I am frequently asked about my skincare regimen, so I thought it would be fitting to feature the topic in one of my first posts. I developed an interest in skincare from an unusually early age; I started using an eye cream before high school! (I was a weird kid.) Extreme as that may sound, the lesson here is take care of your skin now and thank yourself later. What you do or don't do to it now will inevitably have an effect on your skin in the future.

I must warn you that my routine is a bit extensive. I am admittedly a product junkie. But products aside, your skin is a reflection of how you treat and what you put in your body. Drink water. Eat well. Make time to relax. (Stress can do a number on your skin.)

Also remember that your skin concerns may differ from mine, based on your age and skin type.

Step 1: Remove your makeup!
If you don't take off your makeup before cleansing, you are just rubbing it around on your skin, pushing dirt deeper into your pores. If I am wearing makeup, I take it off with a cleansing wipe. I use ones from Simple for sensitive skin. There are also a lot of great removing balms and cleansing oils out there if you prefer a different formula. If I don’t have makeup on, I skip this step. 

Step 2: Cleanser
I am careful not to strip my skin. Harsh cleansers can leave my skin feeling tight and depleted. I use a clay-based cleanser from REN. Their Clearcalm line is great; it is gentle on the skin but still helps clean out pores. And you can leave the cleanser on for a few minutes in the shower as a mini mask. A couple times a week I use an exfoliating cleanser. I recently tried Cane + Austin’s Retexturizing Treatment Scrub and I am enjoying it.

Step 3: Toner
After cleansing I use a toner. Toners are great for removing any extra dirt and debris your cleanser might have left behind and for prepping the skin for moisturizer. Toners can be tricky, however, and if you aren't using the right one for your skin type, you might be stripping your skin. I use the Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic from Kiehl’s. I apply some to a cotton pad and rub it around my face.

Step 4: Elixir
This is my favorite step. After toner, I spray my face with beneficial mist. I am a long time fan or Caudalie's Beauty Elixir, which is full of essential oils. It really wakes the skin up. However, I recently tried out Clarke’s Botanicals Cellular Lifting Moisture Mist and I must admit, I am hooked. 

Step 5 (Daytime): Moisturizer 
Finding the right moisturizer is so important. I used to use one from Decleor, and when they discontinued the product, I was lost. I tried a handful of other moisturizers, but nothing worked. Others made me feel greasy or sticky. It took a while, but I eventually found the Rare Earth Pore Minimizing Lotion from Kiehl’s (I was introduced to the toner at the same time). It moisturizes but also mattifies just enough. It leaves my skin feeling perfectly prepped for makeup and under control for au naturel.

Step 5 (Nighttime): Night Serum
There’s a reason it’s called beauty rest, ladies! A good night cream should definitely be a part of your regular routine. While we sleep our skin works to repair and renew itself. Skin cell regeneration is faster at night than during the day, and a good quality product can aid the process even further. It is important to select your night product based on your individual skin’s needs. I am in my 20’s and still worry about clogged pores and occasional breakouts. I have been using the Clearcalm Replenishing Night Serum from REN (recently repackaged and renamed Replenishing Gel Cream – same formula though!) for years now. I highly recommend it if you have similar skin concerns.

Step 6: Eye Cream
If you aren't already using one, go get one. Eye cream is so important. Making sure you get one that is right for your skin type and age is just as important. This spring I was fortunate enough to meet and receive a mini facial from Tata Harper, and afterward I splurged on her eye cream. If you are going to spend money on a product, spend it here. Eye creams last a long time, but their benefits last even longer.

Optional steps:
There are certain products I use a few times a week or as needed, but they are not necessary for everyday. Facial oil – I use the Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil from Fresh. I apply it after elixir and before moisturizer. I use it whenever my skin feels depleted and usually after using the exfoliating cleanser or a face mask. I am also a huge fan of Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex. Contrary to intuition, you use this product after your moisturizer. Tata explained to me that the molecules in the complex are larger than those in your moisturizer, so putting it on last helps all the under layers sink in. I purchased this product in May and have been enjoying it so much so that it has become a regular in my morning routine.

I realize this regimen may seem high maintenance to you, and it's not for everyone.  Just remember, it's worth investing in your skin. It's yours for life, and after all, beautiful skin is the ultimate accessory, isn't it?