There’s always going to be a new product to use or an innovative technique to try, but classics are classified as such for a reason: They’ve stood the test of time and they work.
So here’s a list of our favorite, most effective tips for taking care of your skin. Many of them are no-brainers, and most are incredibly simple so there’s a high probability you’re doing a lot already. If not, get to it! You are an adult. It’s time to take responsibility for your face! (After all, it’s the only one you’ve got.)
1. Take your makeup off every single night.
Do I really need to be reminding you of this? The number one most important thing you can do for the health and beauty of your skin is to make sure you cleanse every single night. Don’t sleep in your makeup. Don’t forget to wash. Don’t come home “too tired” to treat your skin right. Not only will you likely wake up with an angry new friend erupting from your face, it’ll also do damage in the long run as your skin won’t be able to breathe and do it’s natural healing while you sleep.
2. Massage your face to de-puff.
Facial massage can release tension, increase circulation, stimulate muscles, firm tissue in the face, get your lymph flowing, and let serums penetrate more deeply into your skin. And the best part is you don’t need to visit a spa to reap the benefits, as facial massage lends itself very nicely to the DIY approach.
3. Don’t squeeze a pimple. Seriously.
No explanation necessary. Just don’t do it. Stop examining your pores in a magnifying mirror, stop picking, stop finding blemishes that aren’t really there. Just stop.
4. Keep your hands off your face.
Same goes for general touching of your face. Even if you wash your hands religiously, think about all the surfaces you touch in one minute. That bacteria gets on your fingers, which then go near your face, which will turn into a blemish.
5. Eat for your skin.
What you put into your body is just as, if not more, important to the health of your skin as what you put on it. So make sure you’re eating the things that will nourish your skin and promote overall glowy-ness. Conversely, know what foods you should be staying away from, as they can trigger flare-ups and dullness. Here’s a good place to start if you’re not sure what you should be eating, and here are some things you might want to stay away from.
6. Harness the power of your refrigerator.
If you suffer from dark under-eye circles of puffiness, keeping your eye cream and hydrating masks in the fridge can boost their power since cooler temps will temporarily treat inflammation.
7. Ice cubes are bad news for pimples.
Speaking of cooler temperatures, an ice cube can be your best friend if you’re dealing with an angry, red blemish. Icing down a pimple can reduce swelling, shorten its lifespan, get rid of redness, and make it less painful. Just make sure your skin is clean and you wrap the ice cube in a clean, thin washcloth before applying.
8. When in doubt, raid your pantry.
Whether it’s a coconut oil moisturizer, oatmeal soak, sugar scrub, or tea treatment, chances are you already own a lot of all-natural, skin-friendly, anti-aging powerhouse ingredients; just check your kitchen.
9. Clean your cellphone.
For the love of whatever higher power you believe in, you are a grown, adult woman. Between texting, swiping, getting tossed into your bag, falling on the ground … You should realize how dirty your phone is and how that gross bacteria will find its way onto your skin. Every time you answer the phone or touch your face after texting, you transfer acne-causing bacteria onto your precious skin.
Invest in some organic antibacterial wipes or make a phone-safe cleaner yourself. Just please, please, please remember to clean that phone at least once a week.
10. Change your pillowcases.
Remember what we just talked about regarding your phone? Same goes for your pillowcase. Even if you’re cleansing your face right before bed every single night, your pillow is still going to accumulate dirt, sweat, and grime. Even better than just making sure to change them frequently? Investing in pillowcases made from natural fibers, as these materials breathe better and transfer less oil.
11. Don’t use the same towel on your face and hair.
When you’re towel-drying your hair post-shower, make sure you’ve got a second towel on hand for your body and face. Even though your hair is clean, oils from your scalp and any shampoo and conditioner residue on your strands can transfer to a towel. If you then use that towel to dry your face, you’re asking for a breakout.
12. Your hair products are probably affecting your skin.
Many conventional hair care products can cause breakouts on your face, shoulders, and back because the chemicals and oils in the products will build up over time and clog pores. And anything that foams or suds probably contains sulfates, which are highly irritating to people with sensitive skin. Opt for hair care with natural ingredients and think about cutting down to only washing your hair every few days. Not only will you use less product, your hair and scalp will get healthier because you’re not stripping them of the natural oils they need to be shiny, bouncy, and happy.
13. Understand what your breakouts are trying to tell you.
Acne is your body’s way of communicating that there’s something wrong internally. That pimple on your forehead? You might be having liver issues. A breakout near your chin? A hormone imbalance is probably to blame. If you know what part of your face corresponds with issues in various organs and areas of your body, you can more readily treat the breakout at its source.
14. Water, water, and more water.
Probably the easiest thing you can do for your skin is to drink water. It’ll help your digestive system, flush toxins that would otherwise pop up on your face, and plumps up your skin in a gorgeous way.
15. Plant a garden.
Those all-natural, organic, green skin care products in your medicine cabinet are undoubtedly fantastic, but their star ingredients are things you can grow yourself. Why not try your hand at cultivating a skin-friendly garden so you can DIY?
16. Exfoliation is your friend.
We lose millions of skin cells every day and if you’re not exfoliating them away, they’ll hang around on your face and cause your skin to look gray and sullen, clog pores, and let oil build up. If your skin can’t breathe … no bueno. When you exfoliate, you remove that layer of dead cells and allow your skin to breathe while also revealing a new, bright layer. (Just make sure you’re not overexfoliating, as too much of a good thing can backfire.)
17. Know that a strong smell doesn’t mean something is working.
This is the equivalent of that old, stale workout phrase “no pain, no gain.” Just because a product smells strong doesn’t mean it’s working. In fact, a strong chemical or alcohol-y scent probably means it contains alcohol, an ingredient than can seriously dry out your skin. Additionally, a smell not found in nature is a good indicator that your product contains fragrance, the number one allergen in conventional cosmetics.
19. The order in which you apply products is important.
Applying skin care products isn’t something to be taken lightly. The order in which you put them on does make a difference, so the general rule of thumb is to go from lightest product to heaviest. At night after you’ve removed makeup and cleansed, spritz with a toner or face mist, then apply serums. They’re the thinnest products and contain the active ingredients that need to get deep into skin to do their job. Next up is an antioxidant, followed by moisturizer and finally oil (oils can penetrate moisturizers, but not vice versa). Finish with an eye cream. Also remember to wait a beat between applying different layers as each needs some time to really sink in.
20. SPF every day, no matter the weather.
Think you only need to wear SPF when it’s sunny or you’re on the beach? Think again. The truth is that we need to protect our skin from UV exposure pretty much all the time: driving, running errands on a cloudy day, flying in a plane. If you say yes to sunscreen now, your skin will look much younger down the road and you’ll be protecting yourself from sun damage that can cause serious problems later in life.