How to Build Your Skincare Arsenal
- Written By:Bobbi Brown
by Bobbi Brown
Since your skin changes daily due to lifestyle and environment, the products you use each day should also change. Have a few different formulas on hand for when your skin needs extra help. Start with a cleanser that cleans your skin without stripping it. Even if you are oily, your skin should not feel tight after washing (a sign your cleanser is too harsh). For dry days or when your skin feels extra dehydrated, either switch up your moisturizers to creamier and more emollient ones or layer a few products to get softer skin. I love to start light with a cream that absorbs quickly and hydrates the lower layers. I sometimes add a balm on top, and I have been known to even pat a bit of oil over that as well. There are a plethora of products and formulas out there. Here is a simple breakdown of my essential products and what each does.
TONERS AND TONICS
To soothe, hydrate, or reduce oil buildup on skin, toners (sometimes called tonics) are the second step after cleansing. Avoid alcohol-based toners, which can strip and irritate the skin, even if you are oily. Look for water-based formulas with calming ingredients such as aloe, lavender, and cucumber.
Packed full of skin-transforming active ingredients, serums are potent weapons in your skincare routine. More potent than your average moisturizer, serums should be targeted to your skincare needs. You’ll find versions for correcting acne, lifting skin, reducing fine lines, or simply creating an overall glow. Layer these on immediately after cleansing and toning and before applying any other products to make sure the active ingredients are fully absorbed into your skin. You’ll notice that they immediately smooth the skin surface, but although your skin may feel hydrated, you will still need a moisturizer on top.
Don’t be afraid of oils. It’s a myth that oils clog your skin, or that oils won’t work with oily skin. They are wonderful for any type, making skin look more luminous and adding a dose of intense moisture that you can’t get from creams or balms. You can use oils on your face and body. For the body, apply it right after you get out of the shower to towel-dried skin. For the face, layer it underneath your moisturizing cream to deliver intense moisturizing benefits, or just pat a small amount onto cheeks after moisturizing for an added glow. I also use it as a refresher at the end of the day to add moisture back to the skin after a long day wearing makeup.
Every woman should have her go-to day and night creams that leave skin beautifully hydrated, plump, and smooth. A good daytime moisturizer should be easily absorbed, providing a perfect canvas for makeup, and it should also deliver SPF protection. Night creams tend to be thicker and heavier and provide more intensive hydration and anti-aging ingredients.
When you are battling ultra-dry skin, you need a balm. A rich oil-in-water emulsion boosts skin’s moisture levels to create firmer, denser, smoother skin. Balms can be used as a night cream or even as a day cream during harsh winter months.
A cleanser’s job is to remove dirt, makeup, and impurities. Bar soap is too drying for most people. Look instead for a milky cream, gel, balm, or oil cleanser. I love when they foam and are easy to wash off with warm water. Some will remove mascara and eye makeup, but often a separate eye makeup remover is helpful to apply before you cleanse to really get everything off. A long-wear makeup remover is a must for waterproof products.
No matter what type of skin you have, you need to exfoliate to reveal fresher, smoother skin. It also allows moisturizers to penetrate more effectively so your skin is soft and healthy. For your face, choose a gentle exfoliator. Exfoliating gels and masks tend to be less abrasive than scrubs on delicate facial skin. For the body, an oil paired with sea salt or brown sugar is a great go-to. I recommend exfoliating the face once or twice a week and the body as often as needed to keep your body smoothed and moisturized.
Once a week I like to do a mini-facial at home with a great mask. Days where my pores seem clogged, I reach for a purifying clay mask that removes excess oil and pore-clogging debris. An exfoliating mask sloughs off dead skin cells to reveal beautiful smoother and tighter skin below. A hydrating mask quenches dry skin for a softer, more even finish.