Cover Skincare and beauty can both be simple yet effective (Photo: Getty Images)

Whether it’s because you’d like to streamline your kit or you’re (finally) going on holiday and planning to travel light, here are the beauty essentials you need

With the skincare and beauty markets so saturated with countless new releases seemingly every week, it’s hard to know what you really need when the options are limitless. So we’re here to simplify things for you. 

Skincare and make-up, at their core, are about self-care. It’s about feeling and looking your best, and it’s about taking good care of the biggest organ you possess: your skin. So here are two capsule kits that contain everything you need at your most basic level, with a couple of tips on how to enhance them if you so wish.

Don’t miss: October 2022: The Best New Beauty Products to Shop Right Now

Skincare

The top three things you need to do for your skin are very simple: cleanse, hydrate, and protect. Regardless of your skin type, these are the three things you should be doing to care for your skin daily. The only variable is the products you choose to best accommodate your skin type or condition, but regardless of what you choose, you only really need five products: cleanser, serum, sunscreen, make-up remover, moisturiser. That’s it! Here’s how to use them:

In the morning…

There are some skin types, such as those with very dry skin, who can get away with just splashing their face with water in the morning as their cleanse, but for most of us, it’s a good idea to start the day with a mild cleanser. This washes away the product and oil build-up we accumulate in our sleep, and if you wear make-up, it’s also a good idea to start with a fresh base. The Beste™ No. 9 Jelly Cleanser from Drunk Elephant is a great choice. Its gentle yet effective formula features glycerin, which is a humectant and will keep your skin from feeling stripped of hydration. 

After cleansing, go straight in with a hydrating serum. The Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum from Glow Recipe is fantastic. It boasts hyaluronic acid at five different molecular weights to deeply hydrate the different layers of your skin. If you’re in a cold and dry climate, your skin will need all the help it can get to retain hydration; and if you live in a hot and humid climate where the heat results in water loss, hydration keeps your skin from drying out and possible irritation.

As your final and non-negotiable step, apply sunscreen generously. Without SPF protection, not only are you risking skin cancer and damage, you’re also ushering in premature skin ageing—fine lines, dryness, redness and more—and a compromised skin barrier, which can lead to inflammation and irritation. If you don’t like sunscreen because it feels greasy on the skin, try Dermalogica’s Oil Free Matte SPF30 sunscreen. It is lightweight and hydrating enough on its own for oilier skin types in hotter months, and reduces shine on the skin. Those with drier skin types may have to apply a lotion before your SPF to stay moisturised.

Upgrade: Keep sunscreen on you for reapplication throughout the day. A spray or light lotion-like formula are good options—just make sure to apply with clean fingers if you opt for the latter.

In the evening…

Throughout the day your skin collects a lot of dust, grime, oils and product build-up, so it’s important to cleanse properly before you wrap up your day.

Always opt for a double cleanse: the first to break down and loosen up the products you’ve worn all day, and the second cleanse to properly wash your face clean. If you wear make-up, or even only a SPF, a double cleanse will do wonders for keeping your skin clear. Just make sure to use cleansers that aren’t overly stripping, which would only dehydrate your skin. 

If you wear make-up, a cleansing oil is fantastic as a first cleanse: rub one to two pumps of oil between your palms and gently massage it all over your dry skin in circular motions for about 30 seconds and then rinse off. Shu Uemura’s series of cleansing oils is iconic, and all are great, but for city-dwellers you can’t go wrong with the Anti/Oxi+ Pollutant & Dullness Clarifying Cleansing Oil. Don’t worry if you can still feel the oil on your skin—that’s what the second cleanse is for. 

Read more: 6 Sunscreens You Can Easily Apply Over Make-Up

If you’re really not keen on using an oil, soak a cotton pad (single-use or reusable) with micellar water and swipe it all over your face in circular motions. Bioderma’s micellar water is a cult favourite, and the one from its Sensibio H2O range is even suitable for sensitive skin. Your pressure should be gentle but firm, about the same as if you’re petting a dog or cat on the head. Follow up with your second cleanse, which can be the same cleanser you use in the morning.

After double cleansing, apply a serum with an active ingredient of your choice. Niacinamide is great for calming the skin; retinol is beloved for its regenerative properties; and hyaluronic acid is fantastic for hydration. After that, as your last step, apply a moisturiser to lock in your actives, and to form a barrier over your skin to prevent transepidermal water loss overnight. The iconic Crème de la Mer is perfect as a nighttime moisturiser, but if it’s too thick for you, La Mer has this product in a number of different textures to suit every preference. 

Upgrade: Apply a face mask once a week, and alternate between a hydrating one and a deep cleansing or exfoliating one. Not only is this a good way to regularly practise self-care, a hydrating mask will leave your skin extra nourished, and a deep cleansing or exfoliating mask will get rid of any stubborn build-up. Fresh is well-known for its masks. You can try their Rose Face Mask for hydration or Umbrian Clay Pore-Purifying Face Mask for a deep clean.

Make-up

Do you need a make-up routine? No, absolutely not. If bare-faced is what you prefer or are comfortable with, stop after applying your sunscreen and go and live your best life. But if make-up helps give you a mental or confidence boost, then here is us tipping our hats to you for taking a little bit of “me time” every day. Even so, make-up doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you’re going away! So just stick with a simple tinted moisturiser, a brow product and a lippy of some kind.

Give your sunscreen a minute to settle in—but do not skip it. The SPF a make-up product claims to have is not sufficient for sun protection—and then apply your tinted moisturiser. If you really can’t stand so many layers on your skin, a tinted sunscreen (but not a foundation with SPF) is a great option. The Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint Foundation from Fenty Beauty is great even for make-up novices, and for those who want an all-in-one tinted SPF option, the CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50 PA+++ from Supergoop! comes in a variety of shades. 

With your lip product, go with whatever you’re comfortable with. If a bold and opaque red lip feels the most “you”, go for it! If a clear lip balm is what you’re happiest with, nothing wrong with that! If you’re undecided, a tinted lip balm or lip oil is a good option. It adds a hint of colour, and the gloss is just a touch more dressed up than a balm. Nars has a lovely selection of shades in their Afterglow Lip Balm series that look great on its own or with make-up.

Finally, if you learn nothing else make-up related, learn how to do your eyebrows. You don’t need Instagram-ready brows—not at all; but defined and subtly structured brows will lift your features and give your face dimension. So whether it’s just brushing through with a clear or tinted brow gel or adding a few strokes with a pencil if your natural brows are a bit sparse, go to a make-up counter or watch a few YouTube videos to figure out the best look for your brows. To ease into the brow game, the Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel from Benefit is easy to use and won’t look too made-up.

Upgrade: Even if all you do is tinted moisturiser, brows and lips, you’ll feel like you’ve made an effort and look great in those holiday snapshots. But if you do want to kick it up a notch, swipe on a couple of layers of mascara and tap on a tiny bit of blush for extra pizazz. 

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.