I love answering questions from confused clients and let’s face it, skin care can be very confusing. I learned early on in my career as a licensed expert that questions from clients often need more questions back for total clarity.
Here is a good example of a volley back and forth because there is never a one size fits all answer. To really serve a client’s needs well, there is a lot of intuitive consulting that goes on in the dialogue to find out what someone needs. Just because I may think that one product is the best for you, and it very well may be, doesn’t always mean you are going to use it. We alll know what we need to do to lose that 10 pounds we are always trying to lose (well me anyway) but if I really wanted to lose it, I would. I just don’t want to give up ice cream and wine and that is the payoff. So I just lean into the extra 10 and live with it.
Skin is like this, too.
How do you want your skin to look? What kind of time, money, discipline do you want to apply? These answers you give help someone like me inform a great plan, but even better, a realistic plan. Reality skin care— this is what I do and this is what I love.
Send me along your questions and I will help you figure out what you can do for the best skin possible for the lifestyle you lead.
Here is an example of a recent conversation I had with a client through a simple email.
I already know all of her routine at home because she is a chat client so this question is to add to her already successful routine.
QUESTION FROM CLIENT:
I need to order more night cream this week and wonder if you have samples of sunscreen to send with. I vaguely remember the glo version not working well for me ...it was so long ago that I used it (and haven't used anything else since, just a wide-brim sun hat on the beach, tsk tsk) but I recall it irritated my super sensitive skin...so I'm gun shy about ordering a full bottle. But I know I should. Right?
FOLLOW UP QUESTION FROM ALAYNE:
When you say sunscreen....
Daily like gardening and brief walking?
Or beach type sunscreen?
Sunscreen as a moisturizer or sunscreen over your moisturizer?
Tint no tint?
15, 30, 50?
What makes you want a sunscreen?
FOLLOW UP ANSWER FROM CLIENT:
I think I'm getting sun spots on my face - or are they age spots?
This would be for daily, non-beach use- for walking outside, or driving to work with the sun on my face.
I'm 'supposed' to use it, right? Hmm. Maybe not?
No tint, and I guess it would be to use under moisturizer, unless you have another suggestion...
I have some thoughts though on all of this Vitamin D blocking though so I’m not always a fan of daily - but if you are fair, if skin cancer runs in your family, if you are Irish Scottish or English, if sunspots/ age spots are annoying you- then sunscreen must be your new partner in crime.
Oil-free 40 by glo over your regular moisturizer if you are dry, stand alone if you are normal or oily.
Or Dynamic Skin Recovery by Dermalogica on it’s own.
My hands down favorite beach sunscreen is Dermalogica 50 Protection Sport.
Expensive Skin Care Products
QUESTION FROM CLIENT:
Do I need to use expensive products to achieve the best results for my skin?
This is one of the more consistent questions that comes up when it comes to changing a skin care routine, but before I answer this question I first need to ask some questions back.
FOLLOW UP QUESTION FROM ALAYNE:
Define expensive. It is different from one person to the next.
What results are you looking for? And what are you willing and able to do to get to these results?
Do you wash your face when you get home from your day 100% of the time?
Do you wear makeup and do you wash it off with a cleanser? (not wipes)
Do you tend to be lazy with a routine or do you start off with a bang and then get a little lazy?
There is never just a straight answer because there are so many factors to achieving the results for better skin.
Your first goal in any new skin care routine is to get your skin in balance and this is an area that is not just about changing what you are doing on the outside, your insides matter too, but that is for a different conversation.
I want to address the quality of ingredients vs paying for the shiny marketing campaign. Skin care companies are all fighting to get noticed. They need to; the competition is fierce. There are celebrities putting their names on products, there are infomercials, the mega stores with rows and rows and more rows of skin products, department stores, Amazon, drugstores and the dermatologists office. How does an unsuspecting consumer know where to go to get the right recommendations?
Your first line of defense is to find a licensed professional whom you can trust. You really have a choice when you buy products— licensed experts should always be your first choice.
Isn’t it amazing to think about how many products we buy from people who have never been trained in skin care, but only in sales?
Skin is not that simple. It is the largest organ in your body and has a unique messaging system to let you know when something is amiss. Your skin should be in the hands of someone who has been trained in skin- estheticians and dermatologists. Even dermatologists are not always trained in skin CARE.
