- Cleanser – You always want to start off with a clean base to apply the rest of your products on. Cleansers vary depending on your skin type and skin concerns. Avoid cleansers that are drying, such as cleansers targeted for oily skin and African black soap. Cleansers targeted towards oily skin tend to have drying ingredients which make your oily skin worse by causing it to overproduce oil.
- Exfoliating Toner – Exfoliating toners are ones with AHA/BHA that chemically exfoliate your skin. AHAs work by loosening the desmosomes that hold your skin cells together on the surface of your skin while BHA’s are similar, but they are also lipophilic meaning that they are oil soluble, therefore making them suitable for excessively oily skin, textured skin, acne, and black/whiteheads. AHAs are not oil soluble and are more suitable for concerns such as hyperpigmentation or dryness.
- Hydrator – Hydrating your skin helps the rest of your products absorb properly because it ensures that your skin’s barrier is intact. When your barrier is hydrated, your skin is able to heal itself quicker which is great if you have any kind of skin concern. You want your barrier intact so your skin can focus on healing it’s other issues whether they’re hyperpigmentation or acne. You hydrate your skin with products known as humectants which draw water from the air into your skin. Keep in mind, hydrating is not moisturizing. They are two very different steps in your routine that are codependent. These are typically your serums and gel products.
- Moisturizer – If you’re not using a moisturizer at this point…I’m just a tad bit disappointed. You should be using a moisturizer with sunscreen every morning. And a heavier moisturizer at night when environmental factors are not affecting your skin as severely as they do during the day and your skin can really get a chance to deeply absorb the product.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen is the absolute most important part of your daily routine. If you’re not wearing it, your routine is essentially null and void. Sun damage is the primary factor of premature aging and black people have one of the highest, if not the highest, mortality rates when it comes to skin cancer because many of us believe we don’t need sun protection. Everyone needs sunscreen. Literally everyone. Sunscreen should be the last step of your morning routine. You also need to be reapplying it every two hours to make sure your skin stays protected. (Related: Is Sunscreen Necessary Even in the Winter?) If you’re wearing makeup and can’t reapply sunscreen, here are my favorite setting sprays with SPF. Personally, I prefer the Coola one but the Supergoop is great as well.
Optional Targeted Treatments:
- Masks – When using sheet masks, you want to use them after cleansing your skin but before toning and moisturizing. You use them prior to toning and moisturizing. Ensure that you pat in the essence before continuing your routine.
- Acne Spot Treatment – Acne treatments are to be applied following your moisturizer, but before any oils.
- Serums – Always layer your products lightest to heaviest. Serums go first in your routine (after your toner) because they are typically watery and absorb into the skin much quicker. If applied on top of a moisturizer they are not as effective because they won’t absorb as deep. Also, most serums are hydrating and therefore need to go first.
- Face oils – Oils should always be the last step in your routine. Oils create an occlusive barrier that does not allow anything in or out. Applying them before any other products means those products will essentially just sit on your skin because the oils won’t let them in.
Tip: Use carrier oils only. If you must use an essential oil, make sure to dilute with a carrier oil as essential oils are volatile and can burn/irritate your skin!
Comment below what steps are in your skincare routine!
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