Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Skincare for Beginners

This blogpost was inspired by my sister-in-law's sister. She's in her early 20's and needed some advice on skincare. Let's be honest - with the large amount of new products launching everyday, and already existing ones, it can be extremely overwhelming to shop for skincare. Also, in my personal experience, I've seen so many sponsored people recommend beauty products on social media that I've begun to question their sincerity. Are they showing specific products because they've truly tested them for a good amount of time, or are they showing them because they are getting paid to write/record positive reviews? Nowadays it seems like very few people are transparent. 

*Rant over*

Something extremely important I would like to state is that I am not a skincare professional. Also, I am no one to tell you what to do or not to do -- I'm just giving advice based on what I've learned from other people and  my own experiences
I started using skincare at a very early age because I grew up watching my mom apply lotions and potions and I found that very fascinating. She also has pretty darn good skin and she's in her early 60's. 

I have an incline for high-end skincare because that's where I like to spend my money. Some people are into expensive bags, clothes, shoes. To be honest, I don't care about accessories, nor the shoes I wear nor do I care about the latest fashion trends. What makes me happy is saving up money and spending it on skincare. I've noticed throughout the years that when I invest in great products, my skin looks great and therefore, I'm comfortable going makeup-free most days. 

I also thought it was relevant to briefly talk to you about my skin. I'm 26 years old, I have normal to dry skin and I get the occasional pimple. My concerns are fine lines/expression lines, dehydration and dullness. 

Now it's time to break everything down. I'm going to try to be as precise as I can. 

What order should I follow when using my skincare?
  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Eye Cream
  4. Serum
  5. Moisturizer (you could use a facial oil, then a moisturizer, or just a facial oil or moisturizer)
  6. (Daytime) SPF
Cleansing: My experience
I used to think that the purpose of cleansing was to leave my skin squeaky clean. I thought it wasn't normal to have any oil on the skin, and I thought that cleansing was a process that only required a few seconds. I was wrong. Here are some things I've learned and would recommend:

  • Double cleanse one time a day, preferably at night. Double cleansing requires using an oil first, rinsing, and then proceeding with a different cleanser.
    • If you are using a cleansing balm/oil, take your time massaging in the product. The longer, the better, but in my personal experience, 1-2 minutes is "okay."
    • Some balms/oils require a warm, damp muslin cloth/flannel/face towel to remove the product. 
    • How to use them: apply to dry skin, massage, add water (the oil will turn into a milk), then rise with water and/or a damp flannel and pat dry.
And for all those of you that are cringing at the idea of using an oil to cleanse: don't worry - it's not messy or gross, and you won't feel oily after cleansing. It might feel "weird" at first, but chances are you'll get used to it and actually begin to enjoy the "cleansing process." Look at it as your "Me-Time", which is essential in life. It's important to have some time to your own to relax and connect with yourself. Pamper yourself and give yourself a good facial massage 1x a week at least and you'll begin to notice softer, cleaner skin. 
I used to think toners were a waste of money until I read Rita's post. Toners hydrate your skin, prep it for the next skincare products and get rid of any leftover dirt. 

My recommendations: Caudalie Moisturizing Toner, Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. How to use them: apply to a cotton pad and dab around skin and neck.

You can also use face mists on this stage. I personally love Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Queen of Hungary Mist by Omorovicza and Tatcha Dewy Mist.

Eye Cream
Technically, you can use your eye cream whenever you want, but I tell people to apply it right after toning so you can precisely cover the eye contour without getting it mixed with their moisturizer. 

Serums are probably my favorite skincare products. They tend to have a high price point because they are usually far more concentrated and potent than moisturizers. Sometimes a serum is hydrating enough and you do not need to proceed with a moisturizer. 
If you're in your teens or early 20's, all you need is hydration. Something like Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum. For luminosity, I love, LOVE Good Genes by Sunday Riley which also acts as an exfoliant, and Tatcha Deep Hydrating Serum. Sunday's is more of a lotion while Tatcha's is a gel. For expression lines, I've found Vichy Liftactif 10 Serum to be superb. For non-heavy formulas, I love the serums by Hydrafacial

There are so many on the market, but my favorite moisturizers come from the following brands: Caudalie, Sunday Riley and REN. As far as oils go, I love Fresh Seaberry Oil, Algenist Advanced Anti-Aging Oil, Sunday Riley Luna, and one I'm currently testing that I am just really impressed by so far is Flora, also by Sunday Riley.

None of those oils leave your skin greasy looking, they just make it soft and radiant. They are LUSH. 

One of the best beauty advice I've been given and always pass on is: wear SPF EVERY SINGLE DAY. There are numerous studies showing evidence that sun damage is the #1 cause of skin aging, specifically causing wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. So even if you're young and you don't wear sunscreen and your skin looks relatively "fine", sun damage WILL show as you age. It is also, of course, very important to protect ourselves from skin cancer.

When I was younger, heck, even when I was in my early 20's, I would hate wearing SPF. I associated SPF to greasiness, beach-smelling oily, sticky mess. There would be so many times when I'd go to the beach not wearing any skincare, would purposely wet my cheeks with salty water and float on the beach to get as burned as possible. I used to love the rosy-burned cheek-look. GGGGAH!!!!!! I cringe at the thought of that now, and I also understand why I would see people going to the beach and sitting under an umbrella. I'm assuming they wanted to enjoy the sound of the waves and enjoy the heat while protecting themselves from the sun. Smart. And I would judge them.

I digress. There are so many fantastic SPF's out there that DO NOT leave a white cast NOR a greasy look. Examples of these are: Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free SPF 42, A'Pieu Pure Block Natural Sun Cream SPF 45, Korres Yoghurt Nourishing Fluid Veil SPF 30, Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30

So remember: wear SPF everyday - even when it's cloudy outside. 

*If you use an SPF, it is extra important to thoroughly cleanse your skin at night. Double cleanse, preferably*

Extra Tips: For Softer, More Even-Toned Skin
Exfoliate regularly. 2-3x a week is ok for me, but every skin is different. For the last couple of months I've been using and loving the Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads.

When it comes to pimples, the best spot treatment I've ever tried is the Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel. I apply it over any areas of concerns as the last step of my skincare routine. And the best advice I can give on that is... DON'T PICK!

Extra Tips: Saving Money When You Can
  • Look out for Loyalty Programs.
    •  Some Caudalie products have a code inside the box you can use to redeem products. You can read more about it here
    • Omorovicza gives you "Pengo Points" for every purchase you make.
  • Look out for discount codes.
    • Some websites offer a discount code for new customers.
    • You can easily find existing codes on Retailmenot. Simply type on google the company name + retailmenot. 
  • Use Ebates when you shop online to earn cash-back. This isn't a scam, people. If you shop online frequently, there is no reason why you should not use Ebates. They offer different cash back percentages depending on the company. Sometimes you get 2% cash back, sometimes 4% and sometimes a whopping 8%. Something I love about them is that you can opt to receive a check in the mail or a gift card (I of course, always pick a Sephora one!).

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing, helpfull post... love it! Aleja Franco ;)