5 Steps to Boost Your Skin Care Routine

My philosophy when it comes to skin care is “less is more.”

Partially, because I’m a broke pharmacy student, but also because investing in a few proven products will keep your skin and your bank account happy. And it doesn’t need to be complicated – just thorough and consistent.

Here is a list of some of my favorite products and tips on how to keep your skin glowing for years to come.

1. Take off your damn makeup.

Unless you’ve been blessed with poreless skin, please remove your makeup before bed. Actually, even then, PLEASE remove your makeup.

Skin cells turnover at an increased rate overnight (where dead skin cells are shed and replaced with new ones), which means your skin is going to absorb whatever is left on it. So when you sleep with makeup one, you’re allowing dirt to be absorbed into your skin at an advanced rate. Shame on you.

Just kidding, I get it.  We all live busy lives and it can be difficult to commit to a full makeup removal routine at times, so make things easier for yourself and try makeup removing pads. Store them in your night table if need be, a couple wipes before going to bed is better than nothing. Bioderma makes great makeup removing pads that get all of your makeup off without the stinging sensation that most makeup removing pads have. If you’re more diligent, I recommend using a makeup remover followed by a cleanser to remove any residue left behind. A great makeup remover is the BIODERMA Sensibio H20, gentle enough for the most sensitive of skin but strong enough to remove even the most stubborn, waterproof makeup.


2. Don’t over cleanse! 

The key to choosing a good cleanser is sticking to the basics and using good ingredients. Cleansers should be viewed only as a method of removing impurities left behind on your skin, that might be leftover makeup or pollutants from the air. A mild cleanser with few ingredients is your best bet.

You should be cleansing once or twice a day, but no more than that. If you have acne-prone skin, stay away from medicated cleansers that tend to dry out your skin and signal your pores to overproduce oil as compensation. This exacerbates your acne.

A favorite one of mine is the Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser, a great option for sensitive skin. Fresh also makes a wonderful Soy Face Cleanser, that does a great job of removing impurities without stripping your skin of its natural moisture.

The key to choosing a good cleanser is sticking to the basics and using good ingredients.

3. The more moisturizer the merrier!

Oily? Moisturize. Combination skin? Moisturize. Dry? Definitely moisturize! Moisturizer is your best friend. There’s a common myth that those with oily skin don’t require moisturizer, but I promise you this is false! Moisturizer is important for hydrating your skin, balancing its sebum and oil production, and acting as a temporary barrier for your skin. If you deprive your skin of the moisture it needs, it will try to do the job on its own and overproduce oil.

Moisturizers come in all shapes and sizes, which can often be overwhelming. If you have oily skin, you want to use a light weight moisturizer, you can also try a gel form or an oil-free serum. Some great choices for oily skin are Biotherm’s Aqua Source Gel or Khiels Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream. If you have combination or dry skin, you can use a heavier moisturizer such as Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion or Impruv Skin Cream. For those with extremely dry skin, Embryolisse Lait Crème concentrate will be your saviour.


4. SPF, everyday, always, till death do you part.

If you incorporate only one of these tips into your daily routine, make it this one. This is a no-brainer. SPF will protect your skin against the harmful rays that could lead you to develop skin cancer and will prevent you from premature aging. A cult classic is the La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Ultra-fluid Lotion SPF 60. This is the only sunscreen I’ve found that doesn’t leave a white cast on your face, doesn’t leave a sticky residue, and doesn’t burn your eyes like other sunscreens. It also feels like silk on your face and can serve as a light primer for your makeup.  Another great choice is the Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer SPF 30, this product combines two steps into one – moisturizer and SPF.

SPF will protect your skin against the harmful rays that could lead you to develop skin cancer and will prevent you from premature aging. 

5. Now, for retinol.

It will erase your wrinkles, clear your acne, erase your dark spots, do your laundry, take out your garbage, and find you the man of your dreams. Sort of. I’m sure you’ve heard of retinol by now. It’s really just a fancy name for Vitamin A and has been deemed the magical fix to many skin problems including the ones listed above. It works by speeding up the cell turnover process and promoting the production of collagen.

Retinol can be found in many over the counter skin care products such as Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, or you can get a prescription from your pharmacist or physician for retinol in a stronger form (Differin and Retin-A are some of the most commonly used). Some things you should consider: retinol is not a quick fix, it usually takes about 4-6 weeks to start seeing results, it can irritate your skin, and your skin is most likely going to get worse before it gets better. But don’t be afraid! With proper technique, you can train your skin to tolerate the product and reap all of its benefits!


Do you have some favorite products of your own? Any skin care tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below!