Sometimes, late at night, I feel gross and pile on every cream, gel and serum I have in my possession, in the hopes of waking up like Margot Robbie. Hey, a girl can dream. In the light of the morning — today, in particular — I’ve reviewed my actions and discovered that I have 21 skincare products in rotation, and sometimes use 10 of them in one go.
I know the 14-step Korean beauty routine works wonders for others, but come to think of it, it’s not for me. Since I started using more products, I’ve been breaking out and feeling more roughness. Most of it is just the sentimental miser in me. Why let all those products go to waste? And so I slather, tap and repeat.
The thing is, some of them are not actually good for me. Some make me break out, some are irritating, others are simply not effective. So I purged my regimen hoping to get better results. Here’s how I am attempting to break my compulsive but ineffective skincare habit:
• Assess your arsenal and be honest. Take a long, hard look at the products you have in rotation and ask yourself, “Which ones actually work?” Be ruthless and separate the ones that work for your skin from the ones that you just like, the ones that smell great, and the ones that you’re just using hoping that one day they would actually yield results.
• Find some other use for the ones you’ve eliminated. I don’t want you to feel bad. If you, like me, have a hard time parting ways with products, find a different use for them. Is your moisturizer too thick for your face (that it gives you milia)? Use it on your legs and shoulders. Is your anti-aging cream making your face red? Try it on your decollete — we get wrinkles there, too. Is your microresurfacing serum making you break out? Try using it on your arms and hands.
• Figure out what you really want to achieve. Now that you’re down to the essentials (that is, cleanser, toner, eye cream, moisturizer), you can add serums that will target your skin problems. I have texture issues so I added an ultra hydration booster (Sisley Hydra-Global Serum), and skin tone issues so I added a brightening serum (Mary Kay Lumivie Intensive Serum) to my regular, nightly regimen. On the side, add your twice-weekly products, such as exfoliating scrubs, clarifying masks, and calming creams. My all-time favorites: The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask, Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Relief, and Innisfree Super Volcanic Clay Mousse Mask.
• Finally, segregate and plan. Pack all your essentials in one kit, serums in another, and your twice-weeklies on another. Make a note of when you’re going to exfoliate (I do it three times a week) — because forgetting once leads to doing it more, which leads to overdoing it. Stick to a regular schedule and resist the urge to add new products by reminding yourself that it takes about 4 weeks to see if this particular combination works.
Skincare is sadly, an exercise in patience and trial and error. That’s how we end up with so many products! But it’s also 90% discipline and commitment. Let’s see if I can commit to this combination for more than two weeks. — @pineapplechonx