Technique is just as important as your 5-star skincare product. My behavior with skincare products and timing was very different a few years ago. Before I understood how a pore actually worked or how much moisturizer my skin adored, I aimlessly applied products on still-dirty-post-makeup skin and closed pores in tiny amounts. Ugh, but this is a $100 cream - I need to make sure that it lasts me at least 3 months!
That mentality got me in trouble. I applied moisturizer right after using a cleansing wipe (because all of those ads told me that I wouldn't need to wash my face!), and I only applied a penny-sized amount to my face. I hardly saw any change in my skin condition doing things this way.
Then, in later years along the road, I picked up my first face mask, which was one from THEFACESHOP. The instructions advised me to use toner before I applied the mask. What is toner. I was so confused. Can't I just put this mask on? ... like right when I go home?
After a more diligent year of self-studying Korean skincare, skin, pores, acne, whitening, anti-aging (just about everything) and testing everything on myself, I came to so many realizations in the manner and timing of skincare. I'd like to share with you my findings here. Note to the gentlemen: You can skip everything about removing makeup unless you are a BB cream wearer. ;)
It's time for you guys to reflect on yourselves! I will guide you through it. Ask yourself the following questions:
How consistent are you with skincare?
You need to be consistent with skincare if you want to see long-term results. If you are someone who uses only a face wipe after partying and then hits the pillow, you are giving your skin an opportunity to misbehave. If you only take care of your skin at night, think about the opportunity you have with also taking care of it during the day (right before makeup for the ladies). If you only apply your cream three times out of the week because you are too busy, you're not being consistent enough (no skipping out, please). The results that you want may not show up. Just look at all of those lost opportunities that you didn't even know were there. :(
What I do: I spend at least 10 minutes in the morning just for skincare. The main focuses in the morning for me are to hydrate and prep my skin for protection against the sun. At night, I spend at least 30 minutes on skincare, and I mainly focus on cleaning, cell repair, whitening, pore minimizing, and hydration. I'm all in at night, and I address every possible problem that I can think of for myself. I oil cleanse, exfoliate, and foam cleanse every night. I face mask if I finish showering before 11pm. If I come home late, a sleeping mask is what I'll do. If I have extra time, I'll add on an eye patch. If I have neck patches, I wear one with another mask on. I wear a lip sleeping mask every night (which has banished my chronic chapped lips forever). I wear toner, emulsion, serum/essence, and cream every night. Sometimes I double up two serums that do two different things. And, I do all of this very swiftly while watching a show, writing something for vklSKIN, or studying languages. This is the way I stay consistent, and it has worked for me.
Are you applying your products from lightest to heaviest?
This is what I think: The skin has many layers, and lighter fluids/molecules penetrate the deepest layer better and much faster than a heavier product. If you apply a heavier product before a lighter product, you may miss a layer! If the product stays on your skin and you can feel it with your fingers after light patting, then the product is still sitting there.
What I do: I start with lighter fluids such as toner and emulsion. I pat each layer in as much as possible. I always, always, always finish with a cream to lock everything in. If I choose to use a sleeping mask, it goes on as the very, very last step for me - even after the cream. If I have any creams with a special function such as retinol, I put that on before the final cream. If I have any product that has a function that I really need that night, I make sure to make that one of the layers right before my cream. Cream is always second-to-last for me and a sleeping mask is always the last layer I put on.
How much product are you using? Are you someone who is very frugal with product because you're scared of "wasting" some? Or are you very generous with your application?
Applying more isn't always wasteful, especially if you tap the product in. Actually, once I started to be more generous with my products, my skin became more hydrated and the condition of my skin got better overall. In Korean skincare, hydration is emphasized to delay aging and prevent acne even if you have oily skin. Being very generous and very ready to purchase another bottle of a product seems to be a good thing. After all, skin product is meant to work in your skin rather than sitting pretty in a bottle.
What I do: I apply palm-sized amounts of product to my skin. Gone are the days when I pumped the bottle once. I saturate my face and I know that my skin likes it because it always looks better the next morning. :) I do go through bottles of product pretty quickly, and I do get very proud when I have an empty bottle. It all went to my skin, you see? (Below are a few - and most definitely not all - examples of how much product I use...)
Are you applying your products when your pores are open and at good times?
I suggest finding the best time in your day, usually after you shower (preferably at night), to apply product as your pores are the most clean and open. Also, skin cells repair themselves best between 10pm and 2am (studies have shown that different cells in your body are more active during different times of the day and that your melatonin production is the highest during this time period). Having pointed that out, the time after you shower and before you climb into bed (that is.. if you shower before sometime before midnight) is the best time to apply product to give your skin a little boost while it repairs overnight.
What I do: On Sunday nights, Monday nights, Tuesday nights, Wednesday nights, and Thursday nights, I shower before 10pm. From 10pm-11pm, I'm usually face masking and taking care of my skin right out of the shower when my skin is the cleanest and my pores are the most open. Of course, I still like going out, so I make my skincare routine a little more relaxed on Friday and Saturday nights. I always make up for my late nights, though! The quickest fix is a face mask the next morning, but I always shower right before I do that so my pores are clean and wiiiiiide open for the essence. (That would be my second shower within a couple of hours then because I don't like sleeping without showering first.) ^^
Thinking about your own routine and habits now? I can't emphasize that the way you use a product is equally as important as the product itself. If there is one tip here that I would like everyone to remember, it is definitely #1 - the consistency. You can't be lazy with skincare or your skin will go lazy on you.
Try going two full weeks with an all-out morning and nighttime skincare routine. Take a before and after photo of yourself to really see a change in your skin! Make a plan and stick with it!
If you have any questions, need help with the order of your routine, or would just like to chat with me, send me an email via the contact form or leave a message here to start the conversation. :) Thanks for visiting and letting me be a part of your skincare routine! See you next time!