While pumpkin spice lattes take centre stage this autumn, we should also focus on other changes. After all, with autumn comes cooler weather, cosy knits, and the start of the academic year. If you're heading back to school, skincare might be the least of your concerns. However, to maintain that summer glow, and to encourage better health, it's important to up your autumn skincare game.
Despite the busy schedules, you don't have to compromise on your skincare routine. While this might sound like yet another thing to add to your to-do list, fear not. At Poko, we know just how to help - despite your schedule.
Here's Poko's ultimate guide to developing a skincare routine before going back to school!
Before school starts, Marie Kondo that skincare shelf!
Before we jump right into our back-to-school basics, it's important to start at the foundation of every skincare routine: your space. Whether it's a shelf, a dedicated skincare table, or even a skincare fridge, it's time to declutter. This is for two main reasons.
First, summer skincare products might not protect your skin from the elements this autumn and winter. With season-appropriate skincare, you can avoid dry, cracked skin when you head back to school. Therefore, instead of continuing to use your summer-friendly serums and moisturisers, we'd recommend putting them on the back burner. In this case, seal your summer products, and put them in a temperature-stable, dry place until next summer. However, you should always check how long they last once opened.
This brings us to our second pro-decluttering point. Depending on when you opened your favourite summer moisturiser, it might be en route to its "best before" date. Generally, this might occur if you've used the same skincare products this summer, and the year before that. In this case, consider throwing it out, and restocking your favourite summer products just before next summer.
By Marie Kondo-ing your skincare space, you'll be able to pick products that really work for you. Plus, you'll also have the space to try out some new options. These new skincare options could really help protect and nourish your skin during back to school season.
Skincare starts with a good cleanse, before and after school!
Cleansing is the perfect foundation on which to build a skincare routine. While this might sound obvious, it can also seem like a hurdle after a long day in class. In fact, during your first week back to school, it might be tempting to skip the skincare routine and faceplant into your bed. However, we'd strongly recommend against doing this.
You've been out of the house all day, makeup, sunscreen, and grime building up on your face throughout the course of it. We're quite sure that you won't want to soil your lovely sheets and pillows with this dirt. Plus, by cleansing your face, you're caring for your skin. This, in turn, will help avoid breakouts, enlarged pores, and premature signs of ageing.
Before you head back to school, look at your current skincare routine, and take your cleanser into account. Generally, we'd recommend double-cleansing - first with an oil or balm, and then with a gentle foaming cleanser. Your first cleanser will help remove makeup, along with surface dirt and grime. Then, a foam cleanser will leave your face squeaky-clean, primed for your favourite serum.
Skip the skincare shortcuts, even if they're tempting
Between lectures, assignments, and studying for those pesky quizzes, it might be tempting to take the easy way out with skincare. The number of #skincarehacks on TikTok are endless, and it doesn't end there. You might have seen supposed skin-friendly hacks, like putting an ice cube on your face to reduce redness or crushed-up aspirin on a pimple. There are also more convenient alternatives, like makeup wipes.
However, there's really nothing like a solid skincare routine for you to fall back on, even when you're busy with school and all its commitments. Therefore, we'd recommend steering clear of these skincare hacks.
After all, using ice on your face can actually burst capillaries, adding to the redness for much longer. Instead of a crushed-up aspirin, tackle a breakout head-on - first, by cleansing, and then with Poko's Soothing Serum. Finally, seal the pimple with a hydrocolloid patch, which will keep it safe from bacteria and itchy fingers. This will help reduce the swelling and redness, promoting quicker healing.
As for makeup wipes, it's best to stay away from them completely. After all, makeup wipes usually aren't biodegradable, taking up to 100 years to decompose. Plus, they're extremely harsh on your skin, and long-term use can cause signs of premature ageing. Because of this, it's best to put them back on the shelf. Instead, reach for a cleansing balm or oil!
Don't skimp on the moisturiser
If you have oily skin, you might be tempted to skip the moisturiser - especially in the mornings. However, at Poko, we know our skin, and we have a little secret for you. Usually, when your skin errs on the more oily side, it's because your skin is actually dry. You see, it's a cycle: your skin gets dry, so it tries to overcompensate by over-producing oil. It's just trying to reinforce your natural moisture barrier!
Because of this, we'd recommend that you find a good-quality moisturiser to help it along. By doing this, you'll break the cycle, providing your skin with what it needs to reinforce your natural moisture barrier. While this might sound counterproductive, it's a great way to address oily skin. After all, when your skin is sufficiently moisturised, it stops trying to produce excess oil.
Plus, by reinforcing your natural moisture barrier, you can steer clear of other skincare issues that might plague you throughout the school year. In fact, when your moisture barrier is compromised, oily skin is the least of your worries. Look out for these warning signs: sensitive, red skin, flaky and dry skin, inflammation and regular breakouts, and itchy skin.
