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Back to the Basics: Skin Care

There are countless beauty products out there, and I get asked all the time which products are great and work well for different skin types. My answer is always the same: Whenever your skin isn’t ‘working’, and breaks out badly or just starts acting crazy, go back to the basics. It’s hard to tell whether you have oily or dry skin when it’s always covered in products. Very often, the products you buy claim to be the miracle cure when they aren’t, and in fact, could be doing more damage than good.


1) Elimination: The first step is to completely stop using everything, and start from the beginning. Use lukewarm water in the morning and at night to cleanse your face and do not apply any makeup whatsoever. Let your skin breathe for a few days. Sometimes, this is all your skin needs and will clear up on its own just like that.

Now that your skin is aux-natural, you can figure out exactly what facial care your skin needs. Study your face in the mirror. See if your skin is dry and flaky or shiny and oily or a combination of the two. Once you figure that out, throw away all the products you have that are not meant for your skin type.

2) Cleanse: There is no need to go out and buy yet another cleanser; you most likely have something that will work perfectly. Try and pick one that is not too expensive, I find that the fancier products have a lot more chemical type stuff in there that you don’t want on your face. In addition, most of those expensive products are actual dupes for something cheaper. Use this cleanser every night. If you go to bed with a clean face, all you need is a splash of lukewarm water in the morning to cleanse your face.

My suggestion: Cetaphil has a great cleanser, and they have different ones for all skin types. It is also gentle enough to use both in the morning and night if you want to.

3) Toner: This is not a necessary step in your skin care routine unless your skin is very oily. I skip this step completely because my skin is more on the dry side.

My suggestion: Witch Hazel is something you can pick up from your local pharmacy. Use a cotton pad to apply it to your face. Use it sparingly and only if you have very oily skin.
An alternative idea is to buy a cleansing water to use after you cleanse your face. Bioderma is a great one you can buy off

4) Moisturize: This is one of the most important steps in a skin care routine, even if your skin is oily. Do it at least every night. Almost any moisturizer will do. If you are worried about your skin becoming too oily, apply it with a sponge or very clean fingers. I would suggest using a moisturizer with SPF in it which helps prevents wrinkles. Don’t skip this step.

My suggestions: Aveeno makes a great moisturizer. Here are a few more products I think are worth mentioning:

  • Coconut oil: One of the best beauty secrets. The best way to use coconut oil is at night. Before going to bed, rub a small amount of coconut oil in your fingers to warm it up and then massage it on your face. It is an all-in-one makeup remover, facial cleanser, and moisturizer.

Do not be worried about it leading to breakouts, just be sure to rinse it off well. 90% of the coconut oil will come off, and 10% will moisturize your skin all night long, which is what you want. After rinsing, you can add a bit more to the eye area as an eye cream.
If you want an added reassurance that the coconut oil won’t break your skin out, here’s what to do: add two drops of tea tree oil to the dab of coconut oil in your hand and mix it together before applying it.

  • Vaseline: The best (and cheapest) lip balm.

That basically says it all. I use this all the time, and apply it to my lips throughout the day. You can easily use it as a lip scrub by mixing a small amount of Vaseline with some brown sugar and rubbing it on your lips. Rinse off afterwards. This will remove all the flaky skin off your lips.

You might think that this skincare routine is too simple for your skin, especially if you are battling acne. But for 90% of you, this routine will work. The key is consistency. The fact is that if you are very consistent with taking care of your skin, your face will look a lot better than if you occasionally apply whatever acne treatments you have. Be consistent and you will see results. For those of you with more severe skin issues, I recommend that you see a dermatologist to help you out.

Photograph by Rivka Bauman Photography