It’s not easy having great skin, but someones gotta do it.
In my previous post, Beauty Rituals worth Rocking, I shared my love for dry brushing, jade rolling, and other unique home practices. Today I am serving up the basic building blocks of skincare. Achieving your fresh faced goals may seem overwhelming with the millions of products out there. But check this out: there are just three critical steps to a healthy regimen that should be applied in this order: Cleanse, Serum, and Moisturize/SPF. If you don’t layer your products in the proper order, they will not be as effective. Let’s get the most bang for our buck babes. The rule of thumb when applying skincare is to apply the lightest formula first and the heaviest last, since thinner products can’t penetrate thicker products.
Here is a quick cheat sheet with the exact order products should be applied. Note: the steps in bold are the essential steps to a healthy routine…the others are simply extra credit!
- Eye Cream
- Spot Treatments (aka zit cream)
- Sunscreen (at night time this can be skipped, and replaced with Retinol or an overnight mask.)
Lets break it down y’all, starting with the essential 3 steps.
I first cleanse with Bioderma Micellar Water, which is under $15 and can be purchased at Walgreens or Target. It is quick and easy to use. You simply soak a cotton ball with the product, cleanse your face, and gently pat dry. The cleansing agents in the product dissolve impurities and gently remove makeup and dirt without stripping the skin. No water is required…mess free!
If you prefer a gel cleanser, I also love the Romer cleanser. Romer is a sustainably sourced, clean beauty line that has just 3 products in their full regimen. If you are new to the world of skincare, this functional line just may be perfect for you! Romer products are also unisex…imagine how clean and lovely your bathroom cabinet would look with just three chic products for both you and your boo?! The Romer gentle gel-oil cleanser contains calming botanicals like Aloe Vera and Calendula. It suds up great, a little goes a long way, and my skin feels squeaky clean afterwards. If I have a full face of makeup on I double cleanse, first using the Micellar water to remove my makeup, and then with the Romer cleanser to deep clean. If you wear little or no makeup, the double cleanse process is not necessary.
Presenting the full Romer skincare line! Isn’t the clean packaging so lovely? Fun fact about Romer: the CEO and founder Lauren created the line after years of struggling with her skin. Through hard work and research, Lauren discovered that simple ingredients and a consistent routine were the key to better skin…and so she created it! She left the corporate world and teamed up with experts to develop this simple and effective line. I have tried and can promise, it really is amazing! One more fun fact: I was introduced to Lauren and Romer via the wonderful blog community in Chicago…but it turns out her fiancé and my hubs are friends! Ugh, I am so my Dad sometimes…I love a small world moment!
Serums offer high concentrations of active ingredients to target your skins specific needs. For my skin care new-bees…if there is one product I recommend trying…serum wins. Serums are the heavy lifters of your routine. Quality serums can be pretty pricey, but they don’t have to be. My favorite budget friendly serum is by The Ordinary. The Ordinary is a collection of effective skin care at awesomely low prices. Their hyaluronic acid serum leaves my skin feeling super hydrated. I love the smooth not at all sticky texture. Bonus: this amazing product is $6.80! Another serum I love is Super Bounce by Glossier. This cruelty free formula is super hydrating, packaged super cute, and is under $30. Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient that locks in skin hydration and imparts brightness and glow. Image Skincare is a clinical skincare brand powered by professionals to effectively improve your skin. Their products are a bigger beauty investment, but they are amazing. I really love their Vitamin C serum. For you babes craving a 100% natural and organic serum packed with free radical-fighting antioxidants and nutrients, Mukama Botanica Superfood Serum is 100% fabulous.
PS…please don’t hastily slop on your serum sister. Gently press into your skin and massage in an upwards motion to boost collagen and prevent wrinkles. Lightly patting on the product helps to stimulate circulation. Take your time and really work all the goodness of the serum into your skin. The extra few minutes will ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck!
I’m a better person when I’m moisturized.
Dramatic, yes. True…also yes. In my opinion, attempting to apply makeup to dry flakey skin is possibly more painful than hair sticking to lipgloss on a windy day. Side note: if you focus on good skin care, you really won’t need much makeup.
Even if you have oily skin, you need a moisturizer to maintain hydration. Moisturizer also helps trap in the products underneath it to make the ingredients more effective. An esthetician once told me if you don’t apply a moisturizer after applying serum, that serum won’t work its magic, no matter how great it is.
A couple of my favorite moisturizers are by two brands I mentioned earlier, Romer skincare and Glow Recipe. The Romer moisturizer is made with hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil to hydrate and smooth tired skin. This clean product is super nourishing yet not greasy at all. The watermelon moisturizer by Glow Recipe is a silky formula spiked with amino-acid-rich watermelon extract that drenches skin in moisture, and smells delightful! A great budget-friendly option is Trader Joe’s ultra hydrating gel moisturizer, a water-based gel formula packed with great skin-smoothing ingredients, all for $8.99! If you prefer a super light formula, you will love this product. The last step in the essential line up is sunscreen. My SPF brand of choice is La Roche-Posay. Their sunscreens are formulated with advanced technology for advanced protection. You can shop this affordable and effective line at Walgreens and Target.
And just like that, your essential 3 step skin care routine is complete! An extravagant 10 step routine is not for everyone, and is not necessary. Commit to these 3 steps, and you can still have the glowing complexion you deserve. You can score all the products below for approximately $40!
If you are new to skincare or prefer a simple routine, your work is done! For extra beauty credit, read on for additional steps to amp up your glow.
Tone baby Tone!
Toners were created to balance the skin’s pH after harsh soaps. There are so many balanced cleansers now available, toners are not a required step. Well this skincare nerd loves a good toner! I am currently rotating and loving both Glow Recipe watermelon toner, and Saturday Skin pore clarifying toner. The first is a gentle formula, the second more powerful, which is why I like rotating between the two. I promise I do not pick my products based on packaging…but I am a sucker for cute packaging…and these toners are both the cutest! Your toner should be applied after cleansing.
The Glow Recipe watermelon glow toner is an ultra-gentle hydrating formula that minimizes the look of pores and hydrates skin. My man loves when I use this product as he claims I smell like a watermelon jolly rancher after using it!
The Saturday Skin toner helps smooth and refine skin with Glycolic Acid. This baby is more powerful, and creates a tingly sensation some folks dislike. I personally dig the tingles…it makes me think…wow this stuff is really working! I love how fresh and tight my skin feels with this product.
The skin around the eyes is more fragile, more prone to dryness, and is quicker to show fine lines and wrinkles. Regular use of eye cream over time can address these issues. Eye cream should be applied after serum. I rotate using Image Skincare balancing eye gel, and First Aid beauty retinol eye cream. The Image eye cream is a peptide-packed organic cream that soothes and hydrates. The First Aid cream contains a gentle Retinol to stimulate natural Collagen production to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. More on Retinol in a bit!
Hi, my name is Julz, and I am a self-confessed mask-a-holic! I love the ritual of treating my skin with extra love in the comforts of home, and there are so many amazing masks available. One of my current favorites is the overtime mask by Summer Fridays. This baby is packed with vitamins that exfoliate and hydrate. You apply the product to clean dry skin and it works its magic in 10 quick minutes. A couple times a week, or whenever my skin feels dull and in need of a boost, I apply the mask a bit before hopping in the shower. Quick, easy, and efficient!
Overnight masks are a hot commodity on the beauty scene. I love the idea of taking “beauty sleep” to the next level by treating my skin while I snooze. The watermelon sleeping mask by Glow Recipe is one of my long-time favorite products. The pillow-proof breathable mask smoothes, protects, and gently exfoliates the skin. Added bonus, it smells amazing…just like a watermelon jolly rancher according to my hubs! My skin feels baby soft the morning after using, and my makeup goes on silky smooth.
The newest addition to my line up of MVP masks is the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial by Drunk Elephant. This next-generation mask is an at-home “facial” that exfoliates and resurfaces by getting rid of built-up dead skin cells to reveal improved skin texture and tone. This product is on the pricier side, but it is a cult favorite and award winner among skincare professionals for a reason. I use this mask just once a week for a powerful exfoliation. Babyfacial is vegan, cruelty-free, and was created with all skin in mind.
