Skincare Tips

Keep your skin beautiful without makeup! Learn how to use facial exfoliators and other skincare products to keep your skin glowing!

At-home facials

At-home facials

DIY facials are an easy and affordable alternative to expensive spa or salon treatments. Get a home facial kit or use ingredients around the house to get cleaner, more radiant skin with an at-home facial.

  • First, cleanse. Mix one or two tablespoons of warmed whole milk and a couple of drops of olive oil to make a cleanser to remove makeup and debris and moisturize the skin. With clean hands, gently massage the homemade cleanser onto your face and neck with sweeping, circular movements to stimulate circulation. Rinse off with warm water.
  • Next, steam to hydrate and soften the skin. If you don’t have a facial steamer, boil a quart of water in a large pot (if you want, you can also infuse the water by wrapping up a fragrant herb such as chamomile, eucalyptus or lavender in gauze and placing it in the water). After the water reaches a boil, remove it from the heated stove. Bend over the pot to get your face as close to the steam as you’re comfortable, and put a clean towel over your head to create a tent for a mini steam bath. Steam for about five minutes, then pat your face dry with a clean towel.
  • Exfoliate. To make your own exfoliating sugar scrub, combine ½ cup of granulated sugar, ½ of firmly packed dark brown sugar, ½ cup of sweet almond oil, 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, one tablespoon of ground oatmeal and one teaspoon of ground nutmeg. For a simpler exfoliant, mix a ½ cup of dry, fine or ground oatmeal (whole oats may be too abrasive, especially for sensitive skin) with a ½ cup of powdered milk (some recipes use baking soda, which also may be too harsh for sensitive skin). Mix the dry ingredients with enough warm water to form a paste. Gently apply the mixture using circular motions (avoiding the eye area), then rinse off.
  • Mask. A mask will help deep-clean and hydrate your skin while stimulating circulation. To make an easy homemade mask that works for most skin types, mix the whites of two eggs with two tablespoons of plain yogurt (you can add ½ tablespoon of honey if you have dry skin). Apply it onto the face and let dry for 15 to 30 minutes or until the mask feels tight. Rinse off with cool water and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Tone. If you want to make a homemade toner, mix one part witch hazel with two parts rose or orange-blossom water. Sweep the toner across your face and neck with clean cotton pads. Skip this step if you have extremely dry skin.
  • Lastly, massage and moisturize. Apply a generous amount of moisturizer on your face and neck, concentrating on areas on the cheeks, mouth, forehead and around the eyes as these facial muscles tend to be the most overworked.

Makeup removers

Makeup removers

Removing your makeup before you go to bed is one of the best things you can do for your complexion. Even the best of facial cleansers might not be able to fully remove all the make-up on your face, so a product like Quick Clean makeup remover that’s designed specifically to remove makeup is an important part of any skincare regimen – make sure to use the makeup remover before you use a facial cleanser.

There are generally two types of makeup removers: soap-based and oil-based. Soap-based removers are best for removing powder-based make-up, but they won’t remove most eye cosmetics or any waterproof formulas – for these, you’ll need an oil-based remover, which will dissolve even the most stubborn of makeup. There are also makeup remover facial cleansers and cleansing oils that are designed to remove makeup as you wash your face as well as makeup remover towelettes that are pre-moistened and don’t require water.

Because eyes are the most sensitive part of your face, it’s better to use a separate eye makeup remover. Like general makeup removers, eye makeup removers also come in soap-based or oil-based formulas, but an oil-based remover will be more effective in dissolving stubborn mascara. There are also oil-free gel formulas, which are a great choice for those with oily skin who still need to effectively remove makeup, as well as pre-moistened eye makeup remover pads and cleansing milks, which are good for those with dry or sensitive complexions.

Heavy duty moisturizers

Heavy duty moisturizers

If you have extremely dry skin or you live in a climate that leaves your skin drier than normal (such as cold or windy climates or during the winter), an alpha hydroxy moisturizer can help alleviate any flakiness and act as a protective barrier against harsh environmental climates.

When looking for a heavy-duty moisturizer for extremely dry skin or harsh winter conditions, it’s important to find a quality one that will preserve and replenish skin’s moisture. Keep in mind that if you have to reapply it constantly, then it’s probably not the right moisturizer for you – facial moisturizers only need to be applied twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Unless you have acne-prone skin, try out a thicker oil-based moisturizer in place of a water-based one.

Also keep in mind to look for one that is highly emollient and nourishing – emollients like petrolatum and glycerin will help seal and soften the skin as well as prevent moisture loss. Ingredients like Vitamin E, shea butter (which is a natural ointment and an excellent source of hydration) and colloidal oatmeal will help to both moisturize and heal the skin.

There are other steps you can take to help alleviate dried out skin. Keep showers short and wash your face with lukewarm water (hot water only strips skin of moisture), and always put on moisturizer while the skin is damp – apply moisturizer after you take a shower or spritz your face with water beforehand. An effective night replenishing cream is also an important component to remedy dried out skin.

