Your daily skincare regimen should consist of 3 steps: Cleanse, Tone, and Moisturize. Anything else is extra, and totally up to you. Let's break down the importance of each step!
It is very important to clean your face with a cleanser, rather than soap. Soap strips the skin of its natural lipids and can cause skin to really dry out. This is why it is very important to know your skin type so you do not clog your pores, or irritate your skin. It is also very important to clean your face thoroughly, with circular motions using lukewarm water to rinse (water that is too cold or too hot can can cause broken capillaries). Splash a little cool water on your face to jazz up your circulation.
It's best to only wash your face at night with a cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and makeup. You can just rinse your face with warm water to get rid of overnight oil build up, unless you use a heavy moisturizer at night then you can use a cleanser again in the morning.
Some women believe water can dry out the skin, so they prefer to use tissue-off cleansers that do not need to be rinsed off with water. If you are one of these women, be sure to wash your face at least once every 10-14 days to unclog your pores and clarify the skin of any product build-up.
Tip: For lazy nights, wipe off face with a makeup remover. Jojoba oil or almond oil is a cheap and effective way to remove heavy eye makeup, or purchase an oil-free makeup remover. Use exfoliating scrubs once a week to renew surface skin cells and remove clogged debris in pores.
Toning your face removes any cleanser residue, and dirt that may have been missed in the cleaning process. Although a lot of people disregard this step, toners help if you have very oil skin, or sweat often in the summer. Look for an alcohol-free toner with bacteria fighting ingredients such as: rose water, lavender citric acid, or salicylic acid. Witch Hazel is commonly used as a toner, but it contains alcohol which is a super drying astringent. We want to help our skin, not harm it.
It is very important to moisturize your face in order to keep skin healthy and protect it from drying out. Dry skin causes wrinkles, and irritates the epidermal layer of skin that produces new skin cells. Furthermore, I can't stress how important it is to use a moisturizer with sunscreen, especially after washing your face to start your day.
The sun's UV rays cause 90% of wrinkles, so think harder about that tan before you sit in the sun for hours to achieve a bronzed look. Sun damage is the #1 cause of premature aging; especially in lighter skin, and can lead to dark spots on the skin. Make sure your (SPF 15 or higher) sunscreen contains one of these active ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzene. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the SPF # tells you how much the product will protect your skin from the sun.
Tip: Creams and lotions in tubes last longer than those in jars. Keep moisturizers out of the sun or in direct sunlight from the window. Only keep products that you have opened for up to a year. Warm your moisturizer between your hands for a few seconds to help the cream absorb into your skin better.