BREAKING NEWS!! Skincare god and fabulous friend of the blog, Chris Pond is here to help you get your skincare shit together. (You know you've been putting it off!!) Listen to him, you guys. Seriously. Your skin will thank you. Read on for exclusive skincare tips that you won't find anywhere else. Well, maybe except for Chris' blog. Definitely check that out (linked at the bottom.) Okay, that's all from me! Talk soon!
Hi friends. My name is Chris. I work in the skincare industry, and I'm a real pain in the ass about it. I’m a firm believer in perfecting and implementing a solid skincare routine, and sticking with it. As much as I wish a single hour on the elliptical would give me Tom Hardy’s ass, it just won’t. The same applies for your skincare. I’ve laid out five steps for you that will absolutely improve your skin, by improving both its health and lusciousness. After all, our skin is an organ designed to protect our insides. It needs to be healthy. At the same time, I wanna glow (idk about y’all).
While products are important, the conceptual element of skincare is much more important - in my opinion.
You don't have to spend a ton of money on skincare, but more expensive skincare just tends to be better when it comes to formula, ingredient, grade, and that sort of jazz. I've included products from all price ranges, so hopefully you find some stuff that works for you. If you do, let me know on Instagram! @tophcam
If you end up finding this mini guide helpful, you should see the gigantic one I did called "A Guide to: Buying GOOD Skincare on a Budget"
Here’s the five steps to get you started:
I. Double Cleanse
I. Double Cleanse
Here’s the thing: makeup wipes and micellar waters will absolutely not take off all your makeup. They just won’t. If you aren’t thoroughly removing your makeup, your cleanser is going to have to work extra hard to purify your skin. If your cleanser is having to remove traces of foundation, it won’t be able to help dissolve impurities that are lurking in your pores which means that you’ll eventually get a breakout or congested (read: enlarged) pores. Not a fan of any of that.
The solution is actually very simple: double cleanse. One cleanse removes makeup, the other cleans the skin - not all of that ambiguous “oh yeah these wipes kind of take off all of my powder foundation” and yet you wake up with skin toned smudges on your pillow the next morning kind of stuff.
It’s easy to implement. Take a balm or oil cleanser, apply it onto a dry face without wetting your fingers first. Smooth it all over your face so that your skin starts to look like a watercolor painting of pink blush and purple eyeshadow. Then massage some more. Grab a washcloth (the cheaper ones from Target or Bed Bath & Beyond are better than the expensive ones) and hold it under the warm water coming out of your faucet. Wring the washcloth out so it’s kind of warm and slightly damp and then lay it over your face. The warmth will help the pores to open up a bit, which means you’ll get the deep clean going. Wipe every last bit of cleanser away. The balm or oil will literally dissolve the makeup, and the cloth will remove the cleanser. You’ve effectively removed your makeup, yay!
Next, take a skin cleanser - something that’s designed to help with your skin type. Some can be clay based to improve oily skin, some have enzymes to help smooth and perk up dull skin, some have rich amounts of humectants (water-binding ingredients) to help improve dehydrated skin. Wash your face again, removing with the washcloth as well. There’s no need to splash your face with cold water to shrink your pores because life doesn’t work that way - but what you will notice afterwards is incredibly clean, comfortable feeling skin. You’ll never want to cleanse another way ever again.
I also did a video called, “How to: Double Cleanse” in case you want to visually see how it’s done:
The reason I’m so passionate about proper cleansing is that a vast majority of skin concerns - congestion, dullness, clogged pores, etc. - can be fixed with proper cleansing. Your foundation isn’t making you break out. The fact that you wash your face with a bar of soap is ;) As a side note, the only use I have for Cetaphil cleansers is cleaning my feet, and that's if I'm really desperate. Seriously, that stuff is so incredibly harsh and awful. Throw it away, you skin will thank you.
Here’s some makeup removing cleansers I love:
Pixi Beauty Nourishing Cleansing Balm - Good if you’re not super prone to breakouts, and you like the smell of roses. This one takes a bit longer to melt into an oil, but it’s so good for such a good price that you’d be hard pressed not to love it. I’m a mega fan. $20
Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm - This smells a bit gorgeous, and really makes cleansing a luxurious ritual. Completely removes makeup, removes cleanly without residue, and makes my heart sing. All skin types. $60
Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil - If you prefer an oil, this one is really very nice. All skin types. $28
Here’s some skin cleansers I love:
Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser - This is so delicious. I love the smell, I love the ingredients, and I love the benefits it’ll provide your skin: anti-bacterial from the honey, brightening from the lemon, and softening from the plant lipids. All skin types. $12
Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel - Rosy, softening, and non drying. It contains largely natural ingredients too, which is kinda good (if you feel that way). All skin types. $28
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip - If you suffer from breakouts, oiliness, congestion, or dullness, this tackles any and all of those. It’s clay based, so it’s like a mini clay mask spa experience every time you wash your face, and the essential oils they use are naturally toning and antibacterial. It also doubles as a mask, score! $45
Oh, PS: You don’t need to double cleanse in the morning. unless you fell asleep with your makeup on. If that’s the case, I’ll be sending you a side-eye-gram in the mail. Just use your skin cleanser to wash your face in the morning, and yes you need to wash your face in the morning.
