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While all of us are currently in self isolation, I am fairly confident that many of us have ditched our daily skincare routines. It’s okay — honestly, you’re not alone.
Although it can be very tempting to do the bare minimum with your skin while you’re home and in front of a laptop or TV all day, the reality is that a lot of factors are affecting your skin. “Stress takes a toll on the skin and can often lead to breakouts and make the skin appear dull,” Helen Phillips, Sephora Collection national makeup artist, told In The Know. Understandably, many of us may be having stress breakouts right about now, but there are ways for us to take care of our skin without breaking the bank.
Tiara Willis, a licensed aesthetician and founder of Makeup for WOC, recommends putting down the snacks and making sure you have a well-balanced diet. “Some things that you can do for optimal skin health is try an anti-inflammatory diet, eating foods like turmeric, ginger, green tea and cinnamon,” she told In The Know. “Also you can try things like tuna, chicken, and leafy greens. If you’re noticing a reaction in your skin, some anti-inflammatory ingredients that you can look for in your skincare products would be like green tea, chamomile, and licorice root.”
For those of us noticing excessive acne breakouts while at home, Phillips recommends products with ingredients such as salicylic acid, clay, sulfur, Benzoyl peroxide and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA), all known to help with breakouts. “I love the Sephora Collection Clarifying Lotion for those spots that pop up.”
Shop: Sephora Collection Clarifying Lotion, $16
Alright, let’s get down to business: According to Phillips and Willis, it starts with a good cleanser. “At night, I always make sure that I clean off all my makeup thoroughly using a gentle cleanser like the Sephora Collection Clean Skin Gel, which both cleanses and tones,” Phillips said. “After that, I apply a micellar water. In the morning, I rinse my face of the previous night’s skincare and use a toner, micellar water or a gentle peel pad to further cleanse and prep the skin for my daytime routine. My favorites for this are the Sephora Collection Triple Action Cleansing Water or the Sephora Collection Glow Peel Pads.”
Shop: Sephora Collection Clean Skin Gel, $10
Shop: Sephora Collection Glow Peel Pads, $16
Willis also discussed implementing chemical exfoliants, which can feel daunting to makeup beginners. “After cleansing is when you can exfoliate using a chemical exfoliant. They dissolve the glue holding dead skin cells together and increase cell turnover,” she said. “One of my favorites for chemical exfoliants has been lactic acid.”
People may be afraid to give chemical exfoliants a try, but Willis says that you can have the best of both worlds between chemical products and clean beauty. “There are a lot of natural ingredients that are really good. But if you want real results, you need something that’ll really get into the skin. Typically chemical ingredients are so well-known because they’re more backed up with studies. Natural ingredients are great, but we only have a little evidence to back up those claims.”
Cleansers and chemical exfoliants can vary depending on skin type, but Willis and Phillips both suggest that everyone can benefit from a hydrating toner, which penetrates the multiple layers of skin and allows the rest of your products to work more effectively. “Everyone can benefit from a really good hydrating toner,” said Willis. “You don’t want to overtone because that can dehydrate the skin and lead to a damaged skin barrier. So you want to look for toners that have antioxidants.”
After your toner, follow up with a serum of choice — preferably one that’s hydrating, Willis suggests. “You can use your hydrating serum and then go on with your moisturizer or facial oil after that.”
Phillips and Willis both recommend products with ingredients including naturally-derived glycolic and hyaluronic acid to help resurface and hydrate skin while you sleep. “Retinols and retinol alternatives are also coming back to the forefront of skincare – mainly because brands are now developing retinols that are much less irritating, but still give mega brightening effects,” explains Phillips. “Personally, I use the Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum which gives and instant glow to the skin and helps to fight off fine lines and wrinkles too.”
Shop: Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Power Serum, $58
While this can feel like a lot of steps, it’s important to go slow and ease your way into a skincare routine that works for you. “Products with high-percentage glycolic, AHA, BHA and retinol might leave you brighter and exfoliated, but they can also irritate the skin,” warned Phillips.
“Even deep moisturizing masks can be too heavy and end up clogging pores. It’s all about balance, and now is the time to test out some new skincare to see how your skin reacts. Just remember to take baby steps and don’t introduce too much newness at once – stick with your tried and true skincare and mix in new products one at a time.”
If you liked this post, check out This $7 hyaluronic acid serum makes my skin look like I’ve drank a gallon of water.