The skincare industry can be kinda overwhelming, which is why we’re (always) here to help. And we totally understand your dilemma; with literally hundreds of innovative products being released each week and the discovery of another “must-have” ingredient, it can be hard to determine what products you really need and what’s just a trend. To guide you through the beauty-jargon on your quest for perfect skin, here are 21 skincare tips that cover ALL the bases.
1. Get to know your skin type
Understanding and getting to know your skin type is the most important thing you can do for your skin. If you’re unaware or misinformed, you could compromise your skin’s natural balance and trigger irritation, inflammation, breakouts, and even premature aging by using the wrong products. The most common skin types are oily, acne-prone, dry, sensitive, and mature skin; it’s also important to note that you can be more than one type and it can change over time or through the seasons, so always listen to your skin. For more deets on decoding your skin type, read this.
2. Make sure you know how to layer
If you don’t apply your skincare products in the right order you could prevent them from being fully-absorbed, which means they won’t be as effective. The general rule is to apply the most lightweight formulas first so they can be easily absorbed without the barrier of heavier creams. To avoid piling (those tiny little balls you get when you’ve used too much product), when you move onto thicker creams, give your skin time to absorb the product (at least a few minutes).
3. Don’t apply too much product
When it comes to skincare, ‘more is more’ is not a good rule. So if you apply too much moisturizer, the product will likely pill or could potentially block your pores. Plus, it’s a total waste of product and your money considering your skin won’t be able to absorb it all anyway! Make sure you follow this sizing guide:
4. Always double cleanse
Double cleansing is our fave K-beauty hack, and it’s completely transformed our skin. By cleansing twice, you’ll ensure all the dirt, bacteria, oil and pollution that’s built up on your skin during the day has been removed, leaving you with a thoroughly clean base for you to layer your nighttime skincare routine onto. Check out our full guide to double cleansing here.
5. Never forget to do a patch test
Before you start using a new product, you should always do a patch test to avoid the risk of irritation or an allergic reaction. Just apply a small amount of product to your inner arm to see how your skin reacts to the formula.
6. Don’t use expired products
Hanging onto products past their expiry dates is a big no-no: It’s bad for you. Sadly, your beloved beauty products harbor bacteria (especially if you use them frequently), and these can lead to infections and irritations, not to mention, they don’t perform as well – we’re talking to you, gunky mascara! After a while, products can produce harmful toxins that can be dangerous to your health as well as your skin. As a general rule, if you can’t remember when you bought your face cream, SPF, foundation, mascara or eyeliner – get rid of it!
If you didn’t know, this little jar with a floating lid signals how long you can use your product for once you’ve opened it. So, if it reads 12M that means you’ve got a whole year to enjoy your product – usually lipsticks, blushes, eyeshadows, and foundation will be anywhere in this expiration region, or perhaps even up to 24M. Skincare products with active ingredients could be anywhere from 3M to 6M – so now you know, it’s really worth checking. Especially with skincare containing active ingredients or SPF, as they lose their efficacy and might not give you the protection you need.
7. Don’t be afraid of drugstore skincare
Don’t assume that a good skincare regime has to cost you serious dough! There’re so many amazing drugstore products and affordable brands with awesome formulas: From our fave drugstore $13 retinol to our $4 daily cleanser; to the $12 cream Meghan Markle swears by, you just need to know what to look for. Check out these derm-approved skincare products.
8. Your skin may purge, don’t panic
If you’re using a new product and your skin starts acting out, your skin may be purging. According to celeb dermatologist and author of Beyond Beautiful, Dr. Doris Day “A purge is a reaction from a product. It can be an irritant reaction to a product, leading to piling up of skin cells and their underlying contents. It can be due to an imbalance of water in the skin, an imbalance of the way the cells exfoliate or an imbalance of elements within the skin.” What this means is, the product might not be breaking you out, but it’s causing a reaction in your skin – this doesn’t always mean you should disregard the product. Read our guide to knowing if you’re purging here.
9. Sunscreen is everything
If there’s one thing literally ALL derms tell us; it’s the importance of using sunscreen daily to help protect your skin from sun damage. 90% of how your skin ages is within your control and is directly linked to sun exposure. So even on cloudy, winter days, protect your skin by using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or above and a 5-star UVA rating. Just apply sunscreen every day, and your skin will thank you for it.
10. Make masks a regular thing
Most of us will associate a face mask with the occasional pamper night with your girls. But masks are actually super important and can be incorporated into your daily regime. Celebrity facialist Georgia Louise recommends doing a 10-minute mask every morning to hydrate and soothe the skin. Face masks can help address a whole array of skin concerns from oily and acne-prone skin to dry or sensitive skin; you just need to find the right mask for your skin type. Check out our fave masks here. Even if you don’t have time every day, do a clay mask once a week and a sheet mask to hydrate as often as possible.
