Facial Skin Care 101: Essential Products, Tools & Tips!
Judging from the title of the post, one would think I've got skin so smooth & a facial regimen defined to the letter that has helped in achieving such great skin. Or maybe if you've seen me more recently, you're thinking "Hold up, her face doesn't quite have that glow so why is she writing?"
Truth is, I'm writing to share the little I know and more importantly ask all you awesome people for your tricks! I've learned that you mustn't wait till you know it all to share. It was only two years ago, that I learned what a facial wash is! (Don't laugh!). So if I'd read a post like this earlier, then I wouldn't have had to embarrass myself trying to figure it out, after a quarter of a century on earth!
One of my 2017 goals is smooth skin! Starting of course from the face. First reason: I'm not a huge make up lover. I really prefer being without makeup all the time - so if I could have really smooth skin, that's a win. Second, even if I finally began to love makeup - smooth skin will mean I use less (and so save money). Thirdly, so my selfies can be great without filter - right after I learn how to take them.
Like everyone (I'd imagine) I was born with perfect smooth baby skin. But thanks to teenage years - and I guess just general life happening, there's been bits of pimples, blackheads, fatty pores and un-even skin tone. It was pretty funny how while Tee & I were in Uni - he was constantly noticing that the left side of my face had more pimples than the right. This was because since he drove on the left side of the car while I sat in the passengers side, he got to see that side of my face. Now that we've moved to the UK, and the steering is on the right side - he gets to see the smoother bits of my face. The right side.
Well the goal is for smooth face everywhere - left, right, up and down.
I've never really had a facial regimen or routine. And that's probably as a result of my mum's influence. She's more au naturale - preferring to avoid "chemicals". So even back in high school when most girls got into the habit of cleansing their skin morning & night and squirming as a result of the sting of the toner, I simply couldn't be bothered. My curiosity piqued once in a while - so I'd buy the "Clean & Clear" toner everyone used, but simply couldn't be consistent. Occasionally I'd also use the St Ives face scrub, which I quite liked.
Ok, enough background. Judging from a few beauty gurus, dermatologists & experts, here's what we need to know:
Everyone agrees that the 3 step process of Cleanse, Tone & Moisturise is a must. And here's what you need for that:
Because you shouldn't be using your regular bathing soap or shower gel. These should be milder & for your face only. I initially confused them with facial scrubs, but they're different! Cleansers - as the name suggest simply help to get daily dirt off your skin.
Second stage in the three step process. Used to restore your skin to its natural pH levels that may have been altered while cleansing.
I once read that by 25, you should stop scrimping and invest in a good moisturiser! 3 years late, but I finally bought what I hope is a good one. Moisturisers are a need - to be used day & night. Some people prefer to use the same one or a separate night cream. Whatever your choice is, it's advised the day one contain SPF - to protect you from the sun.
Facial Exfoliating Scrub
I love a good scrub, and my preference is usually for one with visible particles - it just seems to actually scrub. Exfoliating scrubs should be used 3-4 times a week as they're able to go deeper than your daily cleanser and remove dead cells which clog up the skin.
Facial Mask / Mask Sheets
I only ever used a face mask few months ago when a friend forgot hers at mine! But I think I noticed my skin seemed more tightenened right after. Plus it felt like a mini pamper session. All you need to do is wrap a white towel round your hair and two slices of cucumber on your eyes, and voila, you look like all the posh women in the magazine. It's advised that a mask is added to your weekly routine as this helps with tightening and unclogging the pores, removing excess oils & hydrating the skin. Also helps all of your other products to be better absorbed. These days many people seem to opt for home made DIY facemasks using ingredients like tumeric, ground coffee & charcoal.
Serum / Oils
These seem to have become popular in recent times as they help to protect the skin, boost blood flow and prevent wrinkles. Moisturisers may contain oils, but not in sufficient quantity and that's why this extra step may be needed in your routine - as it appears ancient Egyptians used oils to keep their skin all glowy, and flawless. I'll admit I loved the way my skin looked when I started using oils.
Because the areas around the eyes are pretty sensitive, experts argue that it's advised to have eye cream for under the eyes to prevent eye bags and wrinkles.
I appreciate that in addition to these, different circumstances may need additional products such as for spot treatment or large pores.
If there's one thing I'll recommend it's a cleansing brush! I'll admit I've noticed a huge difference since I've started using this. The rationale is that your fingers alone aren't enough to deep cleanse, so the brush helps! The Clarisonic, Clinique and MaryKay ones are really popular, but I think they're a few others as well which do a great job too.
(White) Wash Cloths
These are pretty useful and great to have around. They could be made from different materials, but the microfiber ones are often recommended. Rather than use your hands to cleanse and exfoliate, wash cloths are able to get the job done better and quicker. It's also advised that you use these for steaming your face regularly - by placing in hot water, squeezing it out and then gently placing over your face.
Since we're talking cloths, it's also better to use a separate towel for your face - and not the same one used on the rest of your body.
I have such a love hate relationship with wipes. They're a need for taking off makeup before cleansing - especially at night. But then they have the tendency to make you (or is it just me?) lazy and you think you've got all the makeup off with the wipes and don't bother with the three step routine! Arrgh.
When I decided about a year ago to start a routine, I basically walked into the Body Shop store and bought a cleanser, toner, day & night moisturisers, oil & eye cream. I stuck to my Neutrogena pink grape fruit facial scrub which I quite like. These definitely brought some improvement. But I'm kind of bored and shopping around for new stuff so I've just bought the Clinique 3 step products, and I hope they help improve my skin!
So, let's talk facial skincare. What's your regimen? Product junkie or naturally blessed baby like skin? Your top products & tips? Please share.
pS: just when I thought the lady at the Clinique counter was about to hand me some extra samples she gave them to Tee! I guess men need a facial regimen too.
ppS: Or maybe we can just skip all of this and drink enough water which lots of people claim is the ultimate hack to great skin.