How To Build Sensitive Skincare Routine That Works According To Experts
How To Build Sensitive Skincare Routine That Works According To Experts

How To Build Sensitive Skincare Routine That Works According To Experts

6 minutes read

Consumer demand for sensitive skincare products is at an all-time high because of environmental aggressors. Google searches for “sensitive skin” are reported to have doubled in the last five years worldwide. Up to 70% of women report having sensitive skin. 

So how can you get aggravated and inflamed skin under control? We asked certified skincare experts how to build sensitive skincare that works. 

What is sensitive skin and what does it look like?

Sensitive skin is defined as skin that is prone to inflammation. It refers to various conditions, from genetic ailments, such as rosacea and eczema, to severe allergies. While some people can have a one-time skin reaction to a product or ingredient, those with persistent issues are classified as having sensitive skin.

“Sensitive skin means different things to different people. You will be more sensitive and reactive [than others] because your skin is less resilient,” Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager, explains.  

Adding, “The cause of severe skin sensitivity would need to be investigated, but you can identify symptoms of sensitivity on the skin such as dryness, flakiness, redness, soreness, compromised or weakened areas of skin, and burning sensations.”

The best way to find out if you have sensitive skin is to consult your local dermatologist. 

What is the difference between sensitive and sensitised skin?

There is ambiguity with the phrase ‘sensitive skin,’ so let us get this out of the way, shall we? 

Experts want you to know there is a vast difference between ‘sensitive skin’ and ‘sensitised skin’ and learning how to distinguish one from the other is crucial. 

Sensitive skin:

This is a skin type and it’s a genetic trait making one more susceptible to skin irritation. Several skin conditions run in the genes, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. 

Experts say sensitive skin is primarily caused by two factors: hyperactive immune system or weak skin barrier function.

Sensitised skin:

This is an acquired condition. It is triggered by and conditioned to irritation by external and internal factors such as physical and emotional stress, diet and lifestyle and ingredients in make-up and skincare. 

Other common reasons: incorrect use of skincare products, overuse of active ingredients, excessive sun exposure, and over-exfoliation. 

Also read: The Best Make-Up For Sensitive Eyes

Five-step sensitive skincare routine guide

Learn how to cleanse, tone, hydrate, treat and protect your sensitive skin with Begona Otero, Clarins’ skincare expert using a selection of sensitive skincare products

1. Cleanse

The first step is to remove excess dirt or make-up residue by using micellar water. Otero recommends using cleansing water with natural plant extracts such as organic golden gentian and lemon balm, which can soothe the most sensitive skin. Plus, moringa oil removes pollution particles from the skin. 

Opt for a rich, creamy texture such as a Soothing Gentle Foaming Cleanser, £24. It is formulated with shea butter, which provides relief from flare-ups and is gentle on sensitive skin. 

2. Tone

Go for an alcohol-free Soothing Toning Lotion, £36, so it doesn’t irritate the skin. There are a lot more options of cleansers and toners than what we suggest, be sure to find what works best for your skin.

3. Serum

Clarins Double Serum, £85, is suitable for people with sensitive skin. The serum has to be applied before day and night creams. Followed by Double Serum Eye, £58. 

4. Treatment and moisturise

“The new Clarins calm-essentiel range is made specifically for people with weakened skin. 

This range is formulated with clary sage extract, which is clinically proven to reduce skin sensitivity to irritants, plus other plant extracts such as vegetable squalane which reinforces the skin and protects it,” Otero explains. 

The benefits of the key ingredient clary sage’s extract (sclareolide) is to best soothe, repair and hydrate all types of sensitive skin increasing its tolerance.

Treatment Oil for Senstive Skin


  1. Calm-Essentiel Soothing Emulsion, £42, melts into the skin and is intensely moisturising while making the skin comforted, radiant and protected. 
  2. Calm-Essentiel Redness Corrective Gel, £32, is a refreshing green-tinted gel that colour corrects, intensely hydrates and helps protect against external aggressors. 
  3. Calm-Essentiel Restoring Treatment Oil, £46, is an excellent addition to your sensitive skincare routine. Otero recommends using this as an intensive treatment for 10-20 days, depending on your needs.
  4. Calm-Essentiel Soothing Repairing Balm, £30, is a nourishing balm that comforts and repairs all compromised and weakened areas of the face and body. It is recommended for women who want to soothe dry, cracking, itching or rough areas of skin, including nose, lips, elbows, and knees. 

The soothing emulsion was said to prevent and soothe discomfort linked to mask-wearing. 87% of women said the itchy sensation was relieved with the emulsion. While 77% said redness intensity was diminished by the corrective gel. 90% said the treatment oil helped with the skin’s restructure.

Which moisturiser should I pick? According to Otero, it depends on what your skin needs so listen to it. “Some people with sensitive skin don’t suffer from ‘redness’ and I would usually recommend the emulsion for day and night,” she says.   

Adding, “However, if you are prone to red rashes or flushing and are keen to balance it out, then use the corrective gel, ideally in the morning, as this can both soothe inflamed skin as well as be used as an excellent primer thanks to the greenish gel that counteracts the crimson on the skin. You can use emulsion at night.” 

Beauty Daily Pro Tip: Ever heard of the term ‘mixology’ also known as skincare cocktailing? It’s a method that combines the best active ingredients to create a synergistic blend for better results.

Clarins beauty experts suggest doing so and adding a few drops of facial oils into your moisturisers or masks to give an extra boost of skincare benefits depending on issues you want to address, may it be hydration, protection, soothing, etc.

You can start reaping multiple benefits of your skincare products by mixing and matching your Clarins favourites. Supercharge your face mask by mixing a few drops of face treatment oils with one of the SOS Face Masks, £33, or mixing Double Serum, £85, with your preferred moisturiser.

Serums, penetrate deeper into the skin because they are made of very small molecules. Unlike thicker, heavier creams which have bigger molecules and stay on the skin because they are designed to lock in moisture.

5. Protect

Otero strongly advises applying sunscreen during the day after your skincare and before your make-up routine. 

A 3-step sensitive-skin morning routine:

Otero reassures: “It will only take a couple of minutes more than your usual skincare routine and it’s worth it.” This part of the routine has three steps: breathe, soothe and relax. 

1. Breathing technique:

She recommends mixing the Calm-Essentiel Soothing Emulsion, £32, with a couple of drops of Calm-Essentiel Restoring Treatment Oil, £46, for people who want to treat severely dry skin or sensitive skin.

Warm up our product in your hands because you want to apply the skincare at the same temperature as our skin to have better penetration. 

Palms open in front of the face, take a long, deep breath in through the nose, then exhale fully through the mouth. Relax,” Otero instructs. 

2. Soothing strokes:

Apply the product in gentle movements starting from the middle of the face and working outwards. Don’t forget your forehead, your chin, and then the neck starting from the top of the neck and working downwards.

3. And relax:

Lastly, place the fingers in front of the ears, near the temples, and carry out a relaxing ‘pressure pause’ for five seconds (pinch and then let go and repeat). 

You can’t get rid of sensitive skin, but you can identify the products exacerbating the problems and treat them accordingly. 

Book for your free skincare consultation and speak with one of our skin experts for a personalised consultation available on live chat, audio, or full video experience – the choice is yours.

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