Cleanse – But Then What?
Most people know that proper cleansing is the foundation of a good complexion. So they choose relatively natural soaps that can eliminate dirt without depleting essential moisture. They wash with warm water, never hot. And refuse to scrub vigorously because they know that over-exfoliating will irritate their skin. But what’s the best way to care for your skin after cleansing? That’s where it can get confusing! READ MORE
You’ve Got More Choices than You Might Think
In order to look its best, your face absolutely does require attention after cleanings. First, it needs protection from environmental contaminants. It also needs actual nourishment – vitamins, minerals, herbs and antioxidants – to keep it healthy and hydrated.
While there are hundreds of products out there to help you complete a basic skincare regimen, they basically fall into 3 categories. Based on your skin type, age, and lifestyle, some will help more than others. So let’s look at what’s available and how to choose wisely.
Tip 1: Use a Toner as the Final Step in Cleansing
Facial soaps work by opening your pores and removing superficial dirt. In the process, all but the very finest strip away natural oils and moisture. That’s a problem, especially if you have dry skin, or if you’re dealing with mature skin.
Just as important, by opening your pores, a soap or facial scrub exposes deeper layers of facial tissue to airborne contaminants. A toner’s job is to close the pores back up, so your skin is protected from that damage. Plus, a good toner temporarily tightens pores – creating the look of a smoother complexion.
Tip 2: Moisturizers Are Protective Armor for Your Skin
Facial moisturizers are probably the most popular follow-up to cleansing. A good moisturizer will hydrate your skin and feed it healthy oils (sometimes called lipids) that work like a layer of protection for your skin, conditioning it and locking in healthy moisture.
Remember, always cleanse before using a moisturizer. And don’t dry your face completely after washing. Instead, pat lightly with a clean towel and immediately apply the moisturizer. Your skin is still porous at this time, so it can more fully absorb the product.
Something most people don’t know: a moisturizer should always be applied at night, before bed. Only if you have very dry (or aging) skin should you re-apply after cleansing in the morning.
Tip 3: Only a Serum Can Offer Ultra-Active Penetration
The biggest difference between a serum and a moisturizer is what the serum does NOT contain. Basically, it has no greasy ingredients (like petroleum or mineral oil).
So you’re left with just a high concentration of active ingredients. Antioxidants to revive damaged or aging skin. Peptides to stimulate collagen production. And skin brighteners to fade age spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation.
Serums are usually the costliest product in any skincare line, but a good one is so powerful that it will take only a little to achieve the desired result. Made of very small molecules, serums are quickly absorbed. So the results are almost immediate.
Men often like serums because the formulations are completely non-greasy. That means they don’t leave behind any stickiness, creaminess, or dewy sheen. This is also good for adolescent and acne-prone skin that typically has an over-abundance of oil already.
When you apply serum, pat it lightly onto your face, immediately after cleansing, morning and night. Use just a pea-size amount for each application.
Then, if your skin is dry or mature, follow up with a moisturizer. But always apply the serum first. Then wait 15 minutes (so it can fully penetrate your skin) before adding the moisturizer.
The Bottom Line
If you can afford it, and are willing to take the time…
- Use all four skincare products daily, in this order: Cleanser, Toner, Serum and Moisturizer.
- To save money and time, you can probably skip the toner because a good facial cleanser will compensate for its benefits.
- If you want to whittle down your routine even more, eliminate the moisturizer. Especially if you have a trouble-free complexion, an active-ingredient serum will do more to nourish your skin and the benefits will show faster.
- However, if your skin is very dry, or has begun to show visible signs of aging, you’d be smart to use both a good-quality moisturizer and serum.
Good luck, good looking!