how to: construct a basic skincare routine

how to: construct a basic skincare routine


in terms of daily skincare, there are three main components, which (ideally) should be done once in the morning and once at night:

  1. cleansing
  2. toning
  3. moisturizing

step 1: cleanse

you want to find a cleanser that suits your skin-type, whether that be dry, dry-combination, combination (normal), oily-combination, or oily (you can break those down into even further categories, but i’ll use those as a basis). you also need to factor in whether or not your skin is sensitive: if so, you need to pick products that are made specifically for sensitive skin to avoid irritation and reactions.

the easiest way to figure out which cleanser is right for you is to do some research, either online, in magazines, or in-person by asking a cosmetician/beauty advisor (although, keep in mind, many salespersons have implicit biases towards certain brands & products due to factors such as store inventory and commission). there are so many products out there at so many different price points: your perfect cleanser is out there, somewhere.

step 2: tone

using a toner is an often-missed step, but it is important: a toner balances your skin’s pH levels so that it is ready for the next step (moisturizer). again, you want to choose a toner that is specific to your skin type, and to do some research.

step 3: moisturizer

lastly, you want to make sure that you’re using a moisturizer. this helps replenish your skin’s lipids and oils. again, choose one that is specific to your skin type, and do your homework.

extra steps

  • sun protection: many moisturizers include sun protection, so this may not need to be an extra step. otherwise, find a sunscreen that is specific to your skin type and do your homework. many people think this is only a step for the summers; however, it is crucial to wear sun protection every single day–cold or warm, cloudy or sunny. UV damage happens through clouds, as well. use an SPF of at least 30. (you can skin this step at night-time.)
  • exfoliating: using an exfoliating product 1-2 times per week is advisable, as it helps to remove dead skin cells. this is typically in the form of some type of scrub. choose one that is specific to your skin type and do your homework.
  • serums/oils: serums and oils are basically extra moisturizing steps–not necessary, but certainly useful. you’ll want to apply them after your toner and before your moisturizer, as they’re more concentrated than regular moisturizers and therefore should be absorbed first. choose one that is specific to your skin type and do your homework.
  • masks: similar to exfoliators, masks are typically used 1-2 times per week. pick one that addresses a specific skincare need of yours (i.e. moisture, oil-control, pore-minimizing).
  • night cream: i don’t personally use night creams, but if you have anti-ageing concerns, night creams are fantastic. they are basically just moisturizers that are specifically designed for night-time, when our skin is regenerating the most. use them in place of your moisturizer before bed. choose one that is specific to your skin type and do your homework.
  • primer: part-makeup, part-skincare, makeup primers are used to prime the skin for makeup. many people choose to wear primers alone, though: they can help smooth over the skin very well. certain primers do certain things, such as minimizing pores, reducing shine, or adding luminosity. choose one that is specific to your skin type and do your homework.

stay tuned for a post with my winter skincare routine!

cosmetic use as an act of self-care

cosmetic use as an act of self-care


as a starting point for this beauty blog, i figured i should give a short summary of my own relationship w/ cosmetic use. as a teenager, i used cosmetics quite regularly, experimenting w/ lots of different colours. i loved watching youtube tutorials. i also happened to work in a drugstore, where i was a cashier.

one day, a cosmetician who worked there noticed my makeup and told me that a position was opening up in the cosmetics department. she encouraged me to apply. i ended up transferring to the cosmetics department, where i worked for several years. during this time i received extensive training on skincare and makeup, and regularly performed makeovers and provided consultations for customers. i also played around with many different looks, and wore makeup on a near-daily basis.

then, for a couple of years, after quitting my job as a cosmetician to start a new job in a different field, i kind of lost touch with cosmetics: i barely wore makeup, and wasn’t really taking care of my skin. i kind of thought it was all a bit silly and unnecessary: why ‘waste’ time and money on makeup when i could be doing or buying other things?

then, more recently, in the past year or so, i kind of re-discovered my love of cosmetics. more importantly, i realized the value in using cosmetics for one crucial reason: it was time i devoted to taking care of myself. as somebody who struggles with mental illness, many mental health professionals are constantly stressing the importance of self-care to me. i didn’t realize how powerful an act of self-care that applying cosmetics was until i re-discovered it: it gave me confidence, it was fun, and it made me happy. if it was so powerful, how could it be a waste of time and money?

many people think of makeup as frivolous and pointless, but i’d argue that, if used for fun (and not as something you conform to as a societal expectation of you), why not? there are very few things that i can rely on to make me happy: as somebody who suffers from depression, pleasure and joy can often be difficult to find.

to me, they’re worth every penny.