Skin care for my face?
April 22, 2012 10:27 AM   Subscribe

How do you care for your face?

I have lotions, sunscreen, cleanser, zit zapper stuff, a sesame oil for some hard core moisturizing, makeup remover, an exfoliating pad, and am planning on getting a toner.

But...I don't quite get in what order I'm supposed to use some of these items in the morning and evening. Some, like the makeup remover, are obvious, but what about the toner? Or the plethora of other face product options out there, like Retin-A? I've tried looking at "girly magazines", but for some reason it feels like I'm piecing together a puzzle out of several different articles wherein the pieces don't always match up or even look similar.

Could you share your face regimen, with what products and what order you use those products in so I can grasp how this works?

I'd also appreciate it if we could not do the semi-normal Ask.M thing of bypassing the question while offering such advice as "combine your lotion and your sunscreen!" or other such unsolicited advice. Thanks.
posted by DisreputableDog to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (34 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
This is my typical routine, both morning and night unless otherwise indicated:

0 - Makeup remover (PM or as needed only)
1 - Cleanser
2 - Toner
3 - Moisturizer/lotion (just a light lotion in the morning, anti-wrinkle stuff or a specialty serum at night)
4 - Sunscreen (AM only)

The couple other items you mention:

Acne treatment - as needed at night (to let the stuff work while I sleep, washed off in the morning when I use cleanser)
Exfoliating pad - 1-3x/week, in place of cleanser either in the morning or at night (I have skin that tends oily, if yours is dry or sensitive you may want to only use it one time a week to avoid irritation)

People will have their own idiosyncrasies where their particular routines are concerned, but in general most routines you encounter will go cleansing-->moisturizing-->specialty treatment/protection.

I donate a not insignificant amount of my paltry brain cells to messing around with girly stuff, so feel free to memail me if you have other questions.
posted by superfluousm at 10:40 AM on April 22, 2012

If I were using those, I would use this order: makeup remover, cleanser/exfoliating pad, toner, zit zapper (and/or Retin-A), moisturizer, sunscreen. You want the zit stuff next to plain clean skin so it can penetrate. You want the sunscreen last so it's...there and protecting against sun and not wiped away by other stuff.

I use: cleanser, benzoyl peroxide (zit preventer, really, more than zit zapper, since it goes all over the face), and then moisturizer (mine happens to contain sunscreen, if I was using a separate one I'd put the sunscreen on afterward.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:41 AM on April 22, 2012

Wash face with Lush Angels on Bare Skin (cleanser that gently exfoliates)
Moisturize with either CeraVe PM (does not contain SPF) or Olay Complete SPF 15

Remove makeup - use either jojoba oil or Simple makeup remover.
Wash with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Moisturize with Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream (a retinol cream)

If I have a zit, I then use Kate Somerville EradiKate as a very last step, because it goes on one spot only and I don't want it to get rubbed around.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:44 AM on April 22, 2012

My morning routine is: facial cleanser, lotion. I currently use an unscented Dove liquid cleanser and Wal-Mart's knock-off version of Neutrogena's oil-free moisture lotion.

My evening routine is: facial cleanser (same as above); toner (a Dove one; not astringent!), benzoyl peroxide lotion (Paula's Choice brand) on any blemish-prone spots (T-zone, for me), the above-mentioned lotion on dry spots (cheeks, for me).

My first advice is always to consult, Paula Begoun's site. It's really important that you know which ingredients do what. I know that sounds simplistic, but it made a huge difference for me and my life-long fight against combination skin and severe cystic acne.
posted by neushoorn at 10:48 AM on April 22, 2012

I use Arcona, and if you get one of their Basic 5 kits, it gives a full breakdown of when and how to use each product and in what order. I use the Problem Skin regime. Below is my personal routine; non-linked items are standard in the Problem Skin Kit, linked items are add on products that I swear by...

