8 skincare products may sound like a lot to you, but when broken down, it may make more sense. One won’t work as well with the other. And the other won’t help prevent wrinkles like you want to. I’m a little obsessed with skincare these days. But when you have all the right products, you can maximize your results.
After being introduced to Cosmedix in my late 20’s I haven’t really looked back at my terrible skincare habits. I was never washing my face. Maybe in the shower with something from the drugstore. And I wasn’t using any sort of toner, serum or anti-aging products.
I would get horribly clogged pores on my forehead and develop small flesh-colored bumps in the summer. And in the winter, my pores on my nose would be black and full of dead skin. Not pretty, I promise. I just wasn’t super into skincare and didn’t know how to combat these issues.
Since I’ve been using Cosmedix for a few years and learning so much more about skincare and ingredients, I feel like I found my other passion. Skincare! I’ve been saying lately that if I ever needed to quit the blog and find another job, I think I’d become an aesthetician. I just love talking about skincare, I love seeing the transformation and I love learning about it.
The 8 Essential Skincare Products You Need
A few things I learned over the years is that you definitely need an arsenal of skincare products. From morning routines to nighttime, to even your weekly ones. Below is not only the list of the type of products you should own, but also the products I personally use as someone who has very oily skin.
This list includes products your routine should have no matter what, and no matter what your skin type is. Like cleaners, moisturizers, SPF and so on. I’ve provided suggestions on the products I use, but this list is really a list of steps you should have regardless.
From cleansing to exfoliating, to using toners, different types of serums, and moisturizers, we’re covering it all! These are the types of skincare products your routine should have and I’m providing my favorite products within that routine. You can obviously swap out the product for one that works for your skin type concern, but I want you to learn about the step itself and why it’s important.
Start With The Minimum
If you’re new to skincare I’m going to recommend starting with a few essentials for skincare products. Cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer. If you’re doing at least that, you’re probably way ahead of the game. If you want to go a little farther and make your moisturizer work harder for you and really see your skin tone and concerns improve, invest in a great serum.
And to prevent wrinkles, a daily night cream, or a 2-3 times a week stronger retinol. More on each of these types of products, what they mean and how to use them below.
The 8 Skincare Products Every Woman Should Own
This is the no-brainer. If you aren’t cleansing your face we got some problems, friend! I typically cleanse my face in the morning in the shower. But you will also use your cleanser at night before your night time routine.
Cleansers work to remove dirt, oil and makeup. They help to unclog pores and remove dead skin. I rotate between two cleansers based on my skin type and concerns seasonally. I like this cleanser for summer, and this cleanser for winter.
You should also be doing a DOUBLE cleanse. Either cleanse your skin for two whole minutes OR one minute with your gentle cleanser (at night I do an oil cleanser to remove makeup), and one with a more exfoliating type (the next product below!).
I mix it up between a couple cleansers from Cosmedix. The Purity Clean is a good exfoliating cleanser for oily skin types. The Benefit Clean is more gentle and good for all skin types and everyday use.
An exfoliator is designed to improve the texture of your skin by removing the surface layer. This sounds harsher than it actually is.
But removing a layer of dead skin will not only reveal younger more beautiful skin, but it also allows your products in your next step (serums and moisturizers) to be better absorbed. It will also allow your makeup to be applied more evenly and smoothly.
Exfoliating shouldn’t be done every single day, but maybe 1-2 times per week. Always work your way up to more frequency.
You can also find more gentle exfoliating face washes that may be used daily. Just check the labels! When you do find a good daily one, this can be your second cleanse.
The Dermalogica daily microfoliant is a fantastic choice for a daily exfoliator. It can be used daily. But I’d suggest testing it out every other day or so.
A toner should be used right after cleansing and before any serums or moisturizers get applied. I like using a toner that has ingredients like BHA’s, Lactic Acid or salicylic acid. Since I’m quite oily, this helps to balance my skin out. It also helps to remove another layer of skin that the exfoliator didn’t. My choice is the Paula’s Choice BHA exfoliant.
Keeping skin type in mind, if you’re more on the dry side, you may want to try a toner for dry skin. Try a calming toner or a hydrating one. This CALM Nourishing Milky toner from Paula’s Choice would be a great option.
I spray a few sprays on a cotton pad and swipe it over my face. You’ll see dead skin and any left over makeup you missed on the pad after you run it over your face and neck (I never forget my neck!). What you’re seeing on the pad is dead skin that your cleanser and exfoliator may have missed. And yes, it is ALWAYS shocking.
The Paula’s Choice toner is a fan favorite for combination and oily skin types for a reason. Definitely start by using it a few days a week. It can dry you out quickly especially if you aren’t super oily.
Before your moisturizer, you’ll want to use a serum. The best way to understand the serum and moisturizer combination is that the serum are your vitamins, and the moisturizer is your drink of water to wash them down.
