Not sure what a good skin care regimen is?
Not sure what to do for a good skin care regimen? Start right here!
One of the biggest “secrets” in creating and maintaining great looking skin is having a solid skin care regimen that you follow each a.m. and p.m.
Clogged pores, unbalanced skin (too oily or too dry) and accelerated aging—such as wrinkles showing up faster than they should—are some of many things a good a.m and p.m. skin care regimen can fix.
So! How do you figure out what that good a.m. and p.m. skin care regimen should be?
First, take your esthetician/skin care therapist’s advice to heart. Follow what she prescribes, and if you have any questions about your regimen, be sure to get them answered. She not only has spent time closely observing your skin, she likely has years of experience analyzing skin and how different types of skin care products can positively affect skin. Tap into this knowledge, if you can.
If seeing an esthetician is not an option, follow the protocol listed on your skin care product bottles (assuming you have found a generally good skin care line that is compatible with your skin). This will ensure that you are using your products as intended, which is supremely important in giving your skin care products the best opportunity to benefit your skin. (Examples: which product do you apply to bare skin? What do you layer over the top of that first application? What do you apply only at night? What do you apply daily? What do you apply once per week?)
If you don’t have an inkling of what a good skin care regimen would be, or how to choose skin care products that are in the “good” category, don’t worry! Help has arrived: you can follow the simple, reliable skin care routine and tips below to figure out if your skin care products are providing the benefits they should.
Follow each a.m. and p.m. ~
1) Remove make up if needed.
If you are wearing make-up, this step cannot be skipped! Refined, clear pores and a healthy glow depend upon it! Nightly make-up removal can be done with any creamy, milky, oil-based, or gentle foaming cleanser. Very gentle make-up remover wipes or cloths are fine, too. Some people like to use “straight” (undiluted) oil, such as coconut oil or grapeseed oil, to remove make-up; this is fine as well, although oil will work much more effectively if you add it to a cream or milk cleanser. When you are done, your skin should feel soft and hydrated while being basically free of make-up. (Remember, make up removal and cleansing are two separate steps.)
If you’d like to encourage your most clear and balanced complexion to emerge, this step cannot be skipped! (Are you sensing a pattern here? Excellent!) An ideal cleanser cleans your skin exceptionally well: neatly clearing away dead skin cells, dirt and oil that settle in your pores, while keeping your skin soft, supple and hydrated. If your skin feels tight and dry after your cleanse (especially if your skin did not feel tight and dry before cleansing), the cleanser you are using is not a good match for your skin. Fresh, soft, clean, supple, hydrated skin is what we are aiming for.
Love silky soft, smooth skin? Love a porcelain-smooth texture? Then regular exfoliation cannot be skipped! A good exfoliating product will not only leave your skin feeling softer and smoother, it can help to reduce clogged pores, help to minimize fine lines and help to diminish uneven skin tone. (Science moment: this is because exfoliation helps to remove the most damaged surface layer to reveal the younger skin underneath.) A few examples in this category: a scrub, an exfoliating masque, an exfoliating powder blended with a cleanser, a fruit acid peel—anything that effectively removes the over-build-up of dead skin cells. Exfoliation helps your other skin care products penetrate more efficiently, as this build-up is removed; this step reveals your softer, newer, more permeable skin, which is able to readily absorb whatever you apply next (like your serum and moisturizer). Exfoliating products generally work best when used after cleansing, and when used between one and four times per week. If your exfoliating product leaves your skin feeling smoother and softer (with no unwanted side effects like irritation or dryness), it’s doing its job.
Treatment masques are optional, but seriously lovely. Masques offer a very simple way to provide your skin with a concentrated dose of nourishment, and can address specific issues (such as providing deep hydration or healing support for breakouts), and can help to improve everything from increasing moisture and elasticity to encouraging a softer, more luminous complexion, depending on the specific masque chosen. Treatment masques will provide the greatest benefit to your skin if used regularly after cleansing and exfoliating, usually somewhere between one and four times per week. Masques can be a beautiful adjunct to nearly any skin care regimen.
5) Blemish Spot Treatment.
