A client came into see me recently. She was concerned about her skin but had no experience with skin care. This following is a fairly common scenario:
– They’ve washed with soap and water for the majority of their life.
– They’ve baked in the sun, usually using baby oil and possibly iodine to “tan”.
– They’ve never used anything on their skin like moisturizers or exfoliants.
– They’re just now noticing some lines and pigmentation and want to do something about it.
I’d say that the above describes at least 4/10 women that come to see me for facials and consultations.
And 4/4 of them are surprised that I don’t send them home with every single skin care item that I can.
This is the reason why:
– Most people can make changes in their lives easily and successfully, but only small changes. Larger changes are more difficult and likely to fail over time.
– Routines take about a month to set up. The easier and more simple the routine is to start, the easier it is to stick with it and ultimately, add to it.
– These clients will start to see major changes in their skin from one or two very easy changes. Adding products later, creating more positive changes, keeps them excited.
– It’s much less likely for a client to feel buyer’s remorse if they’ve gotten just a few “products to try” and go from their. If they feel guilty, chances are they won’t come back or purchase anything else.
– Let’s face it, skin care can be intimidating if you’ve only used soap your whole life. Too many products to start makes it more complicated than need be.
So, if you are one of those women who are interested in looking your best, having healthy skin, and possibly combating the signs of aging BUT currently don’t do more than wash your face with soap once a day, here is what I recommend:
First, get a facial from a licensed professional. You will learn about your skin type, find out what you should be using, and have a chance to ask questions. Also, the exfoliation step will make a huge difference in your skin. This removes some of the dead skin cells, making your skin look fresher, younger, brighter, and less dull. The products that you purchase will be far more effective if they don’t have to go penetrate that thick layer of dead skin cells. In addition, you’ll feel a lot better about your skin. Your esthetician should give you a realistic view of what’s possible with at-home care and with professional treatments.
Next, buy two products. Start with a facial wash. Get out of the habit of washing your face with soap, which can be irritating and drying. Follow your esthetician’s advice about when to wash–usually for most skin types once in the morning and once before bed. The second product should be a hydrator (moisturizer) with an SPF built into it. You will put this on every morning before leaving. Eventually you will also add an evening moisturizer sans SPF, but for now this is the most important product. Sun damage is one of the largest “aging factors” and can lead to many skin cancers.
In about a month, after you’re used to washing your face twice a day and moisturizing every morning, add an evening moisturizer and an eye cream. Since you’re already used to moisturizing in the morning after you wash your face, the evening moisturizer will be easy to integrate. The eye cream is also a very simple step. Some use it only at night, but there is no reason you cannot use it during the day as well for maximal effect. Get another facial at this time if you can afford it. The facial specialist should give you some good feedback and tell you about the positive changes in your skin.
In another month add an exfoliant. This is an easy once-a-week step that only takes a minute or two. Small pieces of a gently abrasive substance such as apricot seeds or loofah are rubbed gently (this is the key–follow the instructions that you are given by your facial person) after washing your face. The face is then rinsed. This helps to remove dead skin cells. If you can add this step sooner, and feel like you won’t be overwhelmed, go ahead and do so. Toner is a daily addition that you use directly after washing your face, usually in the evening.
The beginning of the next month on your journey towards a healthy lifetime skin routine, you will likely need to buy more cleanser and moisturizer with SPF. Most full sizes in most product lines last 3-4 months, some longer, after which you’ll be out and need to replace it. Try not to completely run out of any one thing so that you don’t break your routine.
So in short, add things in this order unless advised otherwise:
– Cleanser and SPF Moisturizer
– Evening Moisturizer and Eye Cream
– Weekly Exfoliant and Toner
Your skin care routine will end up looking like this:
– Cleanse face
– While still moist, apply any serums and let penetrate
– Apply very small amount of eye cream
– Apply SPF moisturizer
– Cleanse face
– Use toner to add additional nutrition and remove anything your cleansing may have missed
– Apply any serums and let penetrate
– Apply small amount of eye cream
– Apply evening moisturizer
– Add the exfoliating step once per week (and only once per week) after cleansing
– Pick up any products that you are going to be out of within a week
– Get a professional facial if you can afford it (do not exfoliate yourself the week before your facial)
It is much better to spend your money on at home products than monthly facials if you must make the choice. Think of it this way: we address your face once per month with our products; you address your face thirty to sixty times a month. Using at home care after your first facial will be far more effective than using nothing and getting a facial once per month.