A Former Sephora Specialist On How To Make Your Routine Work Harder
Oh, what’s that? You’ve finished stockpiling tips from all your favorite beauty bloggers and have emerged inspired, but ultimately overwhelmed and a little confused?! Believe me! I’ve been there. Prior to starting my journey in skincare at Sephora, I too ventured into the land of lights, lipstick, and lactic acid, as a novice with high hopes and no game plan. It was, however, my experience working as a dermatological medical assistant that prompted my curiosity in taking a more target and meaningful approach to my skin and mechanisms that inform my skin’s behavior. I then took those insights and used them to help my clients at Sephora take a more meaningful approach to their ingredients and choice in products. And now, that’s what I want to do for you!
So, let’s get started!
The BIGGEST mistake I would see skincare newbies making when I worked in cosmetics is not having a game plan. The world of skincare is vast! It is far-reaching! It is all-encompassing! It is infinite and devoid of expiration (unlike most, if not all skincare products, FYI). Thus, when approaching a skincare routine for the first time, here are 5 questions to consider...
1. What would I like to improve upon?
(Also: How would I like to feel when I’ve noticed my skincare routine has been working?)
In the beauty and skincare industry, we preface clients with specific questions to understand how to narrow down the choices you have so as to choose the most appropriate product for your needs. There’s this phrase I used to hear upon asking clients the question: “What would you like to improve upon?”. A common response: “Everything” or “I want to change everything” or even “I need to fix everything”. This mentality is one of the cardinal mistakes in the beauty industry. We are taught to seek “perfection” in a world where differences and unique qualities make us who we are. And that, my friends, is the kind of contradiction that may leave you broke and equally as dissatisfied from where you began.
Understanding, realistically, where your skin is now, and where you would like it to be is fundamental to a successful and consistent skincare routine.
2. How much time would I like to devote this process? And When?
There are skincare routines that are 10+ steps. That means: 10+ products to maintain, 10+ uses and interactions to understand, and 10+ applications to plan for. Understand what you use and what you have time for. Personally, I relish a great cleanser, an enzymatic or AHA/BHA exfoliator, nourishing moisturizer, SPF (of course), and a little ZitSticka KILLA patch for when my inner demons come out, sprouting out of the surface of my skin, dancing on my self-esteem, and playing games with emotions (or otherwise known as a breakout). Simple. But… that’s just me! Do you, sis!
3. Where would I like to start?
Remember the 3 M’s: Means, Motivations, and Maintenance.
Drugstore, E-commerce brands, Sephora, Ulta et cetera, et cetera. Picking products that work for you is now easier than ever! Provided you don’t overthink it, of course.
Say you’ve chosen a simple four-step—cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, SPF—formula for success. You don’t have to spend the $$$$ to get what you want, but please feel welcome to do so if it is very well within your means
Inspired by K or J beauty. Cruelty-free. Sustainable. Vegan. Natural. Organic. Clinical. Tried-and-True. Etc etc etc...
Are these products that work for your lifestyle? Yes, that omnipresent, idyllic Insta-shelf look is so hypnotizing, but knowing what works best for you is so much more satisfying. I assure you! Having staples simplifies your life. Creating a functional, reliable routine with products you know will give you the results you desire is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. There is more out there. There is ALWAYS more out there. And, there is a lot of fun in trying something new, but try and limit the exploration so as to not change the homeostasis of your skin’s processes.
4. What does my diet look like?
First and foremost: Drink plenty of water. But don’t stop there!. Secondly: Emotionally, the inside is always reflected on the outside (somehow, someway). This is equally true of diet. If you are worried about the missing aspects within your diet, adding an acne-specific supplement like ZitSticka’s SKIN DISCIPLINE can power up your vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and probiotics and give way to more balanced inner health—ultimately extending to your complexion, too.
5. Am I treating myself well?
There is so much variance when it comes to skin. Skin tone, hydration levels, sebum (or oil) levels, hormones, texture, environmental exposure, external stressors, internal stressors, diet, (just to name a few) are all contributing factors to the way in which our skin looks and behaves, among many others. One of the most influential contributions to skin wellness is personal wellness. There is a reason skincare is a part of the movement towards wellness in the beauty industry. Listen: All the Glossier and ZitSticka in the world could never hold a torch to self-love and self-kindness. Be kind to yourself, and your skin will be kind to you.
And there you have it: A nice, concise formula for getting started in the skincare universe. Don’t forget: Don’t stress! It just makes a mess! And a little loving yourself > any skin cream. You got this!
Speaking of expert advice... Here's a dermatologist on post-zit dark spots.
Title image: @glossy.grayy