How to Choose a Skincare Routine

When it comes to skincare, everyone you ask will tell you something different. Some lucky students have absolutely no skincare routine (like my boyfriend) and their skin is soft and pretty as a peach, whereas I can definitely relate to those of you who need to take care of your skin in multiple ways to save it. 

Figuring out a skincare routine that you’ll like is definitely a personal experience, so while I have some suggestions based off of what you want for your skin, please remember to take it all with a grain of salt and test the products on a small patch of your skin for a few days before you apply to your face to make sure it is safe for you personally :) 

When it comes to your face, the first thing to do is figure out your skin type. There are MANY different ways to classify your skin, and here are a few ways to tell: Oily, Dry, or Combination? 

When talking about how oily your skin is, most professionals tend to tell you “if your skin is super oily or super dry, you’ll just KNOW,” but that’s not always true. A good test to tell is what I call the tissue test. Grab a tissue and look closely- you’ll see that it most likely is made up of about two layers. Carefully pull the layers apart, and rip it into about 3-5 pieces. Put those pieces each on a spot- your forehead, chin, and nose. If it sticks, then your face is oily because the oil made it stick to it. If it sticks slightly to either some or all of the places for just a few seconds, then you may have combination skin. If it doesn’t stick at all and you’re wondering what kind of sorcery I am talking about, you most likely have dry or normal skin. Another indicator is if your face gets shiny throughout the day, that means oily. If it has issues with peeling, it could be dry. If it is only a little oily maybe in just your T-zone, it could be combination. If you don’t really notice anything, it could be normal. 

Sensitive, acne-prone, or uneven skin tone? A common worry with skin is something you also cannot always control, such as acne, redness and sensitivity, or an uneven skin tone. These things can sometimes lead to embarrassment or unhappiness with one's skin, and usually you can tell when you have them, but for sensitivity it’s sometimes not as obvious. It’s not really a clinical term, but more of an expression people use to say “easy to irritate”. Some people only deal with sensitivity occasionally when they try a new product, whereas some people can deal with the effects of sensitivity by doing nothing different, their skin just acts up. It really doesn’t fit any one definition, so as far as sensitivity, it’s more of a caution to be careful when using new products.

What do you do? There are a lot of ways to go about taking care of your skin, but there is a rule of thumb I personally like to follow- never try more than one new thing on your skin at the same time. The reason I say this is because you never know how your skin will react to a product, and if you try out about five different products all at once and have a bad reaction, how will you know what caused it? Personally, this was a very hard lesson for me to learn because I LOVE taking care of my skin and treating it with all kinds of masks and washes, so when I get something new of course I want to open it and use it immediately, right? I’m like a kid unwrapping presents at Christmas, except I know what’s in it because I chose it myself (ha-ha). But patience is key because it could make or break you (out). 

Next is deciding what you want to put on your face. People do all kinds of variations, because different faces and skin need different things to get it the way you want. Some people could have a nightly routine of

  1. Remove makeup
  2. Wash face
  3. Exfoliate
  4. Face mask
  5. Toner
  6. Serum 
  7. Eye cream
  8. Spot treatment
  9. Moisturizer

And so much more. That is great for some people, whereas some people could be the far opposite of that and only wash their face once a day and maybe do a little something here or there every other week or so. Different people have different preferences, and those preferences range from far and in-between, but I like to believe there is no wrong way to go about it as long as your skin likes it and doesn’t get irritated. It is up to you what you want to do. Those who are acne prone will be more likely to see the importance of spot treatments and toner, whereas someone with uneven or dry skin would be very interested in serums and moisturizers. My roommate once said to me, “It’s not that I don’t care about my skin, I just don’t care enough if I have no time.” I totally see that, and that is another important thing: time management. Some people don’t take the time in the morning or night to set aside for a strict or specific regimen, and that is okay! It is just important to know that whatever you do, you need to be committed because results don’t show up overnight, they take time and dedication. Don’t overwhelm yourself and stick to something that you can easily integrate into your lifestyle.

The last thing that a lot of people think of as controversial in the skincare market is how much you value natural products or not. There are some products out there with really harsh chemicals, and while some people don’t really believe it affects them all that much, some people prefer to limit their usage of non-natural products as much as they can. Personally, I like to try and use as many natural products as I can just because I have the best skin when I do, but I still use products from skincare brands for certain things. It depends on who you are and what you feel like your skin needs, but there are certain things to avoid when buying products that are generally proven to be bad on all skin, such as Sodium lauryl sulfate, BHA, parabens, fragrance, oxybenzone, and benzoyl peroxide to name a few. If you see these on a product, I highly encourage you to not use it because those things not only lead to irritation, but also severe skin problems that are not worth it. However, one thing that IS good to see on a product is that it is non-comedogenic, which basically means it won't clog your pores- but that it mostly in makeup though it sometimes pops up in skincare and that is good!

Basically when it comes to skincare, it’s important to note that not as skin is equal and the same, and some things work better for one person than others. Always research a product and know what you want for you skin type. Knowledge is power, stay beautiful my friends!