If you asked me what the most important step of a makeup routine is, I would answer proper skin care. Sure, you can have outstanding blending, perfectly matching foundation, and flawlessly applied falsies, but if you have bad skin, it’s going to kind of bring the whole thing down; it’s much like the adage “you can’t build on a shaky foundation.”
Firstly, I want you to throw out everything you know about the way the skin works, mainly the misconception that the skin “breathes.” Unless you’re an amphibian, your skin plays all of zero percent in helping you respirate. While certain fat-soluble vitamins can be absorbed through the skin, as well as medications applied through use of a patch (such as nicotine), the main function of your skin (and the entire integumentary system, which includes hair and nails) is to keep stuff out of your body and to protect it from the elements. When companies refer to their products as “allowing your skin to breathe,” what they really mean is that it’s formulated to not clog your pores, which can trap bacteria and cause acne. But as long as you follow a good skin care regimen and keep your cosmetics sanitary, it won’t be an issue.
Moreso now that I’m in makeup school and several times a day I have fellow classmates up in my face, but im often told that I have great skin, even though in reality, I wear TONS of makeup and have had a history of acne and uneven skin tone. It’s all about the way I take care of my face, and if I falter from that routine even once I usually end up breaking out.
So I’m sure you’re dying to know what my routine is, right? I’m sure you’re expecting some fancy, elaborate process with expensive, top-of-the-line products…
Cleansing. This should be done twice a day. Once in the morning to clean the nighttime metabolic waste off your face, and once in the evening to remove all the dirt, bacteria, and oils from the day. Since I tend to be acne-prone, I use products with salicylic acid in them. My cleanser is St. Ives medicated apricot scrub, and I can even get away with using the generic brand of it.
Moisturizing. This should also be done twice a day, right after cleansing. Yes, even if you have oily skin. Moisturizing can help to balance it out. If you have extra dry skin or dry patches, sparingly applying Aquaphor to the dry spots before the moisturizer can help to smooth them out and provide more intensive moisturizing. I use Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer because it has salycylic acid in it, but Embryolisse (it’s a professional brand, so I’m not sure if it’s publicly available) is a great all-purpose moisturizer.
Deep-cleansing. Because I do wear so much makeup and I probably clog the crap out of my pores, I use a clarifying masque twice or three times a week. I would even recommend this for dry skin (just follow it with an intensive moisturizing treatment) because it helps draw the gunk out of your pores and prevent breakouts. I prefer the Queen Helene mint julep masque, and I also really like the deep clarifying masque that Bonne Belle makes.
Brush maintenance. You might be wondering, what does this have to do with skin care? It has everything to do with skin care. Firstly, if you’re in the habit of blowing excess product off your brushes, you’re going to want to break that habit. Be aware that your mouth is home to more bacteria than anywhere else on or in your body, and very little of that bacteria is “good” bacteria. In addition to microscopic amounts of spittle, you’re now blowing this bacteria all over your brushes and then embedding it into your cosmetics and smearing it all over your face.
Cosmetic sanitation. If you’re in the habit of blowing on your brushes, you’re probably also in the habit of blowing on your pressed powders. But don’t worry, not all is lost. You can sanitize pressed powders by misting them with isopropyl alcohol, and then leaving them open to dry. You should do this regularly to keep them bacteria-free, and between every client if you’re using your makeup on other people. With other types of cosmetics, such as creams, liquids, loose powders, lipsticks, etc., you should avoid using them straight from the container if possible. Never share a mascara or liquid liner you have used on yourself with another person.
And finally, two other things I can recommend to keep your skin looking great is to minimize the amount you touch your face and to exercise proper protection when you go out in the sun. I can’t stress the latter point enough, because not only does UV exposure increase your risk of skin cancer, but it also ages your skin a lot faster than it would age otherwise.
Please make sure you take all this with a grain of salt. This routine isn’t going to work for everyone, since everyone’s skin is different. You should find what products work best for you (it’s a process, trust me) but once you find them, stick strong to that routine!