It is like going to your regular doctor for nutritional information, seldom are the doctors trained in good nutrition, the same way dermatologists are not always trained in how to care for your skin unless you have serious problems. Often this is still only a bandaid to skin problems.
More often products sold by estheticians have excellent ingredients to really help you achieve the results you may be looking for.
You may say to yourself, my skin is good enough— this is fine, too. If you have been using some commercial cleanser and moisturizer and you are happy, then by all means, keep using it.
You are the only person who can answer this question. Just make sure that you are not comparing your skin to someone else’s. We are all made up with different genes, different lifestyles and what goes on inside someone else’s body can be the difference between what you see on the outside.
Focus on you.
The next follow up question is:
Are you looking for a major transformation or just a little shift?
I do believe that the bulk of your initial investment, if your answer to this question is any type of shift at all, should be towards a high quality cleanser and moisturizer. Just a simple switch here can have a surprisingly positive impact.
Fall in love with not only its abilities in how it makes your skin feel, but also how it smells and the joy it gives you when you wash and moisturize.
It may seem like a strange request— to find joy in the routine too, but you are going to be married to this couple now, and it should give you pleasure as much as results.
What should you expect? Well cleanser first and foremost should CLEANSE. Sudsy or creamy, your cleanser should remove makeup dirt and oil from your day. Your skin should feel cleansed, not tight and dry after washing. Your moisturizer should add hydration, oil or both and your skin should feel supple and happy after.
Do you need to spend a lot of money for great skin care results?
Good quality cleansers that do a good job in what they are supposed to be doing - cleaning- will cost between $35 and $65 depending on the size and will last 3-4 months depending on the size- maybe more for a larger size.
I like when companies offer multiple sizes- Dermalogica makes 2 very basic what I like to call "old faithfuls", intensive moisture cleanser (creamy) and special cleansing gel (sudsy)- I recently started carrying these again because even though Dermalogica has gone a bit commercial on me, they still are easy to use, work really well and do what they are supposed to do.
glo skin beauty makes a lovely cleanser that can be sudsy or creamy depending on how much water you use with it- Phyto-active cream cleanser and Jurlique makes a wonderful sudsy cleanser called revitalizing cleansing gel.
I am a lazy esthetician, so I like one product to cleanse, remove makeup, and be done. These do this.
When it comes to moisturizing you should look to spend between $50-$80. I am speaking of a basic daily moisturizer, not moisturizers with all of the extra bells and whistles. Moisturizers are usually about 2 oz and will generally last about 3 months. The question I ask to people when first deciding on what to buy is what type of weight do you like- light, medium, or heavy?
Oil-free moisturizer from glo skin beauty is the best for oily skin or skin that doesn’t like the feel of weight on it. Restorative cream is my #1 seller from glo that has more of a weight to it for a normal to drier skin.
Sometimes, more often than not actually, this simple ‘skinvestment’ can make rapid changes for the better in your skin and after one month you skin should be headed towards its goal of BALANCED HEALTHY SKIN.
From this place you have a healthy canvas to work with- this is when you should decide to add the serums and higher performance treatment ingredients.
Serums and treatment moisturizers will be where you will spend more money because companies that use high level ingredients are going to be more expensive but you will get a lot of bang for your investment. Once your skin is in balance though, you may not need to stay with the advanced product forever the point is to regulate you skin to get it how you want it to look and then backing off to keep your routine as simple as your lifestyle wants.
If you set aside about $125 for your cleanser and moisturizer, you should be able to get yourself into a great plan. This averages about $10 a week on a routine that will make your skin look and feel supple, more hydrated and healthier- a great "skinvestment" for long term results later.
QUESTION FROM CLIENT:
Do I need a toner?
I love this question because like all questions, I answer with another question.
FOLLOW UP QUESTION FROM ALAYNE:
Do you want a toner?
What do you want/hope a toner to do?
What do you know about them?
Have you used one before?
Toners have a bad rap.
Some people think that it is just one more step in an already clogged routine that is all too easy to skip.
This can be true SOMETIMES. Especially if you are not using a toner for the right reasons.
If you are using a toner to get that happy satisfaction of applying the liquid to a cotton ball and then wiping your face down with it to see all of the dirt left behind then toner is not what you need to be adding to your routine- BUT A BETTER CLEANSER IS. Your toner step should not be a second step cleansing step. Your cleanser should be doing what it is supposed to do, CLEANSING.