1. Raspberry Clarifying Bar Face Wash or Cranberry Gommage (Exfoliant) if I've used The Solution the night before.
2. Magic White Ice Moisturizer
3. Makeup with sunscreen

1. Make Up Remover
2. Raspberry Clarifying Bar
3. 1 - 3 times a week: The Solution Toner
4. When needed: Spot treat with AM Acne Lotion & Tabula Rasa
5. Finish with Triad Pads (Rice Milk and Cranberry Extract) and/or Magic White Ice
6. Eye Serum

1 to 2 times a week I will also do a mask or peel sometimes if my skin really needs it between steps 2 and 3 in the evening. I like the Mandarin Brightening Peel, Raspberry Resurfacing Peel, and the Wine Hydrating Mask.

I no longer need anything like Retin-A, ProActiv, Duac, etc. This line is expensive but my skin is gorgeous now.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:49 AM on April 22, 2012

If you want a guy's answer: I wash my face with Noxzema. And that's it, other than shaving every couple of days.
posted by dfriedman at 10:55 AM on April 22, 2012

They say toner isn't necessary. A lot of people like it so why not? Cleanse, tone, moisturize in that order.

Use Retin-A at night after you cleanse and tone. If you want apply night cream or moisturizer over Retin-A.

In the morning I cleanse my face in the shower with a product dedicated for face. Sometimes I am lazy and cleanse with bar soap and washcloth. When I get out of shower I always moisturize. Right now I am loving Neutrogena Healthy Skin Radiance SPF 15. It really does give a subtle glow that isn't greasy. After it sets I apply liquid foundation where I need it. I like liquid foundations that have some kind of skincare ingredient. MakeUpForever's HD foundation is my favorite but right now I am using Clinique's Even Better foundation and loving it. I like the idea of a foundation that is doing something good for my skin. This particular one claims it will even out skin tone and I find that it does!

If you use tinted moisturizer skip regular moisturizer.

At night, I cleanse with face cleanser and a couple times a week I apply a mask that contains glycolic acid to exfoliate. At night I use Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle night cream. I don't have deep wrinkles. I have combination skin. I have been oily all of my adult life, prone to acne, and just getting to stage (age 39) where I have a tiny bit of dryness at times on cheeks and near eyes. This Anti-Wrinkle moisturizer does not cause breakouts. If anything it makes my skin clearer -- probably because of retinol. I rarely use eye cream. I use whatever I am using on my face around the eye area.

I am a great believer in exfoliating. Most of the time I use chemical exfoliation -- such as DermaDoctor Wrinkle Revenge #2. I leave it on like a mask. Sometimes I use mechanical exfoliation like a cheap washcloth that sloughs off dead cells or St. Ives Green Tea scrub.
There are lots of cream exfoliants out there if you do not wish to scrub your face with granules. If you are using Retin-A you probably won't need a lot of rough exfoliation.

A great book to check out is Leslie Baumann's book The Skin Type Solution. This book is great for narrowing down you skin type. Dr. Baumann recommends products (low and high-end with brand name) and gives you order in which to apply with an AM and PM regimen.
posted by Fairchild at 10:57 AM on April 22, 2012


1. Wash face in evening
2. Put on moisturizer with sunscreen in morning

Magazines are just trying to sell you stuff that you don't need.
posted by sugarbomb at 11:06 AM on April 22, 2012 [15 favorites]

Seconding sugerbomb. I wash my face with the same bodywash i use on my body and then apply moisturizer after i dry my face. That is it and i have and have always had clear skin. I also only wear makeup occasionally so have no need for makeup remover. Ppl compliment my skin all the time and i am convinced it is healthy bc i typically do not put makeup or junk on it.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 11:11 AM on April 22, 2012

FWIW, most bodywashes contain sulfates, and sulfates are notorious for causing breakouts in people with sensitive or acne-prone skin. If you're in the latter category, simple regimes where you use the same product everywhere may cause undesirable effects. I envy those of you who can do that, though!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:14 AM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

cleansing-->moisturizing-->specialty treatment/protection.

This really captures the basic process. Everything else is preference. A note however that speciality treatments are not usually daily - masks for example, or a scrub. The gentlest products are preferred for daily.

