you to customise an anti-ageing serum to target each of your concerns. A combination of licorice, hyaluronic acid and coenzyme q10 serum is our current favourite for occasional acne-prone, dehydrated skin.

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Finally, if you want a fuss-free serum that targets all of the problems caused by your skin’s #quarterlifecrisis, then try Origin’s Original Skin Renewal Serum with Willowherb, $78, available at all Origins counters and Specially formulated for the mid 20s to 30s age range, the pink-tinted serum helps to retexturise the skin, combats dullness and lightly controls oil, while giving it a slight glow.


#4 Don’t overlook your basic skincare routine
Masks and serums are great for giving your skin that “extra boost” to fight premature ageing, but don’t forget your basic skincare routine. Many products within the traditional cleanse-tone-moisturise system have evolved to help you reap the most benefits from your regime.

For example, one we’re completely obsessed with is the treatment or hydrating toner, which has been trending for the past year. Unlike the traditional toner that cleanses the skin, this one hydrates it post-cleansing, preps the skin and helps it to absorb subsequent products better.

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We find Cosme Decorte’s Liposome Treatment Liquid, $157, available at all Cosme Decorte counters, one that’s worth investing in. The watery solution works to restore the structure of the outermost layer of the skin to its original, healthy state. In simpler terms, it increases the capacity of your skin to absorb and hold moisture and nutrients. The immediate effects? It instantly plumps your skin, and helps subsequent products to penetrate faster. Not bad for a skincare product we tend to consider as ‘basic’.

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For a more affordable option, Innisfree’s Jeju Sparkling Mineral Skin, $31, available at all Innisfree stores. The hydrating toner helps to restore the skin’s pH, with “acid-balanced” pure hot spring water, which is also rich in minerals and clarifying carbonic acid.

So to recap: Start cultivating healthy habits like treating your skin to a mask once a week, looking after the skin around your eyes – because that’s where age shows up the fastest – and look for ways in your daily routine to better help your skin to fight against internal and external aggressors. It’s never too early to start thinking about anti-ageing, and it doesn’t have to require big or pricey changes to your current routine.

Not sure if your anti-ageing routine is working? Here are 3 easy “tests” you can do to find out. If your routine really isn’t working, then this may be the reason why you aren’t seeing any results.