One, Two Step

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I toyed with the idea of rewording Ciara’s lyrics to make them more pertinent to our topic, but since I’m only funny when I’m not trying that basically settled it.

I suppose this could be a sequel to my skin type post, but at the risk of writing another novel I’ll try and keep it simple! So as usual, I’ll be recommending types of products so you can go find something to fall in love with without being colored by my personal brand addictions…er, preferences. I’ll just save those for the Love Notes.

There are two kinds of brands out there:

One provides products that balance and comfort the skin so you can have a smooth, flawless complexion. You could call them ‘problem solvers’.

The other, is a little bit harder to spot. They tend to advertise a ‘one size fits all’ regime, while not so secretly unbalancing your skin to get you to buy MORE product to remedy your problems. Unfortunately, you can put twenty products on your face but if even one is wrong for you it becomes an ongoing game of dominoes, trying to overcompensate for the negative effects of one product and ultimately shrinking your pocketbook, not your pimples.

Clearly, you know which brand you want to use. Or do you? Lets take a look at what we actually have in our medicine cabinets. In order of use, of course.


Foam is almost never your friend. I’ve been sitting here for five minutes trying to think of a case where foaming cleansers could be a go to…and I can’t. Maybe, maybe if you have normal skin, and it’s a creamy foam…but that takes experimenting. Once you have your go-to regime, you can play more. We already know I love oil cleansers, since there is one for every skin type. So that’s my strongest suggestion, across the board. Especially for oily skin. For combination/dry skin, you tend to be dehydrated so look for a foam formulated for dry skin. There we go. If you actually have dry skin, explore your cream cleansers so that you have the option to either tissue off, or rinse off.


Non-negotiable. Do it once a week, never more than twice. You have a whole array of choices here, we’ll go into detail another day. In the meantime, pick from: soft facial brushes, gentle peels, grainy scrubs. These tend to go on personal preference and sensitivity, so explore!


I’ll admit I’m on the fence about toners. I suspect most of the industry is perched up there with me, since there’s always a case where you don’t need one. On the other hand, there’s always a case where you absolutely need one. I don’t consider toners to be an exfoliant. They can be downright nasty when used as such, and have the effect of a hit-and-run on your skin. Moisture? Poof. Gone. Also, if you need a toner to take your makeup off, it’s time for a new cleanser. Personally, I like toners because they’re a great prep for your skin before your serum and cream. And so many toners have extra benefits, like gentle oil control, additional balancing or soothing benefits it’s worth trying one to see if it can enhance your routine.


No you don’t NEED one. But ohmygoodness they can be lovely. Great for targeting specific concerns because they’re more concentrated and sink deeper into the skin. Discoloration, age prevention/correction, you name it, I bet there’s a serum for it.


By the time you get to this step, if you’re using the correct cleanser and toner, your skin should not feel parched or tight. Oily skin should look for a light cream that soaks in nicely rather than sitting on the skin. Don’t be constrained by words like gel and lotion.

But Alex, what about oil-free? Wont anything else clog my pores?

This is a major sore spot for me. Lots of things clog your pores. Cheap product with lots of useless fillers, dirt and oils from touching your face. Inappropriate product for your skin. Lack of exfoliation. The list goes on. This is what an oil really is to your skin. Embrace it.


Personal preference. Just don’t wear one at night. Take it from me, it’s pretty embarrassing to spend months re-tweaking your skincare regime trying to figure out what’s not working, then running out of SPF moisturizer and having an epiphany. I think I finally believe my skin is not invincible.

Now go play!


One thought on “One, Two Step

  1. I cannot agree more, SPF clogs the skin and its always a must to remove all the sunblock with makeup remover before going to bed!

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