You buy the expensive products. You read the various articles online. You even might have seen your local esthetician for advice, and still NOTHING has helped. “WTF?!” you scream into the mirror after many days/nights of using your $200 regimen that was sold to you with the promise that your skin would look better; only to find your skin looks the same…. if not worse. Sound familiar? You’re not alone! Hello there, your friendly online (and real life) esthetician here to help you with yet another skincare crisis.
If you haven’t figured it out by now (and it’s likely you haven’t, due to the fact you’re reading this), it’s HARD figuring out your perfect skincare routine. Not one person’s skin is the same, and we all have unique needs. That being said, I’ve noticed many trends among people who seem to struggle with skincare issues that can be easily changed or avoided.
It’s an unfortunate matter of either hearing the wrong information about your skin or just not knowing, and neither are your fault. That’s where I come in. Now, I’m not saying that if you change these things about your regimen your skin will magically turn around. Some (and most) skin issues are caused by internal factors (hormones, diet, water intake, stress levels, etc.) in which case you should consult a physician if you’re really unsure. However, these changes in your regimen could make all the difference!
To make this easier to navigate, I’m going to organize it into sections for specific skin types. If you want, just scroll to the section that best fits your skin description! There is also a general section at the bottom that could also apply to you.
OILY SKIN (acne prone, large pores, excessive oil production)
“I have oily skin so I don’t moisturize because I don’t need it.”
Um, yes. You do. Strangely enough, you will get the opposite effect if you go by this logic. If you have oily skin and you don’t moisturize, your skin will react and actually create MORE oil. Potentially creating more breakouts and more sadness. If you’re oily and for this reason you dislike moisturizers, opt for something very light and absorbent. Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion is a great lightweight option.
“I use a salicylic acid cleanser every day for my acne.”
This is *generally* a bit excessive. Using too much of an acid can be detrimental to the skin, because it strips you of the natural oils your face NEEDS to be healthy. Not all oil is bad people! Plus, if you have TRUE acne (not just breakouts on your chin when it’s your time of the month, or a breakout when you sleep in your makeup) you should be consulting a dermatologist or medical esthetician for your skin’s needs. Opt for a gentle gel or foam cleanser (my favorite is Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Purifying Gel Cleanser) and use a spot treatment for breakouts. I like using The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Solution directly on blemishes before I go to bed!
DRY SKIN (dry, flaky, tight-feeling, and lacking oil)
Not incorporating a hydrating serum into your regimen
I swear by hyaluronic acid to combat dry skin. Moisturizers are obviously fantastic (and necessary) for dry skin, but the molecular structure of a serum (like hyaluronic) is so much smaller than a moisturizer. This allows for the product to penetrate into the skin instead of just sitting on top and just masking the dryness. The Ordinary has a great Hyaluronic Acid, especially if you’re ballin on a budget.
“I don’t exfoliate because my skin is already so dry and I don’t want it to get drier.”
Exfoliating doesn’t mean you’re drying out your skin! Using BHAs and other products that strip the skin can be drying, but those are also typically formulated for more oily skin anyways. If you don’t exfoliate and you have dry skin, your dead skin cells will just pile up on your skin and any moisturizing products you try to use won’t moisturize your skin properly. It’s like trying to put sunscreen over your clothes. If you’re dry, try using a mechanical exfoliant instead to help slough away the dead skin cells. I enjoy Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Radiant Skin Refiner or GlamGlow’s FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment to keep my skin exfoliated and luminous!
“I just use coconut oil.”
No offense- but literally, cringe. Please refer to my Coconut Oil is Ruining Your Skin blog post in regards to this.
COMBO SKIN (a combination of dry and oily qualities, primary oily t-zone and dry cheeks)
Only treating one part of your skin
Multi-masking is a blessing my friends. Instead of always using drying products that combat oil, or vice-versa, and making one condition worse, try treating both! I consider my face combination skin and I’ll make it a point to use detoxifying masks on my t-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and hydrating products on my cheeks and neck. For my detoxifying masks I really love the GlamGlow SUPERMUD Clearing Treament or Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Deep Cleansing Clay Mask. For hydrating, Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Intense Hydrating Mask or GlamGlow’s THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment Mask. Are you seeing a trend here? I definitely have favorite brands. There are definitely other options but these are what I use and love the most!
NORMAL SKIN (not necessarily dry or oily, a good balance of both)
“I don’t have anything wrong with my skin so I don’t do anything to it.”
