Everybody wants better skin. But most of us don’t want to put a huge amount of effort into making it happen.
What if you could kill two birds with one stone? You can get better skin right now, without buying new products or wasting more money and time. Make it happen with these tips to get the most out of your existing skin care routine – literally and figuratively.
1. Use products in the right order
It’s shockingly common for people to just slap on any old product that’s within reach without regard to where it should fit in their routine. Here’s the basic rules:
Light before heavy: the thinner/waterier the product, the earlier it goes in your routine. This is to prevent the ingredients in something like a rich, luxurious moisturising product from occluding (blocking) the lighter ones in your toner from soaking in, thus making them useless. It’s fairly common sense when you think about it! Put your watery lotions and gels before your oils, butters and sleeping masks.
Keep in mind though, even if they have a thicker consistency, active products like acids and serums for treating problem skin should go as close to your bare skin as possible, so they can absorb first and work their magic.
2. Use products on damp skin
Still not seeing results from the actives you use? Try applying everything sooner after you wash your skin, rather than letting it dry out first. Skin is the most ‘absorbent’ and recipient to products when damp. Water is a solvent that has the incredible ability to work its way through our skin’s barrier and increase permeability, so after a bath or shower it’s the ideal time to apply products to get deep down. Be careful with strong actives though – it’s also when you’re most likely to accidentally overdo it and cause irritation!
3. Apply products after exfoliating
I’ve started doing an at-home Hydrafacial by stacking my exfoliation and acid treatments so they work together to boost my skin even more. First I go for gentle physical exfoliation with a Konjac sponge or my Clarisonic, then I follow that up with a BHA to dislodge pore blockages then an AHA to loosen dead skin cells, and finally top it off with layers and layers of moisturisers. When your skin is freshly scrubbed, it’s clear from old skin cells and exposed and receptive to your products – and you won’t waste any of that moisturising product of dead skin that’s about to slough off anyway. Again, go slow because for some people using multiple forms of exfoliation like this may be too much!
4. Make use of tools
Sometimes you need a helping hand when it comes to making your routine work for you. Things like brushes and sponges or something like the Foreo can help lather up your cleansers to new heights to get the day off and create an even cleaner canvas with less effort. Or, try a silicone sheet mask cover to lock in moisture. There’s even more space-age tools like sonic skin-scrubbing spatulas that claim to double up as either an at-home dermabrasion device, or to drive serums and moisturisers deeper into the skin. Whatever it is you choose to use, there’s a tool out there for your needs – so don’t ever think you’re restricted to just your two hands!
5. Stick to a schedule and be patient
Maybe your products “aren’t working” because you don’t use them often enough to see a difference. It’s easy to forget a step at the end of a long day, or maybe you’re switching your products out all the time because you’re overexcited. Take the time to write out a schedule in a journal or on a whiteboard and keep track of whether you’re using your products every day or however often as you know you should. Try not to alter your routine until you’ve given new products a few weeks of consistent use to really see the benefits. You might realise that that unassuming serum you tried way back actually does wonders for your skin when given the chance!
6. Wear your bloody sunscreen
Have you heard this enough to take it seriously yet? Whether it’s pigmentation or anti-ageing that’s your concern, you won’t make any progress no matter how expensive of highly-acclaimed by Instagram models your routine and treatments are. You’ll just be piling on the damage just as bad if not worse than before! Actives like acids often dramatically increase sun sensitivity, so wearing sunscreen is key to keep inflammation and pigmentation to a minimum so your other products can work their magic.
7. Eliminate products with potentially bad ingredients
This tip won’t make your buy anything and in fact you’ll use LESS products. Common instigators of persistent acne and sensitivity include: fatty alcohols, drying alcohols, and strong fragrance – but there are so many and they’re different for everyone. If you skin seems out of control. try stripping back to a simpler routine if you’re overwhelmed and can’t tell what is and isn’t working for you right now. Once your skin is calmer, you can always add these products back in one at a time, but if you’re fighting against your own routine you’ll never make any progress! What’s you’re sensitive to is personal to everyone, so trial and error is all you can do – and it’s easier the less products you start with.
8. Just use more!
Sometimes, when your routine seems right in every way but it’s still not doing it for you, it’s can be as easy as upping the amount of product you use to up the results! Don’t be stingy – make sure you’re applying plenty of your moisturiser, serum or sunscreen onto your face so it can cover everywhere it needs to and absorb nicely without evaporating or missing any spots.
9. Literally get more out of your products
Especially if you now realise that you need more than the suggested pea-sized amount of moisturiser, you’ll want to make sure every drop goes to use to save some money. Use tube-squeezing devices like this one to use every last drop of that lotion, then try cutting the packaging open to reveal anything that’s still hiding. If your product is in a jar, find a small spatula to scrape the sides and top and enjoy that extra day or two of use. You’d be surprised at how much product is wasted at the bottom of every container you’re throwing away!