I was reading an article the other day about the 7-step Korean skin care routine that got me thinking about the importance of building a solid routine with your skin. The author of the article was recommended 12 products by her esthetician and spent a small fortune on them but only used a couple regularly. She still saw a vast improvement in her skin even though she was not following the full routine.
In my fitness life I often get asked what the "best" exercise is and my answer is always the same - the best exercise is the exercise that you do; if you don't do it, it won't do any good. It's the same with skin care. Thousands of dollars of expensive potions will have no effect if they never touch your face.
So how do you build the right routine for you?
Start with the time you're willing to commit - at the very least your skin should be clean before bed. When you cleanse your skin you remove it's protective barrier so cleansing should always be followed by moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning. That's it - cleanse and moisturize - 2 minute routine and move on with your life. Oily or acne-prone skin should also be washed in the morning, drier skin can get away with a splash of water followed by moisturizer instead of a full cleanse. If you're willing to commit more than 2 minutes to your skin's health, double cleansing, toner, essences, active serums and eye creams can all be incorporated as well - read on for more on that.
Pick the right products for your ACTUAL skin type - this is where seeing a skin care professional is crucial. Even if you only get one facial ever, go for the skin care analysis and product recommendations. Many times the products that we have been using change the skin enough that whatever skin type you think you have is not accurate. A minor tweaking of products can make the world of difference.
Do you wear make-up? If so it must come off before you wash. I'm a big fan of the double cleansing method - first you use an oil-based cleanser on your dry made-up face. Massage in to bind the oil to the make-up than add some water and keep massaging. Finally rinse and move on to your regular cleanser. If you feel your skin still has residue after cleansing a toner can help but I tend to find they are over-drying and unnecessary.
Are you trying to correct a skin issue? Again, a professional will be able to guide you to the right serums or essences for your skin type and skin issue. Apply your products from thinner to thicker consistency - essences are patted into the skin, serums are massaged. Make sure everything is worked in well before moving on to your moisturizer.
What about the eyes? If you're not seeing any crinkles around your eyes, you can probably skip the eye cream and just use your moisturizer on the delicate skin around your orbital bone. For dark circles or wrinkles, your esthetician can recommend a good eye cream or serum that will work with your skin.
Now that you've built your routine make sure you do it every day! I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to do my bedtime routine every night. Or right after you eat dinner, go brush your teeth and get your face ready for bed (this is an especially helpful habit if you're a nighttime snacker trying to lose weight). It might take a few weeks of consistency to make these habits feel natural but your skin will thank you for taking care of it.
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