So I've gotten a lot of questions about how to create a natural skincare routine lately and just the order products should go in. I had done a couple Instagram stories and saved them to my highlights and had a flood of questions. So here we are- I knew it was time for a proper blog post on the subject.
If it's one thing I want to drill home it's the importance of having a skincare routine. It doesn't mean your skincare routine will look like mine. Your routine should be based off your skin and what it needs. Now, figuring that out can seem a little more daunting. When do you use a certain product, how much, etc. It can be overwhelming. That's where I come in! I've been an esthetician for over 14 years and I've learned a thing or two along the way.
You don't need every product but you do need effective products.
That being said, morning and nighttime skincare routines look different usually. I'm going to give a brief explanation of products you could use for your morning or nighttime skincare to get you familiar with your options.
Cleansers- A cleanser is meant to be the first step in your skincare routine. It helps to get rid of dirt, debris and get rid of makeup from the day. Of course there are many cleansers to choose from depending on your skin type. Some people like to double cleanse, others not so much. Whatever method or cleanser you choose just make sure that it adequately cleans your skin and you're not left with any residue. I have a full blog post with all my favorites. Check it out!
Toner/Hydrosol- These terms are used interchangeably to describe a mist that you spray over your skin post cleansing. A true hydrosol contains plant actives. Some people will spray the mist directly on their skin and press in with their hands, others will spray on a cotton round and apply it in on their skin. Either way, a toner or hydrosol helps to calm skin, hydrate, keep pores open for serums/oil and specific skin treatments. A toner helps to also get rid of any oil or bits left from the cleanser, as well as balance the ph of skin.
Treatments- Treatments for the skin can range from anti-aging treatments, redness reducing treatments, hyper pigmentation targeting, and acne treatments. Theses are going to be filled with active ingredients that are really going to perform. Think antioxidants! It really depends on what result you're looking for in your skin. These aren't going to necessarily hydrate your skin. Most are made out of water or aloe, some contain oil, but few. They penetrate the skin quickly and feel almost like a gel. They absorb into your skin, opposed to creams that generally sit on top of your skin. The absorption happens easier because serums are smaller in molecular size and easier to penetrate the skin and deliver nutrients. Serums happen after toning or hydrosol when skin's pores are still open. I have a full blog post on all my favorite serums for the skin here!
Oils- After a serum, now it's time for an oil. There has been a resurgence of oils in the last 5 years. People used to be afraid of them, but now they are learning how hydrating and restorative they can be for the skin. Just remember not every oil is created equal. Some are comedogenic and can actually clog your pores or cause you to breakout. For example, coconut oil is comedogenic and can actually cause many people to breakout. If you're not sure about the comedogenic rating look it up or ask the formulator. Oils are very hydrating and can keep the moisture intact for a long time. A great pick for those with dry skin.
Skin Creams/Lotions- Many people aren't sure what the difference is between an oil, a cream and a lotion. Allow me to explain. An oil is just that- just an oil- nothing added. A cream has a mix of water and oil, but more oil than water and then a lotion is also a mixture of water and oil but the higher percentage is water- which makes it thinner. Creams are great at protecting the skin, especially after applying an oil and if you need additional moisture. I like doing them at night. A lotion is good for in the morning when you want some hydration but don't want to be too greasy from an oil.
Balms- Balms are another product that really has been popping up all over in the skincare industry over the last two years. Balms are primarily used for intense hydration and protection. In the winter they are great for protecting skin from wind and cold. They are more concentrated than a lotion or cream. A lot of formulators like them because they are usually waterless and therefore don't need preservatives to keep them fresh. A little goes a long way with a balm- so you don't need as much as you would with a lotion or cream.
Eye Cream/Oil- Eye products come in a variety of formulas. From creams to oils and even some that are more like a serum. I prefer an oil or serum myself because I suffer from milia. Tiny hard white cysts under the skin. They can form when keratin gets trapped under the skin. I try and stay away from heavy products for the eyes as I've noticed they can lead to more. If your under eye area is really dry then you would want to opt for a heavier eye cream or nourishing oil. Some eye oils or serums I've found to be oilier than others. I have a full blog post coming on my faves that I've been working on forever! I like mine to absorb fairly quickly too.
