Well, friends, we’ve arrived in 2019. And with the new year comes resolutions to better ourselves. And what better way to do that, then to start taking care of your skin, amirite?
For me, skincare is the easiest way for me to practice self care. It doesn’t require me to eat kale, it doesn’t require me to clean under my bed, and it doesn’t require me to set goals that are unattainable. With skincare, if you do it even for one day, you’ll see and feel the difference.
The easiest way to start taking care of your skin is to build a skincare regimen. By understanding each step and starting out simply, you’ll have an easier time sticking to it and a greater appreciation for how every step benefits you.
The most basic and effective skincare regimens are 5 steps or less. Here are the most essential steps and how they benefit your skin.
The first step is pretty self-explanatory. Dirt, oil, free radicals, pollution, sweat, and makeup build up on our skin throughout the day and night, and cleansing removes them to prevent pores from being clogged, while also prepping skin for the rest of your regimen. While cleansers are not all created equally, the best thing to remember is that they spend the least amount of time on your skin. So while you may be tempted to splurge, options at your local drugstore will work perfectly as well. Choose a gentle cleanser suitable for all skin types and suds up every morning and night (after removing makeup). This one is my personal favorite.
Toner is often forgotten, and it really shouldn’t be. The reason all lies in the pH balance of our skin. Skin’s optimal pH is 5.5. Any more alkaline than that and our skin will be tight and dry. Any more acidic and our skin will be oily. Cleansers by nature are more alkaline since their purpose is to strip our skin of impurities. Because of this, after cleansing our skin’s pH balance can be disrupted. Enter, toner. Toner works to rebalance the pH of the skin to get it back to the optimal level. In short, don’t skip it. Make sure to choose one that is alcohol-free and apply immediately after cleansing, morning and night. Here’s my all-time fave.
Skincare minimalists will say you can skip serum but I say do so at your own peril. A serum is the most efficient way to get highly concentrated skincare actives into your skin, and the results will show more quickly than if you just skip to moisturizer. Splurging isn’t necessary, but if you could splurge on any part of your regimen, let it be this one. Skincare junkies layer on multiple serums with actives that target their specific skin issues and concerns but for a beginner, start with one that has multiple actives to increase cell turnover, firm, and refine skin texture. The Ordinary makes an amazing option at an affordable price. After toning, pat onto the skin with your fingertips until it’s fully absorbed.
If there’s one piece of skincare advice that’s been handed down the most throughout time, it’s to moisturize. Everyone needs a moisturizer, but the type you choose has everything to do with what kind of skin you have. If you’re dry, choose one that is rich and creamy. If you’re oily, opt for a gel-based version. If your skin is normal and generally unproblematic, a lotion for all skin types will do. You can keep your regimen concise and choose one that is suitable for day and night (like my favorite here), or you can use a different moisturizer during the day and at night. Daytime moisturizers tend to be more lightweight, and often contain built-in SPF. Nighttime moisturizers are richer, contain more concentrated actives and don’t contain SPF. Apply immediately after serum. If your daytime moisturizer doesn’t include an SPF of at least 15, make sure to layer on a sunscreen specifically formulated for your face after your moisturizer. This one is light, doesn’t clog your pores and never has a white cast.
Optional: Not to be a cynic, but I am of the opinion that you can get the same result with serum/moisturizer as you would by using a cream formulated specifically for the eye area but I know some people swear by their eye cream, so if it brings you joy, after you apply moisturizer, pat some eye cream on your entire eye contour (under eye to brow bone) with your ring finger until fully absorbed. This one is my favorite.
Now you’re ready to go forth and take care of your skin. To keep you accountable here’s a handy printable.