No matter who you are, having a skincare routine will do wonders for your skin. Consistency, not complexity, is key. These are the steps that I believe are essential for a basic skincare routine.
Note: In this post I will just talk about basics. I will do in-depth posts about each of these steps in the future, where I will also recommend products.
0/ remove makeup (optional)
If you wear makeup, it is a good idea to use a makeup remover in addition to a cleanser. I use a water based remover then an oil based remover to make sure all of my make up is dissolved before I cleanse.
Pick a cleanser designed for your skin type (dry, oily, combination, normal, etc.). You want to avoid cleansers that make your face feel tight or dry. This does not mean that they are “more effective.” In fact, you could be stripping your skin of much needed oils, and disrupting the naturally acidic pH of the skin. Maintaining the “acid mantle” is essential for maintaining optimal skin health. Feel free to use more than one cleanser depending on what is needed at that time. When I use face makeup, in addition to removing the makeup, I use a cleansing milk and a foaming cleanser to ensure absolutely all traces of makeup are removed. However, I do not need to cleanse so deeply if I don’t wear makeup.
Toners are designed to equalize the skin’s pH after cleansing. Toners also help remove any residue left over from cleansing, or residual makeup. As someone with sensitive skin, alcohol based toners irritate my skin. I opt for rose water instead. Keeping your face damp when applying products helps them to sink in more effectively.
Serums are designed to deliver a dose of concentrated nutrients. They can be used to treat specific skin issues such as dark spots, scarring, or wrinkles. I mix a cocktail of oils depending on my skin’s needs. Think of skincare like food. You wouldn’t eat the same exact thing everyday, why feed your skin the same thing? Some oils I keep in rotation include rosehip oil, argan oil, seabuckthorn oil, pomegranate oil, and neem oil.
After applying serum, you may need to apply a layer of moisturizer. Since moisturizer acts as a protective barrier for you skin, all of your lighter weight products should be applied before hand. Generally, I find a few drops of oil mixed into a spritz of rosewater to be moisturizing enough. If I need it, I apply lightweight moisturizer on top.
Your eyes get quite the work out during the day. If you are younger, you may not need to think about eye cream yet. However, you should be aware that the skin around your eyes is particularly thin. Although expensive eye creams may seem like a gimmick, the reason it is a separate product from face cream is that you do not want to put a very heavy products onto your eye area. This could result in milia, or tiny bumps around the eyes. Dot and pat in eye cream, do not drag your eye area.
1/ 1.5 exfoliate
Exfoliation is key to make the rest of your skincare regime effective. By removing dead skin cells, not only are products are able to penetrate the epidermis more effectively, but your skin will look brighter. There are chemical and physical exfoliants. Those with sensitive skin should also exfoliate. Chemical exfoliates can be the more gentle option for exfoliating.
once a week or as needed
1.5/ apply a mask
Using a mask once a week, or as needed helps target specific issues like breakouts or dryness. Masks should be done after cleansing, and possibly after exfoliating. A gentle exfoliation before a mask can help the mask sink in better.
general skincare rules
consistency is key.
Think of skincare as self care. Treat your body well, it goes through a lot.
prevent, don’t correct.
This ties into consistency. If you stick to your routine, and allow it to change and adjust as you age, this will be much better than having to correct skin issues after they happen.
more does not equal better.
A longer ingredients list does not make for a more effective product. Since your body absorbs what you put onto it, try to use natural products where you can. Additionally, you do not want to over stimulate your skin. This could mean using less products, or skipping cleanser in the morning and opting for just water.
lighter to heavier.
The order of products applied should be from lightest to heaviest. Think, your water-like toner goes under a gel serum, which goes under a thick cream. Because you may be paying a lot of money for the products, you want to make sure you put them on in a way that they work most effectively.
miracle products do not exist.
I’m sorry to say this, but there is no fountain of youth. There is no miracle cream. The best thing you can do is start a consistent and effective routine today. Everybody’s skin is unique, so a product that works for your best friend may not be right for you, no matter how much she raves about it.
don’t buy into it.
While having a shelf of matching products may look pretty, do not think you need to buy every product from the same company. There are so many options for products, find the ones that work best for you.
natural vs. chemical laden products.
Try to switch to natural products where you can. I won’t demonize innovative skin care solutions, however, “less is more” tends to be a good mantra for skincare. Also, many products will feature a special ingredient but use a ton of fillers. Remember that ingredients are listed from higher concentration to lower concentration. Why buy an argan oil hair serum full of chemicals when you can buy pure argan oil? While “natural” products tend to be more expensive upfront, they are generally better for your health in the long run, and the higher concentration of the active ingredient means repair, not a temporary fix. Familiarizing yourself with chemicals to avoid will also help when your are purchasing new products.
skincare > makeup.
The better you take care of your skin the less make up you may want to use. Personally, I never wear full face makeup, maybe some concealer for pimples or around my nose. I don’t want to suffocate my skin in chemicals, and I have gotten to a place with my skincare in which I feel comfortable without makeup. Remember, applying makeup could irritate your skin more as you try to cover it. While I am not telling anyone that they should or shouldn’t wear make up, I believe that skincare should be prioritized. If makeup makes you feel more confident, go for it!
know a.m. vs. p.m. products.
Some products with active ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to sun, or shouldn’t be combined with other products or they will inactive each other. Be sure to do your research when using specialty treatments.
We are all guilty of touching our face through out the day. However, this could make our skin more prone to breakouts by stimulating sebaceous glands or spreading bacteria. Think about all of the things you touch throughout the day! You don’t want that on your skin.
germs can transfer other ways too.
Cellphones, pillowcases, and towels are all objects that can easily transfer bacteria to our faces. Don’t forget to sanitize your phone once in a while, and try to change you pillowcases and face towels as often as possible.
it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
A huge part of skin health is your overall health. Bad diets and hormonal fluctuations can both impact the skin’s appearance. Drinking lots of water, avoiding sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables all help with getting that “glow” from within.
sweat it out.
A great way to remove toxins from the body is exercise. The increased blood flow can also help the skin’s overall appearance by bringing oxygen and nutrients to the skin.
don’t forget the pantry.
Many natural skincare treatments are hiding in our kitchens! Try to incorporate simple yet effective natural DIYs. This can save you from nasty chemicals and spending on unnecessary products! Always research any body DIY thoroughly before you try it though. I found out that my face doesn’t like aloe vera gel the hard way.
most importantly- don’t stress it.
I know. It’s much easier said than done. But stress greatly affects your skin’s health in addition to other bodily processes. Also, your skin care regimen shouldn’t stress you out! Find a simple (or complex routine) that works for you. Take a few minutes out of your day to take care of yourself, and reap the benefits!
I am not loyal to any brand in particular, and this photo happened because I find these products to be particularly gentle yet effective for my skin. Two brands I feel confident recommending right now is Chagrin Valley and Evan Healy. Evan Healy products can be found in Whole Foods and other natural food stores.
Feel free to ask me any questions!
This is not a sponsored post.
Yes! As a makeup and skincare ignoramus, this was super helpful and informative! That bit about heavy products leading to milia was something I had never heard before. Thanks so much for sharing. I would love to see your reviews of your favorite natural skincare products, as well as your method for mixing your own serum 😀
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I am planning on making more comprehensive posts in the future about each step, complete with recommendations! 🙂