Exfoliants- Exfoliants are so crucial to effective skincare- can't recommend them enough! If your skin is dead on top, whatever products you put on top of your skin aren't going to be able to penetrate and perform. There are many different types of exfoliants. From mechanical, enzyme and chemical exfoliants. Mechanical exfoliants use some sort of manual grain or seeds to manually remove the dead skin. Enzyme exfoliants is similar to chemical exfoliation but much gentler. It breaks down the glue that holds together dead skin. It uses active ingredients like papain, papaya and pineapple to slough off the dead skin. Enzyme exfoliation is great for someone with sensitive skin. There's no actual manual exfoliant involved. Another type is chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation is stronger than enzyme exfoliation. It uses Alpha Hydroxy Acids(AHA's) or Beta Hydroxy Acids(BHA's). AHA's are not as strong as BHA's. A lot of peels are considered chemical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants are great for those with oily skin and acne.
Masks- Love a good mask! Masks are like giving your skin a good shot of nutrients at once. Similar to drinking a really nutrient dense green juice for your body. There are so many benefits to masking. From detoxification, unclog pores, glowing skin, minimizing redness, hydration- the list goes on! It's great to have different masks for different seasons of life too. In the winter you may need a hydrating mask more. In the summer, a detoxification mask- each season can bring a new set of skincare challenges. Some masks are quick and are just meant to give your skin a glow in 5 minutes before a big event or date.
Ok, now that you've just been schooled on all skincare products, let's break down what you actually need in your skincare routine.
So it really depends on what you want your outcome to be. Do you want your skin to just feel clean, and hydrated? Maybe you're not into all the extras but just want a clean skincare routine that meets the basic needs and that's it. Or maybe you want to fade hyper pigmentation, minimize redness and increase collagen- ok then you're probably going to need a few more products! Think about your end goal when it comes to your skin and that will help guide you to the products you need.
What Skincare Personality Do You Relate Too?
- You just want your skin to feel clean and moisturized
- You don't care about wrinkles or having products that help fight signs of aging(P.S. I'm all for aging, sometimes there aren't other words to use besides aging)
- You don't like to use a lot of product on your skin
- You keep your skincare routine pretty basic but every now and then you like to try a new product
- You might want a new product depending on season change or just for fun
- You're still very minimalist at heart when it comes to your skincare but like to splurge on a treatment product every now and then or when you have a skin condition you need to address
- You like skincare products and it's no secret(guys you're not alone, I'm a hoarder too)
- You love adding new things to your skincare routine and testing out new products
- You don't mind if your skincare routine is tedious or long
Ok, now that you know what skincare personality you are, it will be easier for you to assess what skin products you actually need and what will be effective for your skin type. Keep reading to see what my skincare routine looks like. Then you will be able to create your own!
My Skincare Routine:
AM- (In Order)
- Cleanse- I use a product called the Luna Rose and Honey Cleansing Mask by Live Botanical. It is amazing! It's a mask and cleanser in one. I feel like a broken record with this product- I talk about it all the time. I put it on in the morning before I brush my teeth and then let it sit on there while I brush. Then take it off once I'm done. My skin is glowing and vibrant afterwards. Read more about it here in a blog post I did! Also use code: GURLGONEGREEN for 20% off!
- Tone/Hydrosol- Next I'll use a toner or hydrosol to add some moisture and balance my skin. I love Maya Chia's newest hydrating mist called The Optimist! It gives my skin great hydration and moisture. Plus smells great! It's very soothing and calming as well. I spritzed this on my skin and then press my hands into my face.
- Oil- I'll apply an oil next. I do apply an oil even though I am going to apply a sunscreen because my skin is dry and I always need a little extra hydration. Not everyone does need it, especially if you have oily skin. Know your skin type. I wait a few minutes for my oil to seep in before applying my sunscreen next. Oils that I've been loving as of late- Maya Chia's The Super Couple Serum, and Laurel Anti-Inflammatory Serum.