How to reduce or minimize the appearance of pores

How to reduce or minimize the appearance of pores

Though pores can’t actually be completely erased, you can help minimize their appearance. To do so, you’ll need to take steps to unplug debris on your skin, reduce excessive oiliness (pores tend to appear larger on oily skin) and reduce sun damage.

The first step is to make sure that you have a proper daily cleansing routine to cleanse your skin and help keep your pores unclogged – any good skin regimen should include washing your face at least twice a day and always removing make-up before bedtime. Oil build-up, debris and clogged pores can enlarge the appearance of your pores. Daily moisturizing is another essential part to everyday skin care – using an oil-free moisturizer that contains retinol (a Vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen) can also help make pores look smaller.

Next, incorporate a pore minimizer to your daily skin routine. Before foundation and after moisturizer, apply a multi-tasking oil-free formula to your T-zone or other problem areas to help control oil and shine and mattify your skin (pores tend to look larger with oilier complexions).

Exfoliation can also help minimize the appearance of pores. Use a facial scrub to exfoliate your skin – try out St. Ives Apricot Scrub no more than two or three times a week to help deep-clean your skin. A gentle clarifying toner can also help refresh the skin and tighten pores.

Sunscreen 101

Sunscreen 101

Sunscreen’s an essential part of any skincare routine – it protects you from overexposure from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, which can cause sunburn, signs of premature aging and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Sunscreen offers two types of protection: It can either offer physical protection (i.e. mineral pigments in a white lotion that reflects sunlight) or chemical protection by absorbing UV radiation.

One important thing to consider when buying sunscreen is its SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF of a sunscreen measures the degree a sunscreen protects the skin from the sun’s direct rays – for example, if you burn within 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, an SPF of 15 will provide 150 minutes of protection against burning. Sunscreen with a higher SPF will offer more protection against UVB rays: SPF 15 blocks at least 95 percent of UVB radiation and SPF 30 blocks about 97 percent. There are no sunscreens that offer 100 percent protection. The SPF you need will ultimately depend on your skin color, how much time you spend outdoors and how easily you burn. Generally, you should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

In addition to traditional sunscreen lotion, there are also spray sunscreens for easy application, waterproof sunscreens and sweat-proof, non-greasy sport sunscreens. Sunscreen should be used daily and year-round. Be sure to apply it properly: Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes to exposed areas before going outdoors to give your skin time to absorb the product, and reapply every two hours or after swimming, excessive sweating or towel drying.

Do you need eye cream?

Do you need eye cream?

The skin around your eyes is one of the most delicate areas on your face, which means that it’s also susceptible to showing signs of aging faster. A good eye cream can help with reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and dark circles as well as help with alleviating puffiness and other signs of fatigue.

Generally, there are three types of eye cream – day creams, night creams and non-specific (“plain vanilla”) creams to provide extra moisture – but the most important step to finding the right type of cream is to identify your eye skin issue.

If you want an anti-aging cream, look a formula that will tighten skin and stimulate collagen growth and one that contains active ingredients such as caffeine, retinol, alpha hydroxyl acids, copper peptides and vitamin C.

For an eye cream that addresses dark under eye circles, look for gentle formulas that contain vitamin K, which will help constrict capillaries under the eye, as well as kojic acid and licorice extract, both of which are natural skin-lighteners. An illuminating day cream with reflective pigments can also help fade dark circles.

To combat puffy eyes, try a soothing eye gel that contains ingredients like vitamin E and calming botanicals like aloe to help de-puff and firm the eye.

Facial masks

Facial masks

Though daily cleansing will remove dirt and grime on skin’s surface, to draw out impurities beneath the surface, you’ll need to use a Perfect Firming facial mask to exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog pores. Face masks also help circulate blood to leave your skin smoother, softer and more radiant as well as help to remove excess oil, minimize the appearance of pores and blackheads.

Whether homemade or store bought, the kind of face mask you use and how often you use it depends on your skin type. Generally, masks are meant to be used up to three times a week. If you have dry skin, use a hydrating mask that contains ingredients like glycerin, honey and jojoba oil to nourish and moisturize your skin, and only apply the mask once a week as to avoid further drying out your skin. For those with sensitive skin, try a soothing ginseng or green tea mask. If you have an oily or acne-prone complexion, mud or clay-based masks will help balance out your skin and control excess oil – use it up to three times a week.

vThere are also masks that help address different skin issues: Cleansing masks provide a deep cleaning, radiance masks help brighten dull skin, gel-based peel-off masks get rid of blackheads, moisturizing masks to improve skin’s moisture levels and lifting/firming masks to tighten skin’s surface.

 

Exfoliators

Exfoliators

With tiny, micro-bead exfoliating scrubs that act as an abrasive, facial exfoliators are designed to remove the oldest layer of dead skin cells on the skin’s outermost surface. Regular exfoliation can help improve your complexion and skin’s texture, result in brighter, smoother and more radiant skin, prevent breakouts and remove skin blockages and any toxins.

