I'm not a "beauty expert." Honestly, my advice is all trial and error, and when I tell you I've made some beauty mistakes (once I was too poor to afford face wash I used hand sanitizer) (I'm not kidding — I had to make $8 last for food that week), I'm not exaggerating. So that being said, I figured I'd share some of the lessons I've learned with you. We've all made mistakes, we've all seen the merits or the pitfalls of various skincare techniques, so here are my sources of "I told you so."
1. Take your makeup off every night
"But Anne!" you say. "DUH!" Yes, duh. Obviously, duh! But some of us are lazy. And some of us didn't have any issues with shoddy skincare routines until our 20s when baby-teen skin gave way to the horrors of adult, well, everything. So for the love of all that is good, take your makeup off every night. "But Anne!" you say. "I"m lazy like you are!" Well, that's okay. Even if you use face wipes (you can pick up almost any kind at Shopper's for under $10), that's better than sleeping with the day's makeup, oil, and dirt caked on, and then move onto a stronger face wash in the morning.
2. Use a good face wash every day
This seems like common sense, doesn't it? Well, may I remind you that before using shampoo or actual soap, I used hand sanitzer to clean my skin. But you don't need to overthink it, either: I use Spectro Gel ($10 – $15) every day, and it's not only affordable (yay!), but effective. Face wash is about what works for you. There are a lot of great brands out there, but if you're not sure what will work with your skin type or temperments, ask for a sample so you can test out the merchandise. Chains like Sephora, Body Shop, and Lush will hook you up with test sizes gladly, so don't feel pressured to buy without sampling.
3. Apply a facial scrub every couple of days
Are you surprised I figured face scrubs were just an unnecessary step every morning? Probably not, based on everything you just read. However, in November of 2012 (feels like just yesterday), I picked up Lush's Ocean Salt scrub which prevented the flakiness caused by winter (gross), and also abolished any grease or oil from hot summer days. It's important not to overdo it with scrubs — they can wear down your skin if you use too much — but applying once or twice a week will keep your face soft and up to par.
4. SPF is necessary
Let me guess: you guys already knew this, too. Well surprise, surprise, so did I! Being one of the palest humans on the face of this planet, I know that if you go outside with sunscreen, you will suffer the consequences for days (and then years) to come. However, I didn't know that if you were wearing makeup, you had to wear sunscreen, too. (I mean, does that not seem like enough cover? Really?) Evidently, you do: and if you fear greasy build-up and clogged pores and anything oil-centric, you might like the Bioderma which is light, effective, and a good bang for your buck. Just give it about ten minutes after you apply before throwing on makeup so that it can asborb.
5. You don't need to put concealer on your whole face
I was lucky to find a great concealer a few years back (Stila — thank you for being a friend), so I figured that concealer could actually conceal everything on my face the way a foundation would do. Well, no. You can conceal what you need to and apply powder over top, or you can add foundation for that smoothed-out finish. But concealer is not makeup. It's not meant to cover your entire face every day. This is a lesson I've learned, and since, my makeup has lasted longer, and I'm not applying heavy product on my face. We did it, you guys — together.