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15 tips for healthy, glowing skin at home
There are so many products out there, but which ones are right and how are you supposed to use them?
Jessica
08.09.21

Let’s start by stating the obvious, shall we? If you’re not wearing sunscreen (and reapplying it throughout the day), a lot of your skincare is all for naught. If you’re not drinking water and eating well, you’re likely not going to have perfect skin no matter what products you use. And if you’re not keeping your face clean, then you really can’t expect products to do their jobs properly.

But if you’ve adopted a good, protective plan for your skin and want to see improvements in your brightness and complexion, there are plenty of things you can do at home.

Of course, the key to using any skincare item is to use quality (not necessarily expensive) products, take care of them well, apply them correctly, and give them time to work! So here are some products and pro-tips to keep your skin in the best shape possible.

1. Pay attention to the order of your products

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After you wash your face, you might have some products you like to use afterward to treat breakouts, redness, fine lines, etc. But if you put these on your face in the wrong order, you could be counteracting their effectiveness.

The easiest rule to follow is to put products on in order of their viscosity – in order words, how thick and creamy they are. So start with liquid products that you press into your skin (such as serums) and end with your thickest, creamiest products (such as your moisturizer). If you put a serum on after a moisturizer, it has almost no chance of breaking that barrier and sinking into your skin.

2. Leave time between products

Flickr - Agronauti Cosmetics
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Flickr - Agronauti Cosmetics

If you’re low-maintenance, choose fewer products or use some in the morning and some in the evening. Because if you have a 4- or 5-step routine, the last thing you want to do is glop it all on your face in under 2 minutes. Products need time to work and sink in. And the active ingredients in one might negate the active ingredients of another if they mix on the surface of your skin.

So if you can, schedule you’re routine so that you’re washing your face, putting your first layer of product on, and then taking time to do something like brushing your teeth. Then, a few minutes later, move on to your next product.

3. Moisturize skin before it dries completely

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Pxfuel

If you’re a wash and moisturize person or if you’re caring for an area of skin that may not need a ton of specialized attention (like legs), be sure skin doesn’t get to the point of feeling dry and tight before you add your moisturizer.

You want to seal in the moisture that’s already there. Putting it on dry skin isn’t going to have the same effect and if your product contains something like hyaluronic acid (which expands any water molecule it can find), your moisturizer might end up pulling moisture from deep within your skin. And you don’t want that.

4. Avoid pollution as much as possible

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Pxhere

Few of us are lucky enough to live a life full of fresh air and freedom from free radicals and other elements that attack our skin. Of course, sunscreen is a great way to avoid this.

Many of us like the natural look and plenty of people are shunning makeup, having a layer of something on your face can add protection. So while it might seem counterintuitive to avoid bare skin, you don’t want to leave it exposed to the elements.

5. Erase every trace of makeup at night

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You don’t need a 12-step skincare routine, but if you wear makeup, you should at least try a double-cleanse, especially if you see makeup remnants on your washcloth after you dry your face.

Start with a makeup removing oil (yes, even if you have oily skin) or micellar water. THEN, use a gentle cleanser to wash skin and remove the first product.

6. Exfoliate with care

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There are two types of exfoliation – physical and chemical. And while we’re used to seeing facial scrubs, you’re probably better off with the latter since scrubs can damage skin and create tiny injuries on your face (where bacteria can enter).

Look for products with alpha-hydroxy and (especially) beta-hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). You can press these into your skin right after you dry your face. And they need not be expensive – products from The Ordinary or Paula’s Choice work just as well as Biologique Recherche’s “miracle in a bottle” P50 exfoliant for a fraction of the price.

7. Get moving to stimulate blood flow

Flickr - Dave Rosenblum
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Flickr - Dave Rosenblum

Getting your body moving is the best way to keep your blood flowing. And the better your blood flow, the better the skin all over your body looks.

If you’re very sedentary, take a look at the skin on your legs. You might see spots, veins, and other discoloration that’s the result of sitting all day. The blood needs to move throughout your body to keep you healthy. And remember, your skin is your largest organ, so it needs all the nutrients it can get that blood carries around the body.

