How To Create Your Personal
Facial Skin Care Routine
While your genetics and other factors play a role in beautiful skin, your daily habits can have a huge impact on what you see in the mirror. Ultimately, caring for your skin is very personal.
Aging is a natural process of life! Sadly, we are constantly bombarded with commercials and seduced by beautiful ads that promise to eliminate every sign of aging and provide flawless skin because aging is undesirable and unattractive.
Read my first blog about facial skin care, "Facial Skin Care Part 1: Musing About Aging"
A walk down the skin care aisle of any store or a browse through the ads in a “beauty magazine” can be quite overwhelming when attempting to create your personal facial skincare routine.
You read the product descriptions promising miraculous results to keep skin young, firm, and radiant by reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Then you look in the mirror and can’t help but think OMG I have no time to waste I should be using all of these products right now!
When choosing products for facial skin care, the best advice I can offer is to read the ingredient list. Any facial skincare product is only as good as the ingredients used to make it.
What are the main ingredients featured in the name, on the label, or in the advertising? Now, look at the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed in order based on content--the most prevalent ingredients are listed first.
For example, if a company advertises "sea buckthorn oil" on the label, where is it located in the list of ingredients? If it is listed towards the end of a long ingredient list, it is probably NOT being used at a percentage that can be beneficial to the skin.
Do some research on ingredients that do not sound familiar. What is the purpose of those ingredients in the product? Avoid products that contain things like mineral oil, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, and microbeads.
Maintaining healthy facial skin is much simpler than the beauty industry is trying to make it. The goal of companies in the business of "beauty" is to continuously and consistently create more products that you absolutely "need" in order to get you to buy more products.
Some people love using lots of products and enjoy spending time each day on a facial skincare routine. If that works for you and you love your skin, that’s absolutely fine. But, I like to and need to keep things quite simple.
As you may expect, I come to any discussion of facial skin care with a very strong “natural skincare” bias.
I do not believe in miracle anti-aging skincare products. I believe in the simplicity of nature! I believe in the simplicity of natural skin care.
I create and use organic facial skin care products because I simply want healthy-looking and healthy-feeling skin.
Facial Skin Is Different
Why do we need special products for facial skin? Because facial skin is different.
People often think that the skin on their faces is pretty tough. After all, it is always exposed to the elements—so it makes sense.
Unfortunately, it is not true. The skin on your face is different.
- If you look under a microscope, the cells that make up the top layer (the epidermis) of facial skin are generally smaller than skin cells on the rest of the body.
- Facial skin is thinner and finer.
- The delicate nature of facial skin makes it much more prone to irritation, cracking, and dryness.
- Your skin is an organ—the biggest in your body. As an organ, it has a job. Your skin is both a membrane and a barrier designed to let pass through what is supposed to get in and to block what should not get in.
- Thinner facial skin provides less protection. That is why skincare products that do not irritate your body, may irritate your face.
- The smaller cells of facial skin mean less of a barrier, less protection from environmental stressors and so it ages faster than the rest of your body.
- Facial skin is also more prone to wrinkles and water loss.
- Facial skin is also rich in sebaceous glands that secrete sebum, our natural lubricating oil which can trap dead skin cells and dirt causing skin blemishes.
One of the first areas to show signs of aging is the thin skin surrounding the eyes.
This thin, delicate skin, with fewer sebaceous glands than skin elsewhere on your face, needs special attention and gentle care.
Lastly do not forget about your Décolleté, (dā-ˈkȯl-tā) which is the neck and chest area that is exposed when wearing a low-cut top.
This skin is very thin, sensitive and often neglected!
Learn More Blog: Skin: The Largest Organ in the Human Body
Your Skin is Unique
Understanding and getting to know your skin is the most important thing you can do for your skin.
Although the most common skin types are dry, sensitive, oily, acne-prone, and mature, you may also have combination skin.
Learn More Blog: What's Your Skin Type?
There are many factors that can influence the health of your skin, some include age, skin color, genetics, diet, exercise, illness, medication, hormones, climate, and even daily weather. Any change can affect the condition of your skin.
