Congratulations! You have made it passed level 1. You have defeated the beauty counter, plowed through the internet, and conquered product commitment. Armed with your new skin care weapons, you now embark onto level 2. Riskier and more challenging, the application phase. Edward Burke once said, “Good order is the foundation of all things.” Armed with strategic knowledge you will be able to battle through this next level beautifully.
Step 1. Cleansing Oils or Balms
I strongly believe in a double cleanse for the evenings. This doesn’t mean washing your face twice (although sometimes I do). This is like makeup removal PLUS. Not removing makeup and dirt clogs pores making them appear larger, causes inflammation and spawns breakouts. But even if you don’t wear makeup, our skin picks up many other harmful baggage throughout the day like dirt and pollution which breaks down collagen provoking premature fine lines and wrinkles. It’s best to get all of this gross stuff out of the way so that your face wash can be further enhanced. Remember, oil and water doesn’t mix so this is like fighting fire with fire. The oil/balm cleanser attaches to the oils in makeup and pollution breaking down and dissolving them with out stripping your skin of its helpful natural oils. If you are absolutely adverse to an oil/balm then go with micellar water as it has similar benefits. After massaging it into your skin gently wipe away excess with a washcloth soaked in lukewarm water, hot water is never best. I get great results with out ever feeling oily from Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm.
Step 2. Face Wash
This second cleanse is more traditional involving a good 1-minute lather, cleaning deep into your pores, giving you a fresh canvas to work with, allowing products to be much more effective.
Face wash has come such a long way that we can no longer consider it soap. Gel cleansers are great for a deep cleanse, decongesting pores. Milk cleansers don’t strip the skin, so anyone who is dry would benefit from keeping more of their natural oils. Foam cleansers remove excess oils, banishing unwanted shine. Exfoliating cleansers remove dead skin, which is key if you feel like you look dull. With all of these targeting options, your skin treatments start with your wash, that’s why removing impurities first is so important.
Many people skip toner, thinking it dries their skin out. This thought should be a thing of the past from a time when very few options were on the market. Now toners come in all shapes and sizes, addressing every skin concern from dry skin to aging skin. Toner is so important because it completes the cleansing process removing anything left behind, including extra cleanser. In addition toner shrinks pores, restores skins pH balance and further preps skin for the products to follow allowing them to penetrate deeper for stronger long lasting results. Toner shouldn’t be skipped, just make sure you are using one that is right for your skin type.
For dry skin, look for toners with Glycerin, it will help to hydrate and smooth skin. Make sure to stay away from any that have alcohol in them. For sensitive skin, pick something with aloe vera. For oily skin, go with witch hazel as an ingredient. For mature skin, chose a toner with vitamin C. Fresh has an extensive line of toners that all work well.
Step 4. Eye Treatment
Technically, eye treatments can be applied at any point in your routine, as long as it’s before your moisturizer, since you would be stearing clear of this area during other applications. I personally like to start with my eyes, protecting the delicate skin and ensuring my product of choice is in full effect having no other competition.
Using a different eye treatment in morning and evening is important. Since our skin restores while we sleep, it’s a good time to add hydration and fight fine lines with something heavier, in form of a cream. In the morning, look for one with antioxidants such as vitamin C as it will help protect from any stressors you encounter throughout the day.
Step 5. Serums
When your skin is at its cleanest is the best time to apply the most active and concentrated treatments, because they will be able to penetrate the deepest. These would be things like your retinols, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and antioxidants like vitamin E and C.
Layering is great if you have multiple concerns you want to address, but limit yourself to 3, or else you risk them pilling, not absorbing properly, and possibly overloading your skin, resulting in irritation. A good rule of thumb when layering serums is to apply thinnest to thickest. The thinest will absorb the fastest and the thicker may prevent or dilute the effectiveness of lighter consistencies from getting through. That being said, if there is a concern you wish to address more aggressively do a spot treatment and allow for it to absorb before continuing to see maximum results. It’s always best to allow each layer to absorb by waiting a minute before applying the next. Retinol should be used alone and only in the evening as it doesn’t do well when exposed to sun light possibly causing sunburn.
Be consistent with your serums, even if you are alternating. Don’t expect to see results if you are using them sparingly a few times a month.
Step 6. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is one of my favorite products! Newer to the beauty scene, it has surprisingly immediate results. Our skin naturally produces hyaluronic acid, but due to the aging process and lifestyle factors, this useful production takes a hit causing dullness and fine lines. Hyaluronic acid attracts moisture from the air then regulates and distributes the needed amount of hydration for your skin type leaving you glowing and plumped, filling in fine lines and wrinkles, dramatically.
Hyaluronic acid is light weight, non-greasy, and works for every skin type. Additionally, it layers well with retinol by reason of it’s non-aggressive and hydrating nature. Since hyaluronic acid is such a loyal hard worker, it will go anywhere it is needed, bringing extra moisture with it to best get the job done. This means if the air is drier than your skin it will pull out your moisture leaving you dryer than before. For this reason, it’s best to lock it down with a heavier product, like cream, especially in the cold winter or dry locations such as Las Vegas, and its a fantastic trick while flying. On humid summer days I don’t need any further hydration to get the perfect plumping results and in winter, when followed with moisturizer, it prevents any signs of that sad dull and dry skin. Loving SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator.
Step 7. Moisturizer
Moisturizer does a terrific job of sealing all other products in, and acts as a barrier from environmental stressors that would otherwise dilute their efficiency. For that reason, it should come after your more potent products. For some skin types, creams can be skipped when they are in humid environments as their skin naturally produces enough moisture. Make no mistake this is not the same as having oily skin. In fact oily skin needs moisturizer as much as anyone else because moisture is water based, not oil based. This is a common mistake made by people with oily skin causing the body to only produce more oil due to the lack of moisture present. If you are prone to shine make sure your moisturizer is oil-free, look for a lotion or gel as they are lighter than creams.
Step 8. Oils
Face oils should always be used last, since they can penetrate through moisturizers, but not all moisturizers can get through oils. While oils are beneficial to all skin types, some people may find them too rich for a morning routine, rendering a greasy look. If this is the case, only use them at night to wake up and enjoy all of their amazing results throughout the day. You can also strategically apply, avoiding areas of the face that tend to get more oily. I find using less than the recommend amount gives me more positive results. Absolute favorite Darphin 8-Flower Nectar.