As a professional makeup artist, you can imagine that I see a wide variety of skin types and conditions. While I do try to provide insight and advice about the importance of good skin care, I also try not to bore my clients with an overload of information. Most people simply don’t want to hear it and that’s what’s so perplexing to me. Why wouldn’t someone want to know how to improve their skin? I’ll tell you why: It’s because they have long-held misconceptions about what they can and cannot do about it.
The first step towards good skin care is acknowledging its importance. Why is skin care so important? Of course it’s because healthy skin looks better, but it also helps us look better with makeup! For my clients and students, it’s all about confidence! I’m a big advocate of aging gracefully and loving oneself, but I also advocate looking and feeling as healthy as possible for as long as possible. It’s never too late to start good habits to prevent you from regretting not doing it sooner.
Instead of listing the most common misconceptions about skin care, which anyone with a smartphone can access a zillion articles about, I will tell you the ones I hear the most from people in my makeup chair:
“I just don’t have time for the hassle.”
This is a fair argument because we’ve all read those long articles outlining a dozen steps and procedures for skin care. I know people who do those all those crazy steps and I commend them. However, most of us just aren’t that concerned about it. The truth is, once you discover how easy and quick it is to integrate one or two little things into your routine, you really will wish that you’d done it sooner. Exfoliating your face in the shower takes less than a minute, and slapping on a little moisturizer when you get out also takes less than a minute. Less time than brushing your teeth.
“Isn’t skin care stuff really expensive?”
Skin care products are a lot like makeup in that they come in a range of price points. You can spend $15 on a good foundation that does the exact same thing as the $50 foundation, you just need to know which one’s which. No matter what your income or budget is, nobody wants to spend $45 on a tiny little tub of moisturizer that will last a week at the most. The skin care industry is a lot like the cosmetics industry in that it is also loaded with B.S. The advertisements will try to convince you that you need the best, and of course the most expensive, products. The professionals, on the other hand, will tell you that it’s all about ingredients, and the amount of those ingredients, within the product.
“It’s too late for me. The damage is already done.”
I hear this one all the time and it’s the one I call B.S. for the most part. You may have wrinkles or dry, sun-damaged skin, but it’s never too late to see improvement. No skin care product will erase wrinkles, but they can absolutely improve the look of them. If you start exfoliating regularly and moisturizing daily, you will see a tremendous difference. You cannot expect a visible difference if you only do it a couple of times and then give up. You must do it as regularly as showering and brushing your teeth, making it as much of a priority as those two things that you already do. Two extra minutes a day is all it takes and I promise you that you’ll see a huge difference!
“I don’t know what stuff to buy or how to use it.”
This is the other one I hear the most often and it is absolutely valid. Going to the store to find anything beauty-related can be an overwhelming task. There are just way too many choices of products that all claim to be the one you need. While it is impossible for me to tell you what you need for your skin without the benefit of asking you a few key questions and assessing it myself, I can break it down into very small, bite-size chunks for you to be able to find out for yourself.
What’s your skin type?
Most people know their skin type but in case you don’t, here’s an easy way to find out: Skin types are usually broken down into five categories: oily, normal, dry, combination, and sensitive. Some brands lump them together, like normal-to-dry or normal/combination (some spots are normal, some are oily). To find out which one you have, you only need to closely observe your skin a couple of hours after showering or washing your face, and not using any products immediately afterwards. Does your skin feel tight and dry? Does it feel oily to the touch? Does it feel calm and normal? Is it red, itchy, or irritated/sore? Another good way to tell is called the “blot test.” A few hours after washing your face, press a piece of tissue paper (or blotting tissue) onto your face and then hold it up to the light. You’ll be able to see where the tissue has absorbed some oil (or not). Once you’ve determined your skin type, you can begin to give your skin what it needs.
The biggest “myth” about oily skin is that it doesn’t need hydration. False! Oil is not the same thing as hydration and oily skin needs it as much as dry skin does! What oily skin doesn’t need is more oil. Cleansers, toners, moisturizers, foundations, concealers, etc., all come in oil-free formulas and all of these products come in a range of prices. Oily skin also needs exfoliation as much, if not more, than all the other skin types. Oily skin is much more susceptible to clogged pores and blemishes, and exfoliating regularly really helps clear out all that junk. You don’t have to exfoliate daily, but every other day at least. Moisturizing daily is a must! Get in the habit!
The biggest “myth” about dry skin is that it is made worse by over-cleansing or exfoliating. False! It’s made worse by dry air and, obviously, a lack of moisture. All of the products mentioned above (cleansers, moisturizers, foundations, etc.) all come in hydrating formulas with key ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid, squalene, and ceramides. All skin types need these and products that contain these ingredients are now very common and affordable. If your moisturizer does not contain at least one of these ingredients, then skip it!
The biggest “myth” about this skin type is that it’s the “easiest” to take care of. False! Normal or combination skin needs all the same care as the others: daily moisturizing and (at least) every other day exfoliation. It still needs those key ingredients and it still needs hydration. Even if only a portion of your combination skin is on the oily side, you should still use only oil-free products as long as they have at least one of the key ingredients.
The biggest “myth” about sensitive skin is that it’s dry. False! Sensitive skin can be any skin type, but it’s sensitive to outside factors such as ingredients in products. It still needs to be exfoliated, but instead of the normally rough exfoliating pads, you can use a soft washcloth. Cleansers, soaps, moisturizers, etc., all come in formulas for sensitive skin. Look for products that are labeled “gentle,” “hypoallergenic,” or “for sensitive skin.”
Expensive isn’t always better, and cheaper isn’t always worse.
The skin care industry is also just as competitive as the cosmetics industry, so naturally there will be lesser-known or smaller companies that come along and disrupt the Big Guys’ programs. E.L.F. is one of those companies. Just like the big “eyeshadow wars,” (small companies producing high-pigment, quality shadows for a third of the cost of the big brands), ELF has been in the game for a couple of decades now, making quality products at a much lower price point. Now they’ve gotten into the skin care game and are making top-notch stuff for less than a third of the cost of the high-end brands. In short, ELF is making great skin care stuff for very affordable prices, and I am on board 100%. I use many of their skin care products on my own skin and I recommend them to my clients too.
All skin types need daily moisturizing with a hydrating moisturizer and at least every other day exfoliating.
*Oily skin needs daily moisturizing with a hydrating and oil-free moisturizer and at least every other day exfoliating.
*Combination skin needs daily moisturizing with a hydrating and oil-free moisturizer and at least every other day exfoliating.
*Normal and dry skin both need daily moisturizing with a hydrating moisturizer and at least every other day exfoliating.
*Sensitive skin needs daily moisturizing with a hydrating and gentle/hypoallergenic moisturizer and at least every other day exfoliating with a gentle exfoliating pad or washcloth.
*All of your moisturizing products should contain at least one of these ingredients: hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid, squalene, or ceramides. Bonus points if it has two or more!
*Recommended brands: If you have no idea where to even start looking for a good product line or cleansers and moisturizers, here’s a quick list of the top brands of skin care. Not all of these brands make every product you need, but the products they do make are very good. Neutrogena, Cerave, Kiehl’s, L’Oreal, and ELF. Revlon, Drunk Elephant, and La Roche-Posay are great too, but they’re expensive.
If you’d like a more detailed and comprehensive guide to skin care, you can purchase my e-book right here.
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