8 GO-TO'S FOR AN ADVANCED SKINCARE ROUTINE
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As we get older, we need to amp up our skincare routine.
I remember the days when I would scrub my face with soap, slap on some moisturizer and call it a day. When I was even younger, it was hard for my mother to even get me to wash my face (I shudder to think).
Unfortunately, as we get older, our skin doesn't bounce back like it used to. Once we hit our twenties, it's time to start incorporating products with powerhouse ingredients to take care of our skin and prevent early aging.
No matter what stage of life you're in, it's never too late to start an advanced skincare routine. Below I've listed 9 products to add to your day and night skincare to rev up your game.
As always, all products listed are cruelty-free!
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*I am not a dermatologist. I just love to share suggestions for killer skincare tips.
1. Eye serum + cream
I think most of us are already familiar with an eye cream, but did you know you can layer products under your eyes just like the rest of your face for added benefits?
An eye serum is just what it sounds like: a water-based, antioxidant packed fluid that absorbs quickly into the skin underneath and around your eyes. Some serums can even be used on your eyelids.
Eye serums penetrate deeper into the skin, so any active ingredients such as retinol are getting a better chance to work. Eye serums work to restore elasticity, combat fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten and de-puff. An eye cream aids an eye serum by adding additional beneficial ingredients and creating a barrier to lock in moisture.
You only need an amount less than the size of a penny to cover both eyes. I pat on a small amount underneath my eyes and on my eyelid, wait for a minute, and then pat on a thick eye cream to lock in moisture.
The Shaba Complex Eye Serum contains copper peptides and black tea ferment to smooth and revitalize, and Farmacy's Dew It All contains their signature Echinacea Green Envy, which helps to brighten and firm. Dew It All is also luxuriously creamy and feels absolutely amazing going on my skin.
Retinol has been a key ingredient in anti-aging for years. Retinol is another term for Vitamin A. It works by speeding up your cell's natural turnover cycle, which encourages smoother skin and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, and improves uneven skin tone and firmness. It can also reduce acne and shrink pores.
Retinol is different from retinoids. Retinol are approved for selling over the counter, while retinoid, which contains higher doses of Vitamin A, must be prescribed by a dermatologist.
Retinol, however, is a very effective option by itself.
Unless you're going for the Korean glass skin look (read this), then retinol is a great product to add to your skincare regimen.
When starting to use retinol, start slowly. Retinol is a powerful ingredient, and jumping into it too aggressively can actually cause your skin to freak out.
Either way, it's normal to experience redness and breakouts when you first start with retinol. This is called your skin's adjustment period. Retinol speeds up your natural cell turnover, so oftentimes any breakouts that were brewing under the surface of your skin come popping out.
Adjustment periods can last four to five weeks, but it's definitely worth it. The earlier you start and the more consistent you are with retinol, the better the results.
I've tried quite a few retinol products, and the one I'm the biggest fan of is Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Brightening Serum. It's lightweight and sinks into the skin quickly. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that actually enhances the properties of other vitamins such as retinol, so the formulation is really working wonders for your skin.
Better yet, Dr. Denis Gross produces products that are not only cruelty-free: they're vegan!
3. Exfoliating serum + peel
An exfoliating serum sloughs away dead skin cells to promote a smoother complexion, minimizes wrinkles and pores, reduces acne, and helps other skincare products absorb better.
Exfoliating serums are usually formulated with a blend of acids such as salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids. They can also include such ingredients as fruit extracts, soother such as green tea, and other actives to round out the formulation.
This is important: you cannot use a powerful exfoliating serum and retinol at once. Using both products at the same time actually cancels both of them out. It's best to alternate between them. I use an exfoliating serum two nights in a row, then on my night day I use retinol.
My absolute favorite exfoliating serum is Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. It's a strong blend of salicylic, glicolic, lactic, citric and tartaric acids with a dose of raspberry extract that sinks into the skin without any sticky residue.
It doesn't freak my sensitive skin out, which is amazing, because my face is extremely picky.
An exfoliating at-home peel used once a week can boost the effects of your exfoliating serum with an even higher blend of acids and goodness. I love Drunk Elephant's Sukari Babyfacial.
I'll be honest: I was warned that this would burn my face off, but it doesn't. In fact, I've tried other peels that left my skin dry and flaking, but this stuff is amazing.
With consistent use of both, my skin feels so soft and so smooth. It even helps reduce redness and bumps after waxing (if you have sensitive skin, I wouldn't suggest using a serum immediately after. For all skin types I'd skip the peel altogether around those areas for a week).