Toners come in 2 forms:
- The kind that you wipe on to your skin with a cotton pad
- The kind you spray on your face
Both make for a better environment for your serums and moisturizers to work more efficiently- Allowing those products to absorb into the skin faster and more to the point.
The kind you wipe on your face is usually intended to be an application of some sort for a specific skin concern. Such as a kinder way to introduce Glycolic Acid to your face or a benzoyl peroxide for acne problems. In this case you would not want to spray your skin as these potent ingredients need to be placed on the skin and not sprayed willy nilly on the delicate eye area.
The kind you spray is generally more of a hydrator. They also return the skin to the normal ph quicker after you wash your face. All cleansing usually alters your ph balance through the simple act of removing dirt and oil, making your skin a bit more vulnerable if you are not diligent about adding protection right away such as a moisturizer to follow.
Toners allow your moisturizer to get into your skin more effectively but also can bring delight and joy to your routine with aromatherapy too. For example Jurlique’s rosewater or lavender toner not only add extra hydration - something that every single person’s skin always needs, but also the feeling like you just stepped into a blooming garden or roses or lavender.
I love talking about added joy in your skin routine. After all you are going to be married to this routine am and pm and besides having it work for better skin, the added benefit of a happier mind and soul is a wonderful extra benefit too.
Here are 4 easy to use toners I recommend:
- Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist
- Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist
- glo Phyto-active Toning Mist
- glo Conditioning Mist
Skin Care Serums
QUESTION FROM CLIENT:
Do I need a serum?
Serums— a double edged sword— a mixed bag— a true conundrum. Why? Well first of all serums often contain some mighty ingredients that can pack a walloping punch.
This can be a good thing or a bag of horrors to an unsuspecting skin.
I get it. You see the bells and whistles calling you from the shelves. Pick me, pick me they say with all of their glimmer and hope.
Anti aging! Wrinkle removing! Brightening! Clarity! Zit zapping! Fine line smoothing! Anti-polluting! They scream out at you and you find yourself throwing bottle after bottle into your shopping cart like chocolate and chips 3 days before your period.
But hold on there, product junkie. Those jam packed products contain ingredients that can help yes but also can hinder great skin when you start mixing them all together like the chemist you are not.
There aren’t too many rules and regs when it comes to hope in a jar, but here are my thoughts on all of these lotions and potions:
- Before you buy any serums, make sure your cleanser and moisturizer are worthy of your skin. Make sure they are doing their job and you love them. This is like the garlic and olive oil of a good tomato sauce. Without these 2 basic ingredients—- your sauce is not going to shine.
- You must wash your face when you get home. Every day. 100%. Don’t even consider putting serums over unwashed skin. It would be like adding a jar of Ragu to a homemade red sauce after it was simmering on the stove all day.
- Ask yourself, what am I trying to achieve by purchasing this serum? Then the million dollar follow up, is what am I trying to achieve realistic? Attainable?
- Do not mix serums until you know what ingredients you are mixing. If you use something that a dermatologist recommended, it is likely that your serum purchase will interfere. Start with one serum and make sure your skin loves it. Give it 2 full weeks to see if it is working and doing what you wanted.
- Many serums contain acids. Acids do great things for your skin, but not if you go in the sun, not if you mix them like you are an ice cream sundae bar, not if you have no clear plan for what ou want them to do. Alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, glycolics, retinols, salicylic, lactic acids, vitamin c, hyaluronic acids, the list goes on and on and some work together, some are the same ingredient but named something different and you the consumer have no idea what to use when. Do you use it in the am or the pm or both, do you use one on top of another or alone, under moisturizer or over toner? What happens when you use an exfoliant first then apply a serum? Basically what I am saying is that you can completely f*%# up your skin when you are trying to do the opposite.
Finally, I will say this. If you are freaking out because your are looking in the mirror and lines and spots and bumps are showing up in ways you never thought possible, lean in. Your skin is trying to tell you something— this is the magic of the largest organ- it messages you giving you data. This data is way more valuable then anything you read on social media.
You alone can connect with you alone and that itself can give you the best information.
If you would like an expert assessment of your routine, send a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org or set up a chat of what you are using, a close up of your face with no product and I can help guide you down the path of reality skin care.