This step is only needed for those who of us who struggle with “spots”…pimples, whiteheads, bumps, acne rosacea or cold sores. A good spot treatment both supports healthy healing and works as a preventative. A good spot treatment will not dry, damage or further irritate your skin! (How to know? If your spot treatment creates red, dry or irritated skin with regular use, it’s not a match.) A good spot treatment should help your skin to heal well. (How to know? The treatment helps blemishes heal without leaving a mark.) Apply a thin layer of a good spot treatment to any areas needed when your skin is freshly cleansed and bare. Allow a few moments for the spot treatment to absorb, and then continue on with your regular skin care regimen. It’s worth noting that most blemish spot treatments are inherently drying (even irritating to your skin!); in addition most blemish spot treatments do not work on acne rosacea or cold sores. Happily, the spot treatment listed below is a noteworthy, wonderful exception.
6) Toner/Hydrosol/Hydrating Mist.
Oh, the misunderstood toner! This is truly not a step to miss, and I’ll tell you why: the liquid, light-weight nature of toners, hydrating mists and hydrosols (definition: hydrosols are aromatic, beneficial waters that remain after botanicals are steam-distilled) allows them to penetrate easily and rapidly, which makes them an especially effective way to infuse your skin with beneficial ingredients. The skin supportive minerals, botanical acids, vitamins and antioxidants present in your toner/hydrosol/hydrating mist will readily absorb into your skin. Toners, hydrosols and hydrating mists can also provide your skin with quenching, water-rich, easily penetrating hydration. (How to know? Good toners will never leave your skin feeling tight or dry, nor should they be confused with “astringents,” which are used for oily, breakout-prone skin. I generally don’t recommend astringents, but if you do use one they generally work best as a spot treatment only applied to the specific areas needed.) Finally, applying a toner, hydrosol or hydrating mist to your skin before applying your serum, moisturizer or facial oil will enhance your skin’s permeability (definition: increased absorption of all your following skin care products). Simply, your skin can absorb your following skin care products much more readily when it’s first moistened with a toner, hydrosol or hydrating mist. This is not a step to miss.
Serums are the essential “rockstar” product of any skin care regimen. Need to increase hydration? Reduce hyperpigmentation? Diminish fine lines? Balance oiliness? Bring out your glow? Maintain firmness and elasticity? Prevent premature aging? Each serum is a densely packed powerhouse of active ingredients, specifically formulated for a finely-tuned purpose. These beauties can come in a gel form or creamier form, and they can be liquid light or thick as cream, depending on their specific function. The right serum applied under your moisturizer is the key to making positive changes in your skin.
8) Eye Gel and Eye Cream.
This step is optional (you will have noticed by now that I want to insure you have all of the “not-optional steps” down first!). You may already be getting the support you need for your eye area in your serum and moisturizer. However, it’s worth noting that while regular serums and moisturizers do provide benefits to the eye area, a specific eye gel or eye cream can do even more (without irritating the delicate eye area!) such as diminish dark circles and puffiness or moisturize deeply without causing clogs (milia, blackheads, whiteheads, etc.,). Because the skin around the eyes is constructed with few fat cells, it’s thin and fragile. This delicate skin can be encouraged to maintain a firmer, plumper quality by stimulating cell regeneration and by providing high integrity essential fatty acids. The deep, abundant hydration and stimulating plant extracts found in certain eye gels and eye creams support healthy circulation, allowing abundant nutrition and oxygen to enter. Active, abundant antioxidants play a pivotal role in preventing future skin damage. An eye gel or eye cream (or both) can be applied after your serum and before your moisturizer. Be sure to include your entire eye area to reap the full benefits (under your eyes and out to the temples).
The right moisturizer can help balance your skin's moisture production, no matter whether you are oily or dry. This helps your skin to stay balanced—not erring towards the too-oily or too-dry side. Daily protection against moisture loss is another bonus; this action alone is age-preventative. Additionally, good moisturizers grace your skin with specific benefits necessary for health, luminosity and age prevention: antioxidants, skin-specific beneficial nutrition and others. Some oily, combination and normal skin types may get all the hydration and moisture they need in a hydrating mist and serum alone, but most skin types (especially drier ones) receive benefits from using an appropriate moisturizer as well.
