Thursday, January 7, 2021


As an esthetician, I'm always getting asked skincare related questions. When working one on one, I can give specific answers and suggestions, but it's much more difficult to do that in blog posts or on social media. There are so many different factors when it comes to what's best for an individual person. However, there are some pieces of advice that are generally good for everyone to follow. Proper product order is definitely one of them, so let's start off the new year doing things correctly, eh?  

Step 1: Wash your hands. Don't skip this step. If your hands aren't clean, your expensive cleanser is    going to remove the dirt and oil from your hands before it can even get to the skin on your face.    Trust me on this, it makes a difference. 

Step 2: Remove makeup (if applicable). I like simple ol' Garnier Micellar Water. There's no need to buy an expensive makeup remover. Soak a cotton pad and gently press onto the eyes to remove eye makeup. You may need a fresh cotton pad for each eye if you're heavy handed on the liquid liner like me. I take a third cotton pad and swipe my skin if I'm wearing makeup on my face, too. 

Step 3: Cleanse. Do you need to double cleanse? If you've already removed your makeup, no. If you have super sensitive skin, no. If you have makeup on your skin, OR if you're about to do a weekly treatment, go for it. I always remove makeup with the cotton pad and I have sensitive skin, so one cleanse is fine. We want to protect our skin's barrier the best we can! On the nights where I'm giving myself a treatment, I double cleanse. Either way, take your time cleansing your skin. In order for the rest of your routine to work its best, you need to do this step properly. No hot water, no cold water-lukewarm water is best. Gently massage the cleanser into the skin and move in small circles, making sure to get all of the crevices and near the hairline as well. A cleanse should take a good minute-minute and a half. It sounds long, but trust me. Also, you should be taking every skincare product that you use down your neck and chest, and cleanser is no exception. A clean canvas is key!

Step 4: After gently drying your skin with a fresh towel, it's time to apply your serum. Serums are very concentrated, and are designed to pack a punch. There is no need to apply too much of it. The skin can only absorb so much, and over application does not increase the benefits of a product, it just wastes it! If the serum comes in a dropper, don't touch the dropper directly to your face or fingers. Put a pea sized amount onto the tips of your fingers, then press your fingers together and press serum into the skin. If you're using more than one serum, I suggest applying the serum with the most active ingredients first and then follow with the others. *NOTE* I know many estheticians who recommend putting eye cream on before serum. Personally, I don't think it matters much...but I would rather the serum cover more of my skin, and it can't do that if the eye cream is applied first. It's up to you!

Step 5: Apply eye cream. This may be controversial, but it really doesn't matter which finger you apply the eye cream with-it's not like you're going to be using a piece of sandpaper, so using your pointer finger instead of your ring finger isn't going to change the pressure much. As long as you're doing it super gently and patting instead of rubbing, you're good. If it makes you feel better to have some guidance, most people use their ring finger or their pinky finger to apply eye cream. You're going to be applying the eye cream (about the amount of a grain of rice) on a fingertip, dabbing the opposing fingertip into that, then dotting the cream around the orbital bone. You never want to put the product right up to the lash line, because products can migrate and you don't want active ingredients getting into your eyes-ouch! I always bring the eye cream out toward my temples and tap whatever remains on my fingers to the brow bone. Pro tip-put a dab of eye cream and tap it around the lip line. Double duty, baby!

Step 6: Apply moisturizer/SPF/night cream, depending on whether this is a morning or evening routine. If it's the morning, that means you'll be applying sunscreen (right? riiiiiight????). Now, many skincare pros say that whether your sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen or a physical sunscreen will determine if you should use moisturizer before or after. This sounds confusing, I know. The best way you can know for sure is to use a sunscreen/moisturizer combo. My favorite is from Image Skincare. Their holy grail Prevention+ Hydrating SPF Moisturizer was reformulated a little over a year ago, and that formula was HORRIBLE. Professionals complained, clients complained, and Image listened. They stopped production on the Hydrating SPF Moisturizer in the fall and the improved version is coming out in April, yay! They do have a Matte SPF Moisturizer and several others as well, but boy am I excited for the return of the Hydrating. ANYWAY, I digress. generally, SPF should be your last step, but if the product you're using states otherwise, follow their directions. If you are confused about what to do with your SPF, shoot me a message! And when applying, don't forget your neck, chest, ears, and lips! 

If it's the evening, you will be applying your night cream following eye cream application. You do NOT need a ton of this! A dime sized amount should cover your face, neck, and chest. Remember, the skin can only absorb so much. Putting more and more product is the same thing as throwing away your hard earned money. Less is more! Pro tip-dab your night cream onto the backs of your hands. The hands show signs of aging early!

Ta-da! You're done with the basics! But what if you're doing an at home treatment? Fear not, friend. I've got you. If you're doing the full she-bang, it would go as follows: cleanse, exfoliate, remove exfoliant, apply mask, remove mask, apply serums, eye cream, and moisturizer. Wondering where toner comes in on this list? Most people pop on some toner after cleansing the skin. If you're doing a treatment, I would do it after removing the mask. Oils can get tricky, because so many of them are not appropriate for the skin on your face. If you're using a facial oil, I recommend using it in the evening as the last step to seal in the applied products. And I don't care what J.Lo lies about. Olive oil is not her beauty secret and it shouldn't be yours. Leave it in the kitchen. I suggest grapeseed, jojoba, or avocado oil instead. 

Skincare doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) complicated. You don't need a 10 step routine. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on the right regimen for your skin. A basic skincare starter kit would be a cleanser, a moisturizer/SPF combo, and a night cream. Once you've gotten into a routine, you can start adding serums for specific concerns and/or find the right exfoliant and masks for your at home maintenance. Regular treatments are vital, too. When the same person is seeing your skin every month, they are able to see the changes in your skin and can help guide you toward changes you may need to make. Working with someone who listens to your needs and knows your lifestyle is the best way to ensure an effective regimen. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Like I said, I can't give specific advice online because skin and lifestyles are so unique, but I hope you learned a thing or two. If you need to tweak your regimen or have questions about designing one that's right for you, book an appointment for a facial treatment at my studio OR book a Virtual Facial Treatment-coming soon to Cherrie Darling Beauty!

love & lipstick,






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