Many of us spend hundreds of dollars a year on makeup and skincare products so that we can put our best face forward every day. We use cleansers, exfoliators, day creams, night creams, sunscreens, toners, serums…the list goes on and on! Given all the things you put on your face, how can you be certain which, if any, are working effectively? Follow these tips to make sure that you are getting the most out of your skin care products!

  1. Always exfoliate first. There are dead skin cells that are on the surface of your skin. Exfoliating gets rid of these cells so that you can access the fresh new ones. When you use a cleanser, it clears your pores by removing dirt and oil. But to increase absorption of skin care products, you need to exfoliate! One of my favorite exfoliators, is the Vivité Exfoliating Facial Cleanser (2011 Best of Beauty Award Winner). This is actually a medical grade product, so you can only purchase this at your physician’s office. It retails at about $39, but can last up to 6 months!
  2. Use some heat. I always try to wash my face with warm water. If you wash your face with warm water, it helps to loosen dirt and clear clogged pores more effectively. When your skin is warm, it also allows the product to be absorbed faster and more effectively (since it can interact with cells quicker and your pores will open up).
  3. Put your products on ASAP. As soon as you finish washing your face, pat it dry with a towel, and apply your skin care products. When your skin is damp, it absorbs and retains products better. This is also why you always want to moisturize as soon as you get out of the shower for the best results. The only exception to this is sunscreen. Usually, sunscreen is designed to stay on the surface of your skin so that it can protect your face. So don’t worry about when you apply your sunscreen (since it doesn’t get absorbed), just make sure you apply it daily!
  4. VIP your products! Prioritize your products. Whatever you apply first will penetrate your skin best. If your main focus is to moisturize, apply your moisturizing cream first. If you have two important focuses, such as moisturizing and acne treatment, apply one first in the morning, and apply the other first at night. This way, both of the products be able to penetrate equally well. After you have applied your most important product, apply the other ones in order of density. You will want to apply the lightest products first (serums) and the thickest products last (sunscreen). The only exception might be retinoids (such as Retin-A, which requires a prescription from a physician). If you have sensitive skin, it could irritate your skin if you apply it first. If you experience a lot of irritation from Retin-A, contact your doctor, as you might need to be prescribed a lower dosage.