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A Gen-Z Guide To Skincare Products To Invest In

Look forward to gorgeous, glowing skin for a long time to come.

Your 20s are an important period for your skin. This is the time when the decisions you make about your skin will determine your future complexion, from its texture, to lines, pigmentation, radiance, and how resilient it is. Being savvy now sets the foundation for maintaining healthy, glowing skin that’s resilient against ageing signs and damage.

Besides the all-important sun protection and good cleansing habits, nourishing the skin with essential ingredients will help it to carry out its natural functions well. These include repair, renewal, moisturisation, and defence against external stressors like pollution and blue light.

But let’s be clear: You don’t need to overspend or follow a rigid 10-step routine in order to achieve – and sustain – youthful, radiant skin. The fact is, when it comes to skincare products, it’s not about how many weapons you have in your arsenal but how effective they are.

So make your 20s count by making some smart investments in powerhouse products that really do make a difference to give you plump, dewy skin. Here are our tips on the essential ingredients you should look out for when choosing your skincare products, to get glowing skin.

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This article first appeared in Her World.

Strengthen your skin with probiotics for glowing skin
Commonly found in fermented products like yogurt, probiotics are good bacteria and yeast that keep the gut – and hence the body – healthy by countering bad bacteria. When used in skincare, they help to maintain skin’s natural flora (the ecosystem of micro-organisms on the surface) so that skin is well-balanced, hydrated and has a strong natural barrier function to defend itself against inflammation and free radicals. In other words, they’re the cornerstone to making your face glow. SK-II PITERA(TM) Essence, $108-$289
Comprising over 90% PITERATM – derived from the fermentation of a special yeast strain exclusive to SK-II  – PITERA™ Essence (a.k.a. Facial Treatment Essence) is referred to by millions of users as “Miracle Water” because of its wide-ranging transformative powers, revitalising and transforming the look of skin for crystal clear skin.   PITERA™ is packed with over 50 micro-nutrients but still retains a light texture that mimics skin, allowing it to absorb its nutrients even faster than water. All you have to do is dispense a few drops onto your palms and pat them into your skin, and you are good to go. Lancome Advanced Genifique, $130
Has a complex of seven prebiotics and probiotic fractions that nourish and strengthen skin’s microbiome. And that means stronger, more resilient skin. Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer, $76
Lightweight but very hydrating, this moisturiser reduces the effects of daytime external stressors to keep skin healthy and balanced. Exfoliate often with Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) for glowing skin
These acids (which can be either naturally derived from plants and animals or synthetically created) are popular in skincare because their exfoliating effects bring about fresher, smoother skin with less obvious fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. They also have a brightening effect that can help to improve product absorption. Commonly used AHAs in skincare products include glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid. SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, $100-$116
This hydrating toner acts as the last step in a cleansing routine to remove stubborn impurities and prep skin for upcoming skincare steps. It also has AHAs to deliver radiant skin by sloughing away dead skin cells and improving uneven tone.   Our recommended way to use this: Saturate a cotton pad using two to three shakes of the toner then gently wipe the entire face, starting with your T-zone then sweeping from chin to cheek in an upwards and outward motion. Chanel Le Blanc Soft Exfoliating Pre-Lotion, $89
Combines glycolic acid with arginine for mild and gradual exfoliation, while liquorice root extract and pearl protein extract help to brighten skin. Herbivore Botanicals Prism 12% AHA + 3% BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum, $79
Uses fully natural fruit- and plant-based AHAs and is further boosted with beta-hydroxy acid (which gets deep into the pores to clean out gunk) and vitamin C to boost skin radiance. Protect your skin from external stressors with antioxidants for glowing skin
The no-brainer in any skincare routine. By protecting skin from oxidative damage from free radicals (which can be generated by everything from UV rays to pollution and stress), antioxidants in your skincare products not only prevent premature ageing, but also photo damage and, hence, dark spots. SK-II GenOptics Aura Essence, $199-$400
Packed with everything you need for radiant skin that’s also even-toned. This fast-absorbing brightening serum has the antioxidant plum extract, plus PITERATM to support skin’s natural functions, and D-Melano P3C, an ingredient formulated to tackle dullness and dark spots.   All these come together to form a lightweight but effective serum that helps to unveil your skin’s glow. We love that the serum can be easily incorporated into both our day and night routine and you can simply apply more product on areas that need extra care. Estee Lauder Nutritious Super-Pomegranate Radiant Energy Moisture Creme, $112
Protects skin with the antioxidant power of pomegranate, while also detoxifying and moisturising so skin looks plump and glowing. Sulwhasoo Bloomstay Vitalizing Cream, $120
Draws on the antioxidant properties of plum blossom to counter environmental damage and reduce the signs of skin ageing. Moisturise with Hyaluronic Acid for glowing skin
The must-have to ensure skin hydration. A naturally occurring substance in the body, hyaluronic acid is known for its ability to attract and retain up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture. Not only does it keep skin hydrated and enable it to function well, it also helps to smooth, soften and plump the skin surface layers so you look fresher, more radiant and youthful. Chantecaille Blue Light Protection Hyaluronic Serum, $250
A refreshing and gentle serum for all skin types, it not only provides lasting hydration and a plumping effect, but also reduces skin damage caused by blue light. Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion, $90
An essential basic for dewy, supple skin, this transforms into a super lightweight, water-like gel upon application and helps to plump up fine lines. Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask, $129
With hyaluronic acid of 1,000 different micro and macro molecular sizes, it replenishes moisture in dry skin on multiple levels, minimising the look of wrinkles from the inside out and smoothing the skin surface. Power up your skin with ceramides for glowing skin
Think of ceramides as the glue that holds skin cells together and supports skin’s structure. Concentrated in the upper layers of skin, these lipids form a large part of the skin barrier that locks in moisture and keeps out external stressors. Because natural ageing and sun damage can degrade and deplete skin’s natural ceramides, topping up what’s lost is essential for reinforcing skin’s barrier function. Skin Inc Ceramide Serum, $68
Strengthens and soothes skin prone to dehydration and sensitivity. The homegrown skincare brand uses a patented encapsulation technology that ensures the ingredients are effectively delivered into skin. Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturizing Cream, $95
Strengthens and soothes skin prone to dehydration and sensitivity. The homegrown skincare brand uses a patented encapsulation technology that ensures the ingredients are effectively delivered into skin. Keep your skin youthful with vitamin C for glowing skin
This powerful multi-tasker has a proven track record for delivering various skin benefits – as an antioxidant keeping premature ageing at bay, a dark spot and hyperpigmentation fighter, and a skin healer that triggers the production of collagen and elastin. ’Nuff said. Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%, $100 for four pieces
Like a daily supplement you take with meals, you simply mix a couple of drops of this pure vitamin C booster into your moisturiser for brighter skin with reduced lines and dark spots. Fresh Vitamin Nectar Moisture Glow Face Cream, $77
Perks up dull, tired and blotchy skin with a concentrated blend of crushed citrus fruits and fruit acids that refine and smoothen skin.