I want you to stop for a second and think about something you’re interested in, something you are passionate about. Now, try to pinpoint exactly when you became so curious about this thing.
For me, this “thing” would be skincare. Skincare has captivated my interest since I began watching beauty gurus on Youtube at the age of twelve. I was obsessed with their makeup looks but in particular, I remember looking at them before they put on foundation and wondering how their skin was so flawless. I was so envious of their seemingly poreless skin that didn’t have a single blemish on it. I, on the other hand, suffered from some relatively intense acne and texture which got me thinking to myself “how can I get skin like theirs?”
This is where my interest began and since has burgeoned. I have spent endless amounts of time doing research, going through trial and error with different products, and I have finally perfected a routine. I am sharing this with you now so you don’t have to go through the same tedious process that I did and because I know how confusing skincare can be. Let me preface, I am not an esthetician or dermatologist, but here is what has worked for me and it may work for you too! Now let’s get into my tips for how to perfect your skincare routine!
You are going to have two separate routines. One for the night and one for the day. The nighttime one requires 6 steps and they are as follows:
1. Oil cleanser
If you are wearing makeup, do NOT use makeup wipes! Not only are they bad for the environment but they are horrible for your skin. In reality, makeup wipes do not remove everything and they just leave your skin extremely irritated and sometimes inflamed. Many makeup wipes are also highly fragranced, leading to further irritation.
Instead, begin every night by oil cleansing. Oil cleansers breakdown and dissolve any and all makeup on your face. Additionally, they leave your face clean without being stripped, rubbed raw, or irritated from fragrance. I recommend trying out Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm.
2. Face wash
After you have removed all of your makeup with the cleansing balm, you still have one more cleansing-related step to go. Use a gentle, fragrance-free face wash to remove the remaining makeup, dirt, and grime from the day. If you want, you could also use a light physical exfoliant, like a facial scrub, in place of the cleanser in this step. Make sure to not over-exfoliate your face though! Once a week is more than enough. I personally use the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser but if you don’t want the extra exfoliation I would try the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Gel.
3. Active products
I was not familiar with AHAs and BHAs until probably late last year when I started watched dermatologists on Youtube. With that being said, I discovered that you need these. Absolute game-changer. My skin had improved drastically from a good and consistent skincare routine, but with the addition of AHAs and BHAs, I hardly have any texture anymore. I can easily say I’m absolutely obsessed with these products. I currently use Paula’s Choice, specifically the Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant and the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.
Please note that both AHAs and BHAs will make your skin extra sensitive to the sun so you will need to wear an SPF during the day. Additionally, they should not be applied in combination with any retinoids or retinol creams. I recommend doing research to see which liquid exfoliator would work best for your skin needs!
Additionally, there are other active products you might want to apply at this time, like niacinamide or a glycolic acid toner. Just make sure to do a quick Google search to make sure the skincare products you want to use are combinable. If you don’t know what active ingredients to use, I recommend checking out the Paula’s Choice website as it is filled with a lot of information and descriptions about various products and ingredients.
Step four is to apply your serums. I recommend letting the active ingredients from the previous step dry a little before you begin this step. For serums, at night I just use The Ordinary’s hyaluronic acid serum. Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient as it is a humectant, meaning it is going to draw water from the air in your surroundings into your skin. This will moisturize your skin as well as add elasticity. Aside from hyaluronic acid, you could use a moisturizing facial oil or essence of your choice.
Now its time to lock in all of those amazing, skin benefitting products with a moisturizer. I have most recently been enjoying the Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream from First Aid Beauty, but the GinZing™ Oil- Free Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer from Origens was a favorite of mine for a long time too. Both of these moisturizers are are gel-based so if you enjoy creams, these may not be the picks for you. I think you can never go wrong with a moisturizer from CeraVe so try that out if you’re a cream moisturizer person or simply on a budget.
6. Spot treatments
If you see any blemishes on your skin I would recommend finishing off your nighttime routine with a good spot treatment. Spot treatments will reduce inflammation and dry out any problem areas. I personally have been prescribed Adapalene cream so I tend to use that, but Differin Gel which can be bought at CVS is the same thing. However, my personal favorite product for spot treating is actually pimple patches. I use the Miracle Patch from Rael Beauty. These are by far the best pimple patches I have tried and they are sold conveniently on Amazon.
Now for the daytime. This routine is definitely quicker than that at night and only requires 4 steps and they are as follows:
1. Face wash
You should always wash you face in the morning. Not only will it wake you up but it’ll remove any grease and grime that accumulated as you were sleeping. For the morning cleanse, make sure you are using a very gentle cleanser. There is no need to exfoliate like at night, so make sure your face wash doesn’t have any of those properties. I personally use the Khiels Ultra Facial Cleanser as it is just a very smooth face wash that leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed without stripping it of any of its natural oils.
It’s so important to use serums not only in the nighttime but also in the mornings! The most commonly used daytimes serums are vitamin C and hyaluronic acid but do your research if you are curious about including anything else. Personally, I use both. I use the same hyaluronic acid that I use at night and then add Sephora Collection’s Ultra Glow Serum: Glow + Strengthen Vitamin C Serum. Sometimes I won’t even use the hyaluronic and just use this one because it provides my skin with such a healthy glow.
I use the same moisturizers as I do at night so I am not going to bore you any further. Just remember, it is essential to moisturize in the morning so your skin will retain moisture and so any makeup applied will go on smoothly.
Sunscreen is the last step to the daytime routine and honestly the most important. You need to wear SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Often SPF comes mixed into moisturizers already, like the CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Face Lotion with Sunscreen. However, if you want to use your normal moisturizer that is lacking SPF but still want the coverage, I recommend checking out Glossier’s Invisible Shield. This product is special because its formula is not sticky or greasy, provides SPF 35 coverage, will not clog your pores, and has no white cast.