For the last several years, I’ve spent my workdays educating people on skincare basics, talking about products and ingredients, different methods of application, searching for ways to help them achieve each unique skin mission.
I can say one thing for sure, everyone likes things their own way, and the ‘typical’ regime can vary from 1 holy grail item to a 15-step skincare routine.
As with everything in life, each individual will gravitate towards their own way of doing things.
Whichever route you opt, while caring for your body’s largest organ, make sure that you’re covering these basic needs.
Find a gentle, water-soluble cleanser removes debris, oil, and makeup. Splashing your face with water will not be enough, you need to remove the dirt and bacteria that has accumulated from the air outside or your pillowcase at night.
I recommend washing your face once at night, and again in the morning. Tailor your cleanser to your desired results. Does your skin feel dry & parched? Then you’ll want to find a soft, hydrating cleanser. Looking to control shine or oil? Aim for a purifying cleanser.
‘Cleansing’ also means different things for different people. A full-face application of makeup is going to require more specialized attention than a bare face. My daily routine involves playing around with lots of makeup, so in my skincare routine, the first step is to remove it!
Double Cleanse is my go-to, daily. First, an OIL CLEANSER to remove all traces of makeup, gently and effectively. Oils have recently trended in the beauty world, and there are many great makeup-removing oils to try. They can be beneficial for more reasons than one, helping to hydrate skin and nourish eyelashes. This also eliminates the need for a cotton pad and targeted eye makeup remover. (Although, I will still reach for this one every so often, if I’m wearing a particularly dark shade of lipstick or large amounts of eyeliner/mascara.)
Next, wash with your basic cleanser, chosen depending on your skin type. This cleanser will be able to do it’s job even more effectively, since you’ve already cleared away any makeup and dirt with the oil.
Toners with skin-repairing ingredients soften and replenish the skin’s surface immediately after cleansing. They also help reduce redness and dry patches, clarify the skin, etc. There are many variations of toners, skin-type specific.
Pay attention to the ingredients! Most toners contain alcohol, make sure to steer clear of those ones. Look for a gentle, alcohol-free toner. A great basic is Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel. $7
But, be gentle about it. Always gentle.
Exfoliants remove built-up dead skin cells, and aid in the turnover of new skin. Physical exfoliation is fairly self-explanatory, manually exfoliating the skin with a device like the Clarisonic, or using a cleanser with grains/beads.
Chemical exfoliation is a lot less intimidating than it sounds to a skincare rookie, and yields some pretty awesome results. Imagine your skin as many cells, held together by a “glue.” Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) works by loosening up this glue and letting the cells fall away easier. This helps to reveal brighter, healthier, and plumper skin beneath. It is most commonly found in three forms: Glycolic, lactic, and mandelic.
BHA is short for Beta Hydroxy Acid. BHAs are a bit more complex than AHAs. They work by penetrating and detoxifying pores. This is what makes them preferred for oily and acne-prone skin. A commonly-used BHA is salicylic acid.
Depending on what you are trying to perfect about your skin, choose a treatment in the form of SERUM, OIL, CONCENTRATE, etc. to enact change. This is where skincare becomes so complex and beautiful. There are endless blends of skin-improving ingredients, new products and lines emerging every day.
You can layer several treatments together, just be mindful of ingredients and don’t mix anything that may cause an unwanted reaction.
I’ve mentioned checking out the ingredients several times now, and that’s because it’s essential to get the most from every step in your routine. Educate yourself on what works for you. Try out different things, and take a little time to research common ingredients. Always take a look at the label and be aware of what you are applying to your skin.
Some different types of treatment:
Anti-aging and anti-wrinkle. Start with these BEFORE you start to see the lines. Prevention is so much easier than repairing damage. Pay special attention to the eye area, where you first start to notice age.
Hyaluronic Acid is a key skincare ingredient, as it helps to repair the skin’s moisture barrier and bind moisture to the skin. Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream is a favorite of mine. Look for this on your moisturizer’s label. $18
Don’t skip this step. Even if you have oily skin–you MUST use a moisturizer! The number one misconception that I hear working in the industry, is people thinking that moisturizer is only necessary when their skin feels dry. Nope! Always! You need to apply moisturizer every morning and every night, after cleansing/toning/applying treatment.
Choose a moisturizer with SPF. Sunscreen is a MUST. If you are completely in love with a moisturizer that lacks SPF, no worries, just add a sheer SPF liquid into your cream/lotion/gel/oil. Shiseido has a so many great options of SPF coverage.
This should always be your last product applied, to lock all of the precious ingredients that you chose so carefully in previous steps.
TARGETED TREATMENTS & BOOSTERS
I have a selection of masks and peels to supplement my routine, every few days it’s something new. So much fun to be had here.
Raw Honey is excellent as a mask for hydration, or you can opt for a less-sticky packaged option.
Your skincare is so important! Explore your options and try new products. My collection is constantly expanding, I love trying out new things and creating cocktails of multiple products.
Drink as much water as possible, and wear your SPF!
Don’t sweat the small stuff, stress is your skin’s worst enemy. Radiate!
Photo via Harper’s Bazaar.