This is the step that will further solve most of your skincare woes - exfoliation. No I’m not talking about those annoying apricot scrubs or those obnoxious face washes with the (now outlawed) plastic microbeads. I’m talking about acids. Throw that other crap away because it’s literally only harming your skin. And that’s not fun!
These acids dissolve the layers of dead skin that serve no purpose to the skin, provide immediate smoothness, and can improve the quality of the skin over time.
Basically, there’s two different kinds of acids: AHAs and BHAs.
Think of it this way (in very over-generalized terms):
AHAs are great for helping signs of Aging
BHAs are great for helping signs of Blemishes
I personally use both, because I want to look like a marble statue, like, always.
If you want to keep it simple, choose a type of acid and stick with it.
If you suffer from dullness, dryness, dehydration, flakiness, or lack of smoothness - go with AHAs, which are glycolic, lactic, and citric acids (to name a few).
If you suffer from enlarged pores, breakouts, redness, or overall clogging - go with BHAs, which is salicylic acid.
These acids can live in different kinds of bases: liquids, gels, lotions, or in pre-soaked pad form.
I apply them after I use a toner, but before I put my serum or treatment on. Do this a few times a week at night to start out with, then work up to more consistent use. You need to wear sunscreen if you exfoliate, and you need to exfoliate if you want glowy smooth skin.
If they sting, that’s actually a good thing. That’s one of the only times where the “I can feel it working” nonsense is actually true. If it feels like your face is on fire though, wash it off.
Your face will feel smoother after one use, but your skin concerns will start to dissipate in as little as a week. *Girl sticking her hand out all fabulous-like emoji*
Here’s a few of my favorites.
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid - My most recommended product out of all categories of product. It’s not ridiculously expensive, it’s highly effective, and it lasts forever. Unclogging, smoothing, brightening, firming, and soothing. $28
Pixi Beauty Glow Peel Pads - Incredibly strong, so I’d use this only once a week and rinse it off after 15 minutes when you’re just starting out, but an absolute gem in the skincare market for its price and effectiveness. I prefer these to the Glow Tonic because I think they're more unique, but Glow Tonic is absolutely a great product for all skin types and great starting point for anyone new to acids. $22
Radical Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads - Great if you want the life back into your face, but the acid isn’t strong enough to where you can’t use it multiple times a week. $75
I also did a video called, “All About Exfoliation: What, How, When, Why?” that goes into detail.
This is where we address anything on your face that you feel could be better. We’re talking fine lines, dark spots, loss of firmness, and discoloration to name a few.
Respectively, this is where the most of your money should be spent because the products in this category simply cost more.
These products can be anything from an essence / ampoule / booster, serum, lotion, or any type of thin fluid product that goes on before you moisturize.
These are going to address your skin concerns from the bottom up. Collagen is produced in the lower depths of the skin, so the molecule size in the products you use need to be smaller as well. Hence the thinness of the serum or treatment oil.
Some people don’t need to use serum because their skin is in a good place. If that’s you, I’d go for a moisturizer that has tons of hyaluronic acid and antioxidants in it to prevent your skin from losing moisture and being damaged by pollution.
These products will take the longest to make a difference in the skin because most skin “issues” occur in the lower layers of the skin. It’s a lot harder to drop multiple dress sizes than it is to tone up your legs.
Here are some of the many treatments I’m a big believer in:
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair - This remains one of the best serums to address a little bit of everything at one time. It’s not cheap, but it sure is good. I buy mine on eBay, which is exponentially cheaper ;) All skin types. $68
Sunday Riley Luna - If you have deep wrinkles, darrrrrk spots, or intense loss of firmness, this is the one to go for. It’s an investment, but it’s specifically designed to work quickly, so that’s always nice! $105
Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Serum - If you’re experiencing mild dark spots, a bit of loss of firmness, large pores, or a bit of dullness, this is a fantastic option. Buy it on Amazon though, cause it’s almost always cheaper that way. $20
I cannot stress enough how important it is to moisturize, and how unimportant it is to moisturize. In my line of work, I’m constantly asked what the absolute best moisturizer is. When I mention including a serum underneath their moisturizer, they look at me like I have six eyes. The fact that I do have six eyes, a tail, and speak Klingon is a different story, but my point remains: moisturizer is not designed to fix your skin. It’s designed to protect it.