Although people with normal skin are generally very blessed (also we all hate you), you still need to take care of your skin. Cleansing, exfoliating 2-3 times a week, moisturizer, and SPF during the day are the bare minimum steps you should be doing. Just because you don’t have skin problems now doesn’t mean they can’t arise later, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. AKA take care of your skin now so you’re not a leathery mess later.
GENERAL MISTAKES IN ALL SKIN CARE
- Not letting your products dry before you apply the next one: You need to give your skin a chance to absorb each product you’re trying to use. Each serum and moisturizer goes in a specific order to allow for optimum absorption. Rule of thumb: thinnest to thickest. So serum to moisturizers.
- Not washing your face in the morning (or in general): It seems genuinely insane to me that I have to remind people to wash their face. Or wash their face with something other than bar soap. Now, if you don’t know… I won’t judge you, but now you know. You have no excuses. Washing your face at night is usually a given to most people…. but during your slumber you sweat, your hair touches your face, hands touch your face, your pillow cases can be dirty, etc. So in the morning it’s essential to wash your face so you’re not applying makeup over the crap you’ve slept in. And if you don’t wash your face at all, please don’t be surprised if your skin isn’t happy.
- Not cleaning your makeup brushes/phone: I think I say this in just about every blog post I write but you haaaaave to clean the things that touch your face the most. Phones and makeup brushes are the highest up there besides your hands, which should also be cleaned too, please. You wouldn’t believe how many people I ask if they clean their makeup brushes regularly and they’ve almost NEVER done it. Bacteria loves to live in dense places like brushes! I make it a point to clean mine every Sunday with a gentle detoxifying shampoo. As for your phone, keep a couple of Clorox wipes handy and wipe it down every so often!
- Not getting a proper skincare analysis: Before I went to esthetics school, I couldn’t tell you anything about my skin. It kind of felt normal, but I still got breakouts, and my makeup would slide around, but I was still flaky… etc. So I really had no idea what products to use on it either. Just because your favorite beauty blogger uses a mask, doesn’t mean that’s right for your skin. Get a professional to help you assess your biggest concerns and give you the true 411 about your skin type. They can also usually set you up with products that are catered towards your specific needs instead of just what’s “popular”.
- Sleeping with your makeup on: DON’T. EVER. STOP DOING THIS. PLEASE. I can’t even begin to describe the detrimental effects doing this has on your skin.
- Not cleansing properly: Cleansing is more than just slapping some soap on your face and wiping it off with a washcloth. If you wear makeup regularly, you should take the time to remove the bulk of your makeup with a makeup wipe, and then cleanse the rest of it off. If after you’ve cleansed your skin you can wipe a wet cotton pad over your face and there is still residue, you need to cleanse again. Make sure to get next to your ears, into your hair line, and your jawline as well. Also make sure if you’re using a washcloth to dry your skin off afterwards that it’s gentle enough to be used on your facial skin. I like bamboo washcloths that you can get relatively cheap off of amazon. (Please also make sure to clean these regularly too!)
- Washing your face in the shower: Generally speaking, shower water is too hot for your face. You can cause capillary breakage, plus you can’t see if you’re cleansing everywhere properly. You should be taking the time to wash your face with lukewarm water at your sink.
- Using random skincare products just because they’re “natural”: I love using naturally derived beauty products. I think some are really great and a lot of people are leaning towards more natural products these days because we’re a greener generation. However, just because it says “natural” and “organic” on the bottle, does NOT mean it’s natural and organic. It also doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin either. Taken from the FDA Website, “FDA has not defined the term “natural” and has not established a regulatory definition for this term in cosmetic labeling.” So basically a company can slap “natural” on just about anything, because there’s no set definition for it. Just because it’s from Whole Foods or your local Co-Op doesn’t mean it will work, and you are still responsible for the ingredients you choose to put on your skin. I thoroughly research brands before I use them on myself, as should you!
All of the above “mistakes” I’ve listed are just what I’ve seen and heard of the most in my time being in this industry. I use the word “mistakes” loosely because in my experience it’s just because people aren’t aware, and that’s okay! I, as well as other people who are trained in this profession, are here to help those of you who maybe aren’t as ~*~*current*~*~ with the do’s and don’ts of skincare. There are obviously other factors that go into your routine as I stated earlier, many internal, but with these changes in your routine I hope you find some of your concerns are taken care of.
Any questions? Still feel clueless? Leave them in the comments section! I love to help you guys out as well as hear feedback from my readers.
Peace, love, and moisturization to all