Creating A Face Ritual
By Iona Brannon
Every work of art needs a strong foundation and when it comes to a glowing complexion, good skincare is that foundation. At MAED, we know that keeping a skin ritual and practicing it consistently is the key to healthier-looking skin. So what exactly should a skin routine look like?
Each person’s skin has its own unique demands when it comes to skincare, and it’s crucial to understand your own needs. However, there are a few essentials that every individual should incorporate into their own ritual.
Starting with a clean base should always be the initial step in your ritual. The first thing you want to do is remove your makeup. This may seem obvious. Every woman knows that going to bed with makeup on is a skincare taboo, a surefire way to make your skin unhappy. You would be surprised, though, at the number of women that skip out on this.
Cleansing your face may seem like a simple task, but beware of a few pitfalls. When cleansing, don’t use hot water as it can really dry your skin out, leaving it red and irritated. Choose a cleanser that matches your skin type.
When it comes to face wash, there’s a big debate on whether to go the old-school route and cleanse two times a day or whether once a day is really enough. The best advice we can give is to listen to your own skin. If you find that cleansing twice a day is drying your skin out, opt for once a day. If you do this though, you should still be rinsing your face with water in the morning. Test things out. You might even find your skin does better when you alternate between two different kinds of cleanser, a moisturizing one for drier days and a deeper cleanser for more oily days.
Exfoliating and Toning
Exfoliating. This step is important to slough off those dead skin cells and reveal the fresh, vibrant layer of skin underneath. Exfoliating not only gives room for new life, but it also helps unclog pores and remove buildup.
There are a few different methods to exfoliate. Our favorites are the konjac sponge and brushes. The konjac sponge is a gentle exfoliating sponge made from the root of the konjac, otherwise known as the elephant yam, and it’s naturally antibacterial. Automated cleansing brushes remove oil, dirt and dead skin better than hands can. They are also less aggressive than most scrubs. If you do use a scrub, make sure it’s good for the planet and good for you. Although microbeads have been banned from U.S. beauty products, they may still be in your products if they are old or from another country.
Toning. Incorporating toner into your skin routine is important for a variety of reasons. Toner can really deep-clean the skin, picking up any excess that wasn’t removed with the cleanser. It goes the extra step, preparing your skin for moisturizer and any additional treatments you’ll be adding.
Toners can also do wonders in creating balance for the pH level of your skin, especially as your cleanser and exfoliant may alter your skin’s pH. The recommended pH level for balanced, healthy skin is 5.5. If you feel your skin getting more oily, there’s a high chance your skin’s pH level is dipping. If you’re experiencing dry or tight, irritated skin, your skin’s pH level is most likely getting too alkaline. As you age, your skin will become more alkaline as well. Using a toner regularly can help keep your skin’s pH levels where they should be.
Serum. You’ve probably heard of them or used them. Serums are all the rage these days, and they should be. But what are they exactly? Serums are products that contain high concentration levels of active ingredients. Their small molecule size also ensures better absorption into the skin.
Incredibly effective and potent, serums are usually filled with antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients such as retinol, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, and are designed to fight damage on your skin. When picking the perfect serum, think about what you’re treating and choose a serum with ingredients that target your issue, whether it be acne, anti-aging or sunspots. Give your serum some time to soak in, typically at night, and if you want the product to really penetrate deep into your skin, try incorporating your jade-rolling skills.
Eye cream. If we could go back and give our twenty-year-old selves some advice, it would be to drink more water and invest in a good eye cream. Celebrity facialist Shani Darden agrees, saying the earlier the better. With so many different kinds on the market, Darden says to choose an eye cream “filled with peptides, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid.” Consider your personal needs, such as dark circles or wrinkles, when looking for the perfect eye cream. The skin around your eyes is delicate, so be very gentle when applying eye cream. Use your ring finger, the weakest finger in your hand, to softly dab the cream on. Eye cream is not only moisturizing, but it is also a preventative measure to help ensure under-eyes firmness as time goes on.
Moisturizing and SPF
Moisturizing. Just as it’s crucial for you to drink water to stay hydrated, your skin needs a moisturizer to stay hydrated as well. Moisturizers create vibrancy by helping retain the water in your skin. They also create a protective cover so that your skin can regenerate. This can prevent premature wrinkling and reduce the appearance of already-formed wrinkles. When your skin is dry, inflammation and redness can become a real issue. Outside factors, such as the environment, also have easier access to impact your skin’s appearance.
SPF. Oh boy, don’t roll your eyes. Even though applying it seems more like a chore than anything else, SPF is critical in keeping your skin in good condition. UV light exposure is the top reason for wrinkles, so it makes sense when Darden says that SPF is the number one anti-aging product out there.
Avoiding chemical sunscreens is not only helping to save coral reefs, but it is also safer for your skin. Be sure to reach for a natural mineral sunscreen, especially one containing zinc oxide, a naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial mineral. Rather than absorbing and neutralizing UV rays the way chemical sunscreens do, zinc oxide acts as a barrier to block UV rays and protect your skin.
If we could go back and give our twenty-year-old selves some advice, it would be to drink more water and invest in a good eye cream.
As you incorporate different steps and products into your routine, layering them can get confusing real quick. A good tip from Darden is to layer product from thinnest to thickest. She also recommends always reading the instructions as each product can be a bit different.
At the end of the day, you know your skin best. If you feel your skin is extra dry, bring in something that is more nourishing. If you feel especially oily, use a stronger toner. Listen closely to your own body and the way it reacts to the environment; you’ll find yourself better able to sustain healthy, glowing skin.
Peep a few of MAED favorites below.
Iona Brannon is the editorial assistant and side-brain at MAED. With a background in journalism, she enjoys sitting in L.A. traffic and occasionally yelling at other drivers.