Usually your first step–literally used to clean your skin. Your morning cleanser does not need to be as strong as your night time version, but either way you should be cleansing twice a day. Some rules to go by that work for me: avoid foaming cleansers, balms work great for taking off makeup, and never settle with one that makes your pores feel tight. Oh, and a final note, massage the cleanser in for a good minute to get the full effect, and to go that extra step, steam your face with a hot wash cloth before washing it off, and gently rubbing the wash cloth on your face in circular motions for some extra exfoliation.

These come in many forms: those little beads (more often than not apricot scented), glycolic acid, thick cleansers, the list goes on. Scrubs are not generally advised. They scratch the skin and for those with acne-prone skin can open the pimple and spread the infection around, resulting in more pimples. Better to get your exfoliating on from a toner with AHAs or glycolic or lactic acids; these dissolve dead skin instead.. Dermatologists do recommend exfoliating more than three times per week. Why? Well, it basically provokes cell turnover, meaning your skin will instantly feel refreshed and ultra smooth.

When most of you think toners, I’m sure some multi-coloured Clinique bottles come to mind. They’re essentially astringents that are applied post-cleanser to balance the skin. This is the step where most of us go for maximum sting-factor, however, I beg you not. BeautyMouth (whom I would never doubt) insists that you first use an exfoliating toner and then a hydrating toner to follow. This will help the skin control oil throughout the day and sandwich in a bit of hydration.

This was kind of a product I didn’t know much about, but as I mindlessly started slathering on a layer of Généfique every night (and saw positive results that I can’t quite explain), I figured I should look into it. So basically what I learned was they are like moisturizers with more concentrated active ingredients, meaning they’re more effective. They’re great for attacking specific problems, like aging, acne and enlarged pores, and are ideal for oily-skinned gals since they aren’t particularly rich.

The common perception of these creams/gels is that they’re only needed if your skin is feeling dry. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Everyone needs a lil’ hydration, every single time you cleanse. If you skimp, your skin will produce even more oil to compensate, and I hate to break it to you, but I’ve yet to see someone pull off the shiny-look off of the runway. Moisturizers today are not one-dimensional, I must add. There’s a potion for any and every need you have, all wrapped up in a hydrating bow.

Eye Cream/Serum
So basically the same idea here, eye creams provide extra moisture to the eye area, often containing anti-aging or anti-darkness/puffiness ingredients. This skin is especially thin and delicate, and therefore requires some extra attention. Though you’ve probably put two and two together, an eye serum is fundamentally a concentrate of an eye cream. Just don’t be fooled by marketing–nothing and no one can take away your dark circles–these are hereditary, so invest in a good concealer.

Night Cream
Now this is another thing I could never figure out; what’s the difference between a moisturizer and a night cream? A night cream, like a serum, it a more concentrated moisturizer, but are usually more potent in the moisturizing properties. I mean, you’re about to do absolutely nothing for the next 7-9 hours (hopefully), so might as well get something done. Beware of acne-fighting or brightening night creams, as they may contain ingredients that cannot go under direct sun exposure (hence why they’re meant to be used at night).

See, learning can be fun!

–Anna Raponi

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