Let’s face it (pun definitely intended!): We’ve all got that drawer in our bathroom. Or basket. Or serving dish. You know the one. It’s filled with bottles and containers of half-used cleanser, eye cream and moisturizer. It’s bursting with must-have liquid eyeliners, shimmering individual eye shadows, blushers, bronzers and tubes of tinted moisturizers. And then there are the brushes (oh, the brushes!) used to apply it all.
All of the above are part of our daily beauty rituals, but most of these items are not exactly what we’d call intuitive. For instance, how much eye cream do you really need for it to be effective? Do you actually need to buy a special cleanser for your makeup brushes? How long can you hang on to that liquid bronzer you spent a fortune on last summer, but haven’t used since?
Since skin is the building block for any beauty routine, let’s begin there.
Kate France has a dozen years of experience in skin care, and she joined the The Skin Clinics in 2015. In addition to custom facials and micro-dermabrasion, Kate is a brow-shaping expert. The Skin Clinics carries products from Image, Obagi, Skin Medica and Elta, including a spray-on sunscreen that can be applied after putting on your makeup.
When starting a skin care regimen, Kate recommends booking a consultation with a licensed aesthetician to find out your skin type and the concerns you need to treat. For example, those with oily skin don’t need a thick cleanser. And as you age, have children or even move to a new city, your regimen should adjust as your skin changes. Pollution, humidity (or lack of it) and hormonal changes all affect the skin.
Kate notes that it is important to buy products that are worth their weight. There is a difference in potency in products sold at spas and medical offices versus those available at drugstores. If you’re using mass-produced products, more of the product is needed to achieve the same efficacy as products sold in spas or medical offices, so keep that in mind when you’re comparing product pricing.
And just because a product is sold at a medical office or spa doesn’t necessarily mean it is more expensive than those sold at drugstores, Kate notes. She says that some product prices are about the same as what you’d find on the top shelf at Walgreens.
For best results, Kate recommends using skin care products twice daily, in the morning and at night. And, no matter your age, she advises using products that are specifically indicated to be antiaging.
If you only have time to apply skin care products once daily, Kate says it’s best to apply them at night. While your body is in a resting state, there’s the opportunity for better absorption of vitamins.
For those looking to streamline their skin care regimen, or who are put off by multiple steps, many of today’s cleansers are PH-balanced, which means you can skip the toner step.
A secret she shared for the order of applying products is that they should be applied from thinnest to thickest. After toner, facial oil would be applied before a lotion, if you need the moisturizing power of both. Sunscreen should be the final product applied when you are getting ready in the morning, if your moisturizing cream or lotion doesn’t already contain it. Thick creams should be used last at bedtime.
How much product is the right amount? Kate says the rule of thumb with all skin care products is that a little goes a long way. And let’s be clear here: “little” is the operative word! With eye cream, think the size of a pin head per eye. Apply it in a figure-eight motion around your eyes to make sure you hit all of the necessary areas. For facial cream, the size of a fingernail should provide enough coverage for the whole face; add a little more for the neck.
Kate says that shelf life of skin care products averages from six months to a year, but that you ideally should be using up your products faster than that. Products should not sit on your shelf for years, as once opened, their effectiveness is reduced over time.
Above all, Kate notes that consistency with your skin care routine makes the biggest difference for your skin, so find your routine and stick with it.
Jane Evans has helped hundreds of Memphis women navigate the mysteries of the makeup bar for more than 15 years. As a makeup artist at Joseph, she advises clients not only on which brands work best with their skin’s texture, she also educates them in proper application techniques. Makeup brands carried at Joseph include Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani.
The longevity of makeup depends on the item, says Jane. Mascara is good for about three to six months, although women who use mascara regularly will generally go through a package in about a month. Foundation with sunscreen is good for about six months, as opposed to powder foundation. Eyeliner is good for about a year; pot or pencil liners last longer than liquid. And eye shadows are good for up to a year, once opened.
And if you forget those guidelines, simply turn to the label on your products, where expiration dates are found. Look on the bottom of the product, bottle or box that the product comes in. You’ll see numbers next to an image of the product that indicate how long the product should be used, once opened.
When it comes to maintaining your makeup brushes, Jane recommends spraying a brush cleanser on a paper towel and wiping makeup off brushes daily. Because makeup brushes can be an expensive investment, she suggests using a brush cleanser, versus just using liquid soap, as harsher cleansers can lead to shedding. The brushes should actually be washed once or twice a month, and they should be washed in the direction of the bristles, and dried on a paper towel on a flat surface. Never dry brushes upright, as it can cause water to crack the barrel. Drying time depends on the thickness of the brush, but it generally happens within a day.
Armed with these tips from our trusted advisers, you’ll get the best out of your products and brushes, and maximize your beauty routine.