I now use a Neutrogena facial bar in the shower then Oil of Olay - have recently upgraded from the regular moisturizing lotion to Olay's anti aging stuff with SPF 15. At night, depending on the climate of the location I am in, I will use clearasil's deep cleansing toner (excellent for humid tropical climates to control oil) or nothing in dryer colder climates unless I've been on a roadtrip off tarmac. I'm pleased to note that I'm still waiting for the crowsfeet to show, which I believe come from too much stripping of the natural oils. I'm 46.
posted by infini at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2012

1. makeup remover
2. cleanser (Cetaphil, very gentle)
3. toner (La Roche Posay Effaclar - love this stuff, you can get it at Walgreens)
4. spot treatment stuff if needed (Clinique spot corrector, acne spot treatment)
5. sometimes night cream (if my skin feels a little dry)
6. eye cream

I have very sensitive skin that is prone to breakouts. I do use a gentle exfoliating scrub (Clarins one step, the orange stuff), but only once or twice a week.

1. cleanser
2. toner
3. primer (I like Laura Mercier primer, it evens everything out, but not everyone needs primer)
4. oil-free tinted moisturizer with SPF (Laura Mercier. I prefer tinted moisturizer because it's light. If I plan to be out in the sun in daytime, it would be a very high SPF sunscreen (Shiseido) just a little tinted moisturizer at this step)
5. concealer if needed
6. light eye makeup if wearing any
7. a little pressed powder (my skin can get a bit shiny)

I thought toner wasn't needed but now I never skip using it. I was advised to not swipe on with a cotton ball, but put a few drops in your palm and splash it onto the face, let it soak in a bit. Before I started doing this, my face would break out a lot more.
posted by citron at 11:20 AM on April 22, 2012

Kind of a minimalist:

Morning shower with store-brand Cetaphil and my hands--infrequently a washcloth, once a week or less.

If I'm wearing sunscreen that day (I buy Neutrogena, generally), I put it on after my face is dry from the shower, or, more likely, right before the sunny activity (I am not a sunscreen role model).

Before bed, I wash my face with plain water (or, if it's been a dirty/sweaty/sunscreen-y day, with more store-brand Cetaphil and/or store-brand Dial antibacterial).
posted by box at 11:24 AM on April 22, 2012

I have the weird combination of dry, sensitive (acne-prone, rough blotchy prone, everything prone) skin.

- Shower. Wash face in shower with this Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub. Not every day, usually every other day at most - most of the time I wash my face with just water.
- (sometimes) prime my face With Laura Mercier's primer
- Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer. I use this liberally - both because I use it as my moisturizer, and as a (very sheer) concealer. It has SPF 20, which I love. And doesn't make my dry skin break out. I'll then use a little of this creamy Stila rouge.

- wash face with water and washcloth

- wash face with baking soda
- use this Murad Clarifying Mask which is incredible for any breakouts and helping my complexion. But also dries my skin terribly, so I have to use it sparingly.

EVERY single moisturizer I've tried besides Laura Mercier's tinted one, will make me break out, or make my skin itchy, or just not absorb. My skin, though dry, does not like to "drink" in stuff on the surface. It's just totally weird. So I avoid regular moisturizer, toners, and most cleansers except exfoliating with the Burt's Bees scrub a few times a week. I seem to have found a skincare stride that works for me, especially because I really don't put that much on it. My skin is happiest keeping things pretty uncomplicated. YMMV.
posted by raztaj at 11:25 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use a dead sea mud/salt bar soap with exfoliating pad as often as necessary to exfoliate (sometimes I use this in the morning if my face feels gritty, sometimes at night, etc) and then jojoba oil to moisturize. I find that depending on what time of the month it is, I sometimes need to exfoliate more or less often so I just pay attention to how my skin feels.

When I don't need to exfoliate I just use the jojoba oil as makeup remover, then wipe it off and massage a couple more drops in as moisturizer.

Once or twice a week I use a calcium bentonite clay mask(I use Aztec Secret) and mix the clay with apple cider vinegar. The ACV makes a big difference. After I take the mask off I massage in a few drops of jojoba oil.

