How To Up Your Skincare Game

by Toria Sheffield

Skin care isn't something to stress about. But, like so many other not super important things in life, like a good hair day, or a perfect manicure, it just feels nice to feel good about your complexion. Which is why knowing how to upgrade your skincare routine can be such an important step in feeling great on a daily basis.

Most of us know the basics when it comes to skincare, like not sleeping in our makeup, or wearing sun protection at the beach, and that's all well and good. But there are definitely things most of us could be doing to be taking even better care of our skin, and in turn, feel even better about the way it looks and feels.

I first started getting interested in an elevated skin care routine in my late 20s. I was finally old enough for what I did (or didn't do) to catch up with me, which meant I was finally starting to notice some real issues with my skin. I knew I didn't want the problems I was seeing to get worse, and began to research what I could do to help make things better. I was suddenly inundated with a world of new information, and it became clear to me that if I really wanted my skin to look its best, I was going to have to incorporate a few changes into my daily routine (or lack of routine, to be more accurate).

If you're feeling like your current skin care process just isn't cutting it, here are 11 tips for kicking things up a notch.

1. Invest In A Battery-Powered Cleanser

Clarisonic Mia, $129, Amazon

According to a piece on skincare in The Wall Street Journal, dermatologists stress the importance of cleansing our faces — especially at the end of the day before bed. And many note that the best way to go about it is with a gentle, motorized brush, like the Clarisonic. Unlike our hands, the device literally "wiggles" dirt off our faces and pores, providing the most thorough clean.

2. Use A Gentle Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, $10, Amazon

And the type of cleanser we choose is also important. In a piece for The Huffington Post, professional aesthetician Kayla Causey noted that a lot of cleansers — especially oil-free varieties — can do more harm than good. "A lot of oil-free cleansers strip our skin of natural oils, leaving it unbalanced and causing it to produce more oil to rebalance it," Causey said. "Excess production equals more problematic skin." Try gentle cleansers specifically designed to maintain your skin's natural balance, like CeraVe.

3. Start Using A Chemical Exfoliant

AHA Alpha Hydroxy Acid Cream, $19, Amazon

OK, the word "chemical" might sound scary, but this is actually one of the most gentle exfoliating methods out there. The skincare experts at Paula's Choice noted that most people over and misuse physical exfoliants (AKA the scrubs we rub onto our faces with our hands), and this can actually cause way more damage and irritation than good. Instead, they recommended investing in an AHA or BHA daily lotion, which gently sloughs off dead skin cells to reveal a bright daily complexion.

4. Get Into Skin Masks

Professional aesthetician Veronica Gorgeois said she prescribes a two-week clay mask "boot camp" for her clients who suffer from oily skin and blackheads in which they use a clay mask 5 to 7 days a week for two weeks, and then cut back to twice, and eventually once a week. And the good news is you can make your own clay masks at home!

5. Keep Your Makeup Brushes Clean

A team of skincare experts in a piece for IntoTheGloss all noted the incredible importance of keeping your makeup brushes clean. You'd never apply makeup to your face with your hands without washing them, right? So by that same logic, you want to make sure the brushes you use are also bacteria-free.

6. Sun Protection Is A Must

Benefit Cosmetics Dream Screen SPF 45, $32, Nordstrom

OK, this one might seem super boring and like you've heard it a million times before, but it's worth mentioning because it's incredibly important for the health and appearance of your skin. A study featured on CNN even found that daily use of sunscreen stalled signs of facial aging for four years on study participants tracked over that time.

7. Know What To Splurge On

Veronica Gorgeois also noted that while there are some items that are worth splurging on, like high quality serums, you can absolutely save on things that will only be on your skin for a few seconds, like facial cleansers. Gorgeois noted that any expensive ingredients in your cleanser will literally be washed down the drain.

8. Banish Fragrances From Your Skincare Products

The experts over at Paula's Choice stressed the importance of investing in fragrance-free skincare products, as much as we may love them. "As nice as it is to have a product with a wonderful aroma, it just doesn't make for good skincare. [...] Research has established that fragrances in skin-care products are among the most common cause of sensitizing and allergic reactions."

9. Don't Be Duped By Trendy Ingredients warned against what is often called "fairy-dusting," or "window-dressing" in the skin care industry. This is when a product advertises the presence of a certain, often trendy or expensive ingredient, but doesn't actually contain that ingredient in a high enough amount to be beneficial (while usually charging you an arm and a leg). Always check the ingredient list before making a big purchase and make sure that special ingredient is high up there on that list!

10. Incorporate Oils

NOW Foods Rose Hip Seed Oil, $7, Amazon

In a piece for Allure, dermatologist David Colbert highly recommended incorporating oils into your skincare routine — even if you naturally have oily skin. "Many botanical oils, including argan, passion fruit, and African marula oils, are potent antioxidants. In the morning, massage a few drops onto clean skin, wait two minutes, and apply sunscreen or foundation as usual," he wrote. Just make sure you do your research before purchasing and find the oil best suited to your skin type.

11. Try Face Massage

Facial massage has long been reputed to help stimulate circulation and heathy skin. YouTube beauty vlogger OxfordJasmine said they can be done once a week or even daily, and shows us how in the above tutorial.

If you love having super healthy skin, don't stop at the basics — go for some of the above super elevated rituals and techniques for the best skin ever!

Images: Pexels (5)