Revamping Your Skincare Routine for 2022
New Year, New You
As the new year approaches, so too does the urge to start fresh.
Whether it’s overhauling our closets, vowing to eat more vegetables or making yoga a part of our daily schedule, there is something about switching to a new calendar year that gives us the impetus to make real change. This year, why not give your skin some extra love? Our skin goes through a lot: the sun, the wind, hormones, diet… Luckily, skincare is something that can produce palpable benefits if we put in the time, research and money to create a routine that works for our lifestyles. Read on for my finds to inspire your own skincare transformations.
My new year this year started, not with the countdown to 2022 but six months earlier when I gave birth to my second daughter. Amid all of the sweet snuggles and let’s be real, chaos, of the newborn period, I felt compelled to make more positive changes in my life to reflect my resolve to be a happier and healthier Mama for this new little one. One thing that stood out to me as in need of a refresher was my skincare routine. Making changes to my skincare also checked two boxes at once: starting something fresh and committing to self-care, never an easy thing with two little ones afoot.
So here are the skincare concerns I set out to address: I am in my mid-thirties with dry and sensitive skin, currently exacerbated by breastfeeding and lack of sleep, as well as dark circles and fine lines around my eyes. To tackle these issues, I overhauled my skincare routine for when I have time for many steps, only a few steps and only one step (since we all have those days).
Where to Start?
A good routine starts with a good cleanser and as dryness has enveloped my skin this Fall and Winter, I have embraced the double-cleanse and I can’t recommend it enough. At night, start off with an oil-based cleanser—you can’t go wrong with the classic DHC Deep Cleansing Oil which both makes your skin silky soft and removes your makeup. Then, try a foaming cleanser, like the drugstore steal Biore Skin Care Cleanser or my favorite clean option when pregnant and breastfeeding Mama Butter’s Lavender & Geranium Face Wash which smells heavenly. In the morning, if your skin doesn’t build up too much oil overnight, try just rinsing with cool water for a faster wake-up time.
Conditioning Isn’t Only For Hair!
After double-cleansing, the next step is the 化粧水 (keshousui) or toner/conditioner. Japanese toners help your skin keep its moisture post-wash, so if you can apply it right out of the shower or bath, the better! With two little ones, my success with this is varied but when I do, it makes all the difference. As my toner, I used to apply the best-selling and surprisingly affordable Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner. This product introduced me to Japanese toners and I loved the softness it gave my skin post-application. I have since switched to the paraben-free, Nice & Quick Botanical Skin Conditioner. While it retails for about ¥200 more, it also keeps my skin soft and I don’t have to worry about the ingredients list!
Faking a Good Night’s Sleep
Following the toner, I like to use 美容液 (biyoueki) or serums which target some of my main concerns as a sleep-deprived Mama in my thirties. First, I apply Haba’s White Lady, a vitamin-C-derived serum to brighten and smooth out the skin tone as well as prevent hyperpigmentation and breakouts. I also find this shrinks down the look of my pores as a bonus! Then, I pat on Dr.Ci:Labo’s VC100 Eye Serum to (again) brighten and moisturize my under-eye area now prone to dryness and dark circles from the interrupted and insufficient pillow time.
The Finishing Touches
After serums come 乳液 (nyueki), or lotions and heavier creams, to lock in moisture and the effects of all the previous products. First, I turn to Kose’s LeCheri Lift Glow Emulsion III from their anti-aging line (the “III” refers to the highest moisturizing level which my dry skin is in dire need of). This product injects the deepest layers of your skin with collagen to restore elasticity and plumpness. In practice, using it makes my skin more supple-feeling, springy and moisturized. I seal it all in using Kose’s 雪肌精 (Sekkisei) Herbal Gel Cream for extra moisture and restoring lustre to my dull skin. For me, a huge strength of this cream is that it also claims to be a serum, emulsion/lotion, cream and mask all in one which can be a time-saver. Finally, to target the fine lines around my eyes and mouth that have started to appear, I turn to One By Kose’s The Wrinkless for a retinol-free anti-aging cream.
My “Desert Island” Products
Yet, as happy and moisturized as this whole routine makes me feel, with little kids, things happen: there are nightmares, runny noses, sleep regressions, tantrums and lots of other situations that require me to step away from my skincare and just be a Mama. On those days, what do I prioritize, or in other words, which products do I lean on when I just don’t have time for the whole routine?
I try to never go a day without my Nice & Quick toner because it makes such a difference to the softness and texture of my skin. Then, since my under-eyes are where my face shows the most wear-and-tear, the eye serum will be lightly patted on. Finally, following the Herbal Gel Cream’s marketing, I finish up with this heavier cream which also makes up for skipping other categories.
And for the days when I don’t even have time for that, there are the Kose Cosmeport Clear Turn’s hilariously named Better Than Sleeping Masks which are formulated for sensitive skin and are paraben, alcohol, mineral oil, added color and silicone-free. Although putting on one of these doesn’t erase a night of bad sleep and stress, it does leave my skin noticeably brighter with shrunken pores and reduced dark circles and redness.
If you’re looking for a complete overhaul to your skincare routine or just a quick change, I hope this personal guide will set you well on your way! Everyone has different needs and wants. For me, I’m always on the lookout for products to fit my lifestyle—a thirty-something Mama of two with little time to spend on skincare between making bento and doctor’s appointments in the mornings and dinner and bedtime stories in the evenings. What are my go-to products on my toughest days? Just check out my “Desert Island,” and don’t be worried if yours looks different than mine. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to start the next day on the right foot (and preferably with healthy skin, too!).