Skincare Steps 101

Posted by Julie Caron on

When it comes to your skincare routine, what do you use and when? How many steps are too many? There seems to be an endless amount of information out there and ever-changing advice.

We love a good skincare routine, but we also know that the most important part is that it should be fun, stress-free and help you feel great! Here's our break down of what the experts out there recommend, and how to make it work for you!

S1. Cleanse 

Cleansing is the first step. In the morning, a single, simple cleanse is enough to wake up the skin and get it ready for the day ahead. By evening, your skin has had a whole days' worth of exposure to various elements, and perhaps layers of makeup, product and SPF. Double Cleansing is great for those days, to ensure the full removal of all product layers, and the second cleanse will ensure the skin is thoroughly cleansed. For those who are worried about stripping too much moisture or irritating particular skin issues, using soft oils or a cream cleanser would be helpful. Cleansing alkalizes the skin, therefore it is important to not skip your next step! 

S2. Tone

Toners help to re-balance the pH of the skin post-cleanse. They also help remove any remaining impurities, hydrate and soothe the skin, can tighten if need be and will prime the skin post-cleanse for other products. Toner will help accommodate the absorption of the serum or product you apply next. We love the aromatherapy aspect of certain toners too-this can be a great moment to breathe deep and enjoy!

S3. Serum

Your serum will come next. Serums will target and treat skin concerns, which will vary depending on your unique needs. They can come in the form of a lotion, gel or oil and usually absorb quickly and leave very little, if anything at all left on the surface. Serums tend to have smaller molecules, which will penetrate deeper than moisturizers. Serums are mostly known to be corrective, brightening, preventative.

S4. Lotion/Moisturizer 

This is a recommended step for those that are dealing with dehydration as moisturizers carry ingredients that draw water into the skin. Most moisturizers will be a blend of oil and water, which will help with dehydration and dryness (two different issues; dry skin is when you don’t have enough oil on your face; dehydrated skin is when you don’t have enough water IN your skin). Getting to know what sort of moisturizer your skin likes is a unique adventure. Some of us thrive on rich and thick, while others need lightweight! 

S5. Eye Cream

Eye cream comes next. It is usually recommended to pat lightly around the orbital bone with the ring finger as to not stretch or stress the skin unnecessarily. 

S6. Oil 

Yes, oil comes last, in most cases. Oil will lock everything in and sink in eventually to ensure no water (from your serum and moisturizer) will get lost. This is the benefit of oils. Think of it as putting a sealant over the wet surface, so that maximum hydration can be retained. Water evaporates, so any moisturizer that contains water will need a helper to hold that in and do its work. This is where oil comes in. *Picking an oil for your routine all depends on your skin, some oils can be clogging for some (coconut oil is an example) and for others, that same oil may not be (trial and error). 

S7. Sunscreen 

Your sunscreen is your last step, and mineral is always a great way to go. Mineral SPF is great in protecting from both UVA & UVB, which are responsible for weathering skin and burning, respectively. This will blend and help blur the oil that you just applied also. Remember to re-apply throughout the day as needed, and yes, even with a mask on, it's still advisable to protect your skin! 

Spot Treatments: When do you apply these? This can differ depending on the brand and their specifications. Best to read and follow as advised. Some spot treatments can be essential oil heavy, so less is more! These can be potent!

Something To Note: Certain brands may alter the step-by-step routine that is generally recommended,  and this will be done with purpose. For example, some brands recommend applying cleansers to damp skin where other brands (like Tata Harper) recommend applying cleansers to dry skin.

Some toners are to be sprayed onto the face, whereas other toners (like acids for example) are recommended to be applied with facial rounds (like these reusable ones at HH!)

Your skincare routine should be enjoyable, and most of all, should be yours. Whether you like to incorporate all the steps and more, or if you thrive on simple and unfussy, you know your skin best. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to experiment!


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Remember, oils are only the gatekeepers, not producers, of hydration” -The Cut

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