1. Cleanse your face twice daily
Cleansing your face removes all impurities that tend to accumulate on the skin during the day and night. Failure to do this one simple step can make any products you apply to your skin useless, as they cannot penetrate deeply into your clogged pores. Cleanse your face before applying makeup and then again after removing makeup. My long time favorite cleanser has been the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. The full size bottle is a little on the pricey side at $38.00 for 5.1 ounces, but one million percent worth the investment.
2. Apply a moisturizer after cleansing
Moisturizer will not only help your skin lock in hydration, but it will also seal into place any other skincare products you use beforehand, such as eye cream, anti-aging serum, or toner. Acne-prone skin needs a moisturizer, even though it may feel counter-intuitive, and will help your skin heal because drying out your skin will actually cause it to over-compensate and produce more oil. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion has been a favorite of mine for years, which feels incredibly light on the skin but packs a punch when it comes to hydration.
3. Remove your makeup every night
Although it may feel tempting to skin this step, it is important and very necessary to continue to have healthy skin. When you wear your makeup to bed you are not only clogging your pores with the day's makeup, but also with dirt and grime that accumulates daily on your face. It also doesn't allow for your skin to recover from the free radicals and particles that land on your face every day, which causes a break down in the collagen on your skin and leads to the development of lines and wrinkles. Mascara and eye liner, when left on your face for long periods of time, accumulate germs and can lead to infections.
So what is the quickest solution to removing makeup? Thankfully, you have many options. The very first thing I do is I don't wait until bedtime to remove my makeup, and instead to do it right after I arrive home for the night. I find I am not as tired at this point and I am more likely to freely expend the effort to cleanse my face. For a medium-to-high-end product I recommend Josie Maran Bare Nakes Wipes, which are packed with natural and soothing ingredients that easily remove makeup and leave your face feeling fresh and clean within less than a minute. For a drugstore product I recommend Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes, which are ultra soft and are great at removing even waterproof mascara.
4. Drink A LOT of water
Drinking enough water every day is skin hydration 101. Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic on how much water you should be drinking on a daily basis and the health benefits. Add lemon to your water to act as an internal cleansing agent. I carry around the Hydr-8 32 ounce water bottle with me everywhere I go every single day. People always comment on how they love the "time stamps" on the side, which allows you to see when you need to drink more water.
5. Wear SPF every day
Applying a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 will protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Even if you are stepping outside for only a few moments, sunscreen is not only the best thing you can do to protect your skin, but it is the only thing you can do to prevent premature aging. Apply every morning as your last skincare routine step after your moisturizer and serums, and before you apply any makeup. Apply every morning and reapply throughout the day as needed. Any drugstore sunscreen will do the trick, although I prefer to use the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 for those days I just need a little extra color on my face.
6. Use an at-home face mask once per week
Face marks will target blackheads and impurities, and draw out residue clogged deep inside pores. Masks that contain clays in them are especially great at deep cleansing and removing impurities to leave you with the ultimate fresh and healthy looking skin. A high-end favorite of mine has been the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, but there are plenty of drugstore alternatives to choose from, such as the cult favorite Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, which is only $12.00 for a one pound jar on Amazon.
7. Use a sheet mask once per week
Sheet masks have long been a staple in Asian beauty, but have just recently found more popularity on Instagram and in stores like Ulta and Sephora. Sheet masks infuse the skin on your face with nutrients and come in a variety of styles and leave your face feeling refreshed and brand new. One of my personal favorite is the Too Cool for School Egg Cream Hydration Mask, which you can also find in Firming and Tightening.
8. Clean your makeup brushes
While it makes sense to clean makeup your makeup brushes, it is often a chore that is overlooked or put off until later. However, taking the time to do this one step will not only ensure that your make up looks better once you've applied it, but also prevent your brushes from transferring any old face oils onto your face. At a minimum you should be washing your brushes weekly, and at a maximum after every use.
All you need is a bottle of Johnson's Baby Shampoo, apply a small amount to a wet makeup brush and swirl in the palm of your hand until all the excess makeup is removed, and then set on a towel to dry. If you're looking for that quick fix I highly recommend Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleanser, a professional grade cleanser that is quick drying and rinse free. It cleans and conditions quickly, and is perfect for the person that wants to clean their brushes daily.
9. Wash your pillowcases
Similar to washing your brushes, washing your pillowcases is one of those chores that needs to be done weekly to ensure healthy skin. Pillowcases are notoroius for housing oil and dirt, and are often the causes of acne breakouts. Pillowcases made from natural fabrics breathe better and transfer less oil, however nothing makes up for a good regular wash. Word of caution: do not use fabric softeners on pillowcases, as they leave behind a waxy residue that is highly pore-clogging.
10. Exfoliate your body with a sugar scrub once per month
Exfoliating will help remove the dead skin cells that live on the surface of your skin and makes skin smoother and brighter. Similar to using a cleanser on your face, it gets rid of debris and allows the rest of your skincare products to work their magic. A high-end favorite of mine is the Josie Maran Argan Sugar Balm Body Scrub, which gently buffs away dead skin cells and impurities, then moisturizes with argan and coconut oil to leave your skin feeling smooth and soft. While the drugstore has limitless options in terms of affordable body scrubs, I encourage you to make your own and try my recipe for DIY Coconut Coffee Body Scrub, a natural and easy alternative.
Interested in MORE skincare advice and tutorials? Check out my YouTube!