I haven't used a toner in several years but when I did I used it after cleansing and before moisturizer. When I used zip zappers I put on moisturizer, let it sit for a few minutes, and then put the other stuff on.
posted by fromageball at 11:31 AM on April 22, 2012

Maybe this link form Paula's Choice will help: How to Put Together Your Own Skin-Care Routine.
posted by hooray at 11:32 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

* Wash with Elta MD cleanser
* Moisturize with Elta MD lotion.
* Makeup

* Wash with the same cleanser
* Add a couple of topical medications from my dermatologist
* Moisturize with CeraVe PM.

In general, my experience has been that using a lot of (over-the-counter) products is a waste of time and money -- they are mildly helpful at best, and often they are awful. Over the years, I have made my face red, itchy, burned, flaking, cracked, and swollen from products that contain irritants, or are used in ways that are irritating (e.g., scrubs). My skin is much happier when I leave it alone.

So I believe you don't need to do a lot of complicated stuff with your face. Men don't typically do much, and it's not like the average man's skin looks noticeably terrible.

I recommend keeping it simple. Plus what neushoorn said: definitely read Paula Begoun's site/books. She's a straight shooter, and very knowledgeable.
posted by Susan PG at 11:38 AM on April 22, 2012

I have sensitive skin prone to dryness on my cheeks and around my mouth, but prone to oiliness on the t-zone.

Day: I wash with LUSH's Fresh Farmacy cleanser. (This stuff controls breakouts so well that when I run out of it? I break out almost instantly.) Then I moisturize while my skin is still a little damp with (I just got up and looked) Walgreen's brand oil free moisturizer (SPF 15 - I'm not telling you how to live, that's just how I do it). If my skin is still a little dry, I might then use tinted moisturizer. I use Cover Girl brand. It works fine.

Midday: I swipe my t-zone with blotting papers. I buy whatever brand is on sale. I've never noticed much difference between the rubbery store brand ones and the fancy green tea or lavender ones from Sephora or The Body Shop. I've also substituted a tissue for this step. Works fine.

Night: In the shower, I use Almay makeup remover pads to take off eye makeup. Then I wash my face with Philosophy's Purity. Once a week or so, I use apricot scrub (I buy the generic if the brand isn't on sale, makes no difference to me). Since Purity has a toner already in it, I don't use a separate one, but when I did, I used LUSH's Eau Roma Water. I moisturize then with an eye gel and Philosophy's Hope In A Jar.

I was told you should moisturize/tone while your skin is still a little damp.
posted by Aquifer at 11:44 AM on April 22, 2012

My regime for my very dry skin, which I try to keep to natural-ish products:
1. Wash with oil cleanser (Origins Clean Energy)
2. Once or twice a week, exfoliate at this point (Origins Never a Dull Moment)
3. Moisturise (whatever vegetable oil I'm using, atm it's coconut oil)
4. Sunscreen once the first moisturiser has sunk in.

Toner has always seemed like a waste of money to me. I use zit zapping stuff as needed; I wash over the zit, and dab, replacing a few times through the day.
posted by pickingupsticks at 11:59 AM on April 22, 2012

I have combination skin (oily T-zone, dry cheeks, sometimes flaky) that is extremely prone to oil plugs and sebaceous filaments. So I primarily need intense exfoliation and non-greasy moisture. My skincare routine is:
1. Wet face with hot washcloth
2. Add an AHA+BHA (chemical exfoliant) face wash to the washcloth, wrap cloth around my Neutrogena Wave (basically a vibrator for the face), and wash/exfoliate face for one minute.
3. Immediately apply a few drops of Hada Labo super hyaluronic acid for moisture. This is what Japanese people use instead of alcohol-based toner, which is too drying for my skin.
4. Light lotion w/ SPF (usually Neutrogena Healthy Skin w/ AHA)
5. WAIT for skin to dry completely and resume its normal level of oiliness before applying makeup. Totally affects the way foundation appears on my face.

