There are a million reasons a product may (or may not) work for us.
Between skin type, sensitivities, and a myriad of other things that make your skin YOUR skin, finding the right fit can be complicated.
But sometimes, a product may not be working simply because we're not using it the way it's supposed to be used, and we end up giving up on something that may have done us good in the long run.
Before you throw something away, read this post all the way through to know that you've given it a fair chance at winning you over.
1. Oil Cleansers
- at night only if you're wearing makeup or sunscreen, or if you have DESPERATELY oily skin
- in the morning only if you wore an extremely heavy overnight mask the night before
- ALWAYS follow your oil cleanser with a surfactant cleanser (Read our post on why) unless your skin is debilitatingly dry and you cannot use surfactant cleansers without causing irritation and you know for a fact it's not because you're using the wrong surfactant cleanser for your skin.
2. Surfactant Cleansers
- on it's own at night if you're not wearing makeup or sunscreen
- in the morning if you're very oily and your skin is unmanageable without it (otherwise a rinse with lukewarm water and/or a wash cloth is enough)
- morning and night
- apply using gauze instead of cotton pads to avoid product waste
- use to dampen skin to allow better absorption for following products
4. Chemical Peel/Chemical Exfoliants
- only at night and only on clean skin
- once a week at first, then 2-3 times a week as your skin becomes used to it
- allow 3-5 minutes for full absorption before moving on to next step
- ALWAYS use a good moisturizer (preferably a cream) when using a peel
- ALWAYS rinse/wash your face the morning after you use a peel
4. Manual/Mechanical Exfoliants
- max 2-3 times a week (less if you use chemical peels and/or if your skin shows signs of irritation or over drying)
- morning or night optional
- always use a good moisturizer (preferably a cream) to protect the fresh layer of skin
- use serums and masks after exfoliating in order to get the deepest product penetration
- morning and night (Vitamin C preferably at night. Retinol only at night)
- damp skin is best (except for Retinol. Dry skin only for Retinols or it will penetrate too deeply and cause damage)
- decrease frequency of Vitamin C or Retinol serums if skin becomes irritated
- allow 3-5 minutes for full absorption before next step
- don't use chemical peels and Vitamin C/Retinol serums on the same night if skin is prone to irritation
6. Facial Oil
- morning and night for dry skin, night only for normal/combo/oily skin
- use for facial massage or to lubricate facial tools such as rollers and gua sa stones
- combine with moisturizing lotions and creams to give extra boost
7. Moisturizing Creams & Lotions
- morning AND night (lighter consistency for day time, heavier consistency at night time) without exception
- if skin feels tight within 1-4 hours after moisturizer has been applied, add facial oil to the cream OR purchase a heavier moisturizer
8. Overnight Masks
- at night 2-3 times a week when dry, once a week when not
- ALWAYS wash face the morning after a heavy overnight mask
- once a week to maintain skin health OR when needed to treat a certain concern (i.e. charcoal mask during a breakout, brightening mask when skin is looking a bit dull)
- not more than 2 masks a week to prevent your skin from being overwhelmed
- only when needed to deal with acute issues
- do not use strong treatments "preventatively" as they are not designed for prolonged every day use and will probably stress out your skin (proper skin care is the best preventative measure)
The general "rule" to keep in mind is from thinnest consistency to thickest consistency, with occlusive products like creams putting the "seal" overtop and locking it all in.
1. Oil Cleanser
2. Surfactant Cleanser
3. Manual Exfoliant
4. Mask (if you're doing one)
4. Chemical Exfoliant
6. Spot Treatment
7. Facial Oil
8. Moisturizer OR Overnight Mask
I know it seems like a lot, but let me encourage you (nay, implore you) to NOT use all these products and steps everyday.
Our skin can't take it.
Find a solid "every day" regimen with 3-5 products that makes your skin happy and healthy.
Once that regimen has been established, start adding on, and add on sparingly and with time in between until you have a "weekly" regimen, and eventually a "monthly" one.
If your skin shows ANY signs of stress (redness, irritation, inflammation, unexplainable breakouts, dryness or flaking) it means you need to slow down and reevaluate.
Read our blog on How To Build A Regimen if you're curious about how to build or add on to your skincare regimen safely and effectively.
I know it's a lot to take in, but if we're going to invest in product, we have to make it work for us! No point buying a car and never learning to drive, right?