Your skincare cheat sheet

Skincare routines decoded.

From selfies to shelfies - clearly, we are all jumping on the pro skincare bandwagon - from getting lost in Sephora, to online beauty shopping, many of us can safely say that we are lost amidst an industry offering a plethora of options. With every product comes different instructions, but today, amidst our busy lives, we have to remember to apply these products correctly.

If you’re someone who rubs product onto your skin, vigorously applies moisturizer onto your face, applies face oil using a cotton pad, we’d like to say - STOP, let’s make sure that the products we’ve so carefully curated for our skincare shelves are used the right way.

Take notes as we take you through the essentials, the must-knows, and the must-dos.

Step 1 - Cleanser: The most important step of the lot - cleansing! Why? Well, it helps ensure your skin is clean and has been rid of any build-up accumulated during the day. Yes, cleansing is great, the question is how can we best cleanse our skin, we also know that double cleansing is great as an evening cleanse.

First and foremost, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), it has been observed by many dermatologists that people tend to scrub their face while cleansing and their response to this is, please NEVER scrub. Doing so leads to irritation, and can cause wrinkles and lines as well - moreover your moisture barrier can get disrupted, in turn causing acne. So, be gentle when you cleanse. Want to achieve the best results? Start by rinsing your face with Luke warm water, applying your cleanser to damp skin - use your fingers, these are the best tools to avoid sponges, clothes, etc. as this may irritate your skin as well, once you’ve massaged your skin thoroughly - rinse off with cool water.

Step 2 - Toner: This step helps balance the pH levels of your skin, some need it and some don’t. Having said that, in a study done amongst people with mild acne, a 3-step over-the-counter routine significantly helped reduce acne. Thus toning, followed by cleansing can be very helpful in reducing acne, inflammation, and build-up on the skin. If you do use a toner, do the following to achieve the best results. Simply apply a few drops of toner onto a facial cotton pad, and swipe across your skin gently, allowing the removal of any excess residue - do this on damp skin so as to allow your skin to absorb the benefits offered by the toner whilst removing any excess soap.

Step 3 - Mask: Your answer to skincare concerns like hydration, oil control, acne, skin brightening, and elimination of tan is hidden in step 3 of your skincare routine. While masking is essentially number 3 on the PM skincare routine, this step ensures the much-needed break your skin needs after a long day. The Creamy Clay Concentrate by Founders Beauty is packed with the goodness of nature that slowly detoxifies your skin by pulling out toxins and dirt. Crafted using glacial clay from the glaciers of New Zealand, this product eliminates the impurities hidden deep within the skin and leaves it nourished. All you need are a few minutes to let this clay concentrate show its magic before bedtime. Follow the rest of your skincare routine post this step.

Step 4 - Serum: A powerhouse in the name of a product, a serum consists of all things nice for your face. Take some product on your palms, apply it evenly to your face, and gently massage for not more than 30 seconds. Serums are lightweight skincare products that seep into your skin gently. If applied consistently, the product reduces the visibility of fine lines on your face and improves the overall texture of your skin. As per a 2011 study, when face serums were applied on the face during a clinical study, the assessment showed statistical improvement in the appearance of the skin. Moreover, this study did demonstrate that this facial hydrating serum was well-tolerated and effective in improving facial dry skin parameters beyond that obtained with a moisturizer alone.

Step 5 - Eye Cream (Optional): When it’s about reducing signs of aging, dark circles, and puffiness, look no further than an eye cream. Eye creams are essential either in your day or nighttime skin regime. The first sign of aging is usually seen around the eyes and using an eye cream helps you dodge this concern easily. In our recent interview with Dr. Snehal from Mumbai, India, she said, "eye creams can be an optional step in your skincare routine as they do not make a significant difference. It does help slightly with pigmentation and skin brightening but again, it’s not long-lasting." They, however, help keep the area hydrated and moisturized. The area around your eyes is usually sensitive so the pressure of a full-size palm might be a lot. Use minimal pressure on your finger and move them in circular motions from under your eye to the top of your eyebrows. Additionally, you can also give a super light acupuncture pressure at the corner of your eyes for more relaxation. We’d recommend applying your eye cream every morning instead of the evening for the simple reason that the blood flow is more active during the AM.

Step 6 - Face Oil: The primary function of face oil is to boost collagen production and maintain your skin’s elasticity. It also helps in reducing the signs of wrinkles due to the many antioxidants and ingredients present in it. Depending on your skin type, you may want to read the full list of ingredients thoroughly before you apply it to your face. A lot of them have comedogenic ingredients or some minerals that may not be suitable for all skin types. As for the application, an easy massage on your face with full hands is ideal. Make this a relaxing one.

Step 7 - Moisture: Experts believe that moisturization is the first layer to lock the products that you’ve applied so far. A moisturizer can go a long way over consistent usage to protect your skin, keep it hydrated, and prep the skin up thoroughly for all further steps. A good moisturizer also reduces the appearance of pores by hydrating it enough over time, thus leaving the skin feeling supple. As per studies, hyaluronic acid, an ingredient present in a moisturizer aids wound healing and prevents itchy sensations.

Step 8 - SPF: Studies suggest that improper sunscreen usage and inadequate application also contribute to the increased prevalence of sunburn, despite the frequent use of agents present in sunscreen. Not only does it protect the skin against tanning, but it also acts as a full-proof protective shield for the skin. Wearing sunscreen i.e. a minimum of SPF 30 indoors is as important as wearing it outdoors.

When it comes to the application, always follow the two-finger rule. Release some on your index and middle finger and apply that portion on your face. Release another layer on your finger for the neck and apply it evenly in a downward to upward fashion. Next, set reminders to re-apply sunscreen every 3-4 hours.

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