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  • Emily Voelker

A Guide to Applying Your Skincare Products

Updated: May 18


Here’s a scary thought: "That $135 serum you just bought during your last facial isn’t working. Why? Because you’re not layering your products in the right order." Say whaaaa?!?! The question constantly comes up (as it should if you’re unsure), "In which order do I use my skincare products?" The best rule of thumb, in most cases, is to start from thinnest to thickest to ensure proper absorption - but here’s a breakdown of exactly what to do for your morning and evening skincare routines. Disclaimer: There are a couple of things that I’m a little unconventional about that most estheticians would probably shake their heads at. But you know what? That’s ok. IN THE MORNING: 1. Cleanse So right off the bat this is something that I do a little bit different than most. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t reach for my cleanser. I simply splash my face off with cold water. Three times to be exact. I personally think that if you take a shower in the morning and you’re not sweating all night long, then you can skip the cleansing process in the a.m. However, if you work out in the morning, or you shower in the evening, or if your skin is incredibly oily, then by all means, have at it with that cleanser. My thought process is that sometimes over cleansing (especially if you’re not using a good product) can irritate and dry out the moisture barrier. I’ve had many clients pump the brakes with their morning cleanse, and 9 times out of 10 they come back next month with something positive to say. I also get some side-eye from clients about this, so if you can’t deal with it, then cleanse away, it’s not the end of the world. 2. Tone Toning is a step that is often overlooked, but it does have a lot of benefits. Depending on the type of toner you’re using, it will balance your PH, add additional hydration, firm and tone, gently exfoliate, brighten ... and the list goes on. The best toner on the planet is PCA’s Nutrient Toner ($40). This is a pumpkin wine-based toner that infuses the skin with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins and it smells like Fall in a bottle. 3. Treat (serums) This is where a lot of magic happens because your serums are what treat and correct the skin. Serums are often more expensive than your other products because the ingredients are much more potent. In the morning, it’s always important to start with a vitamin C to help protect your skin against free radical damage. Vitamin C also will work synergistically with your SPF to provide added protection against harmful UVA/UVB’s. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, so not only does it protect, but it brightens and is anti-aging. My go-to is either PCA’s C&E Advanced ($120) or iS Clinical’s Pro Heal Serum ($155). If you’re not using a Vitamin C (you should start) this is where you can use any of your other serums (except retinol). 4. Eye Cream Gotta help out those dark circles and fine lines. Unfortunately, as we age, this is one of the first areas to go. 5. Moisturize/SPF Most will say if you’re using both a moisturizer and an SPF, to apply your moisturizer before your SPF. I tell people to apply the SPF first. Mainly because if you’re buying an SPF from SkinQ, everything we carry will generally be enough hydration to where you may not need the extra layer of moisture. That said, if you’re super dry, then apply the moisturizer before and then layer your SPF over. SPF is like an unsung hero. It’s not particularly fun, but it is, without a doubt, a cardinal sin if you don’t use it. EVERYDAY. Even if it’s cloudy. Even if you don’t leave your house. Wait, what? Yes, sun rays come through your windows. And if you're sitting at your computer all day in front of a window and you’re not protected with SPF, then your skin is being damaged. And, I hate to tell you, your tinted moisturizer with an SPF of 20 is not good enough. It is recommended to use a 30 or higher. And I’m not kidding, we carry the best SPF’s. I actually look forward to putting one on in the morning. My current go-to is Eclipse SPF 50 by iS Clinical ($45). It makes your skin look gorgeous. No joke. AT NIGHTTIME: 1. Cleanse

Cleanse and then cleanse again. It’s so important to do a double cleanse in the evening. The first cleanse is to remove your makeup and grime from the day, and the second is to actually clean your pores and to remove extra oil. My first cleanse is normally with a makeup wipe. First, I remove my mascara, then use PCA's Makeup Removing Wipes ($20), and finally, I use an actual cleanser - iS Clinical's Cleansing Complex ($44). 2. Tone 3. Treat If you’re like me you have a ton of serums. You want to start from thinnest to thickest, so the serum with the smallest molecule goes first, and so on. This is also where you apply a retinol - in my opinion, single handedly, one of the best products to use for anti-aging, acne ... everything. With retinol, however, if you’re new to it, you introduce it slowly by alternating nights, as it can cause a little irritation at first. 4. Eye Cream 5. Moisturizer Some people use the same moisturizer both morning and night, or you can use more of a heavier night cream. Night creams are good, especially in the winter, as they are thicker and offer more of a"treatment" for dry, dehydrated skin. The other things to incorporate throughout the week are exfoliating and masking. I always like to exfoliate in the shower if I’m using something with some grit. Not only do I find it easier to take off, but I like to let it sit on my skin so the enzymatic ingredients can work to give added benefits. It’s good to exfoliate 2-3 times per week. Masking would happen after cleansing, toning and exfoliating, and then you apply your serums and moisturizer. Masking once a week is the norm. There you have it - the method to the madness. I hope this clears the confusion and will be beneficial to you both esthetically and financially. Of course, if you have any questions, please send me an email at info@skinqchicago.com. Cheers to that good skincare routine! Peace & Love, Emily

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