One of the most difficult aspects of the beauty game for me to really nail down over the years has been skin care. When I started caring about the state of my skin, I pretty much just bought any products I could recognize on the shelves, despite what skin type they were meant for, unaware of what my skin really needed.
The truth is, skin care is so incredibly personal to each individual person. While I write about a ton of different skin care products on this blog, what works for me may not work for you, and what’s disastrous for me might be your new holy grail.
If you’re a beginner to the realm of skin care, you might be overwhelmed with all of the vocabulary and the sea of products available out there. Your first step to curating the perfect skin care routine for you is identifying your skin type.
Normal: If you’re lucky enough to have normal skin, you might feel some oil on your face throughout the day (especially during the warmer months) but not enough to disturb your makeup. You also have no problem with flaky or tight feeling skin.
Oily: Do you find yourself looking shiny throughout the day, and do your pores look large? You’ve probably got oily skin… which may or may not be caused by products.
Dry: If your skin often feels flaky and tight, especially in winter, with small pores, you have dry skin.
Combination: Where my combo girls at!? If you have oily spots (most likely in your T-Zone, which is down your nose and chin, and across forehead) but also some dry areas on the face like the chin and temples, then you’ve got combination skin.
Any of these skin types can also be considered sensitive, which means that your skin “may react easily with rashes, itchiness, redness, etc. to many skin products. Or, you may have acne-prone skin, which means the you tend to get pimples/acne even if you’re long past your teenage years,” according to Dr. Alan J Parks of DermWarehouse.com.
Also Read: My Updated Skin Care Routine
Luckily, many brands have made it easy in labelling their skin care products for the type of skin they’re meant for. Depending on your skin type and concerns, some people may need more steps in their routine than others, but you’ll want to start out simply. “Adding too many steps to a routine too soon can spell disaster in the form of excessive breakouts or purging and non-compliance because it can be a little too cumbersome,” says esthetician Niecy Duncan.
Your basic skin routine should consist of cleanser, toner, moisturizer, sunscreen and makeup remover according to Dr. Khadavi, board certified dermatologist and creator of Clearogen Acne Treatment. Your most basic daily routine should look something like this:
- Cleanser- lift away the sweat and oil that has built up through the night
- Toner- helps rebalance skin after using a cleanser while removing any remaining residue left behind by cleanser.
- Moisturizer- especially if you’re running the A/C or fans through the night, revive dull skin and keep it nourished with moisturizer!
- Sunscreen- essential for protecting your skin throughout the day.
Then, you can move on to your normal makeup routine.
- Makeup Remover- Using a separate makeup remover before your normal cleanser will ensure that you remove everything.
- Exfoliant- use this a few times weekly to help cell turnover and rid dead skin.
- Moisturizer / Anti-Aging / Acne Treatment- your last steps should include your moisturizer and/or any targeted treatments for skin concerns.
A gentle face wash and a light moisturizing lotion will be the backbone of your routine. On no-makeup makeup days or in the mornings, you can use micellar water as your main cleanser, which is a gentle but effective cleansing liquid.
Oil-free cleansers are essential, and you’ll want to cleanse twice a day religiously. Use water-based (oil-free) moisturizers that are lightweight. Don’t forget the toner to help balance your skin.
Right after showering or cleansing, you’ll want to moisturize immediately with heavier creams. Use skin care products labelled for sensitive skin, since dry skin can be irritated more easily.
Use gentle cleansers and gel based moisturizers to help tame both sides of your skin.
Overall, if you really want to nail down the right way to treat your skin, you’ve got to talk to a professional. “It’s time and money wasted when you try to use products that are completely wrong for you, so seeing a dermatologist or other skin professional gives you a head start,” says Dr. Khadavi. “If you have any specific skin concerns, like acne, hyperpigmentation, or excess dryness, it will always be better to have a professional help you and give advice on what the best products are to help with those concerns.”
As you may know, I use Curology, which is an online service that links me up with a board certified dermatologist for my acne. Not only do I get unlimited bottles of prescription acne treatment, but I can consult my dermatologist as much as I want via online chat.