4 Must-Have Skincare Products - Choose for Your Skin Type
It isn’t difficult, really. To keep a healthy complexion, you’ll need 4 essential skincare products.
But the fact is, good products can be expensive. Sometimes the cost of buying them all gets too high. Or you start to resent the time it takes for a full skincare routine.
In either case, how should you decide on what’s most important? Here are some basic guidelines that will help you choose wisely, for your skin type.
Number 1: Use a gentle cleanser that won’t strip your complexion.
It probably goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway: everyone should wash their face twice a day. First in the morning, to remove excess oil that’s built up overnight. Then again before bed, to wash away superficial dirt from the day.
So a good facial cleanser is the first of the 4 essential skincare products. Without proper cleansing, pores get clogged. The flow of fresh, oxygen-rich blood can’t get through to facial tissue. And your complexion suffers.
On the other hand, most bar soaps and even high-end facial scrubs tend to rob your skin of natural oils. This produces unwanted dryness, especially if you have sensitive or mature skin.
That’s reason enough to consider using a gentler, natural facial cleanser to remove dirt without stripping away the healthy moisture you need. Plus, it feeds your face vitamins and other nutrients that will help keep it healthy.
Number 2: Rely on a Skin Toner for the Final Step in Cleansing.
Remember, facial soaps work by opening pores and sweeping away dirt. But by opening those pores, cleansers also leave your face exposed to airborne contaminants.
So it’s always best to use a toner after cleansing – to close the pores and insulate your skin from environmental impurities.
A good toner conditions and nourishes your face, temporarily tightening your pores. It also offers deep hydration, giving the skin temporary elasticity and a more youthful appearance.
In addition, toners help your skin maintain a healthy pH balance. Our skin is naturally acidic, but cleansers tend to be fairly alkaline. So once you’ve cleansed your face, its pH balance is disturbed. A toner helps quickly restore its balance.
For all these reasons, a toner is the second of the 4 essential skincare products. Whatever your skin type. Whether your skin is young or mature. Whether you’re a man or a woman.
Number 3: A Moisturizer Puts Protective Armor on the Skin.
Another of the 4 essential skincare products is a truly good facial moisturizer. Use it to hydrate your skin and feed it healthy oil (sometimes called lipids).
High-quality moisturizers work like ultra-sheer layers of protection for freshly-washed skin. So ALWAYS wash your face before applying a moisturizer. (Otherwise you’re locking in superficial dirt and working against yourself.) Use warm water, not hot. And avoid rough “scrubbing” because it can cause unwanted dryness.
Don’t dry your face completely after cleansing. Instead, pat lightly with a clean towel. Apply your toner and then, immediately, apply the moisturizer. Your skin pores are still slightly open at this time, allowing them to more fully absorb the benefits of the product.
Number 4: Skin Serum is Skin Nourishment.
The biggest difference between a serum and a moisturizer is what the serum does NOT contain. And that’s the very reason why it is the last of the 4 essential skincare products.
A high-quality serum skips all greasy ingredients, leaving behind nothing but a high concentration of ultra-active ingredients: antioxidants (to revive damaged or aging skin), peptides (to stimulate collagen production), and skin brighteners (to fade age spots and acne scars).
Serums are usually the costliest product in any skincare line. But a good serum is so powerful that you’ll need only a little to achieve the desired result. In fact, when applied properly, a single ounce can last a full month.
Serums are made of very small molecules, so the skin can absorb them quickly and deeply. That makes the result almost immediate. This is great for mature skin which tends to need a daily boost to keep it looking its best.
Serums are also a favorite in male skincare because they are non-greasy and leave behind no stickiness or dewy sheen.
The Bottom Line
If you can afford it, and are willing to take the time…
- Use the 4 skincare products daily, in this order: Cleanser, Toner, Serum and then Moisturizer.
- To save money or time, you can skip the toner because a good facial cleanser will compensate for most of its benefits.
- If you want to whittle down your regimen even more, you might want to eliminate the moisturizer. Especially if you have a fairly trouble-free complexion, an active-ingredient serum will do more to nourish your skin and its benefits will show faster.
- However… If your skin is particularly dry, or has begun to show visible signs of aging (like fine lines or sagging), you should probably opt for a good-quality moisturizer after the serum. Just wait 15 minutes between using the two formulas. You want to give your skin time to fully absorb the serum before adding the moisturizer.
- Unfortunately, fancy packaging and high price is no guarantee for quality. So educate yourself, learn to read labels, and avoid any formula that contains dangerous ingredients.