To reinforce your natural moisture barrier, first avail of an occlusive moisturiser. This will protect your skin from the elements, while giving it some much-needed moisture. For this, our go-to option is our Ultra Hydrating Moisturiser. Packed full of emollients, it's one of the best skincare products for college students, going on smoothly under your makeup, or just before bedtime.
Back to school self-care (and skincare) is important!
When a new academic year begins, we all want to hit the ground running. However, despite any school-related commitments, self-care is so important - and so is skincare. In fact, self-care is at the top of our skincare tips for students. By taking time for yourself, you'll be able to take a break from burning the candle at both ends, reducing the risk of burnout.
First, we'd recommend using your evening skincare routine to sneak in some self-care. By this time, you'll have finished with classes and commitments, and might be winding down for the day. Therefore, this is the perfect opportunity to reset your mood and enjoy your evening.
At Poko, we understand that everyone approaches their skincare differently. Because of this, forming a skincare routine for students can be incredibly varied. However, a fairly simple routine would be to double-cleanse, before using a serum and a moisturiser. Then, seal all that goodness in with a final layer - a hydrating oil should do the trick.
You can also pick a dedicated night in the school week to indulge in some skincare. Try out a new DIY face mask, experiment with that chemical exfoliant you've been meaning to try, or gather your nearest and dearest for a spa evening at home.
Furthermore, with October 13 (or Treat Yo'self Day) fast approaching, you can also splurge on some of the best skincare products for college students. Of course, we'd recommend something from the Poko lineup (our Luxury Facial Oil, for example), but feel free to expand your search. We hear that LED therapy is rapidly gaining popularity. You could also look into that lovely gua sha you've been eyeing up!
Keep your AM routines short and sweet
Between sorting out your outfit, making sure you have your notes together, and getting to school on time, your morning skincare routine might be low on your list of priorities. The struggle is real, and we completely understand it. Here's a skincare hack that you can actually utilise: keep your AM routine basic. By stripping it down to the essentials, you'll make it out the door in record time.
In fact, a good morning routine only requires three things: a gentle cleanser, moisturiser, and an SPF. To save time, we'd even recommend a tinted SPF option, as this can make your skin appear smoother under your foundation. While this simple routine might work for certain skin types (especially if you're blessed in the good skin department), other skin types might need a more elaborate routine.
However, this doesn't mean you can't keep things simple. It's time to ditch those single-purpose ingredients, swapping them for multipurpose options. For example, our Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser contains zinc oxide to protect your skin, peptides to encourage collagen production, and emollients for hydration. This, therefore, makes it a better time-saving option than a peptide, layered with a moisturiser, and a niacinamide serum.
By changing your skincare routine to include more multipurpose options, you could potentially save those precious minutes before school starts. Who knows, this could even give you a few more minutes to lie in - and we all know how precious those moments can be!
Bolster your skin with a balanced diet
Skincare products can play a big role in encouraging good skin. There's no doubt that you'll have done your research, especially when coming up with your back to school skincare routine. However, even the best serums for college students can only do so much. At Poko, we believe that the journey towards good skin is a holistic one.
Because of this, we'd recommend skipping the takeaways a few times a week. Instead, consider swapping that with a tasty, homemade meal. Even if you're making something easy, like a carbonara with a salad on the side, you're still getting a healthy protein dose, and all the vitamins from those greens. This, in turn, will help in the journey towards better skin!
Plus, processed food could potentially impede your skin's progress. While that spicy chicken burger can be tasty, it also utilises high amounts of refined vegetable oils. In large quantities, these oils can result in all the things we're trying to avoid - redness, inflammation, and excess oil production. Therefore, while your fifth takeaway of the week might be extremely convenient (and they're so delicious), it might just be time for a homemade dinner.
Sure, this might sound a little labour intensive - especially while juggling your school schedule - but it can play a huge role in your skincare routine. With a better diet, you could also see a quicker change in your skin. With that said, it's important to start with small changes, as you'll find these more manageable than one big lifestyle change.
Back to school skincare 101: Be consistent!
As the seasons change along with your schedule, your skincare routine might also go through some changes. First, remember to swap out summer skincare products for colder weather alternatives. By doing this, you'll ensure that your skin is prepared to live, laugh, and love its way through autumn and winter.
However, it's not all about skincare products - it's also about consistency. With your school-related schedule, sticking to a proper skincare routine can be difficult. Because of this, it's important to formulate a back to school skincare routine that you can stick to. Consider how many steps your skin needs, and whether or not single-purpose products are really worth the hype.
Once you scale back to a more manageable skincare routine, you can be more consistent when taking care of your skin. After all, when it comes to skincare, consistency makes a huge difference. You're giving your skincare products more time to work, increasing their efficacy, and giving you the best possible skin throughout the school year!