Big Skincare Mistakes I've Been Making

For a little over a year now, I’ve been pretty interested in learning about skincare and trying out new products. I dabbled in some YouTube videos and watched some skincare gurus online, but I didn’t fully immerse myself in the skincare movement until the world went into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once I was stuck at home to quarantine for months, I had more time on my hands and became completely obsessed with learning more about skincare. I would watch tons of YouTube videos every day, which is where I learned about the one and only Hyram. If you’ve never heard of him, he’s a super popular skincare expert who literally exploded on the internet this summer. You can check out all of his YouTube videos here. I eventually got into skincare TikTok as well, which opened up a whole new world of dermatologists and estheticians who have so much more information to offer. Some of the derms I follow on TikTok are 208skindoc and dermdoctor. They have super helpful tips and make great content all of the time!

Before I really started learning from all of these internet doctors and specialists about skincare, I was making some serious mistakes. Here are five of the biggest mistakes I used to make, and how I treat my skin differently now:

  1. 1. I used a makeup wipe every single night.

    Okay, I would say I’m ashamed of this one, but there are so many people who still use makeup wipes daily, because, let’s face it—they are extremely convenient. Using a makeup wipe is not great for the skin, mostly because of the harshness and the pulling and rubbing that it entails, but they’re also bad for the environment. Although I had known this for quite a while, I was never going to give up my precious Neutrogena wipes as long as I was wearing makeup. I tried liquid removers and micellar water, but nothing worked as well as makeup wipes at getting off that stubborn mascara. What finally caused me to ditch the wipes was finding a solution to removing makeup that actually works, which is an oil cleanser. Since I started using an oil cleanser, my makeup comes off even easier than with a wipe. I follow it up with my normal cleanser and my skin is always glowing after.

    The oil cleanser I currently use is the MANYO Oil Cleanser, but you can use any brand. You can also try a cleansing balm or cold cream, too!

  2. 2. I swore by physical exfoliants. 

    So this one I actually am ashamed of. For years I have been using (and loving) St. Ives facial scrubs. Not only did I use them, but I also was extremely rough on my skin with them. I would scrub my face as hard as possible because I loved how smooth it would feel after, having no idea how much I was damaging my skin. I also used it every time I showered, which is way more than the amount you should exfoliate each week. Since paying attention to the booming skincare movement and following skincare TikTok, I’ve since switched to chemical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants such as AHAs and BHAs exfoliate your skin without having to scrub harsh beads into your pores. .

     I use Paula's Choice 2% BHA Exfoliating Liquid, containing salicylic acid, which is about $30, and I only use it about three times a week. Another less expensive option is The Ordinary AHA + BHA Peeling Solution, which goes on like a face mask for five minutes only a few times a week, and it’s only around $8.

  3. 3. I never wore sunscreen. 

    If you are one of those people that really cares about your skin yet avoids wearing sunscreen, I can totally relate. I have always been careful about washing my face and preventing breakouts and premature aging, but I’ve always ignored one of the most important steps. Wearing sunscreen, even at the beach, was never necessary to me, especially since my skin doesn’t sunburn that easily. Once I began watching video after video of dermatologists talking about skincare, I’ve learned that all of the other efforts to take care of my skin were never going to reach their full benefit potential if I still wasn’t protected from UV rays. One of the reasons I was against wearing sunscreen daily is the consistency--I didn’t want to mess up my makeup application with a thick sunscreen, and I especially didn’t want a whitecast. 

    I ended up finding the brand Supergoop!, which has tons of different types of sunscreens, including both mineral and chemical. Mineral sunscreens are the best way to go, but since I’m very obviously stubborn with switching my skincare habits, I haven’t moved on to mineral facial sunscreen just yet. For me, the chemical sunscreen is a baby step. I use the Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40 because it doubles as a moisturizer. I love to apply this product before makeup, as it creates a nice moisturized and gooey base.

  4. 4. I didn't care about fragrance. 

    Okay, well I admit, I still am not super concerned with avoiding fragranced products, I used to be a lot worse. I used to literally aim to buy products that had strong scents and were loaded with fragrance. I used essential oils almost exclusively for the smell, and even was a fan of the Mario Badescu facial sprays. I’ve since learned that fragrance can be super irritating to the skin, and sometimes is way too high up on the ingredient list than it should be. While my skin definitely isn’t sensitive to fragrances, I’ve tried to eliminate using products with lots of fragrance, and instead switched to more gentle and simple products with ingredients that are actually formulated to benefit the skin.

  5. 5. I was never consistent. 

    Staying consistent is a super important part of taking care of your skin, and it is something I failed to do for years. I would reach for whatever products I felt like buying, and had almost no routine that I was sticking to. I would use two different cleansers in the morning and night, and switched off with moisturizers, too. I even used face masks weekly, and constantly switched  the ones I used. Since then, I’ve cleaned out my skincare shelf and eliminated all of the products that I don’t actually need or use everyday. Focusing on simple products with  ingredients that work and sticking to only those products has made the biggest difference for me.

These are just some of the mistakes I’ve been making for years, and I’m sure in a few years, I will have a bunch more because I learn something new about skincare just about every day!