Navigating the beauty world at large can be a dizzying experience, especially when you’re on a mission to find a solution, fast. Somewhere between a late-night YouTube/Instagram hole (which may or may not have been punctuated by a dimly-lit phone falling on our face, mid-scroll) and giving up altogether, there’s clarity.
Here’s how to find it. Whether you’re a skin care newbie or a seasoned skin connoisseur, we recommend starting with these basic steps:
1. Get to know your skin.
We recommend taking our free skin analysis as a jumping off point to receive a customized regimen, but it’s also important to consult an aesthetician. If you’re experiencing chronic acne, redness, sensitivity, or any other pressing concerns, do see a dermatologist. You’ll cut out a lot of trial and error when you work with an expert.
2. Start with the basics.
It’s human nature to go into a frenzied spree because you think you need everything, but resist as best you can. More often than not, the root of any concern (like a breakout) is an imbalance that results from something as simple as improper cleansing or lack of hydration. Hit pause before you buy every serum or spot treatment under the sun. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm both you and your skin.
Our philosophy revolves around keeping things simple yet effective, after all, and that applies to both the physical product and actual practice. We recommend using the following guidelines to build a basic skin care regimen that actually works:
- Cleanser: Face wash seems like such a simple, inconsequential thing, but it easily may well be the most important product in your entire routine. Without a clean slate, anything applied onto the skin is useless. Make sure you wash away the makeup, oil, and impurities so your skin can actually absorb the benefits of your beloved serums and creams.
- Toner: Also to be used twice daily. Toner helps re-balance the skin and impart complexion-boosting benefits, too.
- Eye Cream: The eye area is one of the most delicate parts of your skin, so treat it with extra love and care. Mario Badescu was a firm believer that everyone over the age of 21 should have an eye cream in their routine. Apply eye cream every morning and evening to ensure your skin stays well moisturized.
- Moisturizer: Hydration is key, no matter your skin type. Finding the right level of moisture is the difference between a happy, balanced complexion and one that’s, well, not. When properly moisturized, oily skin types will find that they’re far less prone to a greasy T-zone—and parched skin will relish in a dewy, healthy glow.
- Exfoliant: Regular exfoliation is the solution to most skin care woes. Dull? Flaky? Congested? Uneven in tone and texture? Exfoliate. Our aestheticians recommend exfoliating 1-2 times a week for dry to normal skin, and 2-3 times a week for combination to oily skin types.
- Mask: Masks are still having a moment—but they’ve been a core part of the MB regimen since 1967. Your twice-daily routine is maintenance; masking 2-3 times a week allows your skin to hit the reset button.
3. Introduce new products one by one.
Now that you have your regimen outlined, it’s tempting to try everything all at once… but don’t. Reign in the excitement just a bit and take it step by step, product by product. Doing so will allow you to actually gauge if a new product is effective, or in the case of a reaction (like a breakout), you can pinpoint the problem instantly.
Start with one to two products a day, then continue to add on.
If you have sensitive skin, patch-test each product before using it on your face. Apply a pea-sized amount to your inner elbow or wrist; if you experience irritation or redness, try something else instead. Once a product gets the green light, try it out for a week before adding another new product into the mix.
4. Ready to take it to the next level?
Once you’ve established the foundation, you’ll have a more accurate read of what your skin likes and truly needs. You might not need anything beyond your MB “six,” but if you find that you do, start adding additional products like a night cream, serum, spot treatment, or secondary mask (to rotate or multi-mask with).
A few pointers when expanding your skin care regimen, because layering is an art:
- You’ve seen our facial spray everywhere, but how do you actually use a face mist? Good news is that there’s no wrong way to use it, but there are a few ways to use it with purpose. We recommend misting your complexion after you’ve cleansed and toned your skin, but before you apply your moisturizer. Doing so will not only give your skin a botanical boost, but it’ll add essential hydration to your skin—which you then seal in with your face cream. Read this for more ways you can use your facial spray.
- Serums go on before your moisturizer or night cream. The only exception to the rule are products like our Herbal Hydrating Serum and Rose Hips Nourishing Oil, which can be applied before or after.
- Targeting breakouts? Apply Drying Lotion or Drying Cream directly onto the blemish and leave it alone. Avoid applying serum or face cream on top, and instead, moisturize around the area.
Learn more about the art of layering skin care, here.
5. Don’t be afraid to change your routine.
You should follow your regimen religiously, but that doesn’t mean the products within your routine are set in stone. Allow for flexibility because your skin is living, ever-changing organ; anything from seasonal shifts to new stress can affect it.
For example: You may find that your skin tends to get a little flaky and dehydrated come fall. Try incorporating an acid into your daily routine—such as through Glycolic Acid Toner—to help remove the buildup of dulling, dead skin cells. Then, counter the moisture loss by layering a serum under your current moisturizer or choosing a richer face cream.
Say you’re off to a warm-weather beach vacation. Lucky you! Arrive prepared, because the combination of travel stress and shock from extreme climate change can wreak havoc on our skin.
- Herbal Hydrating Serum will prove to be your best friend; it’s lightweight, oil-free, and can be worn over moisturizer to boost hydration or alone on super-hot, humid days.
- If your skin is oily to begin with, swap out Enzyme Cleansing Gel for Acne Facial Cleanser, which contains Salicylic Acid to help break down pore-clogging impurities and keep skin looking clear. Dry? Use Enzyme Cleansing Gel or Seaweed Cleansing Soap instead of your at-home face wash to rejuvenate skin.
- Don’t be afraid to change up your toner, too. Go a step up to combat unwanted shine and sweat. For example, dry skin types might want to use Seaweed Cleansing Lotion instead of their usual Aloe Vera Toner since the Witch Hazel boasts astringent properties. Combination skin should try using Cucumber Cleansing Lotion instead of Seaweed Cleansing Lotion, and oily types might find that Special Cucumber Lotion is a savior in clarifying and refreshing skin.
For more ideas, check out our #MarioMonthlyEdit where we show you how we’re switching things up our top shelf.