4. face masks
FACE MASKS! I am obsessed with face masks! If it's a Sunday night, I can guarantee you'll catch me with with different colors slathered all over my face. Seriously.
Face masks bring that extra oomph to your skincare routine. Normally you only need to wear a face mask once or twice a week, which means your product will last longer, too.
I'm a fan of the three mask combo: exfoliating (the peel talked about above), clay, and moisturizing or hydrating. This combo gives my skin the ultimate cleanse.
If you're just starting out with masks, a clay mask is an excellent place to start. Clay helps to draw impurities and gunk from the skin. When used after exfoliation, whether physical or chemical, clay masks get that shit done.
My absolute favorite clay mask is Lush's Rosy Cheeks. Some clay masks require that you add water to create a creamy consistency, or they're hard to spread over the face. This face mask is pre-mixed, smells wonderful, and goes on cool and creamy on the skin.
Additional masks are formulated specifically for areas such as your lips and eyes. I use under eye masks from Honest Hazel, and they are the bomb dot com.
5. better moisturizer
This sounds a bit vague, right? When I talk about a better moisturizer, I mean something formulated with more active ingredients than something you might find at the drugstore for a dollar (but actually, does any moisturizer cost a dollar anymore?).
Another reason why many drugstore moisturizers are a no-no for me? They're not cruelty free.
A good moisturizer will contain ingredients that both service the skin with vitamins and antioxidants and create a barrier to lock in moisture.
Now there's debate on whether or not you need a moisturizer for the day and a different one for night. I'll be honest: I don't use a night cream. The moisturizer I use in the morning has plenty of active ingredients that can be put to use at night. With the potent serums I'm already using before bedtime, I feel I don't need a separate moisturizer with the same ingredients.
That said, if your current day moisturizer contains sunscreen, then I would suggest investing in a nighttime moisturizer. You don't need sunscreen when you sleep.
My favorite moisturizers come from Dermalogica. I love their Intensive Moisture Balance and their Calm Water Gel. Both are like a drink of water for my face, but the moisture balance is a bit heavier for drier weather.
For a less pricey option, I am also a huge fan of The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.
Okay, so this isn't really advanced, but I still feel like most people don't take sunscreen seriously enough.
I'll make this quick: no matter how many badass face products you are using, if you don't protect your face from the sun, you might as well dump your money in the trash.
Now that that's over, here's a few suggestions: apply a light mineral sunscreen over your moisturizer before you apply makeup, or invest in a moisturizer with SPF or a tinted moisturizer with SPF.
All sunscreen products should be mineral, and all should be at least SPF 30. My favorites are Australian Gold Botanical Face Sunscreen SPF 50, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 (I supplement this with a few sprays from Supergoop's Sunscreen Setting Spray SPF 50), and It Cosmetics Your Face But Better CC Cream SPF 50.
Update: I recently started using Supergoop's City Serum SPF 30+++ and I am OBSESSED. This stuff has such a light liquid texture that it feels nothing like putting on sunscreen (although it does have a slight sunscreen smell). I put this on before my tinted moisturizer.
7. facial Steamer
A weekly steam does wonder for your face: it opens your pores and sweats out the gunk, improves circulation and allows any product applied afterwards to penetrate deeper into your skin. It always leaves my skin glowing.
Steaming should be limited to once a week, with filtered water, and your face held at least 12 inches from the steam to prevent scalding.
You can add your favorite essential oils and herbs for added benefits (such as lavender and frankincense).
For that extra something-something, you may want to consider beauty supplements. Supplements can help to counteract natural vitamin deficiencies and provide vitamins and nutrients for specific beauty concerns. If you don't already know, keeping your insides good and healthy keeps your outsides looking great.
I'm not about to tell you to hoard bottles and bottles of pills, because that's not how you do it. I would recommend visiting your doctor first before you dive into supplements.
I can't give you specific recommendations because everyone is different. I can tell you what I use and love: HUM's Hair Sweet Hair, the Beauty Chef Glow Powder and Collagen Love, and Ritual's women's multivitamin (not a strict beauty supplement, but just as important).
Some of these supplements I used because once upon a time my hair was falling out. You can read about that scare here.
FURTHER READING: DRUNK ELEPHANT'S EXFOLIATING SERUM FOR SILKY SMOOTH SKIN
What do you think? How do you create your own advanced skincare routine?