10) Facial oil.
This optional step is extremely beneficial for chronically dry skin, as facial oils are supremely effective in keeping skin's vital moisture locked where it belongs…in your skin! The result? Skin that is supple, glowing and velvet-soft. A note: while some combination or oily skin types can also benefit from the right facial oil, in general…facial oils are not recommended for highly breakout-prone skin or for skin highly prone to clogged pores. Good quality facial oils are also replete with skin-supportive nutrition. It’s prudent to remember that an oil cannot take the place of water-rich, hydrating products (like hydrating mists and hydrating serums) but it can make an exceptional compliment to them. For best results, apply between one to six drops of a good facial oil to your moisturizer application, either daily or as often as needed.
11) Sun protection.
This is the quintessential skin-damage-prevention tool! Applying high-quality sun protection as your final layer each a.m. (and reapplying as needed) is one the most significant ways you can care for (and preserve!) the quality of your skin. You’ll notice an abundance of exclamation points here, very intentionally—sun protection is skin royalty! It’s estimated that 80 to 90 percent of preventable skin damage is caused by unprotected exposure to the ultraviolet rays in the sun!!! An important reminder here: ultraviolet rays cause the collagen in your skin to break down, opening the door to premature wrinkles and sagging…as well as the unevenly pigmented areas we call “sun spots” or “age spots”—or most accurately, “sun damage.” A good sun protection product will not only provide protection from ultraviolet ray damage, it will offer additional benefits such as infusion of antioxidants and hydration support. The right sun protection product for you will be a beneficial companion, leaving your skin improved in the using of it. (How to know? If your sunscreen causes irritation, clogs, or other less-than-beautifying side effects…keep searching!)
12) Lip balm.
This step is optional, but oh-so-delicious. No matter what kind of lips you have, you can help them become softer, fuller and rosier with the right care. Delicate lip tissue is prone to dryness and aging. A good lip balm has a high-nutrient formulation that richly nourishes, protects and prevents aging in lip tissue. A good lip balm is also the final step in keeping your lips smoother and plumper…but it’s essential to take the necessary, initial steps to encourage this to happen! Did you know you can apply most of your regular skin care products to your lips, too? You can! Lips benefit from hydrating cleansers, occasional exfoliation, hydrating masques, hydrating mists, serums, moisturizers and facial oils…so lavish them on your lips, then top that off with a good lip balm. For best results, apply your lip balm daily and nightly after applying your moisturizer, and then re-apply your lip balm as often as needed throughout the day. Lipstick or lip gloss may be applied over the top of your balm, as desired. Don’t be surprised if your lips start looking rosier, softer, smoother and fuller.
If all of your skin care products are working well for you, when you use them regularly your skin should be basically balanced. A good barometer for this: while your skin may err on the dry or oily side, it won’t be excessively dry or oily; while your skin may naturally err on the sensitive side (such as getting pink easily), for the most part it will reside in a basically calm state; while your skin will still be susceptible to outside forces (these things can all still throw your skin a bit out of balance: lack of adequate sleep, lack of adequate nutrition or exercise, exposure to excessive stress, experiencing illnesses/maladies that impact your skin, exposure to excessive pollution, environmental irritants or UV ray exposure), by and large you skin will have a healthier appearance. The extreme or rapid appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, deepening existing lines and sagging skin will be held in check; while these and other signs of aging may occur and increase, they will do so gradually and in smaller increments, not drastically and quickly.
There you have it! All the knowledge you need to begin your own effective, skin supportive regimen!
If you’d like to get more guidance here and/or additional specifics about what will work best for your individual skin, you are welcome to book any facial you wish—and we can do just that!
This blog is not intended to take the place of in-person consultations with qualified skin care and health care practitioners. This blog is for the purpose of education and fun only.
All images and text in this blog are under the legal ownership of Rich Earth Organic Skin Care Studio. Permission is not granted for this text or these images to be copied and used out of the context of this blog, or for commercial purposes. If any part of the text is quoted in an article or other blog for educational purposes, a hyperlink to this page must be included.