However, daily exfoliation isn’t for all skin types. Normal skin can handle daily exfoliation, but at least three times a week is recommended. If you have oily skin, use a cleanser like Crabtree Evelyn scrub cleanser to exfoliate three times a week to remove debris and oil build-up. Those with dry skin should exfoliate only once a week – any more will cause skin to dry up even more. If you have sensitive skin, exfoliate once or twice a week with a very gentle formula. Exfoliation is especially important for acne-prone skin because of its inability to naturally shed dead skin cells – just make sure to only use a gentle exfoliant and don’t exfoliate more than two or three times a week.

Other than physical/mechanical exfoliants (such as scrubs, microbeads or scrubbing pads), there are also chemical exfoliators that use mild acids instead of abrasives. These chemical exfoliants usually contain alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids or salicylic acids to slough off dead skin cells.

Moisturizers for day and night

Moisturizers for day and night

A good moisturizer is a must-have for any skin care routine, but did you know that moisturizers come in both daytime and nighttime formulas?

When looking for a daytime moisturizer, the most important thing to look for is a lightweight, non-greasy moisturizer that contains SPF to provide UVA and UVB sunscreen protection.

No matter what your skin type, moisturizer should be used on a daily basis. Normal to dry skin can use regular lotion formulas. If you have exceptionally dry skin, choose a thick, oil-based cream moisturizer to help combat flakiness and provide the most moisture. If you have oily skin, use a lightweight moisturizer with an oil-free and water-based formula. Acne-prone skin can benefit from a medicated moisturizer that contains salicylic acid. Those with sensitive skin should choose a moisturizer that is fragrance-free.

Though the use of a nighttime moisturizer depends mostly on personal preference, some moisturizers do contain ingredients that help rejuvenate and refresh your skin. A good nighttime moisturizer should help even out skin tone and reduce dullness or fine lines. If you do choose to use a nighttime moisturizer, look for one that contains retinol and Vitamin C to boost the production of collagen, resulting in firmer, younger-looking skin.

Do you need to use toner?

Do you need to use toner?

It’s one of the most debated issues in skin care: Is daily use of a facial toner necessary?

The answer: It depends, and skin type and personal preference are usually the deciding factors whether or not someone uses toner.

Facial toners are designed to improve skin tone by removing surface oils, debris and make-up residue, and some toners act as pore minimizers to give the appearance of slightly smaller pores. A good quality facial cleanser should already do the complete job that a facial toner is supposed to do. However, some people swear by toner, and if you have oily skin, an acne-prone complexion or want additional cleansing after wearing make-up, facial toner can be a useful tool in your everyday skin regimen, but it’s not a must-have skin care product.

If you do use facial toner, make sure to use it properly. Toner should be applied to a clean face: After washing your face, saturate a cotton pad or cotton ball with Perricone MD facial toner and pat it gently (don’t rub!) to your T-zone or to your entire face. Make sure to avoid the eye area. Always follow up toner with moisturizer.

Face washes: How often and when?

Face washes: How often and when?

Putting your best face forward starts with one thing: face wash. Unfortunately, there isn’t such thing as universal skincare – here are some tips on the best way to cleanse your skin depending on what type of skin type you fall under.

Oily skin: For those with oily skin – a complexion that is often shiny and is prone to blackheads or breakouts – it’s best to keep your skin regimen simple and make sure to cleanse properly. Wash your face no more than two or three times a day (more washing will only produce more oil). Oily skin is the result from over-production of sebum, so it’s best to use oil-based products to dissolve this excess sebum. If you also have acne-prone skin, try a medicated face wash that has benzoyl peroxide. While most skin types aren’t able to handle daily exfoliation, oily skin types can actually benefit from a gentle exfoliation every day. Typically, using an exfoliating scrub two or three times a week is recommended – try St. Ives Apricot Scrub, which also has formulas for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Dry skin: If you have a dry complexion – your skin is dry, tight and flaky because of underproductive oil glands – make sure to wash your face with warm water with a very mild cleanser that won’t dry out your skin. Look out for one that is gentle, hydrating, water-soluble and non-drying as to not aggravate your skin. Also, only wash your face in the morning and at night – any more can cause even more dryness.

Combination skin: Combination skin generally refers to skin that is oily in the T-zone (the forehead, nose and chin) and normal to dry on the rest of the face. Because of the different qualities, it can be difficult to find a single cleanser that addresses the needs of the different areas. Look out for a mild cleanser specifically for combination skin that will help control oil in problem areas and hydrate dry zones. Wash your face twice daily.

Sensitive skin: If your skin is sensitive – that is, using certain skin products can cause reactions like stinging, burning, redness or tightness – avoid fragranced facial cleansers and any soaps that contain strong detergents. Instead, use a mild soap-free cleanser (ideally, one that is specifically for sensitive skin) such as a mild cleansing bar or a liquid facial cleanser that have lower pH levels as to not irritate your skin. Cleansing creams and disposable face washcloths are also good for sensitive skin – Nivea face wash has a gentle formula for sensitive skin and the line also has cleansing wipes. Wash your face no more than two times a day.