8. Massage your face

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When you’re washing your face or putting on your products, give your skin a nice massage, working upwards and outwards. It’s not a miracle facelift, but the more you move your skin around in the right direction, the more blood flow can nourish your face. You can use your (clean) fingers or a nice gua sha tool. Just remember not to tug on dry skin – massage while there’s something creamy or oily on your face.

Massage is also a great self-care routine just to remind you that you’re taking the time to care for yourself.

9. Exercise your face

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In addition to manipulating your face with your hands, you need to work those muscles as well. It might seem odd, but if you’re working alone all day and don’t have the chance to talk to anyone, you might rarely move your facial muscles.

One thing you can try is “face yoga.” That will at least give you an indication of the kinds of movements that are helpful to make.

10. Use products with good ingredients

Flickr - Samuel Warnoo
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Flickr - Samuel Warnoo

You don’t have to invest $50 or $150 in a product for it to make your skin better, but you do have to look at the ingredients to be sure they have what you need. Products with things like ceramides, glycolic, lactic, or hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide are all great, but there’s more research to do.

Take niacinamide for example – you need the product to have around 2-10% for it to be effective. For vitamin C, you want it in the form of L-ascorbic acid so it does the most good.

11. Don’t dry out your skin

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Flickr

Let’s say you’ve got a bunch of new products and you’re trying to solve problems like uneven skin tone and breakouts. If you’re using a chemical exfoliant, AND an anti-acne ingredient like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, chances are you’re going to dry out your skin or irritate it.

Use these on different days or at different times of the day rather than in the same routine.

12. Invest in Vitamin C

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Vitamin C is one of the few ingredients that had plenty of scientific evidence behind it when it comes to brightening skin and fading certain types of spots. But even if you head to Sephora or Ulta and find a $60 product that says it contains Vitamin C, you might not be getting any of the benefits.

L-ascorbic acid is the most potent form of vitamin C with the most evidence, but in concoctions over 10% it can be drying and irritating for sensitive skin. Vitamin C in the form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is water-soluble and less irritating, so while it might not be as effective it’s often better for sensitive skin. So pay attention to the specific ingredients AND just how much of them are in your product. Don’t start off with a 20% vitamin C product because you think it will work faster.

13. Find the right hyaluronic acid

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Just like vitamin C, there are multiple types of hyaluronic acid, but in this case, it’s about their molecule size. Sodium hyaluronate is a popular form because it’s molecularly stable and its low molecular size helps it penetrate your skin more quickly. But it can be drying in high concentrations. Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid is another small molecule, but its hydrating effects are short-lasting.

For truly dry skin that needs a HA serum and a moisturizer, sodium acetylated hyaluronate is the HA with the longest-lasting benefits. But a very good HA product might have all 3.

14. Explore retinol

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Retinol is the over-the-counter form of acne-fighting Vitamin A (meanwhile, prescription retinoids like tretinoin are more potent). In any form, retinol can be tough on your skin at first, leading to drying and peeling (since they’re helping skin cell turnover work faster than normal).

But many people consider it worth the effort because after the bad times it can clear up your skin and reduce fine lines in the long term. So if you do want to try it, find a reputable brand and start with .25% to see how it goes. Then move up to .50% or even 1%, if your skin can handle it.

15. Keep your products clean

Flickr - Marco Verch
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Flickr - Marco Verch

If you use moisturizer in a tub, get a scoop so you’re not sticking your fingers in it. If you use makeup brushes, be sure you have a cleanser that you use on them at least once a week. And grab a spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol to cleanse any tools you (like rollers or gua sha tools) before each use. Bacteria thrive in bathrooms and the last place you want them is on your face since bacteria is a major cause of acne.

You can have a wonderful skincare routine and it can all be ruined if your products end up gross and gunky.

And if you’re really gung-ho about keeping your products in their best condition, you can even consider a small skin care product fridge for your bathroom.

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***

Your skin is yours to take care of however you see fit. And remember, aging is a privilege, so there’s no need to hide every sign of it.

There are just some ways to make your routine more efficient.

Want some more skincare tips? Scroll down below and press “play.”

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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