Skin Care Routine For All Skin Types
While the products you use are very dependent on your skin type (dry, oily, combination) your actual basic routine will be consistent. If you start skipping steps, you are not doing yourself or your products justice. Here's the steps and why each is important.
Yes, we've all done it. Even me. We've had that long night and slipped into bed sans washing our face. Once or twice a month will not ruin you, but more often than that and you are doing yourself an injustice. Why? We accumulate dirt and oil though out the day. Even if you have dry skin, your skin still needs cleansing. It's especially important for those of us with oily skin, acne or who wear foundation. Bare Escentuals and other mineral makeups like to brag that it is safe to sleep in their makeup. I agree with them, it is safe to sleep in their makeup. While it's safe, it really does not mean that you should. First, there's the obvious. You're leaving the grime of the day on your face overnight. Would you take pollution, dust, pollen, etc and make a mask out of it? I did not think so. Secondly, you're getting your pillow case dirty. Since you slept with an unclean face the night before, even if you wash your face the next night you're rubbing your face all over that same dirt you left behind before.
Note that I said tone. Not use astringent. Astringent has a purpose, which I will reveal later, but it is never to be used all over your face. Let me say that again as it's such an important point. Astringent is never to be used over your entire face. You should choose an alcohol free toner. The purpose of toner is generally a mystery to most. It seems like such a non-essential step when it is highly critical. Toner is specifically designed to bring your skin back to the proper pH after cleansing and using water on your skin. I could write pages on why pH is important but in short your skin is naturally slightly acidic to fight bacteria. It's called the 'acid mantle' and is a protective barrier. This rebalances your pH and makes your skin receptive to the hydrating treatment you will apply next.
Yes, it's very tempting to use your toner as a cleanser and I will confess to do it myself in a pinch. However, it is not made to be a cleanser and will not be very effective. Better than nothing but do not make a habit of it. Do not skip the toner either.
All skin needs hydration. From really oily to super dry, you need to end your routine with hydration. You have just stripped all moisture from your skin and you really need to replace it. Why? For dry skin, you're already lacking moisture. For oily skin, your skin will react quickly to a lack of oil by producing more oil, causing you to become even more oily at a rapid pace. For those in the middle, well, both points apply.
To get the most benefit from hydration, you really should consider a day and a night cream. Your day cream will generally be lighter and should always contain a minimum of spf 15. Your night cream will be a heavier formulation to give your skin a boost of nutrients at night when it is eager to absorb the ingredients and is working on regenerating itself. Avoid anything occlusive, also known as comdogenic, especially at night when your skin needs to breathe to regenerate. Things such as mineral oil and other petroleum products will keep your skin from being able to breathe.
Wash, rinse, repeat
Repeat these steps twice, once uponrising and once before going to bed. In the morning you are washing to rid yourself of any oil or skin build up overnight and to prepare your skin for your morning products. In the evening it's to clean the impurities from the day and prep your skin for your intensive night products. That's it. Do not be tempted to wash your skin any more than that or you will be over stripping your skin and irritating it.
All skin needs exfoliation. The type and the frequency will depend on skin type. However, helping your skin by removing the top layer of cells will not only refresh and brighten tired skin, it will help acne by unclogging pores, give dry skin a boost by removing the flaking layer and will allow your products to have greater penetration into the skins layers. I will be writing a whole article on exfoliation, so keep an eye out.
Masks, serums, specialized treatments
These are very much dependent on skin type and issue. You can use these to go the extra mile and give your skin a real boost. I will be writing more on each of these when I get into the specialized treatments for skin types and concerns.