I’ve been putting off writing this post for awhile, in part because products are much more fun than talking about methodology. I mean, obviously products are a huge part of a skincare routine (duh), but I wanted to step away from them for a second to talk about the other parts of your skincare routine that can have an effect your skin. You see, even if you’re using all of the most amazing products, you could be doing things that are setting back your skin’s progress.
I have occasional acne and redness in my t-zone. Since I have adopted the following techniques, my redness has reduced somewhat, but a more noticeable difference has been with my acne: I get far fewer breakouts and fewer cystic pimples. I know it’s not just my products because I started doing these about 6 months ago, long after I was using some really great products, and have seen a dramatic difference in my skin since then.
To be clear, none of these were things that I came up with: most of these I learned from watching Asian skincare demos online. Some of these methods were pointed out specifically; others I just noticed and started adopting during my own application.
Here are my 5 pieces of advice about caring for your skin.
1. Put down the washcloth and towel!
This is the number one thing I did that helped my skin. A washcloth hasn’t touched my face in over a year and a towel in over 6 months. A regular washcloth can be too harsh for your delicate facial skin, easily irritating it. Using your hands or softer cotton swabs can work for washing your face or for taking off a wash-off mask.
Why not a towel? Well, I’m going to cite a Soko Glam article here as to why. [If you click on the words “Soko Glam,” it will take you to the article. The font color just won’t change for some reason.] Not only do they harbor bacteria, but even if you grab a fresh one every day, towels are abrasive!
Furthermore, as the article states, you don’t want a fully dry face when you start applying your products; it helps product absorption to have a damp face! I simply use the swiping techniques they show in the article to get the excess water off of my face, then tap it in what’s left. Without pause, I apply my first product. Easy.
2. Pat, pat, pat–avoid rubbing!
I use the patting or tapping technique for all of my products except for creams. Yes, you might feel silly at first, but it really does seem to help products absorb faster and better. When I rub my face, I tend to be rougher, tugging and pulling on the skin. Lightly tapping my face ensures that I remember to treat my skin gently and kindly.
I will sometimes also gently use my whole hands to “press” lightly on my skin to help a product absorb. Honestly, I picked this up from watching Wishtrend videos! Eunice is one of my favorite people to watch on YouTube; as my friends can attest, I don’t like watching beauty videos. But I make an exception for Eunice! If you watch here, you can see how she applies all of her products.
Basically, if you watch a Korean skincare video, you’ll see very gentle application techniques.
3. Use your ring finger to gently apply eye and face creams
The skin under your eyes is the most fragile–be very gentle with it! Your ring finger is your weakest finger, so common advice is to use it to apply eye creams. I actually just take this advice and only use my ring finger to apply my face creams at night.
I know this might sound like I’m obsessing over something silly, but truly, my carefulness in how I put products on my face has become as important as what I choose to put on my face. Tapping, patting, and being gentle reminds me that it’s important to care for and appreciate my skin. It’s also very relaxing.
4. Change your pillowcases frequently
Yes, yes, I know that this seems like something people do anyway, but it’s really important, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Pillowcases, especially cotton ones, can hold bacteria, which can cause acne. If you can train yourself to sleep on your back, that’s great, but having a fresh pillowcase is important.
I’ve seen read from some friends on Instagram that they actually put a small towel down over their pillow and change it out every couple of days because they are easier to change out and wash.
5. Use better tools
I scoffed when I initially learned about “better” cotton pads that cost a few dollars more than my large store-brand package of white cotton pads. Because I love actual skincare products so much, I didn’t want to “waste” my money on some thin pads of cotton. Sure, my cotton pads sometimes left white fuzz or strings of cotton on my face but surely that wasn’t enough to justify buying specialty cotton pads.
Then, as I was using one of my regular cotton pads with my SW Basics oil cleanser one morning, I felt something scratch my cheek near my eye. The cotton pad had some very wiry, scratchy fibers in it. And that was the moment I decided to give other cotton pads a try.
Basically, every Korean cotton pad I’ve tried has been miles above the cotton rounds I was buying at Target. Why? Not only are they softer, but the pads never disintegrate or leave behind any pieces of cotton.
I can recommend the Klairs cotton squares, the Nooni cotton squares, and the Cosrx cotton squares. (I’ve used Amazon links here for ease, although you can find these elsewhere.) The Shiseido ones are nice–but pricier–as well.
Did I miss anything? Be sure to add your best skincare application or methodology tip in the comments!