Back to the BASICS

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Your dressing table is cluttered with expensive lotions, serums, foundations and gels, and yet nothing seems to be working for your skin. Sounds familiar? Samreen Samad helps you start from scratch and get the most out of your beauty buys

How often have you walked into a beauty store only to find yourself surrounded by pushy salespeople?
You know the kind. They diagnose a skin problem you didn’t even know you had till you walked into the store, and then prescribe a product—one they just happen to get commission for selling—as the magic solution. Or maybe you do most of your shopping online and just can’t resist a well-written product description.Either way, most of us somehow end up never using at least 30 per cent of our beauty inventory So, unless you’re on a mission to single-handedly save the industry from the economic downturn, it’s time to re-think your shopping strategy. You can do that by really understanding your skin and matching it up with what is available in the market today. Let’s get you started.


Skin is categorised into four types—normal, oily, dry and combination. To know your skin type, wash your face with a mild cleanser and leave it for an hour without applying any product or touching it. Then match it up.


Your skin doesn’t flake or get greasy. It’s soft and supple.


Your skin feels greasy and your pores are enlarged.


Skin feels stretchy and flakey. You may also notice peeling.


Your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) is oily while the remaining areas of your face are normal to dry.



Creams and lotions are the most basic part of a skin-care regimen and are usually made from mixing oil with water.


Gels are emulsions that contain oil in water. This simply means that the product is mainly water with a little bit of oil added to it. Gels are usually alcohol-based and work for oily and acne-prone skin. Virgina Holmes, co-founder of fat mu Makeup Academy, explains, “Gels hydrate up to 10 hours. They are oil-free, non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores) and contain vitamin B.”


Serums are the new-kids-on-the block, but becoming quite popular because of their lightweight consistency. Serums are easily absorbed into the skin and nourish it with key ingredients like retinol and AHAs.


Foundation turns your face into a clean canvas for makeup. The function of foundation is to even out your complexion, dulling brighter areas and brightening darker ones.



If you have oily skin with excess shine,pick gels instead of creams for moisturisation. Makeup artist Priya Kapur says, “Gels are usually noncomedogenic and don’t cause blackheads and whiteheads, common problems faced by people with oily skin.” Dr. Apratim Goel, dermatologist and laser surgeon, Cutis Skin Studio, Mumbai, recommends washing your face with a non-drying and oil-control face wash followed by a toner to minimise the pores. She adds, “Pick matte foundations as cream-based foundations block pores and cause breakouts. Use an oilcontrolor matte primer as makeup base totame oil secretion.”


If you have dry and flaky skin, make sure you keep it hydrated and moisturised. Priya says, “Apply a cream-base moisturiser to avoid peeling and tightness.”Also, pick a non-foamy cleanser to maintain the pH balance of your skin. Dr. Apratim adds, “Make sure the skin is well hydrated before applying makeup. Foundation tends to further leach natural oils and dehydrates the skin. To counter this use a water-based luminous foundation.”


If you have a combination of dry and oily skin,use serums as they work for all skin types.Serums are also really good for de-hydrated skin types. Virgina says, “Serums get into deeper layers of the skin than regular moisturisers.” Dr. Apritam adds, “Use a primer with illuminator on the oily parts of your face and apply moisturiser on the dry areas. Opt for a water-based foundation and dust translucent powder to balance out the makeup.”



1.Cleanse your skin thoroughly every morning with a purifying face wash.
2.Use a toner to shrink pores and a gel or water-based moisturiser.
3.Apply makeup that is formulated for oily skin.
4.Remove all makeup thoroughly before bedtime with a skin cleanser.


1.Opt for a delicate facial cleanser of a creamy cleansing foam to wash your face.
2.Massage your face with a moisturizing and nourishing cream.
3.Apply a primer on your face and neck.
4.Use a cream-based foundation.


1.Wash your face twice a day with a kin calming facial cleanser.
2. Use an exfoliating gel or invigorating scrub to exfoliate twice a week as the T-zone can suffer from buildup of dead skin.
3.Use a toning lotion only on the T-zone and areas that get oily.
4.Cream and powder foundations work well for this skin type. A liquid powder foundation is your best bet.