As the needs of your skin change with age or even the season, so will your products. Please always listen to your skin.
The effects of harsh winters can be especially problematic for delicate facial skin. The cold dry, windy air outside combined with the dry heated air inside reduces our skin's natural moisture levels and depletes its natural defenses.
Learn More Blog: 8 Natural Tips To Help Eliminate Dry Winter Skin
Caring for your skin is very personal. The choice of products is also very personal.
Again, you must learn to understand the skin you live in!
While the basic premise of this blog works for any good facial skincare product made with simple organic ingredients, I will be focusing on Chagrin Valley products (they are what I know best.)
No matter which products you choose, it is important to pay attention to the way your skin reacts after using any product. Do you notice tightness, greasiness, redness, or breakouts?
Creating A Facial Skin Care Routine
With the continuously growing array of skincare products and seemingly endless skincare advice available on the Internet, it can be difficult to figure out the best skincare routine for your skin. Ultimately, caring for your skin is very personal.
Most things we own require regular maintenance as well as special care and troubleshooting at times so that they function at their best. Your skin is no different. The goal of a skincare routine is to tune up and maintain your complexion as well as to target any areas that need some extra TLC.
When introducing a new product into your skincare routine there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, only introduce one new product at a time waiting at least 2 to 3 weeks before introducing another. This method allows you to judge the effect of each product on your skin—the good or the bad!
Also, before using any new product we always recommend doing a patch test to check for sensitivities.
Whether you are 16, 36, 56, or 76, if you are hoping to age gracefully, we say just stick to a simple routine consisting of three main steps:
- Cleanse with natural oils and natural soaps that gently cleanse without washing away precious natural oils
- Moisturize with wholesome, organic facial care products
As needed or desired:
- Tone with a gentle non-irritating herbal tea
- Exfoliate gently with organic scrubs to remove dead skin and unclogs pores
Facial Cleansing: Where Do You Begin?
If You Wear Makeup
If you wear makeup begin with a makeup remover. Of course, we recommend our facial cleansing oil
*Always make sure you remove makeup before going to sleep.
Any light, nourishing, organic oil can also work. Be sure to stay away from make-up removers that contain harsh ingredients that can irritate and dry your skin.
Cleansing oils are wonderful for removing makeup, but they are also fabulous for those with dryer skin who do not wear makeup.
Even a makeup-free face gets dirty at the end of the day! The oils act to loosen the dirt from the pores so the soap and water can wash it away.
Learn More Blog: What Is A Facial Cleansing Oil? How Do I Use It?
Washing Your Face
Washing your face twice a day is a basic step of any routine. Washing removes the dirt, oils, bacteria, and environmental pollutants that accumulate during the day and oils that our skin excretes at night--things that make skin look sluggish and dull.
When you wash your face, you are really doing much more than just cleansing. You are softening the skin, increasing blood and lymph circulation, and exfoliating for a clearer, brighter complexion.
Natural soap can gently cleanse facial skin without stripping away precious natural oils.
I know that some folks often cringe at the idea of using bar soap on their face.
But if I am going to use something on my face every single day, I want a product that is gentle, made with organic ingredients, and will not stress out my skin—for me that’s our natural soap!
The natural soaps we recommend as complexion soaps are formulated with facial clays, extra butters, and skin moisturizing and nourishing ingredients that add new life to dull, sluggish complexions.
That being said, I have used all of our natural soaps on my face. My face’s favorites often contain lots of coconut milk, like the Sage Mist and Lavender Rosemary, neither of which are considered complexion soaps.
Try different samples, because, in the end, your choice of natural facial soap depends on your unique skin type.
Washing your face should also include a facial massage. By adding a few extra moments into your normal cleansing regimen a facial massage encourages blood flow under the surface, which results in a rosy glow and helps perk up a dull complexion.
You do not need to purchase a bunch of gadgets, your own fingers will do the trick. Think about massaging the muscles under the skin rather than just the skin.
To wash and massage your face, first rinse it with lukewarm water to moisten the skin. In your hands work up a nice lather with your soap. Then with your fingertips slowly and gently massage in upward circular motions into your skin. You don't want to be so gentle that can't really feel anything, but you do not want to pull on the skin either. Be gentle around the delicate eye area.
