You have skincare products for the daytime and for night. Treatments you use weekly and ones you use only when you breakout. Then there are the ones for specific areas of your face, and the handful that you travel with. But when it comes down to just
taking proper care of your skin, what do you truly need? Brace yourself, beauty junkies, because it comes down to three products (two if you combine two of them!). That’s right, you can count them on just one hand and this is the natural skincare routine that could change your life.
1. Natural skincare must: Facial cleanser.
Keeping your skin
clean and clear of blemishes calls for cleansing in the morning and at night, however, Julia Carroll, a dermatologist based in Toronto, says that she considers the evening face cleansing the most important as you’re washing off makeup, dirt, bacteria and pollution from the day. “For most people, skipping the morning cleanse is fine, however if you have oily skin, you should cleanse in the morning,” she says. If you are looking to go as simple as you can with your regimen, Dr. Carroll says a pump format is convenient and doles out a pre-dosed amount. Or as another “cheat,” try a micellar solution in the morning or at night. “It does a great job of removing makeup and oil while still being gentle and it’s fine for all skin types,” she says. Cleansing cloths are helpful, too—they’re great for travel (Dr. Carroll uses them for her overnight flights, in fact), but she notes that they are not as good as using a cleanser and water.
As for what cleanser to use, Dr. Carroll suggests a foaming one for oily or acne-prone skin. If your skin tends to be dry or sensitive, go with a
hydrating cleanser. As for how to cleanse, Dr. Carroll personally prefers to use a dedicated gentle facecloth, which she replaces daily, and use lukewarm water. Despite what you may have heard, finishing with a splash of cold water does not close your pores, and if the water you use is too hot, then you could be drying out your skin and flare rosacea.
More natural skincare musts on the next page …
2. Natural skincare must: Moisturizer.
Keeping your skin well moisturized helps to maintain healthy barrier function—and you need to moisturize even if you have oily skin. “Many people confuse oily skin with
moisturized skin,” says Dr. Carroll. But they might experience skin sensitivity or irritation if they’ve been opting to skip using moisturizer, possibly due to their skin barrier not functioning as well, she says. Also, if you have oily skin, know that there are moisturizers containing ingredients such as niacinamide, which decreases oil production.
3. Natural skincare must: Sunscreen.
Do you have an arsenal of
anti aging serums and lotions cluttering your sink because your number-one goal is to turn back the hands of time? You might want to focus more of your efforts on wearing sunscreen properly. “Sunscreen is the best thing you can do to prevent the signs of aging skin,” says Dr. Carroll. To use SPF effectively, make sure you’re applying enough (you’ve probably heard that a shot glass is the quantity you should use to cover your entire body—of course, you can adjust based on how much skin you have to cover, but that’s a good rule of thumb) and reapply every two hours (or if you’ve been sweating a lot or have been swimming). If your moisturizer contains SPF, then you can rely on this is it contains at least SPF 30. And feel free to use this moisturizer on your face at bedtime, too, if you don’t care to have a separate moisturizer for night time—“it’s not necessary to apply one with SPF, obviously, but it’s not harmful,” says Dr. Carroll.
Three add-on skincare products for a back-to-basics natural skincare regimen
If the idea of a mere three products in your skincare regimen is a little too lean for your beauty-product loving heart, Dr. Carroll recommends adding either an antioxidant product (she is a fan of L-ascorbic acid) in the morning or a retinol or glycolic (or prescription tretinoin) product at night time. “These products help keep the skin fresh, treat acne, decrease pigmentation and some increase collagen production,” she says.
And, if you’ve got normal to oily skin, a gentle exfoliator that you use once or twice a week can help maintain clear pores.