Creating the Best Skincare Routine For You

A Comprehensive Guide to Beginner skincare

Because starting is half the battle.

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Let me preface this by saying that by no means am I any kind of dermatologist or licensed professional when it comes to skincare. Everything within the article is based upon personal research and what I have seen that works for me and my close friends.

Like most things in life, we have started at the beginning: the basics. Fact is, there are many different skin types, and they each need products and routines that best fit them. Some of the most common types are oily (all over), dry, combination (oily T-zone and dry patches), and acne prone. No matter which skin type though, the care for each should follow a similar rotation of types of products.

A quick outline would be:

Morning

1. Cleanse skin with a gentle cleanser or warm water.

2. Apply toner, essence, ampoule, and/or serum.

3. Eye cream

4. Moisturizer

5. Sunscreen*

Night

1. Cleanse skin with cleanser (consider double cleansing)


2. Exfoliate (once a week)

3. Apply toner, essence, ampoule, and/or treatments.

4. Eye cream

5. Nighttime moisturizer


Sunscreen:

Biore UV Aqua Rich A sunscreen to end all sunscreens.Refinery29.com

Expanding on the list, the first thing I want to touch on is the importance of sunscreen. sun protection. the sun is a deadly laser. Remember this. Sunscreen is the barrier on your face and body that shields your delicate skin cells from the damaging and even deadly UV radiation that is constantly bombarding you whenever you are outside (yes, even on cloudy days!). The only problem I had with sunscreen, especially of the American variety, is that rather unattractive white cast it leaves on your face, and the oftentimes extremely oily texture it has. Enter: the Asian beauty sunscreen. To elaborate, I'm not saying that all Asian sunscreens are better than their American counterparts- In fact, one of the best ones on the market right now from Elta MD is American produced. However, this particular one is rather expensive for those on a college budget and is made for more mature skin.

Back to the Asian sunscreen. Some of my personal favorites are the CANMAKE Mermaid Skin UV gel (no white cast and suitable for drier skin as it does not contain alcohol), the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (Suitable for oily and combination skin when paired with moisturizer- contains alcohol to control oil/sebum production), and the Missha All Around Safe Block Sebum Zero (suitable for acne prone/problem skin as it contains green tea extract and other ingredients designed to not cause breakouts and to control oil).

Toners for printers, ampoule- what?, and Treatments for...?

It has snail slime and bee venom, and it's amazing. Lookfantastic.com

I won't touch too much on this section as this is the portion that varies greatly from person to person. Some helpful definitions are definitely needed though:

Toner: Usually a water-like liquid that balances the skin's PH and helps your skin absorb the rest of your skincare routine.

Essence: A hybrid between a toner and an essence that works to provide extra hydration and absorbency to your skin.

Serum: Concentrated formulas that work to target specific skin problems such as dark circles, acne scars, and dark spots/freckles. Recommended starter serum: Vitamin C.

Ampoule: For when serums just can't finish the job- these are the heavy hitters that contain a large number of active ingredients to target specific problem spots.

The Korean website Soko Glam has some examples of products and descriptions for what they do and is an excellent place to start.

Cleanser

Softymo Deep Cleansing oil Aesthetically cleansing.Boshop.com

It's 1 am, you've just arrived home from a night out with your friends, and your face feels crusty and nasty. What do you do:

A. Fall asleep in bed because you just can't be bothered.

B. Scrub your face with water and hope for the best.

C. Diligently use a cleanser, skip the rest of your routine, and put on moisturizer.

D. Follow your entire skin routine and slap on a face mask too, because mama ain't raise no b*tch.

If you answered D, you are correct. All other answer choices will result in a massive pimple appearing on your forehead and never leaving.

I'm 100% kidding with you. Skincare can be a lot of steps, and sometimes you just can't be bothered. Out of all of the choices though, C is probably the best bet for maintaining relatively healthy skin on the lowest effort on those late night days. Just as long as you follow the rest of your routine as much as possible, of course.

Cleanser, like most of these skin care steps, in particular. However, the one that I have found that helps most skin types is the Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser. It's dermatologist recommended, as well a cult classic. It is the mom's apple pie of the skincare world.

If you are a guy or gal wearing makeup I would suggest adding double cleansing to your arsenal. Double cleansing has been recently hailed as the holy grail of fully removing the day's grime from makeup. One of my favorite combinations is the Cetaphil cleanser paired with the Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil. This absolutely melts everything away without leaving your face feeling like the Sahara desert.

