Decoding the Skin Care Regimen
Photographed by Katie Cooney
Gone are the days of using just soap to wash your face and slapping on lotion haphazardly before bed. In this age, skincare has taken on a life of its own – so much so that the process of tending to your skin has earned the title “skincare regimen.” So, what is the reason for these ten-step, complex processes? And is it truly necessary to devote so much time and money to your skin? Read on to learn about skincare steps, their functions, and why you may just want to incorporate them into your own routine.
Step 1: Cleansing
The one step you should never forget; your skin will thank you!
Cleansing your face before bed is a no-brainer to free your face from the day’s makeup, as well as get rid of any dirt and grime that accumulated throughout the day. Yet, cleansing in the a.m. is just as important, clearing away makeup you may have missed the night before or removing oil that built up over the course of the night.
But beware, all cleansers are not created equal. Sorry to break it you, but makeup wipes rank low on the scale of skin satisfaction. Although they may be quick and easy, they also leave behind residues that are traditionally rinsed away with water, meaning there is a high chance of irritability. Do your skin a favor, and choose one of the many other cleansing options available. The cleanser you pick from the wide foray of options is totally up to your preferences. Many people with oily skin opt for gel cleansers, while those with dry or sensitive skin may prefer a cream or milk cleanser. Also, although oil-based cleansers may sound highly intimidating for those of us who already see ourselves as getting easily shiny, it is actually a good idea for all skin types to embrace the “good oil” to get rid of the bad.
Step 2: Toner
First off, what are toners good for anyways? Toners work to gently exfoliate the skin, the key word here being “gentle.” Scrubs do, indeed, remove the dead skin cells from your face but not without risks. A toner does the same job, but without the irritation. The toning step also primes your skin to absorb future products. This step helps make sure you will get your money’s worth for that expensive moisturizer you splurged on.
Always use your toner after cleansing and before moisturizing to maximize the benefits of that improved absorption. Some people tone twice a day, some just once, and others only occasionally throughout the week. How often you include toning in your life is up to you and your skin!
Step 3: Eye Cream
Eye cream may seem like an extra step, a gimmick that skincare brands employ to make you buy yet another niche product. However, the thin skin around your eyes is more sensitive and requires products that are geared toward this specific area. Eye creams can help with dark circles and puffiness that stem from those sleepless college nights, or they can give you a simple boost of hydration. In the morning and at night, apply your eye cream of choice by gently patting it under your eyes. Be sure to do this before you apply moisturizers or serums, so you know that your eyes are getting the attention they deserve without any interference.
Step 4: Serum
This step may be optional, but if you are looking to treat your skin or add some extra moisture, then you may want to add a serum to your routine.
Think of serums as light moisturizers, products that have more nutrients and can penetrate your skin deeper. Even better, serums can be tailored to target certain skin problems, from dullness to acne. If you are on the lookout for a boost of hydration or a solution for a specific skin problem, you may want to invest in a serum. Apply before your moisturizer in order to reap all of its benefits.
Step 5: Moisturizer
Everyone knows of moisturizer, the step that leaves your skin feeling soft, hydrated and healthy.
Moisturizers are often marketed as morning or night creams, but does it really matter when you apply? If the moisturizer includes SPF, it should only be used in the morning. Using SPF at night does little for your skin besides clogging your pores. Additionally, night creams are typically heavier and contain more oil, so if you want to avoid the greasy-look in your daily life, opt for a day cream with a lighter formula.
There are so many moisturizers on the shelves that it can sometimes be challenging to know which one is the one for you. The key to selecting the right product is to keep your skin type in mind. If you are acne-prone, choose to steer clear of dense, oily creams. If your skin is dry, then these products may be the right option for you. Whatever you choose, add the product to your morning and night routines to keep your skin happy.
Now that you know the details of these skincare steps, you can choose the products that work best for your budget, timeline and, most importantly, your skin-type! Take some time to wander the aisles (or websites) of Sephora or Ulta and revamp your regimen with the proper products to get a glowing base for the upcoming winter months.