In our zealous pursuit of better skin, it's easy to ignore the benefits of a “less is more approach”. Understandable, when full-page ads and marketing pop-ups promise our solution is available with the next purchase. Sometimes, the solution actually creates new problems – silicone-laden skincare, aggressive scrubs/peels, reckless DIY advice and unforgiving peels, for example. Before succumbing to next marketing lure, consider re-evaluating your basics. For the obsessed and agnostic alike, there are only three skincare essentials for every routine, spanning all skin types, ages and unique concerns.
Step 1 - Cleanse, Daily
Without fail, use a gentle, yet effective facial cleanser. It should remove impurities without over-stripping or disrupting skin barrier. For most, this is a water-based cleanser used in the morning and repeated in the evening. Those with oilier skin types, using silicone-based cosmetics, applying sunscreen daily or residing in high-pollution areas, should consider embracing the double-cleanse method.
Shun toners, altogether. Your ideal cleansing routine needs no help and toners do a poor job of making up for any shortcomings. Rethink your cleansers, instead.
Step 2 - Treat Skin Concerns
Opt for a treatment with sufficient actives to address your most troublesome skin concerns. Every three months, prioritize your top skin objectives and ensure that your current treatment aligns to those goals. Beloved skincare seldom “stops working”, but merely broadcasts your changing skin needs.
Our skincare quiz helps to identify the actives for specific skin concerns, requires no email address, and offers a 25% discount code.
Most treatments or serums deliver sufficient humectants to skip an independent moisturizer. If excessive dryness is a problem, try a facial oil treatment. Similarly, a separate eye treatment is unnecessary, unless the product specifically directs you to avoid the eye area. AFE formulates with this in mind, so most treatments are multi-functional and easy on the eyes.
Certain actives perform better when used solely at night or combined with other symbiotic actives. This requires independent application – one for day and another for night. Most actives require a minimum strength, so look for skincare with clearly marked concentrations. Clinical proof of performance should be substantial and readily available. All vitally important for optimal skincare performance and squeal-worthy results.
Step 3 - Sunscreen, Everyday
Sunscreen is the single most critical skincare product – no exceptions. It keeps skin looking healthy, while helping to reverse previous photodamage. A dime size dose of sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, every single day, is worthy investment. Prized for additional skin benefits and photo-protection, mineral sunscreens tend to be a bit opaque or leave white tinge. If that is a deal-breaker, just find a chemical sunscreen and use it without fail.
More than a little skin-obsessed with a better than average knowledge of skin chemistry, I never leaned into the whole 10-step routine.
When skincare works as it should, it doesn't create the need for more products. Over-exfoliating creates the need for more moisture. Buy the moisturizer, but first dial down the exfoliation.
My routine changes according to my skin condition and schedule. It can range from 3 – 6 products per day, usually a rotation of the same favorites:
- cleansing oil: Only after applying sunscreen or cosmetics, but also for oil exfoliation when my skin is fragile.
- nia-cleanse: Twice daily.
- c+therapy: In the AM, every other day
- a-boost: In the PM, every other day
- redew: In the AM, every other day
- rePHorm: In the PM, every other day
- Sunscreen: AFE does not retail sunscreen, nor is it affiliated with any providers, at this time. Most days, I prefer CoTZ Tinted Flawless Complexion SPF 50, as it enables forgoing foundation. When using foundation, I apply silicone-free Mad Hippie Facial SPF 30 Sunscreen.
AFE Products Affordable?
Affordability is relative, but shrinking for many during these crazy times. I tend to focus on value, more than actual price. Active ingredients are pricey and ensuring that clinical ingredients are fresh can elevate costs. Worth it, considering that actives do the real work in improving the skin. Yes, I only use AFE skincare, merely because I found no better available - small batch, clean and clinical.
In a comparison of like products (actives, size and type) of leading brands, AFE products cost 21% lower than those found in the drugstore. Our treatment kit includes a 20% Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) treatment (1 fl oz) for day, 0.5% Retinol treatment for night (1 fl oz) plus 72-hour Moisture (1 fl oz) which doubles as an eye treatment. The daily cost is less than buying coffee - by half.
Only need the essentials and still want want morning java? Brew your cuppa at home. In less than than 60 days, you'll have covered the cost of our routine essentials kit. Who says you can't have your coffee and drink it, too? As always, I welcome your feedback and questions.
Cheers to Better Skin!
Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 Aug 13: 10.1155/2012/495917, Cleansing Formulations That Respect Skin Barrier Integrity.
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Jun 2017, 39(3):351-354, A robust sebum, oil, and particulate pollution model for assessing cleansing efficacy of human skin.
PCCP (Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics), 2011 Mar 28, 13(12):5215-5222, Skin: The Ultimate Interface.
Dermatologic Surgery, 2016 Dec, 42(12): 1354-1361, Daily Use of a Facial Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Over One-Year Significantly Improves Clinical Evaluation of Photoaging.
Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2011 Jan 20, 29(3): 257-263, Reduced melanoma after regular sunscreen use: randomized trial follow-up.