How To: Apply Skincare Products

{Image from Allure}

Start fresh. Proper cleansing prior to using your treatment products is crucial, you need to remove the waxy coating of dirt, oil, and makeup in order for your products to fully penetrate, and you can read more about effective double cleansing here.

Texture common sense. As a rule you want to layer lighter, thinner products under ones that are heavier and thicker. If you try to put a lightweight serum over a rich cream, it will never penetrate.

Protect and defend in the AM. After you cleanse in the morning, apply products with antioxidant ingredients—these will help protect your skin from free radical damage and oxidative stress. You want these products to be in direct contact with your skin. Antioxidant products, like a Vitamin C serum work in tandem with your daily {and I mean daily} sunscreen to defend your skin against the harsh effects of environmental aging factors like UV light and pollution. Other powerful antioxidants include: green tea, grape-seed extract, soy, Coffeeberry, and idebone. These antioxidants combat free radicals by transforming them into benign compounds.  Our complexions are assaulted with stress every day, environmental injury can be prevented through proper skin care. Apply an anti-aging serum with peptides or one with idebone like Prevage, on cleansed skin, any depuffing eye gels, followed by a moisturizer containing a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

SPF 24/7/365 I’m often asked about Holy Grail products when it comes to the fight against aging.  My answer is always the same, prevent the damage in the first place. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is the most effective (and cheapest) anti-aging product on the market.  When you expose your skin to aging UV rays, it breaks down the supportive collagen and elastin fibers in the skin and leads to a complexion that is discolored, dull, dry, wrinkled and at serious risk of skin cancer. Therefore skipping sunscreen is not an option. Make it a daily habit, like brushing and flossing your teeth, and you will never have to worry that you’re not doing enough to protect your skin.  Sunscreen, or a moisturizer containing one, should be the final step before your makeup.

Light bright. Prior to applying your primer and the rest of your makeup, be sure and apply any products with light reflecting, luminizing particles, such as eye brighteners. These need to go on last, since they need to reflect and refract light in order to work.

Clean sweep. If you are taking the time to care for your skin, you can’t overlook the all important step of exfoliation.  It doesn’t matter whether you opt to exfoliate in the morning or evening so as long as you do it. This will ensure that your serums and lotions penetrate and work effectively. You can exfoliate with a physical exfoliant, such as a microdermabrasion-type scrub or a chemical exfoliant like an effective home peel.

Nourish and repair in the PM. Upon cleansing, you can slather on a treatment serum or cream containing retinol, such as as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Intensive Night Cream. Be sure and read your ingredient labels, you want to see retinol listed near the top. If you  see retinyl palmitate it is a weaker derivitative of Vitamin A and will take that much longer for you to notice results. 1 percent retionol is the most you can get over the counter, if you wish for something higher you will need a prescription from your dermatologist. Apply an eye cream with retinol, such as RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream and a lip treatment such as Dermalogica Age Smart Lip Renewal Complex.

Use caution. Read your product labels carefully, you don’t want to irritate the skin by layering on products that contain the same ingredient. If your night serum contains retinol you don’t want your night cream to contain it as well. Exercise restraint, there is the notion of too much of a good thing, and you might end up with sensitized skin in the form of flaking and redness. Certain ingredients have specific restrictions. Retinols degrade when exposed to sunlight so use them only at night. Some acne treatments shouldn’t have anything applied on top of them, so follow directions and use them at night. Certain chemical exfoliants and anti-aging products can make your skin photosensitive so use a gentle moisturizer and sunscreen to replenish and protect your skin.

What’s your evening skin care regimen?

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4 Responses to How To: Apply Skincare Products

  1. Kayla says:

    Just found your blog. So glad I did. These tips are great, I will definitely implement some into my evening routine.

    Ramblings of a Small Town Girl

  2. Hey Bre! Nice post! You’re right about the SPF, I use an Olay creme that has sunscreen in it everyday (too bad I didn’t listen so much to my parents when I was a teenager).

    I’ve also been using the Esteé Laude Advanced Night Repair Serum but I cannot really tell if this product has any effect on me. I know it has a lot of weird stuff (sodium hyalorunate, chronolux tech.,…bla bla) but no retinol. I am also using another creme by a German brand called Hildegard Braukmann (if you ever hit the country, I highly recommend it to you), it’s a night repair cream for mature skins which has hyalunoric acid. Anyway, the thing is that I am on my late 20s and I am using them as a prevention, but I’ve been wondering if I should stop using them so they won’t have any effect on me when I get older? Maybe you can guide me with that :) Thank you!!

    ps. Next time I’ll make sure to buy a product with some retinol in it (on the top top of the list)!

  3. Breanna says:

    @Marta I have heard good things about the Estee Lauder Serum but I’ve never tried it myself. I can’t find the ingredients online (HATE that) but it most likely contains some AHAs for chemical exfoliation and skin resurfacing-it should for the price. Hyaluronic acid is fantastic in any skin care product because it’s a natural substance in our skin, it’s a powerful humectant and will keep your skin moist and hydrated. Definitely continue to use your anti aging products, in doing so you are stimulating collagen and elastin production and will continue to do so as long as you use the products. Protect with SPF and antioxidants everyday in the AM, and use a retinol or other anti-aging product at night to repair. It doesn’t matter what age you are, every skin type benefits from SPF and retinols. It helps with acne, acne scars, and pores too! Retinols are a game changer-love it!

  4. [...] in doubt on the order of application of products when it comes to your skin care, refer back to my How To: Apply Skincare Products [...]

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