I have a lot of different types of face wash for occasional use, such as St. Ives apricot scrub and tea tree oil-based soap.
posted by acidic at 12:03 PM on April 22, 2012

I don't know what condition your skin is in now because you didnt tell us. But all that stuff you listed has a tendency to freak out my face and make it blotchy and pimple-y. I'm definetly a girly girl and I wear make up most days. I use a generic make up remover. I purchase by smell and feel. It should not smell like alcohol and it should feel a bit oily. I wash with warm water and a washcloth only most days and with Mary Kay 3 in 1 occasionally. I use witch hazel as a toner ( I guess ?) Mostly because I have some (more than a bit) of unwanted facial hair that needs almost daily tweezing and the witch hazel cools it down and keeps the plucked areas clean. Some days I apply under eye cream if I have puffy eyes. I only wear sunscreen if I'm gonna be out in the sun a lot. I almost never moisturize but my makeup primer is moisturuzing. I purchase mostly high quality makeup (Bare Escentials) that doesn't clog my pores. I get about one zit a month (around the time of my period) with this regimine. When I used a bunch of facial cleansers and zit zappers I was always fighting acne. So I say less is more.
posted by dchrssyr at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2012

Magazines are just trying to sell you stuff that you don't need.

Seconding sugerbomb. I wash my face with the same bodywash i use on my body and then apply moisturizer after i dry my face. That is it and i have and have always had clear skin. I also only wear makeup occasionally so have no need for makeup remover. Ppl compliment my skin all the time and i am convinced it is healthy bc i typically do not put makeup or junk on it

I'm sorry, but this is not correct for everyone. You have great skin despite doing minimal things because you have great genes. Doing "nothing" would make me look like a teenager with acne again. If you've ever been to a dermatologist, which these two probably never have, they'll tell you that this is a myth.

My routine is a sulfur based lightly foaming cleanser (prescribed by my Derm), Retin-A every other day with CeraVe PM on the off days, and CeraVe AM in the morning. Once a week I do a clay mask. A few times a week I do a chemical exfoliation (citrus). For spot treatment of zits, I either use the clay mask or Benzaclin (also prescribed by my Derm). I'm actively working on not picking and popping zits, and buying a concealer with salicylic acid has helped heal the ones I need to not pop.
posted by two lights above the sea at 12:35 PM on April 22, 2012 [7 favorites]

My skin is normal with a bit of an oily t-zone. I have mild comedonal acne (blackheads) and I care a lot about preventing premature skin aging.


1) Wash face, NO SOAP.
2) Apply antioxidant (I use Origins A Perfect World White Tea Skin Guardian)
3) Apply moisturizer (I use CeraVe PM or raw, organic coconut oil)
4) Apply mineral sunscreen (I use La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen SPF 50 for face and Jason Mineral Natural Sunblock SPF 30 for body)
5) Apply makeup


Repeat steps 1-5 (or just wash and apply a moisturizing sunscreen with antioxidants if I am lazy).


1) Wash face with cream cleanser (I use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) or a makeup removing towel
2) Either let skin dry for 30 minutes and apply the topical tretinoin 0.05% brand Atralin OR coconut oil OR CeraVe (depending on how my skin is feeling with flakes).


- Apply a seaweed clay mask (I make my own using Rhassoul clay and bladderwrack powder from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- Use a glycolic acid toner of at least 2%
posted by 200burritos at 12:41 PM on April 22, 2012

Taking care of your face really starts with the inside. Eating leafy greens, vegetables and fruits in all sorts of colors, and staying well hydrated and getting enough exercise so there's adequate circulation in your body will really give you radiant skin. Also, wash your skin before you go to sleep! Other than that, I tend to use natural stuff for my face but I have really dry skin and anything else tends to make it even drier. I could give you a long comment about natural home remedies for acne/skin but I think a google search has the same effect. Though, I will let you know, I always scrub my face with olive oil, sugar, and lemon juice. I do this for my body too.
posted by thischarmingirl at 12:54 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

My skin tends to be oily and prone to mild acne. I only tend to get dry patches during the winter, or if I overdo it with benzoyl peroxide or retinol. That said, here's my regimen:

-Wash/exfoliate with a facial scrub. I like Alba Botanica's Sea Algae Scrub.
-If I see acne/breakouts, I apply some of's benzoyl peroxide treatment.
-If I see dry spots, I apply pure jojoba oil.
-Sunscreen! For this that truly need oil control, I've found the best sunscreen is a product made by Biore called Perfect Face Milk Sunscreen.

