Clients ask me to recommend skincare products. Yet before recommending specific products I think it is important to have your daily skincare routine down pat.
So here are my recommendations for a daily skincare routine. This routine is good for everyone no matter what skin type you have or what skincare issues you want or need to address:
Moisturize (including eye cream)
Serum – for correction, prevention, or treatment
Moisturize (including eye cream)
I recommend using toner only if you are VERY oily, otherwise skip that step.
Many women don’t realize how important it is to truly remove all your make-up. That is why I recommend a two-step cleanse if you wear make-up. Don’t worry about drying out your skin – if you use the correct make-up remover and cleanser that won’t happen.
So what do I mean by correction, prevention, or treatment? Correction can mean wanting to get rid of hyperpigmentation (dark spots usually caused by the sun). Prevention can mean using a product with retinol in it in order to slow down the aging process or slightly improve fine lines and wrinkles. Treatment can mean using anti acne products. Depending on what you are trying to correct, prevent, or treat you would use the product once or twice a day usually.
And let’s not forget Exfoliation:
Exfoliation is an essential step in any skincare routine, no matter what age you are. Exfoliation helps to remove the dead skin cells that make up the very top layer of your epidermis; exfoliation is key to maintaining healthy and attractive skin. When you exfoliate your skin looks smoother, more even toned, and healthier. Your skin will also feel smoother. Exfoliation can also help minimize the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Do you want your skin to glow? Exfoliate! Do you want your skincare products to work better? Exfoliate! If you have oily skin or suffer from breakouts exfoliation is an absolute necessity since acne develops when dead skin cells and oil accumulate and get stuck in your pores. Lastly, exfoliation is not only for your face; the skin on your entire body needs to exfoliated.
How do you exfoliate?
There are a few different ways to exfoliate. You should choose a method that fits with your lifestyle and with your skincare needs. I’ll give some examples. I have combination skin that is quite acne prone. Twice weekly I use Bioelements Karefole Deep Exfoliating Mask which I put on for ten minutes while I am in the shower. I love this product and find that it works great for my skin so though using it takes a little extra planning and it can be a time suck I still use it. For someone who doesn’t have 20 minutes a week to devote to exfoliating I would recommend a leave on exfoliator that can be used nightly or a few times a week. This leave on exfoliator can contain either AHA, BHA, or fruit enzymes to exfoliate. For example, I have a client in her late 60s who needs to be exfoliating gently but nightly. I have her using Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Lotion with great results. You can even use a gentle scrub nightly. Perhaps you cleanser already comes with exfoliating beads in it or you can get a gentle scrub to add to your cleanser. The exfoliation that you are doing at home should be a gentle process. I don’t recommend using exfoliants with nutshells or sugar on your face, though that is perfectly fine for the rest of your body. Every once in a while we all need a deeper exfoliation and for that I recommend a chemical peel or a series of chemical peels depending on what you want to treat. Additionally, microdermabrasion, performed by a professional, is another form of deeper exfoliation.
I’ll use my daily skincare routine as an example of what a routine can look like: Please note that I have no affiliation whatsoever with the companies mentioned below and receive no financial compensation for mentioning them.
I cleanse with Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel. Then I use PCA Pigment Gel on my upper lip and chin where I have hyperpigmentation. I then use a Vitamin C serum over my entire face for its anti-aging and antioxidant benefits. Currently I am using Dermaquest C-Lipoic Antioxidant Serum. I then moisturize with PCA’s Protecting Hydrator and Dermalogica’s Total Eye Care on my eye area. Before I put on make-up I use Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Sunscreen because you can never have too much sun protection!
I remove my make-up with Dermalogica’s PreCleanse (by the way, I can’t say enough good things about this product – love it, love it, love it!). I then cleanse with Dermalogica’s Special Cleansing Gel. Once again I use the PCA Pigment Gel on my upper lip and chin for my hyperpigmentation. Since I have acne prone skin (usually I have a breakout or two) I then use either benzoyl peroxide (Neutrogena On the Spot 2.5%) or salicylic acid lotion on my entire face. I tend to breakout mostly on my chin and forehead so once or twice a week in those areas I’ve been using Dermaquest’s Rejuvaderm. After letting everything dry I moisturize with PCA’s Clearskin and use my Dermalogica eye cream again.
Ok so you just read through my entire daily skincare routine and thought – I don’t have time for that! Or I don’t need all those steps and/or lotions, serums, etc. So in that case please, please at the very least use sunscreen everyday! Everyone needs sunscreen, everyday. “If you don’t need a flashlight you need sunscreen” – is my new favorite quote about sunscreen. I read it in Allure magazine about two months back.
Please note that the products you use or need might change with the seasons and with how your skin looks and or feels. If you are pregnant or nursing your skincare routine might change almost entirely. Since it is now winter in Chicago I feel that I need extra moisturizer, but during the summer I only used my sunscreen as a moisturizer. Play around with your products but keep your daily skincare routine steps the same.
Bottom Line: Always use sunscreen, always cleanse your face, and always exfoliate.