Individuals with oily skin tend to wash their faces more often or use products that are overly drying, both of which can strip the skin of its natural oil and can cause oil glands to overcompensate and produce even more oil.
After washing, the skin should be thoroughly rinsed with cool or tepid water.
Use a soft cotton cloth or towel, and remember to pat dry.
Do Not Rub! Rubbing and tugging facial skin can create bags and lead to wrinkles over time.
Some people like to use toner in between washing and moisturizing.
The benefits of toners in facial skincare are often debated on skincare blogs, probably because the word "toner" means different things to different people. For us older folks, the word “toner” brings to mind the alcohol-based stinging astringents from the ’80s that we used to dry up oily skin. That's not what a toner should be.
A toner should be made with natural ingredients. A “natural” face toner is a toner without alcohol, preservatives, or synthetic ingredients. Although these natural toners may not provide all of the super astringent and cleansing that you get from a more traditional toner, they will not strip your skin either.
So what can a herbal toner do for your skin? It can hydrate your skin, refresh your skin, as well as soothe and calm irritated skin depending on the herbs that you use.
If you would like to make your own Herbal Toner, you can read about herbs that are good for facial skin on our blog, Herbs For Facial Care.
I often make herbal toners with our Herbal Facial Tea Herbs. I have also made a simple toner with a cup of cool green tea or chamomile tea. There are some nice recipes for facial toners on our blog page link below.
Learn More Blog: How to Use Organic Facial Herbs
Sometimes I add a few tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar, a natural astringent. The ratio of cider vinegar to tea depends on what works for your skin type.
Toners should be done after cleansing and before putting on anything else. To use toner properly, after cleansing, pat your face dry with a clean soft towel. Then, place some toner onto a cotton pad and gently wipe the skin beginning in the center and moving outward. Don’t forget your neck!
I like applying toner with my clean hands. Pour a bit of toner into your palms or place your toner in a small spray bottle to create your own "toner mist." Then gently massage the toner into the skin.
One of the most essential components of healthy facial skin is moisture. Proper hydration is key to retaining a healthy glow.
The most basic function of a moisturizer is to hydrate and soften the skin by preventing water loss.
Our skin naturally loses the ability to retain moisture as we age. Our facial skin tends to become thinner and lose its elasticity.
Gentle facial massage with a natural moisturizer helps improve circulation, protects delicate facial skin, and promotes hydration.
The best way to apply facial moisturizers is to warm and damp (not wet) skin. Creams and oils work best with a little water. They are also better able to lock in moisture when the pores are open right after a warm wash.
I have been making whipped body butters for a long time. But about 12 years ago I decided that I needed something lighter for my face -- hence the birth of our Whipped Squalane Face and Eye Mousse.
Shea Olein and Olive Squalane are whipped and whipped to create this silky delicate natural face and eye cream. Human skin naturally produces lubricating squalene, but production decreases as we age.
It is our most popular skincare product and was the only moisturizer that touched my face for years.
Since then my skin has become much drier. I now use our Squalane Mousse after my morning shower, but at night I use our organic Facial Oils in the Summer and our Whipped Cocoa Body Butter in Winter. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I could put cocoa butter on my face, I would have not believed you. But that is how much my skin has changed.
Many facial creams and moisturizers on the market promise miraculous results and come with a steep price tag.
Choose a facial moisturizer formulated with simple, organic ingredients that are easily absorbed and allow the skin to breathe.
Facial oils are not just for people with very dry skin. Whether you call them "face oils" or "facial serums," a deep-absorbing, light oil can go a long way in meeting the moisture needs of the skin, while allowing it space to breathe.
Choose a facial oil formulated with simple, organic unrefined oils that are easily absorbed.
Learn More Blog: What Are Face Oils And How To Use Them
Exfoliation is considered one of the most important things that you do to achieve healthy, radiant facial skin.
On average we generate a new layer of skin every two to four weeks. As we age there is a gradual decrease in the rate at which the old dead cells leave the surface of our skin.
