Okay, enough is enough. You’re tired of your skin woes and feeling frustrated every time you look in the mirror. You’re ready to do something…anything…but what? For those who are ready for a fresh start with their skin, I’ve got the perfect plan for you. Here are 10 tips to start NOW to give your skin a complete makeover to get it back on track—once and for all.
1. Assess your current skincare products
You probably have a lot of skincare products in your bathroom that are collecting dust. You’re not sure how to or when to use it, let alone when it was purchased and why you even bought it in the first place. Right? Well, start by pulling everything out of your cabinet and assess every product—free samples included.
Toss your skincare products IF…
- the product is older than two years. The preservative system in most skin care products has a shelf life of 2 years—at the most. If you don’t even remember where or when you got it, that’s a sure sign it needs to go.
- the product contains mineral oil, isopropyl myristate, isopropyl palmitate, petroleum or petrolatum. I find these ingredients to just be pretty yucky for most skin types as they can lead to clogged bumps. Check out the list of skincare ingredients I like and don’t.
- the product contains SD alcohol, synthetic dye or synthetic fragrance (listed on the ingredients as “fragrance”). These are common skin irritants and can cause unnecessary skin sensitivity—especially for retinol users.
- the product has or is changing color or consistency. If it’s smelling kind of funky and/or the product formula is separating, it’s a sign that the product is losing its effectiveness and going bad. Definitely time to toss.
- you’re a free sample hoarder. Yes, free samples are great to try-before-you-buy or for throwing in a weekend travel bag but if you’re collecting more than what is actually getting used, it’s time to purge. Plus, these could be going bad if they are a few years old.
*What to do with any products or samples you no longer need and are not old? Donate them.
2. Find a trusted skincare coach to review your skincare products
Now that you have weaned down your skincare products, you’ll want to seek advice for creating your perfect skincare routine. It’s really hard to go it alone and you’ll need expert advice along the way. If you’re a first-time client somewhere, I encourage you to bring in all of your products for to be analyzed. A trusted and respectable professional should help you review your products and make sure that all of the products are supporting their skincare goals. If not, some recommendations should be made for what will. Ultimately, for the best results, you always want to be using products that are exclusively for your skin type.
To find a reputable esthetician or skincare professional to act as a coach, ask friends, post a question on social for friends, or search online. I can confidently speak for my industry, we LOVE to help others. This is why we got into this profession so seek out help and you’ll quickly find it.
3. Sensitive skin? Be sure to do a patch test if you’re trying out new skincare products
While there are four types of sensitive skin, allergic sensitivity is the most severe in that negative reactions (such as hives and other skin rashes) can sometimes take up to a week to heal. If your skin is on the reactive side, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test by rubbing a small amount of product on the lower half of your cheek and wait 24 hours. If redness or irritation occurs, you’ll know how the knowledge for whether or not the product is a fit for you. As for breakout-prone skin, you might want to use it on the forehead for a week to see if the products appear to cause any problems. Read more tips for preventing a negative reaction to skincare products.
4. Commit to your routine—faithfully.
The real secret for getting healthy-looking skin is…compliance. Compliance is the act of adhering to, and demonstrating adherence to, a standard or regulation. Simply put, you have to be willing to put in the effort. Everyone looks for that one “miracle” product that will be the game-changer but the benefits come from a good routine for your skin type, used consistently.
Some say it takes 21 days to build a habit, but I personally think it takes longer than that. Regardless, just do it and you will most certainly reap the reward.
5. To enhance the results of your products, practice good daily skincare habits
Every day must-dos:
- Don’t leave your skin bare for longer than 60 seconds after cleansing or else moisture evaporation will occur. Put on your next product quickly.
- Always wash your face both in the morning and at night. Some people avoid cleansing their skin in the morning because they don’t see it as necessary since there is nothing on their face. I disagree with this theory. The reason why it’s important to wash your skin in the morning is that while you sleep at night, your skin is in repair mode and will secrete toxins and sebum, which can prevent your morning products from working most effectively. When you wash your skin in the morning, you’re removing any oil and your heavier nighttime products so that your daytime products can get into the skin better, since it will have a clean slate. Also, the nighttime products that are on your skin often times contain ingredients that are suitable for evenings (not day) use, such as acids and retinol. These should be cleansed from the skin in the mornings to avoid any reactions or potential irritation.
