While I’m still very much into fashion and creating unique outfit combinations for everyone – I have to admit my number one obsession is skincare, particularly with each year that sneaks by. Sure there’s a lot of options now to nip this, tuck that, but we’re only given this one skin and how we choose to take care of it matters. Enter the need for an excellent nightly skincare routine and overall skincare regimen.
I used to have trouble with acne when I was younger and I always thought covering it up with layers of makeup was the answer. Now when I see people doing that, I cringe. I imagine the pores shrieking in agony, dying to breathe if even a little. Nowadays I’m very conscious of what I put on my skin, wear less makeup overall, and take mind to drink more water and eat healthier (most days).
I’ve invested in some amazing skincare products but despite what anything costs, it won’t do squat if you’re applying everything incorrectly – who knew?! I’ve seen a bit of variation in these steps from a couple of different sources but generally you want to go lightest to heaviest to maximize absorption and benefit.
That being said, how do you layer your routine, do you have a nightly regimen?
Step 1: Cleanser
Before I say anything else – GIRL, WASH YOUR FACE! When I see women on IG stories talking about how they sleep in their makeup and then complain about breakouts I want to shout CAUSE and EFFECT. You’re literally choking your skin for however many hours of you’ve been wearing your makeup and accumulating the natural oils that form on your skin. Yikes! Yes, yes, I understand sometimes we slip and fall asleep accidentally or whatever the case may be but .. repeatedly doing this is asking for bad skin.
So.. wash your face. And I DOUBLE WASH. You might be thinking that’s excessive but the first wash is merely getting anything on the surface (especially makeup and grime) and not so much anything at the pore level. I use Tula Purifying Cleanser (use code Tararrized for 20% off) that doesn’t strip your skin of the naturally occurring oils it needs for balance – aka your natural moisture balance isn’t eliminated. All Tula products are packed with probiotics that help boost the skin’s appearance and glow. I LOVE this cleanser more than anything, my skin is SO happy!
Occasionally I will first wash with an oil-based balm or cleanser, and then follow up with the Tula cleanser. The theory out there is that oil-based products latch onto oily composites on the skin (imagine the two like two sides of velcro). I will say this Colleen Rothschild balm is amazing and completely swipes away my eye makeup!
Also: be sure you’re washing your makeup brushes frequently. Dirty brushes are a huge contributor to acne. I got this brush cleaner for Christmas and LOVE it!
Step 2: Exfoliant
I don’t exfoliate everyday because that’s a bit too much for your skin especially if it’s a harsh exfoliant. I use this gentle Fresh Sugar exfoliant once a week and and use a little rougher product like Kate Somerville ExfoliKate several days later. I did just get the brand new Tula papaya exfoliant in the mail today – I’ll let you know what I think but I’ve heard good things! Make sure you’re using products with natural, gentle exfoliating ingredients so you’re not creating micro-tears in your skin that ultimately cause more damage down the line.
Exfoliation, as I’m sure you know, removes dead skin cells (including those we can’t see) from the surface of the skin. With that layer gone, anything apply afterward will be able to penetrate deeper into the skin.
Tip: I recommend monthly dermaplaning. It’s like a cosmetic shave for your face – it removes dead skin AND peach fuzz not only making your products work better, but your makeup literally glides over your skin.
Step 3: Toner
I feel like toner is the forgotten step in a lot of skincare regimens. Admittedly I don’t always do it either but I’ve started making it more of a habit on days I don’t use an exfoliant. Here’s why:
Toners remove excess dirt, traces of oil and makeup, correct and balance the pH of your skin, and help control acne (because of the removal all of the junk clogging up your pores). In other words, a facial toner wipes away anything left behind that washing your face didn’t remove – it thoroughly cleans the skin and helps remove built up surface dead skin cells. I am loving this matcha tea treatment toner from Colleen Rothschild! It’s a pretty sizable bottle too!