- Sunscreen- Now I apply a sunscreen lotion. I love Kari Gran's Three Sixty Five Sunscreen Lotion. It's light and not greasy. I also love Honua's Sun Protectant Cream as well. It's also not greasy and feels light. They both go on sheer and act like a primer even before makeup.
- Eye Cream/Oil- I love 100% Pure's Coffee Bean Eye Cream. The best eye cream I've found for in the mornings. It's light enough for me that I don't fret about getting milia from it. It's perfect for the morning! It uses coffee bean to help brighten and de-puff the under eye area- something every mom can benefit from!
- Primer- If I'm going to wear makeup I will apply a primer. If I don't wear any makeup that day but a little concealer I skip it. Primers make a big difference I've noticed with how well foundations look. Love the 100% Pure Luminous Primer, and the Vapour Luminous Primer for Oilier skin types and the Vapour Stratus Soft Focus Primer for drier skin.
PM- (In Order)
- Cleanse- I cleanse my skin with one cleanser typically. I used to oil cleanse, but I've found I really love a cleanser that does it all in one step and that I can remove easily with just water and not a washcloth. A couple of my favorite cleansers in green beauty that do that are- OSEA Ocean Cleanser, an amazing cleanser that leaves my skin feeling balanced, not stripped, removes all my makeup and rinses off easily with water. I also love Marie Veronique's Cleansing Oil. It acts like an oil cleanser but emulsifies(suds up) ever so slightly. It's great! It also removes all my eye makeup and everything easily and rinses off with water.
- Toner/Hydrosol- I use the same toner for my skin at night that I do in the morning generally. Unless I'm testing out several at once. My top pick would be Maya Chia's the Optimist!
- Exfoliant- Next I will exfoliate if I need too. I generally exfoliate twice a week. People can over exfoliate, creating disruptions to their natural ph. I love Josh Rosebrook's Active Enzyme Exfoliant, and Laurel's Honey Berry Enzyme Mask. The Active Enzyme Exfoliant includes manual exfoliants using walnut shells and it incorporates enzymes as well. The Honey Berry Enzyme Mask is great for those with sensitive skin as it uses enzymes to exfoliate.
- Mask- I generally mask two to three times per week. If it's a day for a mask I'll do it after toning or exfoliating. My mask varies depending on what my skin needs. For a good all around mask, I recommend Leahlani Mermaid Mask, for lightening and detoxification I recommend Mahalo's The Bean Antioxidant Mask, for skin problems I love May Linstrom's The Problem Solver Mask. For a full review of my favorite masks- check out my blog post here.
- Treatment/Serum- Next I will apply a treatment or serum. For me this is usually my True Botanical's Cellular Repair Serum and Antioxidant Booster. These two have literally helped change my skin and given me tangible results! The Cellular Repair Serum goes past the outer most layer of the skin to really get in and provide all the nutrients the skin needs. The Antioxidant Booster is a powder and isn't activated until you mix it with a liquid. I love this because then you are endured you're getting the most potent and active ingredients right away! Most antioxidant treatments are liquid and are not as effective since they've already been activated. I apply my Cellular Repair Serum first. Then I mix my Antioxidant Booster with my oil. This helps the Antioxidant Booster to absorb better into the skin, compared to mixing it with the Cellular Repair Serum.
- Oil- Now time for an oil! I have been using Laurel's Anti-Inflammatory Serum especially coming off the summer months.
- Eye Cream/Serum- Next I apply my eye serum or eye cream. I've been using Odacite's B+S Eye Serum for a while and love it! It isn't super oily, absorbs nicely and my eyes look refreshed and revived in the morning. Can't recommend it enough.
- Lips- Ok, last but not least I apply Odacite's Lip Serum. I love this lip serum! It helps to hydrate, minimize fine lines on the lips and plump. I love applying as my last step in my skincare routine. My lip's nightly nightcap!
That sums up my skincare routine! Now it's time to create your own. I've created this free download for you to be able to see what products work for different skin types. I have something for sensitive, dry/normal, and combination/oily. Click the photo below to download!