Moisturizers are intentionally designed to trap moisture in the upper layers of the skin so that it doesn’t become dry from exposure to the air, sun, wind, or other elements. The key words here are “upper layers.”
Fine lines, dark spots, large pores, and other skin concerns occur at the lower layers of the skin, so moisturizer alone isn’t going to fix them. They can absolutely help, because good skincare should exist in all of your products, but I wouldn’t lose sleep over your face cream - unless it’s one that’s filled with nasty ingredients. And before you ask, yes you should throw your Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion (that yellow gunk in that giant square bottle) in the trash can. It’s doing nothing for you. Sorry :)
You can also use facial oils in place of, or in addition to, a moisturizer. I do, and I love it. I prefer oils underneath my moisturizer because they’ll help pull the moisturizer into the skin. So long as you don’t douse your face in large quantities of either product.
Just to name a few:
Belif Aqua Bomb - Most of you may have heard of this. It’s a great product, but all it does is hydration. If you’re just getting into skincare, this is the one I’d go for. If not, you need something a bit more complex. $38
Kate Somerville Nourish - A delicious watery cream that is good for most skin types. It’s going to hydrate, soften, and plump the skin up almost instantly, and the plant extracts included will tone and soothe the skin. Adore. $65
Earth Science Naturals Ceramide Face Lotion - If you’re a really simple kind of person, this will be right up your alley. Better for normal to dry skin that’s not prone to clogging, but fantastic at what it does. It’s a gigantic bottle too, so that’s great. $16
And for my oily skinned friends, I’d look into the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Mattifying Fluid. It reduces oiliness but still gives proper hydration. Great if you get shiny. $39
Jurlique Skin Balancing Oil - Great for all skin types, gorgeous ingredients, delicious smell, and glow in a bottle. I loooove this. $50
I cannot cannot CANNOT stress enough the importance of using sunscreen. Every. Single. Day. No exaggeration. Anytime that it’s not midnight (pretty much) the sun is giving off UVA rays. The fun thing about UVA rays is that you can’t see them or feel them, they penetrate through glass, and they dissolve elastin. Elastin is what helps give your skin bounce and resilience, and once elastin is gone, you can’t get it back. Fun right?
UVB rays are the ones that make you burn.
I believe in using a separate sunscreen as opposed to a moisturizer with SPF for a number of reasons.
First of all, the amount of sunscreen you need to be protected and the amount of moisturizer you need to feel hydrated are never ever ever the same amount. You need way more sunscreen. Moisturizer with SPF gives a false sense of security.
Not only that, but you’d have to buy two moisturizers and that just gets annoying and complicated.
SPF 30 or greater is the amount that I’d recommend for daily use. You can go higher, but the amount of protection isn’t always that much greater. I usually go for 50 just to be safe. You’ll need to reapply if you’re going to be in direct sun for an extended amount of time.
I think that Japanese sunscreens are the best - like literally ones you have to order from Japan, not just Japanese brands. The reason for this is that Asian culture values skincare and sun protection way more than Western cultures. As a result, their sun care products are far more high-tech and elegant than ones from different parts of the world - in my own opinion. Not only that, they’re usually really affordable.
I buy mine from Amazon, but there are usually Asian beauty shops in every major city you can check out. Amazon is much easier though.
Side note: a PA rating (denoted by plus signs) lets you know how well the sunscreen protects you from the rays that will make you look like a dried up piece of leather. The higher, the better. Western brands (ahem AMERICA) don’t use the PA rating all that much, so you have no idea what kind of protection you’re getting. Get it together USA.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
Nivea Sun Protection Sun Protect Gel SPF 50 PA+++ - Really awesome if you tend to get oily because this one sets more matte. Really great stuff. $15
Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot Defense SPF 50 - This is made up purely of mineral filters, but it’s neither white and chalky nor heavy feeling. Gorgeous underneath your foundation. $42
Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 - One of my favorite sunscreens in the world. It’s quite moisturizing, but completely mineral based (which is great if you have sensitive skin). Love love love. Better if you have normal to dry skin. $32
So that wraps up my Five Steps to Great Skin guide (rant), and I hope you enjoyed it. It sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not. You can be done in about seven minutes, but I prefer to take my time. It's my "me" time, and I think it's important to take time for yourself.
I didn’t talk about eye cream, face mist, masks, lip care, or body care cause then I’d leave nothing to have you intrigued by!
If you want to hear me rant some more, I have a blog: tpisbeauty.blogspot.com
I also make YouTube videos, which is super fun: youtube.com/yochristophercameron
Now, go take off your makeup my friends.