Every year there’s a new skincare craze—whether it’s the 10-Step Korean routine or the latest celebrity “natural” product that only contains mashed-up cherries and a suspicious amount of coconut oil.
But there’s more to skincare than what’s trendy or new. Skincare is a life-long journey that is not only necessary to look good but to feel good. Taking care of your skin can also be so therapeutic—just the feeling of massaging a cool, hydrating, silky cleanser or moisturizer onto your skin honestly feels like heaven. Having a solid routine can be one of the best de-stressers to end your day or a boost to start your day.
However, it can be overwhelming to sift through all the noise in the industry—especially when they start throwing scary-sounding terms like “hydrochloric acid” at you. So, today I’m going to keep it super simple and start you off with the basics.
Let’s dive in!
Let’s set the scene—you’ve had a long day at work (or maybe a long day of binge-watching at home), you’re tired, you’re ready to go to bed, but of course, you’ve got to wash your face. So you whip out your makeup wipes, your face wash, or maybe you just use regular soap because you’re economical like that. You rinse your face, you put on some moisturizer, and call it night. And that’s enough, right?
Your face may feel or look clean, but the remnants of makeup, dirt, and bacteria are sneaky and don’t want to leave your skin without a fight—this is why you have to start with an oil cleanser.
An oil cleanser is specially designed to dissolve makeup and any other impurities that your water cleanser—the face wash most people use solo—isn’t able to clean off.
Afterward, your face should feel clean of any grime but still coated with the lovely, healthy oils that your skin naturally produces. The team-up between these two cleansers is called—you guessed it—double cleansing!
However, what works for one skin type won’t always work for another.
For my dry skin people, feel free to try a thicker oil ingredient, like olive oil. For the water cleanser, find one that is hydrating—one that doesn’t lather, but instead feels like a lotion, so that your face can hold onto those natural oils while not feeling like the surface of the Sahara.
If you have oily skin and are afraid of drowning your face in even more oil, lighter oil cleansers, like those that contain jojoba, and a gel or foam-based cleanser should work well for you.
If you have combination skin, try a mixture of the lighter and heavier ingredients to balance out your products.
You may have to try out a few cleansers, but you should eventually find the right one!
There are a bunch of moisturizers that do different things—some give your skin more collagen to strengthen it. Some are meant to even out your skin tone. Some are filled with active ingredients like vitamin C. But because we’re keeping it simple, you should start by just finding one that works well with your skin type and gives you basic moisturization.
If you’re more sensitive, you may want to stick with something light and fragrance-less. I know you may want your face to smell like rose petals or an item off a dessert menu, but if pimples start popping up, switch to the boring, unscented version. Your skin will thank you.
If you have dry skin, you may want something thicker and hydrating. For those of you who fall into this camp, I’m sure you’ve applied moisturizers over and over again that just didn’t seem to do anything for your skin (and may have left it feeling drier!). Look for products that have “for dry skin” or “hydrating” written on them.
Even if you are acne-prone or have oily skin, skipping this step is a no-no. Going without a moisturizer will just make your dry skin even drier, because your skin is getting no help from you, and your oily skin even oilier because it’ll have to work overtime to compensate. We always want to work with our skin, not against it. So, no matter what your skin type is, you need a moisturizer.
Sunscreen gets a bad rep. I hear so many people complain about how “it smells weird,” “it dries me out,” or “it leaves a film.” But SPF doesn’t have to do any of those things.
There are brands upon brands of SPF that are specially designed to be part of a skincare routine. This means that they actually smell quite good—or not at all if that’s what you like. Some come tinted which means they won’t leave you looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost, especially for darker skin tones. They also moisturize your skin.
A lot of people seem to be preoccupied mostly with sunburn from UV rays—I get it, having tomato skin or the outline of your sunglasses stamped around your eyes sucks. But while sunburns can go away after a while, the effects of habitual sun damage can seriously mess with you. These include premature aging, higher chances of skin cancer, and for my darker-toned people, hyperpigmentation—none of which are fun to treat.
Even if you don’t go outside much, if you’ll be exposed to the sun in any way, even if it’s just through a window in your room or your office, wear that sunscreen. The sun is not playing games with you!
One application of SPF doesn’t last for the entire day, so you should re-apply it before going outside. If you’re going to be out and about throughout the day, re-apply it every two hours.
Lifestyle habits that’ll improve your skin
- Get enough sleep. While you sleep, your skin takes the time to repair itself from UV exposure. So, the more you cut back on rest time, the less time your skin has to heal age spots and daytime damage.
- Use a silk pillowcase and wash it regularly. You can actually find one that should suit your needs right here on Coop Home Goods. What’s special about this pillowcase is that the fabric absorbs less moisture than cotton. This means your skincare products will stay on your face and keep you hydrated throughout the night, which is perfect for stomach and side sleepers.
- Drink lots of water. While drinking water may not clear away acne or any other skin issues, it does help your body rid itself of toxins and it can give your face a radiant glow, which I’m pretty sure we all want!
- Eat well. Some of the best foods for the skin are avocados, sweet potatoes, and fatty fish.
That concludes our Intro to Skincare lesson! As you start or continue your skincare journey, I wish you health, happiness, and, of course, flawless skin!