Healthy skin is not only a matter of DNA and “good genes”. Your daily habits and lifestyle have a huge impact on your skin health. If you don’t have a skincare routine but want to start one, you probably don’t even know where to start.
What is a skincare routine anyway? How many products to use? Which ones? In what order? What do those products do?
One thing is certain – there is no such thing as a correct skincare routine, although there is a way to apply your products and choose good ones for your skin type and needs. Why should you start skincare routine, you might ask.
Well cared for skin means you’ll have less problems and breakouts, less redness and irritation, and less signs of aging. Sounds nice enough? I thought so. Skincare routine is not complicated but not simple as many think. It’s not enough to rinse your face and apply any random moisturizer and call it a day.
To get the most benefit out of your skincare routine, you need to follow three steps: cleanse, treat, moisturize. Maybe you already clean your face, morning and evening. Maybe you even use good moisturizer. But what does “treating” your skin mean?
Treating means using serums and other products full of skincare super-stuff like vitamin C, acids, retinol and more. If you add that middle step in your routine, it can make huge difference over time and improve general health of your skin.
Today I’ll show you a basic step-by-step skincare routine you can use as a blueprint for your own regimen.
Recommended Daytime Skincare Routine
Cleaning your face is the first important step of your skincare routine. A cleanser gets rid of oils, dead skin, bacteria, dirt, and pollutants. The cleanser depends of your skin type so it’s important to pay attention what is in your cleanser, and what’s not in it.
If you have normal or dry skin, use a hydrating cleanser with peptides. If you are acne-prone or oily, use a very mild cleanser with salicylic acid. Avoid sulfates in general, because they can have a harsh effect on your face. If you cleanse too much or too often with a harsh cleanser, it will break down your skin barrier.
Toner is an optional step, but if you love a toner you should definitely keep using it. Toner can be a great way to balance your skin’s pH. If you have dry or sensitive skin, make sure you use a hydrating toner. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, use a toner with glycolic or salicylic acid to calm your skin and breakouts.
Essences are more hydrating than toners. Essences like hyaluronic acid floods your skin with moisture. To apply, soak a cotton pad in liquid and gently pat it over your face. You can also use your clean hands to do the same thing.
3. Eye cream
You should gently pat eye cream with your ring finger all around your eyes, and not just underneath them. If your eye cream is causing your makeup to smear, choose a lightweight option, like a hydrating gel cream that sinks in quickly.
When it comes to eye cream, you should look for ingredients like peptides, which help tighten your skin and depuff, and antioxidants. You should also use formulas that contain hyaluronic acid (hydrating), caffeine (brightening), and ceramides (they lock in moisture and help strenghten your skin barrier).
When it comes to serum, I always recommend vitamin C serums during the day. No matter what your age, you need vitamin C in your life. It helps reverse a lot of the damage we get from the sun and pollution. You should always look for vitamin C serum that contains a stable form of vitamin C, so that the molecule will be able to soak into your skin.
At night, look for a serum with peptides to repair skin. For both daytime and nightime, look for ingredients like Niacinamide to reduce redness, hyaluronic acid to pull moisture into your skin, and AHAs and BHAs which help boost collagen and even out skin pigmentation.
If you have acne-prone skin you should always look for retinol, stem cells, and green tea. For dehydrated skin look for hyaluronic acid, lipids, and peptides. For hyperpigmentated skin look for vitamin C.
You’ve treated your skin and now it’s time to moisturize. Moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated and helps strengthen your skin barrier. Moisturizers prevent water loss through the outer layers of skin. For daytime use, opt for a lighter moisturizer that will soak in quickly and won’t cause pilling under makeup.
What is the difference between a day and night cream? Day creams typically have a lightweight consistency. They are also equipped to protect your skin from the pollution, enviromental aggressors, and many contain antioxidants to minimize pollution based free radicals and sunscreen.
Night creams focus on repairing any skin damage and often have a rich, thick texture.
You might not like it but you should apply sunscreen every single day, summer or winter, whether or not you go outside, to prevent UV damage. Sunscreen needs to be your last skincare step in order to be most effective. Daily and consistent sunscreen use helps to prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, textural imperfections, and changes in the appearance of pores over time.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply at least every two hours.
This skincare routine works for day and for night but keep in mind that you don’t have to apply sunscreen before going to bed and that nighttime routine comes with some additional steps.
Nighttime Skincare Routine – additional steps
If you wear makeup, it is essential to remove it before going to bed. Removing all your makeup should be your first step at the end of the day. Don’t skip it!
Retinol reduces fine lines, reduces pore size, increases collagen and elastin production, takes off dead skin, reduces oil production, unclogs pores, and evens out skin tone. This is a strong ingredient, and beginners should proceed with caution when adding to their routines. Potential side effects can include flaking, dryness, retinol burn, and increased sensitivity to the sun, which is why you should stick to applying it at night.
Although you can use face oils as a part of your daytime skincare routine, oils are a great way to lock in moisture while you sleep. Don’t forget, oil comes as a last step of your nighttime skincare routine. If you use face oil in the morning, they should come before your sunscreen and makeup.
When it comes to skincare, there are some rules to remember – cleansing comes first, serum sits beneath moisturizer, and sunscreen goes on last. Understanding this order will ensure your skincare products work effectively because no one wants to buy expensive product and render it useless because of misapplication.
Do you have a skincare routine?