Think of your skin-care routine as consisting of three main steps:
- Cleansing — Washing your face.
- Toning — Balancing the skin.
- Moisturizing — Hydrating and softening the skin.
The goal of any skin-care routine is to tune up your complexion so it’s functioning at its best, and also troubleshoot or target any areas you want to work on. “Beauty routines are an opportunity to notice changes within yourself,” says the San Francisco skin-care specialist Kristina Holey. As your skin needs shifts with age, so will your products. Still, she adds, “it’s not about creating perfection.” Allow these three steps to become your daily ritual that fortifies your skin and grounds your day.
Give it Time
The science behind skin-care products has come a long way but there’s still no such thing as an instant fix — you need time to reap the benefits,says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a Manhattan dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group. “Results are only seen through consistent use,” she explains. Generally, aim to use a product over at least six weeks, once or twice daily, to notice a difference.
Tip: With any skin-care product, apply in order of consistency — from thinnest to thickest. For example, cleanser, toner (if you use it), serum, and then moisturizer.
Find Your Facial Cleanser
The right formula cleanses your skin without stripping essential, healthy oils. Take it easy with exfoliating scrubs (use once a week) and avoid those with crushed walnut shells or abrasive ingredients.
For everyday cleansing, here’s what to look for:
How to Use Toner
The original was an alcohol-based product that was used to dry up oily skin and remove any leftover dirt following cleansing. Today’s formulas, however, have evolved. Think of them as supplements — these thin liquids deliver an extra shot of nutrients, helping the other products in your regimen absorb better, while still balancing your complexion.
- Alpha and beta hydroxy acids to gently remove dead skin cells that can clog pores, improve sun-damaged skin and minimize dullness.
- Hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, seal in dewiness and plump skin to subtly treat fine lines.
- Rose water and green tea to calm irritation and reduce redness with an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Vitamin E and C to fight daily exposure to free radicals that can age your skin.
Treating With Serums the most important step.
Simply put, serums are powerful skin allies. Filled with concentrated doses of active ingredients, these elixirs can mitigate a number of issues, from dark spots to wrinkles. “Even if you don’t have any specific issues, everyone still needs a general antioxidant serum in the morning to protect from daily aggressors. While there are “limitless options” for ingredients. To handle specific issues, look for these products:
- Hyaluronic acid to seal in hydration and strengthen the barrier function (the top layer of your skin) to prevent moisture loss.
- Vitamin C to help brighten dull skin and decrease dark spots with continued use.
- Retinol, vitamin B3, peptides to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, proteins in the body that help prevent lines and skin sagging.
- Colloidal sulfur, niacinamide to calm redness and irritation by decreasing inflammation, and improve acne with its antimicrobial effects.