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Skin Care Basics 101

The secret to beautiful, healthy skin is not really a secret at all. One only needs to care for it. The steps are easy. So easy that Clinique has coined the term 1,2,3.
Step 1 – Wash your face.
Step 2 – Tone your skin.
Step 3 – Moisturize.
There are of course additional steps one can take to ensure healthy, radiant skin but we all start off with the basics. Like most things in life, if you want the best result, there is no skimping on the ground work.

Step 1 – Cleansing
To achieve healthy, glowing skin, you must clean it. Not every other day, not once a day, not with the excuse, “but I don’t wear make-up”. You must wash your face every day morning and evening before you retire to bed. Whether one wears make-up or not, you still need to wash. Just think of all that fine particulate matter that floats through the air and collects on your skin. You wouldn’t go to bed with dirty hands or feet now would you?
It is important to choose a cleanser for your skin type and just important to choose one based on texture. If you don’t like the texture of a cleanser you are apt not to use it. So if you prefer foaming over cream but have dry skin – choose a gentle foaming or a foaming mousse cleanser. Laura Mercier, Kanebo and Sisley all make excellent foaming mousse cleansers. (I am a foaming mousse cleanser gal and LOVE the one from Sisley.) And Kiehl’s makes a terrific traditional foaming cleanser for dry – sensitive skin.
If you have dry skin and like a cream cleanser, Orlane, Cle De Peau, and Amore Pacific make fabulous, velvety cream cleansers.
Oilier skins tend to perform better with regular foaming cleansers. Clinique and Clarins are good picks. If you are oily and a bit sensitive give Cle De Peau foaming cleanser a try. If you have problem skin the best cleanser for you is the B.Kamins Hydrating Acne Wash. In addition to being gentle, it really does help clear break-out prone skin.
For a more mature skin that has gotten a bit dull and needs some lift, I am crazy about Precision Radiance Cleansing Foam from Chanel.

For make-up wearers it is best for the skin to double cleanse. This means cleansing once to remove make-up and a second cleansing to actually purify the skin. Many regular cleansers will also remove make-up so you don’t need two products, you just need to use one product twice. Some cleansers do not remove make-up in which case you would want a separate cleanser or just switch to one that does. If you love your current cleanser too much and it doesn’t remove make-up try one of the fantastic cleansing oils from Shu Uemera. Perfect for removing make-up and softening the skin.
Face cleansers should never be used around the delicate eye area. Use a special eye make-up remover. These products are formulated especially for the fragile skin around the eye area so will be much more gentle. Kanebo, Chaneland Orlane are my favorites.

Step 2 – Toning
I know so many people that skip this step. I used to be one of them. Once I learned how important to healthy skin this step is, I became a believer and my skin has thanked me ever since. Toners can be called many things and always come in liquid form – like water. A toner’s primary function is to help restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier which can break down due to sun exposure. It also helps your serums and moisturizers work better by prepping the skin to receive moisture. Think of a sponge; if you attempt to clean a wet spill with a dry sponge, the sponge will absorb only a slight amount of the liquid. However, if you dampen the sponge prior to wiping up the spill you are likely to collect all of the liquid. Your skin works in much the same fashion. I personally love Clinique toner #3. Not for everyone, I know so I do have a few other recommendations: Revive, B.Kamins, Philosophy and La Prairie.

Step 3 – Moisturize
There are so many moisture products on the market and good ones. Too many to mention here so I will leave you with a few basic tips in choosing a moisturizer. Choose a moisturizer based on your highest skin priority. Do you want to primarily hydrate your skin, firm your skin, prevent or correct fine lines and wrinkles? Or maybe you want to lighten your skin, clear up pigmentation spots (Clarins Brightening Line)? Or perhaps you want help in controlling shine and frequent breakouts(Chanel Precision Skin Mat). There is something for you. Maybe you like the texture of a heavier cream (La Mer) or you prefer something light and more fluid (Fluidratante from Orlane). Maybe your skin is sensitive and you like a cream just not heavy but you also want anti-aging benefits (La Prairie anti-aging Stress Cream) something exists for you. There are creams for everything. Once you have decided what your highest priority is your next decision is texture – how heavy or light you like it – and lastly price. Ask for samples before you buy just to make certain you are going to love it. If you tend to be oily, you still need to moisturize. If you don’t, your skin will feel terribly neglected and will produce even more oil as punishment to you.

As with face cleansers, face moisturizers should not be used around the eye area for the same reasons. Use a separate eye cream or gel for this delicate area.

I am going to add a Step 4 – Sun Screen
Read my post Sunscreen 101 for more information.
Always, always sunscreen.

Whether you are going drug store or department store don’t skimp on the steps. Your skin will thank you by showing you how radiant it can be.

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