Your skin care routine. Or do you have one?

When I ask my clients about their skin care routine, many tell me they don’t really have one. Because I usually sit behind them, they can’t see the concerned look on my face, however. They tell me they wash their face before they go to bed, maybe apply some moisturizer, then get up the next day and just apply makeup. Or not. Some don’t even do that much.

Most, however, have no set routine they follow. So when asked how to prevent what aging does to their skin on a daily basis (especially because of how ‘“dewy” they look after a facial), the answer is not one that takes a few sentences. So here is a run-down of the steps I suggest. 

While there is no such thing as a single “correct” skin-care routine, there is definitely an optimal way to apply your products. Even if you want to do the least possible, the way you layer your chosen products has a big impact on how well they work. The more product-intense you go, the more important this order becomes.

There are some truisms to skin care. For instance, cleansing ALWAYS comes first. Serum sits beneath moisturizer. And sunscreen goes on last. Understanding this order will ensure your favorite skin care products, whether they are my beloved Lira® line or ones you have sitting around ready to be used, work more effectively. Why splurge on a luxury serum only to render it useless because of misapplication?

The principle behind cleansing first is to open your skin. This means it can receive products that can soak in, and then seal with moisturizing products.  Makeup remover or cleansing oil is used only at night. If I had to be there every night standing over you with a whip, I would tell you repeatedly: DO NOT go to bed with makeup on. At the end of the day, removing all makeup from your skin should always be your first step. Look for formulas that are effective enough to melt away waterproof mascara, but still gentle on your face—like micellar water. If you want to double-cleanse, use an emulsifying oil, which gets rid of the need to buy cotton rounds.

As for morning cleansing, wash your face with a cleanser that gets rid of dead skin, pollutants, oils, dirt, and bacteria. I can help you determine your skin type so that you use the best cleanser for it both day and night. As far as what it contains, pay attention.  Avoid sulfates, which can have a harsh, stripping effect on your face.  For normal or dry skin, I like hydrating cleansers with peptides. And if you’re oily or acne-prone, use a mild exfoliating cleanser with salicylic acid, which dislodges the dead cells that can clog pores.

Morning and night, the first product to go on your face is eye cream, because you’ll probably forget to do it otherwise. Pat your eye cream on gently with your ring finger all the way around your eyes, not just underneath them. If you’re worried about eye cream causing your concealer or eye makeup to smear, choose a more lightweight option, like a hydrating gel that sinks in quickly and stays put.

For the best results, look for ingredients like peptides—which help tighten your skin and depuff—as well as antioxidants. Experts recommend formulas that contain hydrating hyaluronic acid, brightening caffeine, and ceramides to lock in moisture and help strengthen your skin barrier.

Another morning and night practice is using toner, meant to help further prime your skin to absorb active ingredients. The one you choose will depend on your skin type. We’re not talking alcohol-based old school toners that were meant to balance skin pH and counteract alkaline soaps.  Today’s toners are liquid formulations geared toward oily skin in need of gentle exfoliation and resurfacing, with a slight variation on the ones used for oily or acne-prone skin.  

Serum (used morning and night) will deliver the bulk of active ingredients to your toner/essence-primed face, but it’s important to do it early on in your routine. That’s because serums are formulated with smaller molecular-weight actives so they penetrate into deeper skin layers. But don’t use the same serum in the morning that you do at night. Daytime serums contain antioxidants that protect skin from daytime stressors like free radicals (caused by UV rays), pollutants, and blue light (the most popular ingredient is vitamin C). Night time serum contains peptides and growth factors to repair your skin. Acne-prone skin needs stem cells, retinol, and green tea. And for dehydrated skin, look for lipids, hyaluronic acid, and peptides.

Retinol is a whole ‘nother ball game, but here is the gist of it; the vitamin A derivative boosts collagen production and increases the rate of cellular turnover.  That means a reduction in fine lines, smaller pores, more collagen and elastin production, less dead skin, lees oil production, clearer pores, and a more even skin tone. Whether it’’s clearing up breakouts or fading fine lines, retinol is your friend. But proceed with caution. Potential side effects can include flaking, dryness, retinol burn, and increased sensitivity to the sun, which is why you should stick to applying it at night. The key is introducing it slowly, easing into daily application by applying it three times a week for the first week or two. Then you may gradually increase the frequency of application.

Moisturizer can never be over-applied and can be done morning and night. Look for ceramides, which seal the outer layers of skin. Here again, you may want to change up the moisturizer you use in the morning to a different one at night. But this has more to do with how moisturizers feel than anything else. A lightweight one in the morning may blend better with your makeup. And a  heavier cream is more apropos for evening.

Last, but certainly not least is sunscreen. Experts unanimously agree that sunscreen should be worn every single day to prevent UV damage—whether or not you go outside. Apply it over face oil in order to be most effective. The two types of sunscreens are physical and chemical. Physical blockers contain minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and work by reflecting light away from your skin. Chemical blockers, on the other hand, work by absorbing light and converting it into heat, preventing it from penetrating into your skin. Mineral formulas tend to be better for sensitive skin, while chemical formulations tend to be thinner and spread more easily.

For more on how Lira® products deliver all this luscious skin care, schedule a facial with me or just give me a call at 916.294-9980.


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