When you complete beauty routine — and the order you complete it in — can dramatically influence its effectiveness. So what is this mysterious beauty timetable — and what should you be doing to look, feel and function at your best?
7am: BRUSH YOUR TEETH
For the whitest smile, brush as soon you wake up to get rid of the bacteria that has formed in your mouth overnight. Then, after you have eaten, rinse with a mouthwash.
Never brush your teeth right after your meal. The enamel coating of your teeth is in temporarily, weakened state due to the acid content of food and the enzymes your body releases in saliva to start the digestive process. It takes approximately 30 minutes for your enamel to return to normal. You may be stripping your enamel.
Most dermatologists believe it's better for you to exfoliate early in the day, as this will help get rid of any residual oil from the night before, give dull skin a lift and get the blood flowing. Exfoliating your face in the morning rather than the evening will also help you avoid breakouts.
We also tend to use stronger products such as heavy-duty serums or night creams before bed — and if you scrub away your dead skin in the evening before applying one of these, they might irritate your skin.
8am: APPLY ON YOUR SKIN PRODUCTS
The sebum (or oil) level in your skin is highest first thing in the morning. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, skin products — especially acne-fighting ones — can be more effective when applied to sebum-rich skin.
So to get the best results, apply them on first thing. But it's important to put them on in the right order. Opt for items with a thinner consistency, such as a serum, first, before finishing with your heavier creams and moisturisers.
Otherwise, those pricey lotions you've spent your money on can actually clog the skin and stop the lighter ones from penetrating and doing their job.
10am: GET A PEDICURE
It may be tempting to schedule a pedicure after a long day of being on your feet, but according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, you should actually make the nail salon one of your first stops.
As unsavoury as it is to think about, foot baths are more likely to be clean and bacteria-free in the morning, reducing the risk of viral or fungal infections.
TIP — don't shave your legs before you head to the salon. Newly-shaved limbs have more open pores (and sometimes tiny nicks the eye can't see), making them more susceptible to infectious diseases.
12pm: BLOT YOUR SKIN
The skin also produces sebum during the middle of the day as part of its protection against UV rays, so by midday it might be looking distinctly shiny. This is the optimum time to use blotting cloths to absorb excess oil and keep your skin clear and blemish-free.
Air conditioners, office central heating and your computer screen can wreak havoc with your complexion. But to stop them from dehydrating your skin, keep a hydrating facial mist by your desk for an afternoon top-up.
Simply spritz the spray over your face for a pick-me-up around 3pm. Your skin will thank you.
6pm: FAKE YOUR TAN
Applying your fake tan in the evening is both practical and productive.
It takes between six and eight hours for most fake tans to show up on your skin — time most of us don't have to spare during the day. So you're best applying your product in the evening, letting it dry to prevent streaks and then heading to bed. When you shower it off in the morning, you'll have a bronzed glow and be able to get rid of that telltale biscuit smell before venturing out in public.
8pm: GIVE YOURSELF A FACIAL
When applied at night, products will seep deeper into your skin - letting you wake up looking fresher. Not only will a late-night facial give your skin an overnight recovery if you have had any blackhead or whitehead extractions, but it will also give you the opportunity to head to bed soon afterwards, where your facial muscles will relax as you sleep and the products used during the facial will seep deeper into your skin — letting you wake up looking fresher and brighter.
10pm: SHAVE YOUR LEGS
According to beauty experts, we should be shaving our legs before we go to bed for the closest and smoothest result.
This is because, as we sleep, our legs become warm and swell slightly — so by the morning, the hairs don't stick out as much as they do during the evening and are harder to get with the razor.
But don't use this as an excuse for a lengthy bath before bed — after 15 or 20 minutes in the water, your skin wrinkles, making it difficult to get a close shave.