As a Facialist, I’ve Tried Tons of Formulas—Here’s What I Swear By
Being a beauty addict from a young age, I always knew this industry was for me. Before I even dreamed of writing (and having the beauty editor title I have today), I studied for my aesthetician license and trained with hundreds of brands. Testing the latest product launches and innovative formulas might be a lot of fun, but not everything that hits my desk gets my seal of approval. With so many products and even more marketing jargon out there, it takes a lot more than fancy buzzwords for me to clear space on my shelf.
I don’t necessarily believe in beauty rules—as we all have uniquely beautiful skin and what works for me might not work for someone else—but having treated thousands of people both IRL and online (that’s 2020 for you), there are some key takeaways I’ve learned along the way that I believe truly carve the path for healthy skin—no matter your type and concerns.
CLEANSE, BUT MAKE IT A DOUBLEWhile not the most “fun”, washing your face is undoubtedly the most important part of any skincare routine and is often overlooked. Whether you’re typically bare-faced or prefer full glam, you should always remove all the makeup, grime, and sweat from your skin every single night—otherwise, all that gunk can get trapped in pores and trigger breakouts, premature aging, and more. General hygiene aside, starting with a clean, fresh slate allows your other skincare treatments to penetrate more efficiently and better work their magic.
I’ve always been a big fan of double cleansing—washing once with an oil-based cleanser and following up with a water-based one—to really get every last bit clean. Toweling off with a face cloth helps gently exfoliate, too. I love starting with an oil cleanse because it doesn't strip the skin of its natural oils (you never want skin to feel ‘squeaky clean’) and then washing any grime I missed with a gel cleanser. You can double cleanse anytime, but it’s particularly helpful in the PM since not as many impurities make their way onto the skin while you’re asleep (use something like a Hydrating Milk if you prefer a quick, light cleanse in the morning).
It may be tempting to do speed through your double cleanse especially after a long day, but really take the time to massage both products into your face for 60 seconds (or at least 30 if you’re on a time crunch) and make sure you don’t use water that’s too hot as that can damage your skin’s moisture barrier.
DON’T OVERFOLIATE (OR BE AFRAID OF ACIDS)Believe me when I say that the majority of people that I’ve met are over exfoliating—and it’s easy to understand why. The super smooth skin that’s revealed after using a good scrub may feel incredibly satisfying at the time, but it’s very easy to damage your skin if you overdo it.
My favorite way to buff away dead skin is by using an acid-based exfoliator rather than a physical scrub. Don’t be put off by the word ‘acid’—AHAs are derived from commonplace ingredients like milk, sugar, and apples and can deliver a super gentle exfoliation for an all-over glow.
The answer to “how often should I exfoliate?” can vary from person to person, but start with 1-3 times a week and see how your skin feels. If I want something a bit more intense, particularly for brightening my hyperpigmentation, I might add in a weekly facial peel.
YES, SPF IS NON-NEGOTIABLE As a facialist and editor, I’m still always shocked by how many people don’t wear sun protection everyday (and trust me, I’ve heard every excuse). Regardless of where you live, the color of your skin, or how much time you spend outside, wearing an SPF is essential.
There are two types of UV rays: UVA (which breaks down collagen and speeds up premature aging) and UVB (which is associated with burning). Ultimately, overexposure of either type can damage skin and lead to cancer. That’s why I recommend layering on a broad-spectrum SPF that protects against both kinds of rays (even on a cloudy day or while indoors; rays are still present when hidden behind clouds and can penetrate window glass).
Read more about how sunscreen can protect skin from all different types of light (not just the sun).