The Ultimate Guide to Sorting Out Your Skincare
- Look At What You’ve Got
I mean really, really look at what you’ve got. Make a clear space on your desk or kitchen bench, and grab every single bit of skincare you’ve got stashed away in your bathroom, your bedroom, your shower caddy and anywhere else you might keep your lotions and potions. If you’re caught by surprise by how much shit you’ve accumulated, then well done: you’re on the road to recovery. Get a bag or basket and keep it handy, because this is going to be your Friend And Family bag.
- Do The Obvious First
Throw away anything that’s empty. Sniff everything else. Does it smell like it did when you first bought it? Fragrances fading slightly is ok, but if it smells sour, greasy or waxy, toss it away ASAP. Look at what’s left. Does the contents of your bottles and pots look like they did when you bought them? Is the texture the same and is the colour the same? If it looks split or separated (and isn’t something that explicitly says that it’s a two step or ‘shake it up’ product), or the texture has gone greasy or grainy, or if it’s gone grey or yellow, bin it without delay.
- Sort It All Out
Put aside what you use every morning: a cleanser, a toner, a serum, a sunscreen and a day cream. Now put aside what you use every night: a cleanser, a toner, a serum, an eye cream and a night cream. These are your non-negotiables: you need these. Think about minimising these day and night products – can your cleanser, serum and toner be used morning and night? If they can, that’s great, because you’ve immediately removed three extra products. Toss the extras if they’re empty or nearly empty, or put them in the Friend & Family bag if they’re still full and in a hygienic condition. Be Ruthless. Sentimentality won’t give you good skin.
- Think About The Extras
Now that you’ve organised your basic day and night routine, think about your speciality products. It’s easy to get a dozen different face masks or spot treatments, but think about what you will use in a one month period. Pick one mask that suits your skin (a hydrating mask for dry skin, a cleansing mask for oily skin, etc), choose one face exfoliator, pick one acne treatment that you know works for you, and pick one speciality product that you use regularly (a blackhead treatment, etc). Toss the extras if they’re nearly empty, or put them in the Friend & Family bag. Don’t hang onto things you don’t use regularly. An occasionally used product isn’t going to help you if it’s expired by the time you use it again.
- Look Again.
Be critical of what you’ve got. By now you should have a tightly edited collection of skincare that works day and night, plus sunscreen, an eye cream, a mask, a spot treatment, and a speciality product. If there’s something in there that’s not right for your skin, take it out and think about how to replace it. Put a sticky note on it and hit your favourite blogs for recommendations, or go talk to your beautician or walk Priceline and look for a replacement ASAP. Aim to replace your skincare instead of adding to it: if something doesn’t work, swap it for something that does. Think streamlined, think efficient, think practical: why have three mediocre products when you could have one powerhouse potion that your skin loves?
Uncluttering your skincare and organising what’s useful and what’s not ultimately comes down to one thing: BE RUTHLESS. Don’t be sentimental, don’t think about how much it cost, don’t think that you’ll start using it next month, because you won’t. I know it, you know it. BE RUTHLESS, even if it hurts.
But! I’m being severe because there’s no tears in baseball and there’s no sentimentality in skincare, but don’t be afraid to ease your way into tidying up and streamlining your stash. At least start with doing the first step and tossing everything that’s empty and expired, and go from there when you’re feeling brave enough to send a $120 pot of face cream (that made you itch and break out like a teenager, don’t forget!) sailing into the bin where it belongs.
I believe in practising what I preach, so for the record, here is my skincare collection as of Jan 2014:
- Cleanser AM/PM: Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel
- Toner AM/PM: Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner
- Serum AM/PM: Lancome Dreamtone Serum
- Moisturiser AM: Origins Starting Over
- Moisturiser PM: Aesop Parsley Seed Hydrator
- Exfoliator AM/PM: Clarisonic
- Mask: Skinstitut Hydrating Mask
- Acne Treatment: Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion
- Special Treatment: Dr Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner