Complete Daily Skin Care Routine: What Products to Use and When
A good skin care routine is the most important thing you can do for your face— and it’s never too early (or too late) to start. Starting a daily skin care routine in your twenties can help delay signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. There’s no need to look older than your years when you can age gracefully instead.
If age defying glowing skin isn’t enough to convince you to get a good daily skin care routine, then consider the makeup benefits. Makeup can go a long way to making your skin look smoother, but there’s really no replacement for beginning with a good foundation.
Getting in the routine of daily skin care keeps your skin smooth and supple for a more flawless makeup application. Your makeup is a work of art and you deserve a clear canvas to begin with. And let’s be honest, your makeup may not be helping your complexion either.
Using the right skin care routine before makeup application and to remove it at night can help your skin stay healthy and clear. That’s the truly difficult part isn’t it? Not just knowing which products to use, but when to use them.
In this post we’re going cover the perfect daily skin care routine including which products to use in the morning and which to use at night. We’ll also talk serums and answer the skin care questions we get asked the most— so you have all the info you need to get the glowing skin of your dreams.
Frequently Asked Skin Care Questions
What are serums?
If you’re not deep in the beauty world, the word “serums” may conjure up visions of test tubes and secret spy laboratories from pop culture— truth serums, super soldier serums, and serums for weird dream states. As it turns out, face serums are not like that at all.
Face serums are simply lightweight moisturizers that deeply penetrate skin to deliver the good stuff that helps skin look its best. Not as exciting in a spy movie, but very exciting when it comes to good skin!
The thing that sets skin care serums apart from regular moisturizers is how they affect your skin’s natural barrier. Moisturizers can function in two ways: delivering moisture and preventing (or slowing) moisture from leaving your skin. Regular moisturizers mainly work to boost your skin’s natural barrier which helps keep the moisture from leaving your skin.
Serums, on the other hand, generally focus on delivering moisture and nutrients and only lightly adding to the skin’s natural barrier. This is why serums are always applied before moisturizers. The serums deliver moisture and important nutrients, then the moisturizer “seals” it in to slow transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
What order do serums go in?
Depending on specific skin care needs, you may use several serums to combat different skin issues. One simple rule for applying face serums is: lightest to heaviest. Apply the lightest serum first and end with the heaviest.
A popular combination of serums is vitamin c, retinol, and hyaluronic acid. Serums featuring these three ingredients are basically the MVPs of skin care— everyone wants them on their team. Especially if you’re looking for skin care serums with age-defying benefits.
In this case it’s less about the weight of the serum, but the penetration of the active ingredient. Vitamin C is going to penetrate the farthest so that goes first, then retinol, and hyaluronic acid serum last, as one of its benefits is holding moisture nearer to the skin’s surface.
So if you’re sticking with the all-star serums, just remember Very Radiant Human, or VRH: Vitamin C, Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid.
Which skin care products are not tested on animals?
Any natural company worth its salt shouldn’t be testing products on animals. Looking for “Cruelty-Free” and “Vegan” labels on skin care websites and packaging is a good place to start. We strongly believe in responsible skin care so you can shop with the confidence of knowing ZERO products are tested on animals.
Is skin care safe during pregnancy?
When it comes to skin care safety and pregnancy, the most common skin care ingredients are considered safe during pregnancy, with a few exceptions. Retinoids (including retinol), benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid should be avoided.
It’s also important to note that eating too much vitamin C during pregnancy can be harmful. However, dermatologists like Dr. Susan Goodlerner MD, with the California Skin Institute recommends topical Vitamin C as preferred acne skin care during pregnancy.
When do I use toner?
This one is easy! In a daily skin care routine, toner should be applied after washing and before serums and/or moisturizer.
Can I use face oils if I have acne?
It may seem counterintuitive, but adding a nourishing carrier oil to your skin care routine can actually help acne problems. Specifically jojoba oil, and we’ll explain why.
Firstly, the natural reaction to oily, acne-prone skin is to get rid of all the oil. But your skin needs oil to stay healthy and moisturized. Oils are part of your skin’s natural barrier— the one that keeps water in your skin so it stays soft, supple and smooth.
If your anti-acne skin care efforts strip your skin of all oils, then your skin may respond by going into oil-overdrive by increasing activity in your sebaceous glands. Basically panicking because the natural barrier is in danger and rushing to make even more oil… which easily turns into a vicious cycle.
Secondly, acne is caused when the pores of your skin become clogged, trapping bacteria inside and becoming infected. One way pores become clogged is when the sebum (a natural oil) your skin produces hardens inside your pores.
Keeping your natural sebum nice and soft so it doesn’t plug up your pores reduces your chances of acne-causing bacteria getting trapped. Jojoba oil is actually very close to human sebum but doesn’t harden the same way.
Because of these properties, jojoba oil doesn’t clog pores. Instead, it mixes with your natural sebum to help it stay soft and pliable. Following deep cleaning with jojoba oil for natural moisturizing for a skin care routine that promotes a clear complexion is one way of breaking the oily skin cycle.
What essential oils can help my acne?
Skin care that soothes an acne spot involves two key factors, reducing bacteria and calming inflammation. For these reasons, the absolute best essential oil for acne spot treatments is tea tree oil, with lavender oil coming in as a close second.
Both tea tree and lavender oil help soothe skin with anti-inflammatory properties and have antibacterial properties. Mixing a drop of tea tree or lavender with a carrier is a great way to use essential oils for acne spot treatments.
Remember, never apply essential oils directly to your skin, always dilute them with something like jojoba oil or aloe vera gel.
What skin care ingredients to avoid?
Choosing the right skin care ingredients is so important to achieve the glowing skin of your dreams. Synthetic chemicals can be harsh for your skin and the environment, so it’s better to leave them out of your skin care routine whenever possible.
Natural ingredients, on the other hand, boost your skin care routine by providing safer, gentler options that deeply nourish your skin— and are also eco-friendly. Especially when it comes to moisturizers, it’s better to swap out petroleum based products for natural carrier oils that allow your skin to breathe.
If you have acne prone skin, it’s even more important to avoid pore-clogging petroleum based products. Steering clear of heavier natural oils like coconut oil or castor oil on your face, is also a good idea.
Jojoba oil is the ideal natural oil for skin care since it works for all skin types, including acne prone skin and sensitive skin. Jojoba crops help protect marginalized desert land too so it’s a major upgrade from petroleum (i.e. fossil fuel) based moisturizers.
What skin care products should I use?
The skin care products you use should depend on your goals and the current state of your skin. That being said, every skin care routine should, at minimum, include what we’ll call the Big Three: cleanse, tone, and moisturize.
As mentioned above, jojoba oil is a great natural product to add to any skin care routine. It’s gentle, sustainable and good for all skin types. For acne prone skin, tea tree oil and aloe vera are also great natural skin care staples.
For an age defying skin care routine, face serums containing the “youthful superstars” are a must-have: vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid. SPF for your face is also important at every age to protect from harmful UV rays and slow aging signs from sun damage.
Below we’ve compiled a full list of everything you need for a complete daily skin care routine for morning and night.
Daily Morning Skin Care Routine
Morning skin care is all about starting with a fresh clean palette for the day and protecting your skin from makeup and the elements. Using the right skin care products in the right order ensures your makeup looks great, stays put, and doesn’t damage your complexion.
The skin care products you should use in the morning are face wash, toner, moisturizer and SPF for face. If you plan on wearing makeup, adding a makeup primer and setting spray to your morning skin care routine can help your look stay fresh all day.
Step by Step AM Skin Care Routine
Step 1: Cleanse. Choose a daily face wash that suits your skin type and individual skin care needs. If your current morning skin care includes acne face wash with harsh synthetic chemicals, it may be giving you dull dry skin. Instead, opt for a natural tea tree oil face wash that’s gentle for all skin types, but still gives you the same acne fighting oomph.
Step 2: Tone. Using toner is one of the most confusing parts of skin care. It’s pounded into our brains that toners “shrink pores,” but that’s just about it— we’re left hanging wondering why and how. Old school toners were meant to pH balance skin, and remove residue from cleansers, but usually ended up drying out skin.
Modern day toners, especially natural ones like rosewater toner, are no longer alcohol based. They’re simply liquids that penetrate the skin quickly to deliver hydration and remove dead skin cells. This is why toner is good for pores, it gives the appearance of smaller pores by removing dead skin and other pore-stretching impurities.
A good way to remember when to use toner in your skin care routine is to remember the deep pore-cleansing action. You don’t want any gunk trapped in your pores beneath moisturizers and makeup or keeping the nutrients from your moisturizer from sinking in.
Step 3: Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturizing is the key to glowing skin and an absolute must for age defying skin care routines. Using skin care products that plump up your skin with water helps make wrinkles and fine lines less noticeable.
Step 4: SPF. Don’t skip sunscreen. Human skin ages naturally with the passage of time, of course, but skin is also aged by UV radiation from the sun. This process is called photoaging. Adding SPF products to your skin care routine is critical because photoaging is cumulative.
In other words, the only way to combat signs of aging from sun damage is to protect skin from the sun. Not to mention the connection between photoaging and skin cancer risk. Bottom line is, the less UV rays your skin is exposed to, the better.
Step 5: Makeup Primer. If you don’t wear makeup, makeup primer is unnecessary— that’s a no-brainer. If you do wear makeup, primer doesn’t just give you a smooth base for makeup application though. A quality natural makeup primer often contains nourishing ingredients that help keep your skin smooth for makeup and also protect it from the environment.
Step 6: Makeup. Once your face is properly cleansed, nourished and moisturized you’ve created the perfect healthy canvas to start painting!
Step 7: Optional: Makeup Setting Spray. If you have a very long or sweaty day ahead of you, adding a natural makeup setting spray to your morning skin care routine can help you stay feeling fresh. On no-makeup days, a setting spray can also be used to naturally control shine.
Daily Evening Skin Care Routine
Evening skin care is less about prepping and protecting your skin for the day and more about deeply nourishing your skin. Before bed is the best time to the apply products that you want your skin to fully absorb with no interference from makeup or environmental stress.
The main skin care products you should use in the evening are face serums and acne spot treatments, although you will repeat the Big Three (cleanse, tone, moisturize) as well. Additionally, we recommend moisturizing with a face oil, like jojoba as the perfect touch for smooth glowing skin.
Step by Step PM Skin Care Routine
Step 1. Cleanse. If you wear makeup, start with natural makeup wipes or makeup remover and follow up with your regular face wash used in your AM skin care routine.
Step 2: Tone. Yes, tone again. During evening skin care you’re going to be applying all the good stuff your skin needs the most, you want your pores nice and fresh for those steps.
Step 3: Face Serums. Vitamin C and retinol are used in face serums because they’re both powerful antioxidants that can help improve the look and feel of your skin. Unfortunately, they can also cause photosensitivity. This means that vitamin C and retinol serums can cause skin irritation if you go out into the sun after applying.
For this reason, vitamin C and retinol serums are best applied during evening skin care. Hyaluronic acid on its own is NOT known to cause photosensitivity, but hyaluronic serums for skin care often include either vitamin C, retinol, or both.
When applying your PM skin care serums, don’t forget to follow the Very Radiant Human rule: vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid.
Step 4: Moisturize with Face Oil. Again, moisturizing is absolutely essential to a good skin care routine. Moisturizing with a natural oil like jojoba after using serums is especially beneficial. Following up your nightly serums routine with a natural oil for your face helps “seal in” all the nutrients and moisture delivered by the serums.
Step 5: Spot Treatment. Spot treatments are always best done in the evening so they have time to fully absorb and do their thing. As mentioned above, essential oils are awesome skin care tools for soothing acne spots.
Just mix few drops of jojoba oil or aloe vera gel with one drop of either tea tree or lavender oil. Dab the mix on the problem spot. Let sit overnight and wash as usual.
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