One of the questions I got asked the most while working in salon is “what is [blank] and why do I need it?” I created this guide to break down the basics of what each type of skincare product does for you without getting too technical. Not super exciting stuff but it serves as a good reference.
Eye cleanser | These products are designed to remove eye makeup and gently cleanse the delicate skin around the eye area without causing irritation to the eye itself.
Facial Cleanser | Not only do your facial cleansers remove your makeup, and any dirt, oil, and grime on the surface of the skin but the physical action of cleansing gets the skin stimulated which helps to push toxins towards the surface of the skin in order to get rid of/and/or prevent blackheads and breakouts, and slows down the skins aging process.
Toner | While working in salon I often heard from people that they were not using a toner because toners contain alcohol and will dry out the skin and therefore you should not use them unless you have acne, this is a huge mistake! While it is true some toners do contain alcohol, most do not and they will help to get rid of any extras left on the skin; makeup you might have missed when cleansing, toxins that worked their way to the surface, cleanser residue, etc. but more importantly a toner will help to rebalance the pH level of your skin, which ideally should be around 5.5, in order to maintain a healthy moisture level in the skin, which is why using the right toner will always make your skin feel so refreshed!
Moisturizer | The main purpose of a moisturizer is to hydrate the skin and lock in the moisture; however today most moisturizers contain additional benefits such as antioxidants to help protect your skin from free radical damages, SPF for sun protection, and anti-aging ingredients to help slow down and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Eye cream | Similar to a moisturizer the main purpose of an eye cream is to hydrate the skin around the eye area; the difference is that the skin around the eyes is much thinner and much more delicate then the skin around the rest of the face, and contains less water glands and less oil glands. Eye creams are specially formulated with a higher percentage of hydrating ingredients, and most also contain oils in order to treat this fragile area. Again most eye creams today also contain additional benefits like anti-aging ingredients and ingredients to give the skin a brighter appearance.
Face Serum | Serums are much thinner in consistency, meaning they contain tinier molecules, this allows them to penetrate the deepest of all skincare; all the way down to where your surface skin cells are actually made. For this reason the ingredients in serums are much more active and concentrated then in a moisturizer and are typically used to help correct a specific skin concern such as fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, hydration, etc.
Eye Serum | Very similar to a face serum only they contain active ingredients that are a little more gentle for the delicate skin around the eyes. They usually target to correct under eye darkness and contain the most potent ingredients for helping to plump up the skin to reduce fine lines. If you are concerned about anti-aging an eye serum is an absolute must have!
Exfoliants | Exfoliants come in 2 different forms; manual and non-manual. Both have the same end goal, to remove dead skin off the surface of the face. Dead skin will act as a barrier, which will trap toxins underneath the skin causing congestion AND prevent your products from penetrating as deep as possible. The difference between the 2 is that manual exfoliants use granules such as coffee beans or sugar to lift and roll the dead skin off the face, while a non manual exfoliant uses a chemical such as an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) or fruit enzymes to dissolve the dead skin off the surface of the face. Both work great and both can be done at home.
Masks | A mask is a treatment for the skin, depending on your skin concerns different masks target different things; most masks will dry and harden to help pull out impurities from deeper in the skin, but there are also masks that are whipped for a rich hydrating treatment. Either way using a mask once a week will help provide deeper nourishment and balance your skin for a more radiant, and clear complexion!
I have two separate posts about how and when to apply these products, one for basic skincare, and one for advanced skincare. If you have any further questions about what skin care products can do for you please ask!