11. Sleeping masks are also a must
Sleeping masks are SO much more than a skincare trend. When you sleep, your skin repairs and replenishes as your skin’s metabolism improves, enabling your skin cells to reproduce more efficiently. By wearing a hydrating overnight mask, you’ll enhance this regeneration process, as it’ll act as a protective barrier against dirt or bacteria so that when you wake up your skin is at its best!
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12. You should switch up your skincare regime throughout the year
The weather is another external factor that can wreak havoc on your skin. Just think about it: during the winter, the combination of low temperatures outside and increased indoor heating can seriously dry out your skin. Whereas in the summer, you’re dealing with humidity, sun exposure, and climbing temperatures; causing oily skin, dark spots, and even sun damage. That’s why it’s essential to combat the opposing temperatures with different formulas and ingredients throughout the year. Read our summer skin guide and winter skin guide to find out more.
13. Your skin type will change as you get older
Everyone’s skin is constantly changing and adapting to its surrounding environment. This is why it’s so important to switch up your skincare, not only for the seasons, but also according to your age. As you age, the levels of collagen in your skin begin to decline (bummer, we know), and your skin tends to dry out. You can also develop skin conditions in your 20s like rosacea or adult acne. This is why it’s super important to take the time to examine the changes in your skin as you get older, so you can cater to your skin’s developing needs. Read our skincare guidelines for your age here.
14. Eat and drink with your skin in mind
No matter how many miracle products you slather on your face, if your diet sucks, your skin just won’t be bringing its A-game. To get that glow, you need to be supplying your body with beauty-boosting vitamins and minerals, and the right nutrients to strengthen your gut. Similarly, there are some foods that you need to avoid if you’re munching with your skin in mind.
You also need to make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day – it’s a skincare no brainer. If you ask any model what their top skincare secret is, it’s to always stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. If you’re not drinking enough water, it can make your skin look dull and emphasize fine lines (you should aim for at least 2 liters a day).
15. Remember, your hormones impact your skin
Our hormones don’t just impact our mood and our energy levels, they majorly impact our skin too. By understanding your monthly cycle, you can tweak and tailor your routine to ensure your skin’s living its best life, all year round. For instance, from days 1-7 as your female hormones are low, it’s important to load up on vitamin c and zinc to up your immune system and hydrate your skin. For more deets on how your cycle impacts your skin, check out this post.
16. Exfoliation is key
Exfoliation is an essential step in any good skincare regime. There are two types of exfoliators; physical and chemical exfoliants. We’d recommend using a chemical exfoliant as physical exfoliators are slightly more abrasive and you have the tendency to push too hard, and therefore increase the risk of damage. Whereas, by using a chemical exfoliator like AHAs or BHAs or an enzyme-based formula, which penetrates your skin, dislodging and dissolving dead skin cells while promoting skin regeneration, leaving your skin clean and radiant. With that said, make sure you only use a chemical exfoliant two to three times a week to avoid over-exfoliation.
17. Retinol isn’t something to be scared of
A lot of people are intimated by retinol, and while we understand why, it can make such a difference to your skin. We’re talking fading scars, reducing wrinkles, and evening out your skin tone. You just need to know how and when to add it into your regime. Read our full retinol guide here.
18. Vitamin C is the ultimate glow-getter
Vitamin C is one of the strongest antioxidants on the shelves, which means it helps to protect your skin from environmental stressors that can accelerate aging. Plus, it’s even been shown to promote and encourage elastin and collagen syntheses, so combined with its ability to banish dull skin, it’s completely transformative. Check out our fave $10 vitamin C serum here.
19. Moisture is everything
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – we’re not kidding! When it comes to your skin, hydration is everything. Even if you have oily skin, you need to keep your skin hydrated; otherwise, it’ll produce more oil in an attempt to compensate. Make sure you’re moisturizing twice a day and topping up with a nighttime serum and facial mist throughout the day. Look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, peptides, and ceramides.
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20. Don’t forget about your neck
Neglecting the neck area is one of the most common skincare mistakes, which is kinda crazy as it’s one the of biggest giveaways of someone’s age. So always make sure you continue your entire skincare regime down your neck; this means double cleansing your neck as well as toning, and moisturizing. Also, be gentle and massage in upward motions so that you’re not pulling the skin downward, which is precisely where you don’t want your skin to go! If neck lines are a concern of yours, check out our guide to getting rid of neck lines.
21. Leave your pimples alone!
As tempting as it may be to pop a pimple, try to resist the urge as you’ll most likely spread the bacteria and you could even leave a scar. Also, while it may feel like you’ve sanitized the area and cleaned the pimple, there’s so much stuff happening within your skin that you can’t see, and it’s this bacteria that you’ll spread. With that said, we understand that regardless of what we say, you’re probably going to try to at some point anyway, so read our guide on how to pop a pimple in the safest way.
Let us know what skin concern you’d like us to write about next in the comments below.