-Blot with Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets around lunchtime.

-Remove makeup with an oil-based cleanser. Currently I'm using Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash.
-Toner: Thayer's Rose Petal Alcohol Free Witch Hazel. Toner helps me feel like I really have 100% of my makeup off.
-Apply a tiny bit of Differin/Adpalene gel. It's a retinoid that my dermatologist gave me a prescription for in order to treat acne. But as a retinoid, it also helps to prevent/decrease wrinkles.

Gosh, that seems like a lot of product. But over the past 15 years, I've gone back and forth with all sorts of face washes, primers, sunscreens, which can get expensive, so I'll also suggest keeping things as simple as you can.
posted by oiseau at 12:55 PM on April 22, 2012

My regimen for my face is as follows: Wash my face while I'm in the shower with the same (liquid) soap I use everywhere. That is my regimen. It works pretty well and has the advantage of being fast and easy and inexpensive.
posted by Justinian at 12:55 PM on April 22, 2012

I'm sorry, but this is not correct for everyone. You have great skin despite doing minimal things because you have great genes. Doing "nothing" would make me look like a teenager with acne again. If you've ever been to a dermatologist, which these two probably never have, they'll tell you that this is a myth.

No one is saying that they do nothing for their face. True, if someone has a skin condition of some sort, dermatologist-recommended steps should be taken. But to me, it sounded like the OP had just read a lot of magazine articles and didn't know how to proceed. Skin product companies make a mint off of preying on women's fears of aging (and society's insistence on youthfulness). If the OP had specific skin concerns, I presume she would have mentioned them.

(And since I missed the part where the OP wanted brand names: The Body Shop Hydrating Facial Cleanser, and The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisturizer w 15 SPF sunscreen).
posted by sugarbomb at 2:02 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have what I thought were terrible skin genetics (dry yet constant-breakouts) and my skin has never been better since I stopped using a bunch of products. I don't even wash it. I use a heavy body lotion cream (Nivea) to remove my makeup and apply a thick layer of it at night and a thin layer in the morning. That's it. There's an adjustment period, for sure, but after a few weeks my skin settled into it and is clear and healthy. If I do get a blemish they go away almost overnight. It is amazing. And that creme costs $3 and lasts months, which is an exciting bonus
posted by something something at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Morning: warm water on a washcloth, rubbed but not scrubbed
Evening: 5 minute warm shower, a little plain soap rubbed in with fingertips and rinsed off
Cosmetics: none, occasional lip balm containing beeswax in winter when lips tend to get dry
Moisturizer: only on dry parts of skin, which is elbows and heels for me
Acne: pretty much vanished since I stopped using cleansers, toners, facial masks, and cosmetics
posted by thatdawnperson at 2:07 PM on April 22, 2012

Water and a washcloth in the morning. Apply sunscreen if I'm leaving the house, nothing if I'm not.

Water and a washcloth at night if I can be bothered. Apply nothing.

I used to use ALL the products because I have very clog-prone large-pored skin and it was only when I got rid of them that my skin improved substantially.

I know that had I read a comment like this years ago I would have thought, "Well lucky her. That would never work for me." But it did, so lucky me too I guess.
posted by sarahw at 4:47 PM on April 22, 2012

I recently changed my routine based on reading Paula Begoun's advice at Beautypedia. I'm very, very happy with it. I'm 42 and look younger, but this routine change has improved my skin even more.

