How to have a Skincare Routine when you don't know what you're doing
Updated: May 19, 2021
Not everyone is blessed with the knowledge of how to obtain and maintain flawless skin. Here's all you need to know to put you on the skincare path of your dreams.
There was a time, not so long ago, that I made a deeply unsettling discovery among my group of girlfriends. Not one of them had a skincare routine! I'm talking Maybe they took their eyelashes off at night. Maybe. More often than not, they would emerge from their rooms the morning after, eyelashes stuck in their hair and a caked on, royally clumped-up version of whatever their makeup was the day before. Occasionally the eyelash in the hair would be accompanied by a stray french fry, with or without ketchup. It was truly a frightening sight. Now I know what you're thinking, and yes, it does indeed get worse.
I'm talking maybe they took their eyelashes off at night. Maybe.
The only method of removing their layers of eyeliner that would put Amy Winehouse to shame, was to wipe it off with a makeup remover wipe. Let me just say, This is not enough! Now I don't blame you if, like my dear friends, you have an obsolete skincare routine. However, I do blame you if you read this entire story and are still waking up with eyelashes in your hair. And an occasional stray french fry. It's time to get it together! You're an adult and getting older and so is your face. Here are the five things you should be doing to save your skin from eternal damnation. And wrinkles.
1) Let's talk moisturizer.
I want to start off with the biggest area on your face and narrow in on the eyes, lips, lashes and brows later. If you do nothing else but add moisturizer to your routine, at least you've got about 90% of your face covered. And that, my friends, is better than nothing!
If you have dry, clean, skin; Let me really preface that you need clean skin before moving forward with any of this advice. If you don't, please, go wash your face. Right now. I'll wait.
There are a ton of moderately priced face washes on the market. Find one you like that doesn't irritate your skin and go with that. Personally, I love anything that Pacifica puts out. They are a local cosmetics company out of the Pacific Northwest that is entirely vegan and cruelty free. I have yet to try something from them that I didn't love.
Buy Pacifica's Sea Foam Facewash from Ulta here!
Buy Pacifica's Acne Defense Facewash from Ulta here!
Now that your skin is washed and clean, you're definitely going to want a cream based moisturizer over a water based one for your dry skin. This is because a cream is going to be thicker and will take longer to absorb into your skin. Leaving you less likely to waste a ton of product because your skin is just soooo thirsty! Look for key words on the label like 'Gel' or 'Water Based' and steer clear of those.
Might I suggest either one of these Loreal products. They offer both daytime and nighttime moisturizers, plus, your skin will never feel softer! Check these out, you won't regret it. Added bonus, the daytime moisturizer has SPF in it. Which you should 1000% be wearing every day, regardless of how many clouds there are.
If you have oily skin, it should go without saying that a heavy cream based moisturizer or something with an oil base is obviously not for you. Oil on oil is just too much oil. If you're looking for that kind of grease, perhaps just rub some french fries on your face and call it a night. But really though, don't do that. That just sounds like acne central. Instead get something with a water base or one with Hyaluronic Acid. It sounds scary but trust, it's great for your skin. Hyaluronic Acid works to plump the skin to smooth out wrinkles and regulate the oil production in your skin.
These are some of my favorite light weight moisturizers. Try them out and they'll become your favorite too!
This gel-cream moisturizer from Glossier is made to leave your skin with a matte finish that doesn't show off shine! This is ideal for those of you with over-productive oil glands. Pop on over and get it for yourself here!
If you're willing to drop a little more dough and really invest in your skin, this oil controlling daytime moisturizer from Estee Lauder is fan-freaking-tastic and you can buy it right here.
Wiping a witch hazel soaked cotton pad over your face once or twice a week can also help regulate an excess of oil production from your skin.
If you want to appear like you really know what you're doing when it comes to moisturizers, apply them right after a shower or after applying a warm, damp wash cloth to your face. The heat and steam will open up your pores, allowing all the scientific, good-face chemistry to really get into your skin.
2) The eyes are the windows to the soul.
...Or so they say. So it wouldn't be that far of a stretch to make the assumption that if your eyes are wrinkled at the corners and you have dark circles under your eyes, then essentially your soul is a dark leather handbag. Maybe you're okay with that, and you don't mind being a dark leather handbag. But if that's the case, at least try to be a Chanel or a Michael Kors dark leather handbag. Right now, I imagine it's reminiscent to an off brand, dark leather handbag that ended up being donated to your local thrift store from someone's long deceased Great Aunt and it kind of smells like cigarettes. Oh, and there's a crumbled granola bar in the bottom of the inside pocket with the broken zipper. Maybe an occasional stray french fry.
***It doesn't have to be this way though! Say it with me now, “I too, can be a designer dark leather handbag.” ***
Now to the point. With eye creams you can really just stick to two options. Eye products can become a little daunting, not to mention expensive. So let's keep it simple; Something for the day, and something for the night. Once again, creams are going to be the heavier product here. So finding a lightweight, possibly water based eye gel is going to be the best candidate for getting you through the day. Once you've washed your face after that busy, busy day, you can swipe on a somewhat generous amount of a heavier eye cream.
This day time eye cream from Origins also has SPF in it. So you're double covered when it comes to wrinkles and discoloration under the eyes.
For night time, swipe on this soft, retinol
infused cream from Olay.
Take extra care to avoid getting it in your eyeballs. May the light and goodness of all that the universe holds, look down on you and keep your fingers out of your eye sockets.
Extra Credit: If you think you've become a seasoned pro at everything mentioned above, then kick it up a notch and start taking care of your eyelashes and your eyebrows. Depending on the look that you're going for, if you prefer a thicker brow, putting on a brow thickening serum every once in awhile could become your new obsession. As will lash serums that will hopefully, leave you going mascara free someday! I know, that's a radical thought. But I'm there now and I will never again feel the need to adhere a clumpy drugstore mascara to my lashes. You too, can live that dream.
Go ahead and fill out your brows and lashes with this serum from Shiseido.
Now for lips, there's really no need to do anything here. Honestly, your lips can become even more dehydrated with excessive chapstick use, so use those products lightly and infrequently. Personally, I prefer a bigger lip and while lip injections are fantastic and I will recommend that one hundred times over, it's also completely impractical for most people. With costs of upwards of $600 per needle, this is a lip treatment better left to the wealthy. Spoiler alert: I am not wealthy, and chances are, neither are you if you're reading this. So I tried out the Too Faced Lip Injection lip gloss so you don't have to and all I have to say is, “it's gooooooooood.”
This is a wonderful alternative for someone who wants bigger lips without breaking the bank. Take caution though: It does, in fact, burn quite a bit. But in that satisfying way that makes you go, 'Oh hell yeah, it's working!"
Ultimately, skincare is and always will be something extremely specific to each individuals skin and it will be trial and error before you find products and a routine that fits both your skin type and your lifestyle. We've all seen videos of some famous Youtuber's 13 Step Skincare Routine and dream of being in her place, but the harsh reality is she's probably making a whole lot more money then you are at this point in time and probably has a more flexible schedule where she can assure she has this time each night to put into that. It's not realistic for my lifestyle to do that because I work several jobs, several hours a day and at the end of the day my brain doesn't say to me, 'I know you've worked eleven hours today already but lets spend a half hour more putting thirteen different things on your face.' No. It says, 'You did enough already today. A 3 step skincare routine is fine. Now lets go eat a pound of cheese and watch re-runs of America's Next Top Model.'
Skincare doesn't have to be scary. Find what works for you, take care of yourself, eat that pound of cheese and live your best life.