BASIC SKIN CARE ORDER
As I’m sure so many of you are, as well, I’m very into skin care these days. I want to fully foray back out into the world looking and feeling my best.
And these winter months can be extra-hard on our faces. The drying effects of the weather, no matter where you live, means that we have to be extra vigilant right now in taking care of our skin, especially on our faces and necks.
But the topic of just how to use the incredibly many skincare products on the market always brings up much debate. Everyone seems to be confused as to what to use and when. I’m no doctor, of course, (but my boyfriend did play one on TV, so does that count?,) but I did the next best thing. After reading many confusing and contradictory articles on the subject, I went right to the experts—dermatologists, estheticians, and product reps—for the definitive answers.
They all agree that you apply thinnest to thickest. So I have put together a regimen for you that I myself have been using to success. I’ve even gotten Mr. X to join me! And the routine of it, along with good results, of course, has kept him doing it for over a year now.
So here’s the basic order of products for both day and night. [Note: If you have special issues, such as acne or rosacea, please always consult your doctor about how to proceed with your own skincare.]
I know this sounds like common sense, but I promise that not everyone thinks of it: Always begin with clean hands. And don’t forget to brush your teeth before applying anything to your clean face; you’ll mess-up the products around your mouth if you have to brush, floss, and use mouthwash afterwards.
And, of course, start by cleansing your face, both morning and night. Almost any type of liquid cleanser or face-specific bar will work; just do not use a harsh one or an exfoliant, which should be applied only once a week.
I’m iffy on toner, for both day and night. Do what your skin is telling you. But many experts agree to wipe some toner across your face with a cotton ball or pad after your cleanse, to restore the PH in your skin before applying any other product.
After cleansing and gently toweling your face dry, (but not too dry—a touch of dampness helps the products sink in a bit,) Vitamin C is always first. As with all serums, a few drops will do. Just sort-of pat it in, rather than rubbing. (That applies to every face product!)
Then any form of anti-aging serum, even if you’re young. Trust me, aging catches-up to everyone!
Hyaluronic acid serum or lotion comes next.
Do not ever forgot this one! Neck cream, (which can wait until night time instead, if you like.) So many people neglect their necks; just look at all the celebrities who’ve had facial work, but still have old necks. That area is hard to fix with surgery.
Then comes eye cream—always dab, do not rub! It’s best to use your ring finger for this one. Apply it under your eye and also around the side, where crow’s feet are born. (And live—forever!)
If you use a lash-growth serum, you may as well apply it now, while all the other serum and creams soak in. You can do it at night instead, but never at both times in one day. If you wear eye make-up, even if you’re conscientious enough to remove it at night, I always feel like your eyelids and lashes have less residue after you wash your face in the morning.
The penultimate daytimes step is basic moisturizer, over your entire face and neck.
And never forget your sunscreen!!! Even on cloudy days. It’s the most important daytime step! Try to use one containing at least SPF 50. And remember to apply it to your ears, as well, along with any scalp that is exposed. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that if you wear face make-up with SPF in it, it’s enough to protect you from the powerful sun’s rays these days. It is not!!! So always apply sunscreen as the last daytime skincare step, before you start applying make-up.
There is one possible trade here: If you’re like me and work from home all day, and then just get ready to go out in the evening, you can skip the sunscreen if it’s already dark out, and end with face oil instead. Oil is not only occlusive, which means it will seal all the other serums and potions in, but it gives the skin a little dewiness, which makes you look younger. Most oils are okay for even people with acne to use, so just read the label before you commit to a certain product. (But never put oil over sunscreen; it will negate the layer of sun protection.)
If you got ready at the crack of dawn, you might need a mid-afternoon refresher, especially if you’re going out right from work. So just very gently spray a water or make-up refresher onto your face, (with your eyes closed, of course,) and let it dry. That one little act will make you good to go.
Always remove any make-up before you actually cleanse. There are plenty of specific make-up removers on the market. And then use a gentle cleaner with a wet washcloth, and finish by splashing your face until all the residue is gone.
There are only three or four products that should be applied at night. The most important one is retinol or another form of Vitamin A, including the new trendy Bakuchiol.
Then eye cream, and possibly your neck cream here, especially if you didn’t use it during the day.
Finish with a night-specific cream or lotion.
Please do not forget to use hand and body lotion every day.
And remember your lip balm, too, which should be applied after everything, both day and night, and often throughout the day.
When you have some time on occasion, luxuriate with a sheet mask. And on those days or nights, just rub in what’s left on your face when you remove the mask, and be done with it.
If you do this routine faithfully, you should begin to see an improvement in your skin in a month or two. Keep at it, even if you’re being health-cautious and spending most of your time at home right now.