These dead skin cells accumulate on the skin surface and are responsible for the appearance of dull, lifeless skin. Although soap will remove dirt and excess oil, soap alone cannot remove all of the excess dead cells.
Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, deep cleans the skin, unclogs pores, removes dirt and makeup residue, helps reduce acne breakouts, encourages new cell growth, and stimulates blood flow to the skin’s surface for a fresh, healthy glow. Exfoliation will allow your moisturizers to penetrate deeper and improve the moisture level of your skin.
Facial skin should be treated delicately--so go easy on the scrubs. Some may want to use a face scrub every day, assuming that scrubbing all the grit and grime off will help decrease breakouts. However, exfoliating one to two times a week is usually best.
Remember that simple exfoliation occurs every time you wash your face from the friction of gently massaging with a facecloth or face pad.
Learn More Blog: The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation
Small particle size is gentler on facial skin, so use small grain sugars (cane or brown), powdered herbs, and powdered grains
Finely ground adzuki beans are not only a very effective and gentle exfoliant, but they also contain enzymes that are activated when mixed with water to help loosen the "glue" holding dead skin on the surface.
Learn More Blog: Adzuki Beans in Skin Care
Facial sugar scrubs exfoliate in two ways: the physical "scrubbiness" of the sugar plus the chemical composition of the sugar's AHAs (Alpha hydroxy acids). AHAs loosen the glue-like substances that hold surface skin cells to each other, allowing the dead cells to slough off more easily.
Always use a light touch and a gentle circular motion to avoid irritating sensitive facial skin.
Avoid using scrubs that contain pulverized nut shells or fruit pits, which can have sharp edges that can tear delicate facial skin
Clay Face Masks can work wonders for your skin. The simple natural ingredients can help exfoliate and soften skin, draw out impurities, minimize pores, and remove excess surface oil.
Apply masks before your moisturizer. Use clay masks in moderation, usually no more than once or twice a week in order to prevent irritation. Remember to listen to your skin!
Clay masks are excellent for combination skin.
Our facial skin often has different zones in which the skin can vary in thickness, texture, pore size and the number of oil-producing glands.
Not surprisingly, each of these zones may have very different needs and require individual attention.
Even if you have dry skin, your brow, nose, or chin may get oily from time to time and if you have oily skin, your cheeks may experience dry spells.
Multi-masking or Targeted Application of facial masks can help address the needs of your specific facial skin zones.
Learn More Blog: Multi-Masking and Targeted Application For Combination Facial Skin
Here are some other tips to help promote healthy facial skin.
- Use Natural products made with simple organic ingredients from nature.
- Take your time when cleansing and moisturizing your face. A gentle massage when you wash or apply moisturizer can boost circulation and create fresher-looking skin.
- Hydrate from within by drinking plenty of water. Eating fruits and vegetables that have a high water content can also help.
- Do not use too many products. When it comes to skincare products, "more is NOT better." Layering on multiple skincare products all at once clogs pores and prevents the skin from "breathing." It can also decrease the effectiveness of the individual products.
- Do not touch your face. I did not realize until the COVID pandemic how many times I went to touch my face during the course of one day. Touching your face adds dirt and pollutants to the skin, spreads bacteria, and is often a major cause of breakouts.
- Clean your makeup brushes, facial pads, and cloths regularly.
- Protect your face from the sun.
- Do not use expired products. The "Use By After Opening" symbols or dates are important. Once you open a product it can harbor bacteria and mold which can lead to infections and irritations. As a general rule, if you can’t remember when you bought the product or when you opened it, throw it away.
- Eat a healthy diet. Your skin is the largest organ of the body and needs proper nutrition like every other organ. An unhealthy diet will result in unhealthy skin no matter how many wonderful products you apply to your face.
- Rest and relax! I know this can often be difficult, but you can "see" stress on your face. Find some time (even a little bit) just for you! Get plenty of sleep!
- Before you begin using any new product, you should always do a simple patch test to avoid the risk of irritation or an allergic reaction.
For more help with facial products read: Help Me Choose a Facial Skin Care Products
Please share your tips and tricks for healthy facial skin!
This information is not a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.