Humans are creatures of habit. Once we get used to doing something a certain way, especially if it seems to work, we tend to stick with it.
This can be a good thing when we’re talking about skin care. If we make it a habit to cleanse, tone, treat, and moisturize on a daily basis, we’re more likely to enjoy healthy, youthful-looking skin for a lifetime.
Sometimes, though, habits can work against us. Even if we start breaking out, seeing more fine lines, or noticing increased sagging, we’re likely to stick to the same old routine. We’re used to repeating the same steps over and over again, and since we’re so busy in the rest of our lives, we don’t think about potentially changing them.
The best skin care routine, however, is one that is ever-changing, from season to season and from year to year. We are growing, evolving beings, and our skin is affected by everything. Seasonal changes, climate changes, stress, age, lifestyle changes, health issues, even job changes or family changes can affect how the skin behaves and what it needs.
That means we have to be more flexible in our daily skin care routine. What habits should we keep, and which should we let go?
In this post, we’re going to focus on those steps you should let go, and right now. Maybe you’ve been doing these and maybe not, but just in case, here are five steps that if you want youthful, radiant skin, you should dump from your routine today.
1. Using Too Many Products at the Same Time
This one is easy to fall into. We have so many choices in products these days. Plus, we’re constantly exposed to images in the media that convince us of all our flaws, and advertisements by product marketers promising to erase those flaws.
It used to be that we worried mostly about cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, but today most of us have added on anti-aging treatments, exfoliating, and masking. These are good additions, as they help the skin resist the ravages of aging, but we can get caught up in too much of a good thing.
If you’re noticing symptoms like these, it could be that you’re using too many products:
Skin that is reacting with these symptoms—especially if you’ve been trying out some new products lately—is likely overwhelmed. Back off to your basic cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, and gradually build up again to include exfoliation 1-3 times a week (depending on your skin type), a serum (maybe only every other night until your skin adjusts), and masks as needed.
We love exfoliation. It helps skin appear more dewy and fresh, and also evens skin tone.
But we can overdo the exfoliation part of our routine. Most experts recommend between 1-3 times a week, but it totally depends on your skin, the type of exfoliator being used, what’s going on in your life, the time of year, and your diet.
Oily skin types, especially, love exfoliating because they think it’s helping to reduce oily skin and minimize the appearance of large pores. When the skin is over-scrubbed or over-exfoliated, though, it will actually become stressed. The natural reaction is to produce more sebum to help protect itself, and that could mean more oil and more clogged pores.
There is no set schedule for how many times a week you should exfoliate. Watch your skin for signs. If it’s clear and healthy, you’re doing well. If your skin is oily, or getting dry and thin, you may be overdoing it.
3. Applying Products in the Wrong Order
We were all taught to cleanse, tone, and moisturize.
Most of us began skin care in our teens with these three words ringing in our ears. So when we began to hear about anti-aging serums, exfoliators and masks, we naturally assumed they must all come after that set-in-stone three-step process.
If you’re waiting until after you moisturize to apply your serum, though, you’re making a mistake, and you may be wasting your money. Moisturizers typically have a heavier consistency, or a heavier weight, and they can stop lighter formulas from penetrating the skin.
So rearrange your thinking to go this way:
- Exfoliate (1-3x per week, depending on your skin type)
- Apply a mask (1-3x per week, depending on your skin type)
Note: Cleansing should always be performed prior to exfoliating or masking. Feel free
to combine these steps or do them separately.
By the way, if you’re using Annmarie Skin Care products, you’ll have less trouble with this. All of our serums are aloe-based and our moisturizers are oil-based.
4. Using the Wrong Products
We’re talking about habits, here, and once we fall in love with a product, most of us are unwilling to give it up.
Here’s where you need to tune into your skin. As we age, it changes, and it starts to need different things. Even oily types can get dry on the cheeks. Dry skin types may find that they can’t give their skin enough moisture. And all skin types may find that their cleanser suddenly seems to be too harsh.
Take a second look at the products you’re using. Are they really benefitting your skin? Consider some of the possible changes below:
- If your cleanser is leaving your skin feeling tight and dry, dump it and switch to a gentler version. We recommend a pH balanced cleanser.
- Same with your toner—if it leaves you tight and dry, take a look at the ingredients. If there’s alcohol in there, that’s likely your problem, but even some natural ones can be less than helpful. Look for a more hydrating toner that helps stabilize skin and get it ready for moisture.
- Is your moisturizer still performing well for you? If you find that your cheeks feel dry halfway through the day, or that you’re seeing flakiness or dullness under your foundation, it’s time for something new. Look for a formula that is more likely to penetrate skin with moisture that lasts all day. We love using natural oils since they are 100% absorbed by the skin.
- If you’re getting dry, which most of us do as we age, consider a hydrating/moisturizing mask. You may have used only exfoliating or purifying masks in the past, but aging skin often needs more moisture.
The important thing is to listen to your skin. If it’s not thriving with the products you’re using now, it’s time to try something new. Just go slowly—add only one new product for about every 2-3 weeks, to give your skin a chance to adjust.
5. Applying Makeup with Dirty Brushes
You know you do it. You leave those brushes for weeks and maybe even months before you wash them.
Who has time, right?
This is important, though. You need to wash your brushes. Once a week is optimal. They are like sponges when it comes to picking up stuff you don’t want. Think of all the oil, bacteria, and other impurities that they pick up from your skin every day. You’re redepositing all that back onto your skin every time you use them.
Plus the brushes also hang on to extra product when you’re finished, which means after a week they’re full of old concealer, foundation, eyeshadow, blush, and powder. They are then exposed to the air in your bathroom or dressing room, where they can pick up bacteria and other impurities.
If you’re experiencing breakouts, redness, irritation, or rashes, this could be why.
Cleaning is easy. You can invest in a brush spray or shampoo, or simply use some of your regular hair shampoo to clean them out. Then set them on the edge of the counter to let them dry.