Do A Temperature Check
First, let’s check in—why did you click on this blog in the first place? If you don’t have a skincare routine yet, welcome! You’ve come to the right place. Think of this as your blueprint to refer back to throughout the process of developing your skincare routine.
If you aren’t sure if your current products are right for you, this is also a great place to start. Common signs of needing to recalibrate your routine include:
- You have too many steps without knowing what each one is doing for your skin
- You’re experiencing irritation, itchiness, breakouts, or another skin condition
- Your skincare products don’t seem like they’re “working” anymore
- Your skin feels tight after cleansing
If you love your routine and everything is currently hunky dory, we still advise reading on. Thanks to environmental stressors, shifts in temperature, and other variables, our skin is always changing and you never know when you’ll need to refer back to the basics.
Establish The Right Mindset
It might be tempting to set out on your skincare journey seeking perfection—glassy, invisible pores, 100% clear skin 24/7, zero texture, and so on. The reality is, this “ideal” is impossible, and that’s ok! “Perfect skin is healthy skin,” says Heyday Skin Educator Glenise Gomez. Instead of trying to achieve the complexions we see all over Instagram and TV (which, it’s important to say, look so amazing in large part to great lighting and editing!), let’s shift the focus to achieving healthy, balanced skin. Healthy skin is protected from the sun, heals you from harm, and protects you from the outside world. This approach is not only more realistic, but is ultimately better in the long-run than quick fixes that might cosmetically alter skin for the short-term, but do nothing for your skin’s longevity.
Also, your friend’s holy grail cleanser or your favorite vlogger’s go-to exfoliant that “changed her skin forever” may do nothing for you, or worse, could have adverse effects. This is to say, always take other people’s recs and routines with a grain (or rather, heaping tablespoon) of salt. At the end of the day, you need what works best for your skin, not anyone else’s.
The final piece of setting up a good mindset is all about having patience. A good product will not give you all of its benefits overnight—and that’s a good thing. You may see some immediate effects (i.e. a moisturizer can instantaneously hydrate dry skin), but others may be more slow and steady (like a serum that’s fading hyperpigmentation).
Instead of trying to achieve the complexions we see all over Instagram and TV, let’s shift the focus to achieving healthy, balanced skin. Healthy skin is protected from the sun, heals you from harm, and protects you from the outside world.
Get To Know Your Skin
In order to get the right skincare routine, you have to figure out what type of skin you’re working with. Some skin types are oilier, others are drier; some are prone to acne, others aren’t. Your skin will fall into one of six skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination, acneic, or sensitive. This piece of information will be imperative for choosing products and getting to the bottom to your skin’s unique personality. We have a few tools to help you determine your skin type: a blog post, a Skin Quiz, or your can with one of our experts by clicking the chat bubble on our site. Our site is also super helpful to cross reference both your skin type and conditions—each product is designated with both the conditions it treats and the skin types it’s good for.
Once you know your type, you’re ready to build the base of your routine: a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen. These four products are meant to maintain your skin type. For example, an oily skin type’s routine would focus on reducing excess sebum while maintaining hydration so skin isn’t totally stripped. You can think of these four products like the shirt, pants, shoes, and undergarments of an outfit. They’re the core of any outfit; anything else is great, but ultimately these four pieces are your everyday staples. To pick the ones that are right for you, we recommend taking the Skin Quiz, chatting with an expert on our site, or consulting a Skin Therapist at your next Heyday facial.
Next, what type of conditions do you want to target? To keep the metaphor going, we treat skin conditions as the accessories. Think of these products like the hats, jewelry, and handbags that help accomplish a specific goal or look for an outfit. The accessories of your skincare routine help you accomplish specific goals and treat the conditions you’re working with. For example, if you’re dealing with fine lines around your eyes, you might use a tightening eye gel. Or, you could add a detoxifying mask if you’re breaking out. When choosing products for your conditions, you should consider both the conditions you’re wanting to treat and your skin type to make sure the product is a good fit. For example, if you’re picking out an exfoliant to treat congestion, but you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to choose a gentler exfoliant (i.e. a chemical exfoliant, rather than a more intense physical exfoliant like a scrub or polish).
The good thing about conditions is that they can be corrected, whereas skin type is more permanent. Condition-specific products are great to help guide your skin through its different ebbs and flows, from changing weather to the natural aging process.
Let's Talk Logistics
If you’re already using some skincare products, the prospect of adding anything new might be intimidating. Do you just stop everything and start a whole new regimen? Or, do you introduce one thing at a time? Here at Heyday, we’re in the second camp. Gradually using new products is better for your skin, which can only handle so much newness at a time. Check out this blog about how to introduce new products into your routine.
While you’re here, let’s talk about what you should add or replace first. Many of our skincare educators consider a cleanser that treats your specific skin type to be the foundation of any solid skincare routine. Or, try a leave-on product like a serum or moisturizer to get the most bang for your buck.
Choosing The Right First Product
Ready to replace your routine with what actually works? Here is the first product you should add or swap in your routine, depending on where you’re at in your skincare journey.
If You’re Just Getting Started
A high quality cleanser that’s suited for your skin type is the foundation of your skincare routine. Great for all skin types, this nourishing, brightening gel wash will set the rest of your routine up for success.
If You Have The Basics But Wanna Step It Up
Supercharge your skincare and antioxidant protection with this intelligent serum that’s full of our favorite ingredients, like vitamin C and sodium hyaluronate.
If You’re Practically A Pro
You’ve got a solid cleanser, your toner is on point, and you’re wearing SPF daily. Next, level up with a fine line-minimizing, hyperpigmentation-healing, skin refining-retinol.
It's A Lifestyle Thing
At the end of the day, your skincare routine is not just about the products you use. No, really! “Care for your skin like you tend to a plant,” Glenise advises.
- Just as a plant needs oxygen, your skin needs circulation, which can be accomplished via lymphatic movement when you exercise, sweat, or incorporate massage. On the flip side, your skin can’t thrive if it’s clouded by smoke and pollution, so we recommend adding in antioxidant-rich products that fight free radical damage.
- Your skin also needs water. Staying hydrated throughout the day ensures your cells stay moist for optimal skin renewal. Conversely, sugary foods and alcohol dehydrate the skin.
- Your skin needs sunlight (protected by SPF, of course!). Soak up some vitamin D for at least 15 minutes a day, ideally before 10am or after 5pm. The sun also affects our circadian rhythm, which is important for skin as it needs sufficient sleep to renew overnight.
- Plus, skin needs skin-healthy foods like fatty fish, vegetables, walnuts, almonds, fruit, and green tea. However, it’s important to also pay attention to which foods trigger your skin’s inflammation and can cause acne.
- Finally, have you ever heard that talking to plants helps them grow? Now, this is only anecdotal, but we firmly believe that skin-positive talk is essential to healthy, glowy skin. Check out these positive affirmations or this piece on meditating for some inspiration.