This is something I’m very passionate about. Especially as I get older, skincare is top of mind, my friends! Oh lord, there is so much going on skin-wise as you age. So I thought I’d write about the six most common skincare mistakes I see people making, whether it be in the industry or just in their daily routines that they share with me. Full disclosure, I still make these mistakes myself, and they are potentially really damaging to our skin. So this is me talking from experience. Looking back on the things I used to do in my 20's and before, my oh my, I forgive you young Valeria, but barely!
#1 - You're not changing your skincare based on season
I used to fall in love with a cleanser or moisturizer and I was just committed like "this will work for me forever!" I thought I would use it every single day - and what’s interesting is skincare is kind of like diet. You change the way you eat based on your lifestyle and stress levels; it's a constantly shifting landscape.
It's the same thing for skin - and it’s so easy to shift! We really just want to focus on two different times of the year for this. We have the colder months, where there is low humidity, it’s very dry, and your skin becomes really dehydrated and prone to irritation, dryness, and flaking. Then we have the other half of the year which is warmer and hotter, there is lots of humidity, and this leads to really greasy skin (depending on product), making us more prone to breakouts. If you want to sustain a healthy, glowing skin, you have to change your skincare routine. Listen and look to your body and see what it's reacting to.
Winter time: Move towards gentle and creamier products. Buy cleansers with probiotics included and apply them by adding a bit of water first to get that milky texture. This will help the rinsing stage and you'll remove everything on your skin without shredding that important needed moisture. Do not use harsh cleansers. The key word here being "gentle" to be included in the description of your products.
Invest in more creamy textured and heavier moisturizers. They should really feel like it's feeding your skin. For nighttime, try a face mask since they're generally heavier. For day-time, use a heavier day cream that will give you that protective layer to nourish your skin, but won't be as heavy as a nighttime mask. Give your skin the nourishment and nutrients it desperately needs without it feeling too heavy.
Summer time: Use an oil-based cleanser and follow that up with a double cleansing routine. You need a lot more SPF this season, there's a lot of sweat in the summer too, so you need to clean your face thoroughly. Follow that up with a water-based moisturizer so it's less heavy. It will still nourish your skin without sitting on top of it.
During this time in the year you'll also want to use a detoxifying face mask to purify your skin two to three times a week. Look for masks with chlorophyll since they really open pores and give the skin the chance to breathe. I actually dab this mask on my breakouts to cleanse and dry them out!
#2 - You don’t use enough SPF, and only use it in the summer
I used to make this mistake, let me tell you! Sun rays are present all year round and it took me a while to really take that seriously. Imagine sun bouncing off the snow - that's UV rays just going directly into your skin. We've all heard the many studies showing UV rays are directly linked to premature aging, wrinkles, certain types of cancers, dark spots; so let's preserve what we have and send a thank you to mother nature as we do it!
Use SPF after your skincare routine and before heading into makeup application. Moisturizer or foundation with SPF does not cut it - it's not enough. Find a product that has SPF listed first, use in all areas exposed to sun, and this will help protect you from UVA and UVB rays.
#3 You're using the wrong amount of product
Image: Valmont Cosmetics, Luminosity with Valeria Lipovetsky
If I knew about this earlier I would have saved so much money! Now, I follow a rule of thumb when it comes to amount of product:
Cleanser: Use a nickel sized amount. If you double cleanse to remove waterproof makeup, use half that amount the second time you cleanse.
Serums: Especially if they use vitamin C, too much will irritate your skin. I use a pea-sized amount, which helps the product last and covers your entire face. It's more than enough!
Moisturizer: Use a nickel sized amount for face, and for neck and chest, use another nickel sized portion.
My current favorite right now is this one from Tata Harper, because it specifically locks in moisture. I use this one at night, as it's on the heavier side. It's springtime now, so I don't need this level of moisture both morning and night, but it's perfect for that nighttime repair action.
Masks: It depends where you use it and the type of mask you're using. I usually stick to just a pea-sized amount but if they’re more potent, use half that amount.
Exfoliator scrub: Don’t overuse these because you will be stripping your skin of moisture. Use only a dime-sized amount, and apply it really gently, avoiding any sensitive areas like around the eyes.
Eye cream: When I was about 26 or 27, I started using eye-cream consistently. You only need a pea-sized amount. Use your ring finger to apply, dabbing it all around the eyes. When you blink naturally throughout the morning, the cream will spread around to all the areas it needs to go!
I've used this cream from Dior for awhile now and it's perfect for consistent use as it's carrying-in-your-purse size!
SPF: Again, we assume if we apply it once we're good for the day but that’s not true. Re-apply every two hours. Use powders with SPFs if you have makeup on already and use half a teaspoon for the face and neck. Measure it for a visual understanding (I'm not saying carry around a teaspoon in your purse, but I'm also not not saying that...) For rest of your body, use the amount of two shot glasses full of sunscreen. Upper body one glass, lower, the other. That’s a lot - but we don’t use enough so get into that mindset of using that much whenever you're exposed to sun throughout the day.
#4 - You're over-exfoliating your skin
There are two kinds of exfoliants: physical exfoliants like masks, brushes, and scrubs; and chemical exfoliants, which are acid serums and peels.
If you have normal to oily skin, exfoliate two to three times a week maximum. For sensitive skin, one to two times a week. Avoid over-sensitive, irritated areas on your skin because you will end up stripping too much moisture. If used properly, exfoliants really help brighten your skin and pull out that dullness that occurs naturally throughout the year.
For physical exfoliants, avoid buying products with fruit pits or nut shells. These actually create little micro-tears in your skin. If you're new to exfoliating, start slowly with a bit of brown sugar or even just a wash cloth to a clean face. For sensitive skin, find exfoliants with fruit enzymes because these will help deliver results from the nutrients they will provide your skin.
Very important - use a good moisturizer afterwards. You have to hydrate after exfoliating every time!
#5 - You're not cleaning brushes often enough
Honestly, I’ll confess: I stopped using brushes and sponges for this reason. I can’t commit to washing them and I was getting breakouts in areas with heavy brush use. We don’t want dirty bacteria and fungi on our brushes (and you can't see these!) Deep clean them once a week. Create a schedule or routine like every Sunday saying: "I'm cleaning my makeup and skin tools."
#6 - Ignoring facial exercise
Facial massage and exercise can be really beneficial and they're not spoken about enough. I do these daily for my face, neck, shoulders, and traps. There are amazing tutorials out there (you can start with mine below for a quick five minute guide). There is not a ton of scientific evidence so I'm not claiming anything, but it's something that has really helped awaken my skin in the morning. I focus on unclenching my jaw, and massaging and tapping around my eyes, chin, and cheeks. I feel it helps loosen any water retention from sleeping, bring definition to my facial structure, increases blood flow, and works muscles. Just like our body, if we don't exercise these muscles, they're going to grow weak and lose shape.