Hello everyone! Thanks for taking the time out of your day to sit down and learn a little about skincare with me today. I get a lot of questions on my social media from people asking how to take care of their skin. Questions range from "is ___ safe to use on my face?" to "should I tone my face after I cleanse, or before?" Of course I don't mind answering your questions and I hope that I can direct you to other sources. I usually end my replies with "and it doesn't hurt to Google your question!"
I get it, believe me. Skincare is something that most parents don't teach their kids in depth, for an assortment of reasons. One reason being that skincare can definitely be a luxury and not all families are concerned with their skin because they have other priorities. Another reason being that scientists and researchers are constantly finding out new things about the body, so some of the products and home remedies that your mom might've used in the 80s would be ruled "very unsafe" today.
Fortunately my mom introduced me to skincare when I was in middle school. Many of my friends whose parents relied on traditional cultural remedies for acne also had a head start on entering the world of skincare. So this post is for beginners who don't exactly know how to care for their skin on a regular basis - or anyone who just wants a refresher. Here it is: skincare explained in three simple steps.
Step 0: Nourish
I know this is sort of cheating considering I just said this post would only cover three steps, but this step is meant to be ongoing. Step 0 entails maintaining a healthy diet. Did you know that what you eat influences your skin? Yup, that's right. There is most definitely a correlation between those super greasy fries you ate two days ago and the fat pimple that showed up on your chin this morning. Hey, we've all been there.
The most important thing to take away from Step 0 is that you recognize patterns. If you take a look at this face map, you'll probably start to piece together some notable breakouts and connect them back to your diet at the time. When you eat right, your skin won't freak out.
Step 1: Cleanse
Cleansing is a fancy word for cleaning or washing. There are loads of fancy cleansers you can buy at the drugstore depending on your specific skin concerns, but I've used coconut oil as a cleanser for about a year now. I haven't looked back.
The goal of cleansing is to remove all surface impurities on your face. That means makeup, dirt, sweat, and other gross (but natural) things that accumulated on your face that day. So, you cleanse to get rid of it.
If you're going to use soap, be sure to check whether or not it's a facial soap. Some body soaps (ones that are intended for usage all over your body) have pore clogging ingredients that you don't want on your face.
Make sure your hair is out of your face and get cleansing, friends! Make-up wipes absolutely DO NOT count as cleansing. You still need to wash your face. Trust me on this.
I like to use a wash cloth after I've massaged the coconut oil into my face. I do this for two reasons:
- I want my face fresh for the next step.
- Coconut oil is a comedogenic. That's a fancy word for "pore clogging, facial enemy."
Once you're all fresh faced and glowy, it's time to move on to the next step.
If you plan on doing a face mask, you will apply your mask after cleansing. Think of it like Step 1 1/2. If today isn't the day for a mask, go on and skip to Step 2.
Step 2: Tone
Toning is another one of those weird skincare words that throws people off. The purpose of toning is to restore your skin's pH balance. Your skin is naturally acidic and when you wash your face, you disrupt the balance going on up there. That's why natural household ingredients like apple cider vinegar and witch hazel, which are acidic, make for excellent toners.
Of course you can always opt to buy your own ready-made toners. The one I'm using here is one that S.W Basics sent me a while back is a blend of apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, water, and sandalwood/clary sage essential oils. I'm currently in the process of making my own DIY Toner Mist for you all, so stay tuned for that!
Toning is also super fun for me. There's something sort of cool about seeing all the excess dirt come off your skin. It's got your back in case you missed anything during the first step.
If you get a natural toner, it won't sting your face (the way my old-time favorite but super harsh Clinique toner used to). I like to use cotton pads, but cotton balls work just fine.
Step 3: Moisturize
Don't you dare forget it. Moisturizing is the last step in the very simple skincare routine. Your skin will feel hydrated and happy when you go to sleep and when you wake up. Sounds good, right?
As you can see below, this is my favorite moisturizer ever. Shea Moisture's Black Soap for "problem skin" uses African Black Soap, a notable ingredient that helps clear up your skin. This moisturizer also contains tea tree oil, a personal favorite of mine.
Of course there are different kinds of moisturizer, which I will cover in a later post, but you really just need to invest in a simple, facial moisturizer. I emphasize the word "facial" because, like soaps, things that aren't made for your face will really f*ck up your skin. Please don't try to put any lotion or crazy foot cream on your beautiful faces.
It's totally okay if you didn't know this. Like I said earlier, not everyone has started self-educating themselves about skincare or have super awesome parents who can educate them. It's never too late to learn, so don't feel embarrassed or ashamed if this is all new to you. That's what the post is for!
Thanks everyone, until next time.