The Power of the Peel!
Daily peel pads by Dr Dennis Gross are one of my main products I cannot live without! Super quick and easy, a two-step treatment that improves texture and tone. The individual packaging is mess free and great for travel or on-the-go application. I use these pads a few times a week at least, and I see a visible improvement instantly after use. They are a bit pricy, but worth every penny in my opinion. Small packs are available in the travel size section near the register at Sephora, if you want to try it out before committing to the big boy package. These peels are available in 3 different formulas; extra strength, ultra gentle, and universal. There is a quiz available on the Dr. Dennis Gross website that can help determine what peel is best for your skin.
Another (very affordable) product that also delivers instant great results are tinkles razors. If you regularly read my blog, you know I am obsessed with using these gentle razors to shave my face. Even if you have just the tiniest bit of peach fuzz, that fine hair can interfere with makeup, and cause your beloved products to not penetrate as effectively into the skin. The hair eliminated will not grow back thicker or darker-that is an ugly myth! Face shaving is super cheap ($5.99 for a pack of 3), painless, and your makeup will glide on so gorgeously after. Maybe I am a weirdo….but I actually love the process…instant gratification!
Rock the Retinol
Retinol is an iconic skin-boosting ingredient recommended by dermatologists for its powerful complexion-perfecting abilities. Retinol increases cell turnover, causing your body to churn out fresher less-wrinkled skin over time. If you are struggling with intense acne, visiting a dermatologist for a prescription grade Retinol may be a great option. For other concerns like fine lines, there are many great options on the market. I love First Aid Beauty’s Retinol serum and First Aid Beauty’s Retinol eye cream. These formulas are comprised of clean ingredients that deliver the benefits of Retinol with minimal irritation. Potent, yet gentle! Both products can be comfortably used on sensitive skin and beginner Retinol babes. Once a week I use Image Skincare’s Retinol overnight mask. This anti-aging miracle mask releases hydrating microspheres of collagen to lock in moisture and delivers Retinol deep into the skin while you snooze. I love how bright and smooth my skin feels in the morning. No matter what Retinol you choose, it is important to ease it into your routine as redness and dryness can occur at first. I only use my Retinol products at night as the sunlight can increase sensitivity.
Seal the glowing skin deal: self tan!
The final extra-credit category I am sharing today is self-tanning. It is no secret that baking under the sun drenched in oil is out, and an SPF coated body under a big umbrella is IN! That said, a little color goes a long way in providing a youthful glow. I only self tan my whole body if I have an event approaching, and my neon white legs will be exposed. With all the great products on the market, successfully self tanning your whole body is certainly possible…but no matter how savvy your self tan skills are, uneven spots are always a possibility. I know all the helpful tips and tricks to achieve a flawless self tan, but always seem to end up with an icky smudge somewhere. However, I find using a self tanner to give a little natural color to my face to be foul-proof. I use super glow self-tan serum by Tan-Luxe just once or twice a week, and I love the gradual sun-kissed glow it provides. The lightweight formula contains hyaluronic complex that quenches and plumps the skin. This small bottle is $49….but a little goes a long way. Another super popular line of great self-tanning products is Isle of Paradise. Their self-tanning drops are applied with your regular moisturizer, allowing you to control the depth of color. Both of these products deliver a great glow, but if I had a favorite it would be Tan-Luxe, as I just love how great my skin feels after using it.
If you are still reading…bless your heart! I may not be a certified skincare profesh, but I have been a passionate beauty aficionados for many years. I have researched and tested countless products, and am delighted to share what I have discovered. If you have any questions about this post or would like my suggestions regarding what products I think are best for your skin type…please reach out to me! Comment here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or catch me on IG @julzchez!
As much as I adore actually using my great products….I get a solid skincare nerd thrill of arranging them. Cute packaging always puts me over the edge!
“Invest in your skin. It’s going to represent you for a very long time.”