As consumers we are bombarded with lots of lotions and potions that each claim to perform some miracle on our faces and with agressive advertising we always get the impression that every product that comes out is "THE " product to have! I suspect that most of us don't have the three basic products - cleanser, toner moisturizer but rather a whole host of products in each category and if you are cofused as to which order to use them then do I have a tip for you.
Always, always CLEANSE and EXFOLIATE first. The only way to start is with a clean face. If your face is not clean, then you are likely to clog your pores further by adding and layering products on your face.
STEP 1a: CLEANSING
Cleansing is also a crucial step. Check your cleansing routine. Some years ago, I discovered that I was not cleansing the area close to my hairline well. I began having breakouts in this area and upon investigation I realized that my cleansing routine was wrong.
Start by spashing some water on your face. This is important to allow your cleanser to mix with the water and begin its work. Then squeeze or pour out a decent measure of cleanser on the tips of your wet fingers and rub well to produce lather. Once this is done, start working the cleanser on your face. I begin with my t-zone (my nose and forehead) and then move to my cheeks and then all around my eye area, lip area, near the hairline, close to the earlobes and under my chin as well as my neck. Gently rub in circular movements for a minute or two.
Once you complete this step, splash your face with water and focus on your hairline, around the eyes, and on the neck to remove all traces of cleanser. You are done once you gently pat a towel on your face to remove the moisture.
STEP 1b: EXFOLIATING
I usually exfoliate once a week or if I do have time, at night while I am showering. This helps deep cleanse the face and remove stuff like dead skin cells. Exfoliating also reveals the freshest layer of skin on your face and if done well, you should notice a brighter and slightly fairer face after. Too much exfoliating is not good as it can lead to redness blotchy skin. So take it easy on this one.
STEP 2: TONING
This is an optional step for some people and always comes AFTER cleansing. At this point, your face is still a little damp.
Take a piece of cotton wool - they come in squares or circles in packs and are really cheap. I personally prefer the circular ones because I feel they are thicker. Splash a few drops of toner on your cotton piece and sweep over face concentrating on areas around the hairline and close to the earlobes. Don't be surprised to find some last traces of makeup on the cotton.
Toning will tighten up pores and preps the skin to receive all other products. If you don't have large pores and oily skin (lucky you!) then by all means skip this step.
STEP 3: SERUMS AND TREATMENTS
If you have a serum then now is the time to put it on. Rub your fingers together to warm it up and then pump or pour out a little of the product on them. Rub your fingers together to spread the product and gently swipe on your face. Let it set and settle for a few seconds. Give your skin time to absorb the product before you move on to the next step.
STEP 4: MOISTURIZING
A good tip is to buy a moisturizer with an SPF factor of at least 15. What is an SPF you ask? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.
A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 filters 92% of the UVB. Put another way, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will delay the onset of a sunburn in a person who would otherwise burn in 10 minutes to burn in 150 minutes. The SPF 15 sunscreen allows a person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer. (Taken from About.com - dermatology)
UVB (or ultra violet) rays are bad and small amounts of these are emitted from your computer screen and flourescent lighting too (surprised right?!). Wearing a moisturizer with SPF will give you some measure of protection from this.
Again, with moisturizer, get some on your fingers and rub between fingers to dispers and then apply on your face. Do also factor in some for your neck....this is often overlooked and will begin to show signs of ageing later in life so better start taking care of it now!
So there you have it. Hope this was useful!