Wash with Cetaphil.
Apply Neutrogena salicylic acid/BHA 1% cream.*
Apply Olay Regenerist knock-off (Target brand) moisturizing serum for the antioxidants.*
Sometimes also apply CeraVe* or Philosophy's When Hope Is Not Enough cream.
Apply Neutrogena sunscreen.
Apply foundation* etc.

(* = Recommended by Beautypedia/Cosmetics Cop for my specific skin issues.)

Almost never wash my face. If I do, it's a repeat of Cetaphil, moisture serum routine. Yes, it's not ideal, but I'm lazy.

The reason for my routine change is that my skin was so dry that super emollient creams (hideously expensive ones) weren't keeping my face hydrated. Beautypedia's articles said that if I used chemical exfoliant (BHA or retinol) instead of mechanical (St. Ives and similar scrubs), my skin's texture and appearance would improve. And that if I used a moisture serum containing antioxidants, I'd need less emollient moisture cream--if I needed any at all. Lo and behold, it's been a few weeks, and it's worked a charm so far.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 5:10 PM on April 22, 2012

Until recently, my skin care regime was:

Wash in the shower with an oil-free cleanser for sensitive skin
Moisturize with an oil-free moisturizer

Go to bed

I've developed rosacea over the past year, though, so now it can be more complicated. The most complicated version of my routine is:

Wash in the shower with an oil-free cleanser for sensitive skin
Moisturize with a richer moisturizer
Apply face primer
Apply foundation

Splash my face with water
Apply rosacea medicine

My skin is really sensitive and the more I futz with it, the worse it is. Washing my face with even just water can be irritating. If I don't wear makeup during the day, I don't wash it at all in the evening. FWIW, the cosmetics rep who sold me my rich expensive moisturizer said washing and moisturizing in the evening is unnecessary. Not that I was about to do it anyway, but it was nice to have the endorsement.
posted by looli at 6:10 PM on April 22, 2012

Low-key routine here. Assuming I was wearing makeup that day (which I'm not usually):

1. Makeup remover.
2. Rinse face with water until I've gotten rid of the slick feeling from the makeup remover. Washcloth if needed to remove last bits of makeup. After reading about how soap dries out skin, I started to really notice it on myself so I only use it when I have gunk on my face - sunscreen and sand, for example.
3. The cheap moisturizer that comes in big bottles at the grocery store. If I'm somewhere where the air is dryer than it is at home, sometimes I'll use a more serious moisturizing cream instead (comes in a tub, texture of Crisco). Moisturizing is the only thing I do routinely - any time my skin feels a little bit tight, after a shower, and usually in the morning and evening.

Pretty sure that toner would be between steps 2 and 3, and sunscreen would be after moisturizer (since it's the one that's least meant to interact with your skin, just to be between your skin and the sun).

Part of why the routine isn't uniform from one source to another is that there's not really agreement on what you should be doing and in what order, even from people who are agreed that you should do a bunch of stuff. So it's not like there is One True Way out there and no one's telling you; don't worry too much about doing it wrong.
posted by Lady Li at 6:12 PM on April 22, 2012


1) wash face with lukewarm water and a microfiber cloth.
2)use Skinactives DMAE and Let's Make Collagen serum with a drop of jojoba oil all over face and neck. Seems to be enough moisture for me at this point.
3) Sunscreen on neck, mineral makeup on face.


1) wash face with jojoba oil, warm water and microfiber cloth
2) rub a few grains of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) into damp skin. Way cheaper than buying vit C products.
3) apply eye cream
4) apply vitamin A cream, also from Skinactives, or their Energizing Cream which has been great for helping dispel the ruddiness from my face. It's pricy, though.

I definitely apply most products in the evening. For one, vitamin A and vitamin C are unstable in sunlight, and for two, our bodies are usually slightly warmer at night, and things that can penetrate the skin do so more easily when it's warm.

I don't use a toner, have never found one useful. I try to use a minimum number of things that either clean, moisturize, exfoliate, and/or nourish skin.

Every so often: sugar scrub with jojoba oil and caster sugar
posted by oneirodynia at 9:20 PM on April 22, 2012

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