Moisturizer

SANA IsoflavoneAmazon.com

If you've made it this far, reward yourself with a nice tall glass of water. I can wait.

Chances are, at any given moment in the day, most of us are dehydrated. In fact, one of the best ways to boost your skin's health is to up your water intake. A dehydrated skin is an unhappy one, and an unhappy skin can lead to bouts of dryness, peeling, excess oil production and acne breakouts.

Moisturizer is a way of rehydrating externally and is super super super important in maintaining skin health. Like the serums and friends section, I don't want to go too deep into this, as it varies from person to person in what their skin needs, but I figured I'd just try and give the basics.

Moisturizers should be used both in the day and at night. They lock in all of your previous products and creates a moisture barrier to protect from the environment. They work hard at night and ensure you'll have that snapshot-worthy morning glow every day you wake up. Moisturizer is love and life. Moisturize.

Again, I tend to prefer Asian moisturizers to American ones, as American ones tend to be formulated to be a little too heavy, and can cause pore blockage. Asian moisturizers come in many different varieties, but some important things to remember are that the ones with alcohol are best for oily/combination skin, the ones without are better suited for drier skin, and the ones that contain green tea extracts or tea tree can be used to help with acne.

My personal favorites are the NAMERAKA Sana Isoflavone, Facial Milk which is great for sensitive skin, and the Hada Labo Gokujun premium lotion.

Endnotes:

I could probably go on for a couple thousand more words on the topic of skincare, but my editor probably hates me by now. The bottom line is: do your research and find a routine that works for you. It's completely fine to be testing and swapping out products, but the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT TIP TO CLEAR AND GOOD SKIN IS CONSISTENCY. It doesn't matter what expensive brands you use if you're not strict on your routine, absolutely squat is going to come out of it.

Also: if you feel as if you are dealing with a more serious skin problem, such as cystic acne or extreme eczema, do not hesitate to go and see a dermatologist. They can absolutely, positively help you.

Thank you for coming with me on this journey! I've decided to include my own personal skincare routine below just as a reference point.

Cleanser: Cetaphil and Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil

Toner/Essence: Missha Time Revolution Clear

Serums: Vitamin C, Benton snail bee high content essence, Glycolic Acid.

Eye cream: Rosehip and Hibiscus Eye Cream Moisturizer

Moisturizer: Rohto Hadalabo Gokujun Oil in Skin Conditionerohto Hadalabo Gokujun Oil in Skin Conditioner, followed by NAMERAKA Sana Isoflavone Facial Milk

Sunscreen: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

Happy hunting and remember to always spot test!


You after your skin routine!! Yes, you go!!! media.giphy.com



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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Being Ugly

What it means to me

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Due to a series of ongoing events throughout my semester, I've reconsidered what it means for someone to truly be ugly. Though it is often used in terms of appearance, I do not see it as such-- now more than ever. Ugliness runs deeper than appearance-- it runs within one's soul and festers into other areas of one's life, particularly in their treatment of others.

I view ugliness as someone's conscious capacity and implementation of malice. Taking time and energy out of your day to hurt someone else, that's what I view as ugly. Some offenses are more minor than others, however, it is still a conscious effort to hurt or affect someone else negatively-- and that's the source of the problem. I truly wonder what causes that sort of behavior in someone, as I, along with most people, simply do not invest time or energy into hating or plotting against others. It seems like a full-time job.

I can theorize all sorts of reasons as to why someone would act this way: hate, jealousy, vengeance, etc. Yet, all of these reasons don't hit the root reason. It almost seems that some people are just innately ugly in their soul. This alludes to the timeless debate of whether one's personality is due to nature or nurture. Again, although our surroundings and environment do have a large effect in our behavior, that alibi only goes so far when multiple people are placed in the same environment, in the same situation, and only some are willing to cross moral boundaries in order to hurt the others. Just because an environment applies pressure to people, does not mean everyone is going to act out in malice, and it certainly does not give everyone an excuse to do so. Some people are simply conniving and, well, ugly inside.

If you have ever encountered people like this, I know from personal experience that it is such a drag. You have an enemy, essentially, whether you chose to or not, however based on their hatred towards you, they are now considered an enemy, a hater, and any other associated term. Know that they will do anything in their power to bring you down, even if it requires bending the truth and creating elaborate schemes, but you have to keep on doing you. Let them obsess over ways to bring you down. At the end of the day, their time and energy is being invested into bringing you down, while yours is being used to build yourself up. They will fall by default. So, keep your head high, act in grace, and make your money. They can sip on their Haterade and watch from below.

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