Confessions: 5 Skincare Shortcuts Taken, (But) Not Advised
There are many beauty shortcuts taken by even the most seasoned skincare experts. We regularly bang out editorial features and dish out a ton of advice on taking care of your skin’s complexion and putting your best face forward. Yet, even we have cut a few corners in our own skincare routines. As we ring in the new year, I stand to confess and expose the top five skincare shortcuts that I (and some of my beauty expert girlfriends) have taken.
1st confession: Skip the toner
Up until recently, I have never been a regular toner user. In fact, I don’t even own a bottle. Facial toners are traditionally marketed as an astringent for oily and combination skin, beneficial for skin prone to acne breakouts. I have the opposite – dry and sensitive skin and so it is in my nature to avoid toners. To me, facial toner was just expensive fragrant water; which if need be, can be easily replaced with a splash of cold water. Hence, my need for toner was never imminent. The turning point came in my lineup of product reviews this year. I discovered that there are toners today formulated to contain humectants – properties that bind moisture to skin. For someone with dry skin like me, these type of toners would be extremely beneficial. I have evolved from a non-user to a little bit of a fanatic now. While most people are shopping for Christmas presents like chocolates and a new pair of jeans, I spent most of my Christmas this year looking for high humectant toners.
2nd confession: Who needs eye cream
Eye creams and any eye area product is not really on my priority list. I have my hands full applying facial toners, facial oils and facial moisturizers that adding one more product to the list that only focuses on the eye area is a little redundant to me. Again, I see eye creams as a marketing ploy to extract more consumer dollar by segmenting different face areas for different products. Isn’t it all skin on the face? How does any one moisturizer know that for eyes it has to work differently than for the rest of the face? This is still something I struggle to accept. Although having said that, as I cross over the 40s, I have noticed fine lines appearing around my eye area when I smile for the camera. Could this be the start to another skincare obsession? Only time will tell.
3rd confession: No time for masking
When I was younger, using a mask once a month was the standard advice for healthy skin maintenance. Now, women are no longer looking to just “maintain” their skin, they want to look damn good and age defying, if possible. With the proliferation of more advanced masking ingredients, formulas and application, putting on a mask is so convenient that there is no excuse to skip this step at home. One such beauty evolution is the introduction of sheet masks. They have become such a beauty culture that users swear they see immediately results of softer, glowing skin within a matter of minutes. While 2-3 times a week sounds a little obsessive (seriously, who has that kind of time), I do try to aim for at least once a week.
4th confession: Exfoliate, what?
If getting a woman to find time to mask at home is asking for a lot, forget about prepping the skin with exfoliation. This is one of the most ignored steps in skincare routines. It is for good reason because some find it painful and do not like the scratchy feeling of exfoliation, and some feel regular cleansing is good enough. I will admit that when I am stretched for time I don’t exfoliate. I just cleanse my face and slap on a mask. And guilt always has a way of reminding me of my shortcut. If you want to achieve clear and flawless complexion, you need to know that daily cleansing and regular exfoliating have two different functions and purposes (read 4 Reasons Why You Must Always Exfoliate Before You Mask). Facial exfoliation is such an important part of achieving clearer looking skin that it really should not be overlooked on the long term.
5th confession: Forget the serum
Serums are highly concentrated skincare treatment products that benefit a specific skin issue. In my case, my serums are usually for intensive hydration or fighting pigmentation. When it comes to facial serums, my confession is I sometimes forget to apply it on and by the time I realize I have missed the step, I have already applied my moisturizer. While this does not happen often, it has happened enough times for me to kick myself. So, lately I’ve adapted to a new shortcut. I pump everything unto the palm of my hands at one go. I will have my facial moisturizer, one drop of facial oil and a pump of serum all in one collective glob before slathering on my face. This is not the most ideal way of applying skincare products on a daily basis, but on days when you are short on time or simply too tired to think, it is better than nothing. At least that is what I tell myself.