There are a lot of reasons to invest in a better skincare routine. It can build your self-confidence as you improve some of your skin concerns and it can help prevent signs of premature aging. Here are a few tips for setting out on your own skincare journey.
I personally find skincare to be therapeutic. I love setting aside a little bit of time each day to pamper myself, even if it’s just washing and moisturizing my face. Caring for your skin doesn’t just improve your appearance, it feels good too. But if you’re new to skincare, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the vast amount of sometimes conflicting information to dig through. Let me simplify things for you a bit.
Figure out your skin type
There are four main types of skin: normal, dry, oily, and combination. Some may argue that sensitive skin is also a skin type, but it can be combined with any of the above types as well, so for simplicity’s sake let’s ignore it for now. A basic test for figuring out your skin type is to wash it with a gentle cleanser (if you don’t have one yet, CeraVe or Cetaphil have some good gentle cleansers). Once your skin is clean, wait 30 minutes and then carefully inspect it in a mirror. What do you see?
If you’re skin feels tight and looks dry or flaky, then you most likely have dry skin. If it’s oily and shiny, you have oily skin. If it has some dry areas and other oily areas then you have combination skin. If you don’t notice any of these things, you are most likely one of the lucky people with a normal skin type.
If you notice that your skin is both oily and dry in the same areas, than this usually means you have oily skin with surface dryness. This type of dryness affects the outermost layer of skin and can be caused by environmental factors, medical conditions or sensitivities to certain ingredients.
Make a list of your skin concerns
When I first started my skincare journey, I made a list of all the things I wanted to fix about it. Some of these things, such as dark undereye circles, were genetic things that I wouldn’t be able to change with topical products, but there were other issues like blackheads and dryness that I have been able to fix. Spend a few minutes examining your skin and make a thorough list of all the things you would like to change. Then, organize the items on your list by priority. By focusing on your skin concerns one by one, it will be easier to learn the best way to tackle them.
Remember that this is a journey to becoming a better you, not a different you. Focus on the things you have control over, like acne, dryness, or skin sensitivity. This is not the time to focus on the shape of your nose or the size of your lips. If you really want to make cosmetic changes, there are avenues for that, but this particular journey should be towards healthier skin.
Do some research
Now that you’ve figured out your skin type and identified some goals, you might be excited to go out and buy some new products. Don’t do this yet. First, take a closer look at the current products you use because they might already be good ones. I encourage everyone to do some research about skincare ingredients, but if you have no prior knowledge and need a place to start, there are some great websites like INCIDecoder that can help you understand the ingredients in the products you already have.
If you decide to purchase some new products, start with the basics like a cleanser and moisturizer. When you’re looking at your options, remember not to listen too closely to what the brands themselves are telling you. Skincare brands can and will say whatever they want to make a sale. Instead, compare the ingredients of different products and read reviews (try to focus on the non-incentivized ones) from people who have used them.
There are some fantastic YouTube channels for learning more about different aspects of skincare. My personal favourite is Dr. Dray,who is a Dermatologist that has tons of amazing tips on skincare products, trends, and routines. Dr. Shereene Idris is also a great Dermatologist to follow for skincare advice.
Plan your routine
Once you have found some solid products, make sure you know how to use them. Certain products (like retinol serums) are best used at night, and others (such as sunscreen) should be used during the day. There are also ingredients that are more beneficial when used together and some that should not be combined. This is where your research will come in handy.
Write down an AM and PM skincare routine that you can commit to following for the next 30 days. You don’t need to follow the same routine every day, but try to keep it as simple as possible. If you are incorporating new products into your routine, remember to start slow. It generally takes around 30 days for a new layer of skin cells to regenerate so it’s best to stick with your routine for a full month in order to see the maximum results. During this time, you may notice breakouts as infections lying under the skin are pushed to the surface. Small breakouts are usually normal but if you notice excess sensitivity it might be a good idea to identify the product that’s causing the reaction and discontinue using it.
Keep a skincare journal
Taking some photos of year skin before starting your new routine, and then at the end of each week is a good way to keep track of your progress. It will help you to see the changes that might be too subtle to notice throughout the week. You might also want to consider keeping a skincare journal to keep track of what is and isn’t working.
I’ve created a skincare planner that can help you track your journey from the very first step. It includes a 5-step routine planner, a 28-day habit tracker, a weekly journal with prompts and more. It is available in the Onwards & Upwards store, or by clicking the link below.
This printable 4-page skincare planner is a great way to keep track of your progress as you begin your skincare journey.