A serum is packed with nutrients, vitamins and high-potency ingredients that will help to transform your skin. If you’re not using a serum yet, I would say this is the thing you need to add to your routine immediately. The price tag can often be a little high, but you use such a small amount that it will last you a very long time.
PS check out my BIG post on the different types of serums to find the right one for your skin type and skincare concerns. If you’re overwhelmed, it’s usually a safe bet to start with a Vitamin C serum! It’s great for all skin types.
There are so many great serums out there. I just suggest finding an ingredient you want to focus on, and keep the price point in mind. If you’re overwhelmed, Vitamin C is a good place to start!
5. Moisturizer + SPF
Finally, moisturizer! I know it seems like it took forever to get to what you thought was ALL you needed. But trust me. Once you have your toner and serum in place, your moisturizer will not only work better, but you’ll probably need one less pump of it. Truth!
I have a few moisturizers that I rotate through depending on what my skin is feeling like or what the day has in store for me. You may have one for the am with SPF in it, and one for the pm that’s more hydrating to sleep in.
My tried and true, and the one item I’d want with me on a deserted island is my Peptide Rich Defense moisturizer with SPF 50. I have been using this for YEARS and I can not recommend it enough. There are plenty of options in all price points.
Whatever you choose, just be sure that this step ALSO includes an SPF for the day. This is a crucial step and I think one that easily goes hand in hand with your moisturizer so you never forget it.
While I know this moisturizer is a bit steep in price, it lasts me roughly 6 months. I would not want to be on a deserted island without it.
6. Anti-Aging Night Cream
Now onto our nighttime routine. At night, you should also be cleansing your face and using a toner. Exfoliate occasionally when you can. But you can skip your moisturizer and let your night creams do the work here.
If you want anti-aging, you need retinol. Period. Retinol helps to stimulate new cell growth. It’s a form of Vitamin A and truly is the fountain of youth if you ask me.
For night, I use Cosmedix Define. This product has a 2% AGP complex which basically means it’s a retinol that’s microencapsulated for a more even application and a controlled release. At night you can also use a face oil, or hydrating heavy cream for extra moisture if you’re on the dryer side.
Learn more about what retinol does for your skin.
A little goes a long way with retinol. So when you see the price tag, don’t freak. This bottle will last you at least a year if not longer. I also have been using this Dermalogica retinol as well.
7. Eye Cream
We can’t forget under our eyes, can we? This is something I struggle with the most as I suffer from very dark circles. I also want to plump up the skin and renew it so that I do not get wrinkles.
You can use an eye cream both morning and night. I use a different one for am/pm. In the morning I like a more hydrating lighter one like this from Follain. And for pm, I go for more anti-aging ingredients that may be a little heavier and I like the Eye Genius or Opti Crystal from Cosmedix for that.
8. Weekly Mask
Everyone should be doing a face mask once a week to address their specific skincare concerns. Hydrating, anti-aging, rejuvenating, whatever it might be.
Choose one, or have a few on hand, to use on a weekly basis. You want to do these only weekly as they’re usually more potent. Too frequent use can cause irritation and stir up new skin issues.
I rotate between two masks for my skin. The Pure Enzyme mask which you can actually FEEL working and see a difference in your skin immediately. It tingles while you’re doing it and your skin looks like it’s been regenerated (it’ll be a little red, don’t freak out it’s normal and goes away in about 30 minutes!). With hydration-boosting Gluconic Acid your skin is left more plump, exfoliated and overall more beautiful.
And the other, a charcoal detox mask. I’m super oily so I really benefit from this type of mask to clean out my large pores. A charcoal mask is really meant for oily people so while you may want to try this black mask on your dry skin, I’d avoid it!
This mask feels like I just left my aesthetician’s table. I feel instantly brighter and tighter. You will turn a bit red, it’s totally normal!
Featured Image by Anna Sullivan
In What Order Should I Apply My Skincare?
step by step guide
Your morning and night time routine will look a little different. And depending on your skin type, this may also vary every so slightly. But a general rule of thumb is to follow these steps with your skincare routine.
AM Skincare Routine
Cleanse, two minutes! Exfoliate after cleanser one if you want to.
Tone your skin with your toner of choice
Moisturize and SPF
PM Skincare Routine
Double cleanse. I like to do an oil cleanser to remove makeup and sweat, then follow up with a regular cleanser. Exfoliate here if you want to as well.
Serum and/or anti-aging product. You do want to be careful about which ingredients you’re mixing. Stick to just one or the other if you’re unsure. Or alternate products every other day.
Moisturizer – this is optional based on your skin type and concern. Personally, I’m really oily, and never need a pm moisturizer once I apply a serume or my anti aging product. Listen to your skin as this can definitely fluctuate based on the products you’re using and even the season. Here’s my summer skincare oily skin if you need some product recommendations.
Do a face mask weekly to address any skincare concerns. I like to follow these steps to have a really great spa like facial at home!
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