Step 3.5: Tools
Sneaking in right here to say this is when I use facial tools like my NuFace or the high frequency device. I am such a fan of this device (37$) because it helps with tightening the skin, cell turnover, and eliminating and preventing breakouts. During a high-frequency treatment, low-level electricity is transferred to the bulb-like tip through the easy-to-hold wand. You can control the intensity through a dial on the wand, but it’s not painful whatsoever. Be sure to use on dry skin. It also comes with a comb attachment, which I’ve been using to stimulate my hair follicles (my hair grows SUPER slow). The bulb will emit a glow and you’re good to go! I generally use for about 5 minutes a few times a week. The high frequency therapy can be very drying to the skin, so be sure to follow the next steps to avoid dryness and flaking.
Step 4: Treatment Products
Treatment products refers to anti-acne treatments/prescriptions or spot treatments, or anything for age spots, uneven texture/tone, retinoids/etc. I tell everyone the biggest part of getting rid of my acne was Differin (who I’ve worked with in the past). I was prescribed the product about a year before it was available over the counter and couldn’t be more thrilled it’s available to everyone! The key in this product, as with most, is consistency. I put it on my face every single night before bed for about a year and a half. Now – I maintain with the Tula cleanser mentioned in Step 1 and rarely I use the Tula Acne gel if I have a minor pimple that typically only occurs if I eat a lot of greasy food.
Tip: Consider face masks as a treatment product because they are! If you’ve followed the steps thus far, your skin is primed and optimized to get the most out of a mask (and generally you invest some $$ for masks, so you want to make the most out of them!). It would be impossible to name my absolute favorite mask ever because so many work in different ways. Here are a few below including the new Tula cooling/brightening hydrogel masks that are AMAZING with a roller!
Step 5: Serums
Serums are actual magic, I can’t rave about them enough! Think of serums like vitamins – jam packed in smaller form. Serums are uber concentrated with a variety of key ingredients that target different aspects of skincare. A drop or two goes a long way! I’ve only started using serums this past year or so but the transformation in the radiance of my skin is visible! Here are a few of my faves:
Step 6: Eye Cream
I wish I could rewind and start using eye cream before I started getting eye wrinkles. Preservation is everything! Yes I now get botox BUT I also use some fantastic eye creams both morning and night not only for lines but also for dark circles, brightening tired eyes, and boosting collagen.
Step 6: Moisturizer
I’ve said this before but wow was I wrong about moisturizers! I was convinced back in the day that because I had combination skin it would make my skin more oily. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Moisturizers are essential in preserving the integrity of your skin. Dry, parched skin is just asking for creases and wrinkles along with dullness, dryness, and flaking. Don’t you want to glow?
During the day I apply a light daily moisturizer after I shower (and wash my face) and wear a heavier night cream that’s meant to sleep in. The main reason I bought the Laneige Water Sleep Mask was because the kind Sephora attendant told me it’s perfect to wear at night to lock in all products you’ve used in your routine for maximum benefit and hydration. That one is a lighter mask but does an amazing job. Sometimes when I need extra hydration, I wear the Tula Kefir mask as a moisturizer or use the Colleen Rothschild Intense Hydrating Mask (it’s AMAZING).
Step 7: Oils
Oils are the heaviest of all products in terms of chemical density. If you were to use them in any other order, nothing you place on top if it is going to reach your skin at the cellular level – aka anything after is useless. That being said, oils have become another favorite piece of the puzzle for me. I use them only at night and my skin LOVES them! Combine with a frozen roller and enter relaxation central.
Step 8: SPF
I wrote an entire post on my favorite sunscreens. But the main thing is to remember to wear it any time you’re exposing your skin to the sun (rain or shine). Skin cancer is one of the most commonly occurring forms of cancer and while some may not take it seriously, I assure you the outcomes can be grave.
I hope this break down of my step by step routine was helpful – I feel like skincare can be daunting because the steps seem endless. But your skin is worth the attention and devotion, consider it part of your “me time” because that’s exactly what it is – time set apart to take care of yourself and pour some love into that beautiful skin of yours. And don’t worry – just remember generally you’re going from lightest to heaviest consistency.