8 skincare products may sound like a lot to you, but when broken down, it may make more sense. One won’t work as well with the other. And the other won’t help prevent wrinkles like you want to. I’m a little obsessed with skincare these days. After being introduced to Cosmedix in my late 20’s I haven’t really looked back at my terrible skincare habits. I was never washing my face. Maybe in the shower with something from the drugstore. And I wasn’t using any sort of toner, serum or anti-aging products. I would get horribly clogged pores on my forehead and develop small flesh colored bumps in the summer. And in the winter, my pores on my nose would be black and full of dead skin. Not pretty, I promise.
After using Cosmedix for a few years, and chatting extensively with Ryan, their lead educator and aesthetician, I feel like I found my other passion. Skincare! I’ve been saying lately that if I ever needed to quit the blog and find another job, I think I’d become an aesthetician. I just love talking about skincare, I love seeing the transformation and I love learning about it.
“I regret taking such good care of my skin” – said no one ever
A few things I learned over the years is that you definitely need an arsenal of skincare products. From morning routines to nighttime, to even your weekly ones. I’ve shared my usual routine here which is pretty similar to today. But I want to share the list of the type of products you should own. The ones your routine should have no matter what. I’ve provided suggestions on the products I use, but this list is really a list of steps you should have. From cleansing to exfoliating, to using toners, serums, and moisturizers. These are the types of skincare products your routine should have and I’m providing my favorite products within that routine. You can obviously swap out the product, but I want you to learn about the step itself and why it’s important.
If you’re new to skincare I’m going to recommend starting with a few things. Cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer. If you’re doing at least that, you’re probably way ahead of the game. If you want to go a little farther and make your moisturizer work harder for you, invest in a great serum. And to prevent wrinkles, a daily night cream, or a 2-3 times a week stronger retinol. More on each of these types of products, what they mean and how to use them below.
*This post is NOT sponsored by Cosmedix. Over the years I have just learned what I love and what works for me. Plus, I love supporting an Atlanta based company that’s right in my backyard.
The Skincare Products Every Woman Should Own
This is the no-brainer. If you aren’t cleansing your face we got some problems, friend! I typically cleanse my face in the morning in the shower. It has been a challenge to have a really great nighttime routine for me, but when I do it, I ALWAYS cleanse at night. Cleansers work to remove dirt, oil and makeup. They help to unclog pores and remove dead skin. I personally use this cleanser and this cleanser. One in the summer, and one in the winter. Benefit Clean is super gentle a great universal cleanser.
An exfoliator is designed to improve the texture of your skin by removing the surface layer. This sounds harsher than it actually is. But removing a layer of dead skin will not only reveal younger more beautiful skin, but it also allows your products in your next step (serums and moisturizers) to be better absorbed. It will also allow your makeup to be applied more evenly and smoothly. Exfoliating shouldn’t be done every single day, but maybe 1-2 times per week. Always work your way up to more frequency.
When I do remember to exfoliate (at night after I wash my face with my cleanser) I use the Purity Detox Scrub with just one pump of my cleanser to create a paste.
A toner should be used right after cleansing and before any serums or moisturizers get applied. I use the Purity Balance for it’s lactic and salicylic acid. I’m quite oily so this helps to balance my skin out. It also helps to remove another layer of skin that maybe the exfoliator didn’t. I spray a few sprays on a cotton pad and swipe it over my face. You’ll see dead skin on the pad after you run it over your face and neck (I never forget my neck!). What you’re seeing on the pad is dead skin that your cleanser and exfoliator may have missed. I always feel like I have my life together when the pad barely has anything on it.
Before your moisturizer, you’ll want to use a serum. The best way to understand the serum and moisturizer combination is that the serum are your vitamins, and the moisturizer is your drink of water to wash them down. A serum is usually packed with nutrients, vitamins and ingredients that will help to transform your skin. If you’re not using a serum yet, I would say this is the thing you need to add to your routine immediately. The price tag seems a little high, but you use such a small amount that it will last you a very long time.
I use the Simply Brilliant right now and it helps to even out skin tone, while brightening your skin with ingredients like Whitonyl and Waltheria along with potent antioxidants to defend against free radicals. What are free radicals? They’re anything from UV rays, to car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke. Basically all the things your skin may come into contact with throughout the day that you have little to no control over.
5. Moisturizer & SPF
Finally, moisturizer! I know it seems like it took forever to get to what you thought was ALL you needed. But trust me. Once you have your toner and serum in place, your moisturizer will not only work better, but you’ll probably need one less pump of it. Truth! I have a few moisturizers that I rotate through depending on what my skin is feeling like or what the day has in store for me.
My tried and true, and the one item I’d want with me on a deserted island is my Peptide Rich Defense moisturizer with SPF 50. I have been using this for YEARS and I can not recommend it enough. There is also Humidify which is great if you live in a super dry climate, or Shineless if you’re very oily. But the PRD is oil-free as well and if you ask me, a great universal moisturizer that I will never stop buying and using. Whatever you choose to use, just be sure that this step ALSO includes an SPF for the day. This is a crucial step and I think one that easily goes hand in hand with your moisturizer.
6. Anti-Aging Night Cream
Now onto our night time routine. At night, you should also be cleansing your face and using a toner. Exfoliate occasionally when you can. But you can skip your moisturizer and let your night creams do the work here. If you want anti-aging, you need retinol. Period. Retinol helps to stimulate new cell growth. It’s a form of Vitamin A and truly is the fountain of youth if you ask me.
You can get Retinol from a dermatologist at a high potency that you can maybe use once a week and your skin will probably peel. Which is great. But, not everyone has access to that and it’s expensive. In its place, I use Cosmedix Define. This product has a 2% AGP complex which basically means it’s a retinol that’s microencapsulated for an evener application and a more controlled release. You won’t get super red, dry flaky skin from this which is great. Instead, you’ll see skin renewal that allows more even skin tone, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and overall better skin texture.
Depending on your skin, you may want to try this just once a week as everyone reacts differently to the retinol. I’m able to use it daily without seeing any redness but that’s just me. Always start with once a week with these more potent formulas and work your way up. Also, always use an SPF with retinol period.
$80 Define • For a retinol free nightime product, I also love this Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel
7. Eye Cream
We can’t forget under our eyes can we? This is something I struggle with the most as I suffer from very dark circles. I also want to plump up the skin and renew it so that I do not get wrinkles. For that, I use Eye Genius which helps combat both. In the morning I use Eye Genius which helps to plump the skin with peptides and illuminate it as well.
At night, and if you had to choose one over the other, I suggest doing a night eye cream, I use Opti-Crystal. There’s a long list of benefits to this and there’s a reason why it’s their #1 selling eye care item. Not only does it improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles but it also protects against free radicals. Plus it’s all rainbowy and purple so it’s fun to apply!
8. Weekly Mask
Masks have become super popular and although I’ve tried my fair share of them, none do what the Pure Enzyme mask does. I’ve done masks that may just hydrate a bit, or claim to exfoliate. But this mask you can actually FEEL working and see a difference in your skin immediately. It feels like you’re at an aesthetician’s office getting a peel but you’re doing it at home while watching The Bachelor. It tingles while you’re doing it and your skin looks like it’s been regenerated (it’ll be a little red, don’t freak out it’s normal!). With hydration-boosting Gluconic Acid your skin is left more plump, exfoliated and overall more beautiful. I recommend doing this mask just once a week for 10-15 minutes.
Featured Image by Anna Sullivan