- Use an eye cream so you are protecting the first area of the face that shows aging. But, here is why you’re not getting results with your eye cream.
- Use a moisturizer with SPF every day on both the face, neck, and chest. Make sure you apply your sunscreen correctly because a lot of people get it wrong! Of all the products that you want to work, sunscreen IS IT.
- For more tips, read the 10 skincare rules I swear by.
6. Up your skincare game at home by adding in a tool or device
Now more than ever, you can get enhance the results of your routine at home by tapping into the technological advances available with skincare tools and devices. Not all, of course, will work the miracles that are claimed but microcurrent is one that I truly believe in—if used regularly. It can give a lifting effect to the skin as well as a boost of energy to tired-looking skin. I have used a professional device on clients for years and was happy when it was made for at-home use.
Want to learn more? Read my list of the home skin devices to start and stop using now.
7. Enhance your skin results by getting professional treatments such as chemical peels
There is no better way to give a makeover to your skin than getting a chemical peel. They are tried and true and without a doubt, they can give you a serious boost of results above and beyond from what you can get at home. “Out with the old, in with the new” is the premise behind a chemical peel.
There are many different types of peels available depending on your skin concern. Consult with a trusted skin care professional to determine what type is best for you. Be sure to inquire about the downtime, if any, so you know how to best prepare for it.
In addition, regular professional facials every 4-8 weeks can greatly improve the results of your skin, too. It’s recommended to change up the types of facials depending on the season or how your skin is behaving. Example: Vitamin C antioxidant facials are great during the summer to reduce visible aging from the sun, while exfoliating facials work well during the winter months to remove dryness caused by the heat in the house.
8. Eat a good, healthy, nutrient-rich diet
What you put in your body may negatively or positively affect your skin.
- Avoid dairy if you’re prone to blemishes. Many people have heard that greasy foods and chocolate cause breakouts. Breakouts, especially those that are cyst-like in the chin and jawline area, can often be related to too much ice cream, yogurt, milk, and cheese. Try cutting back and you just might see your skin clear up. Try an Anti Bump Solution for helping make those hard, sore cystic breakouts go away faster.
- Limit your intake of alcohol. It leads to under eye and skin puffiness, as well as dehydrated skin. For every alcoholic drink, follow it with an 8 oz. glass of water. Read more about how alcohol is affecting your skin.
- Avoid high sodium foods. Especially the day before a special occasion, you’ll want to avoid high salt foods as it can lead to skin and under-eye puffiness.
- Eat foods with color (not from dyes). The more color we eat, the greater variety of antioxidants and nutrients we obtain from our foods. Berries, yellow squash, spinach, oranges, and red apples are all good choices.
- Eat avocados. These great little packages of green contain something called glutathione, one of the body’s master antioxidants. Great for anti-aging.
- Eat fish. The best fish to eat is cold-water fish. Include sardines, tuna, mackerel, cod, herring, and trout as well. All of these have the best essential fats for smoother, more moisturized skin, increased energy, improved immunity and all are very beneficial for your heart.
9. Start using a product with retinol NOW
If you haven’t jumped on this tried-and-true bandwagon yet, START NOW. Well, at least for those in their late 20s and beyond. One of the greatest discoveries in skincare was finding out that an FDA-approved topical cream developed for acne was in fact multi-tasking as a product that would prevent and reverse the signs of aging. You can read all about how this was discovered here (it’s a great story!). If you had acne as a teen and were prescribed a retinoid cream or gel, consider yourself lucky. You got a serious jumpstart on preventing wrinkles and I highly recommend you keeping using it.
Read all of my posts about retinol and prescription retinoids. Knowledge is power.
10. Practice self-acceptance
You have to remember that we all have to deal with the genetic cards we’ve been dealt. For example, some people are going to be prone to weakened elasticity in the under eye area (the polite way to say “bags”) and all the eye creams in the world will not tighten that up. When it comes to at-home skincare products and using a regimen, the goal is to create an environment within the skin where conditions and problems are kept under control or reversed.
So there you have it. A game plan to gain back your confidence when you look in the mirror. It’s my life’s calling to be able to guide you there. Hope this gets you on your way. Love, Renée
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”