I find that this is a very important topic for a lot of people who are interested in skincare. There are a ton of products out there and one can easily feel overwhelmed at the thought of even deciding what to buy, let alone how to put them together and layer them for best results. I don’t claim to be an expert on this, however I noticed that what used to work for me when I was younger, is no longer doing the trick. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a ‘routine’. I say routine but that perhaps is not the best word. I find that the problem most of the time is that people are sticking to an actual routine, meaning they keep using the same products the same way day in day out. I think that is wrong. But feel free to comment and disagree:). So let’s see what I think you should be considering when trying to figure out your ‘routine’.
- Consider your skin’s needs first. It might be an obvious one but seeing a lot of companies popping up and coming out with a lot of products it can be tempting to buy into products you don’t actually need or don’t benefit you the same way as it does another person. If you don’t already know your skin type go to a beautician and let them help you figure it out. It’s worth it, even if you only go once. Whether your skin is combination, oily or dry you need to take that into consideration when choosing products.
- Consider your age. It’s alarming how many people don’t think about this at all. For example, I see a lot of 20 somethings go for retinols and botox. Why? You don’t need it! I don’t believe in invasive methods of keeping skin young and fresh. A lot of women don’t believe in creams and lotions, they say it doesn’t work. But that is because the same women are the ones that never had the right approach to begin with. Sleeping in makeup and not cleansing properly coupled with inadequate hydration (inside and out) leads to the skin looking older than it’s real age well before time. After years and years of mistreatment of course that the skin is not going to respond to creams the way it would otherwise. Start early with an age appropriate good routine and you will not need the heavy stuff so early on.
- Consider the changes. By this I mean changes in your age (we all get older, something that has worked for you 3 years ago, might not be that effective now). Others include change in skin condition. For me this meant developing rosacea on top of my acne that I have had since I was a teenager. I needed to seriously look at the acne products that I was using to make sure it doesn’t wreck my rosy cheeks further. On top of all this I am 33 so fine lines are popping up in certain places.
- Try not to have a routine. I know that sounds stupid. But what I mean by this is that you need to look at your skin one day at a time. Have products ready for eventualities. Especially if you have rosacea. We all know that there are days when it looks better and then there are flare ups. Look in the mirror and use different products depending on what your skin looks and feels like. For example you could be having a flare up, but you know that your normal moisturiser might not be enough. So make sure you layer something underneath or skip your usual step completely. It would be good to have multipurpose products that work for everything but unfortunately with rosacea that is not an option. In my case, certain products that worked on my acne did no favour for my rosacea. I had to switch to different products.
- Consider the seasons. A regimen that works in winter might be too heavy for the summer adding to your problems by clogging your pores for example. We tend to use thicker creams and more protective products in winter, but most likely need lighter formulas and soothing products for the summer. It’s not rocket science.
So once you looked at these factors you should already have a good idea as to what you need and what you don’t. Next you need to look at layering these for best results. This is perhaps the hardest thing to figure out. Especially considering the changing needs of your skin from one day to another. As a general rule, lighter formulations should be applied before heavier creams and oils. It goes something like this: cleanser, exfoliator, toner (if you use one), serum, cream/oil. Now there are a lot more products that some of us use that need to slot in here somehow. Like chemical peels (acids), essences and sheet masks (if you like Asian skincare). I believe essence should be slotted in somewhere between toner and serum. Most essences are water like and this light texture should go on your skin before an oil for example. My experience is that once you’ve put an oil on your skin, nothing else will sink in properly. Masks are usually used after cleansing and exfoliating. There are many types of masks for different purposes and I will write another post about those soon.
I hope this was somewhat useful. Skincare often sounds complicated but it doesn’t need to be.