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    41 Skincare Basics You'll Probably Wish You Had Learned Sooner

    Yes, you should drink water. But there are other helpful things to know, too.

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    1. First things first: Be sure to regularly apply *and* reapply sunscreen. When spending the day indoors (like the office), you only need to apply in the morning and before you leave work. But if you'll mainly be outside, you should reapply every two to three hours. Luckily, this Etude House sunscreen is especially great for oily skin, offers a whopping SPF 50 protection, and is loved by reviewers for never leaving a white cast.

    The chart for how often to reapply sunscreen

    If you're *extra* worried about sunscreen disagreeing with your skin (or makeup), Tatcha SPF 35 sunscreen is your splurge-worthy pick. It doubles as a primer to blur pores and uneven skin tones and leaves your skin super soft thanks to Japanese wild rose and loquat leaf extract. Need proof for how well this bb works? Just see the difference below:

    BuzzFeed Shopping reviewer with sunburnt arm where different sunscreen was not used, and no sunburn on her face where Tatcha sunscreen was used

    Or! Opt for a moisturizing, sweat-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen specifically designed not to leave a white cast on darker skin tones — it dries completely clear to leave your makeup undisturbed. It's even infused with avocado, jojoba, cacao, carrot juice, and sun flower oil to soothe and hydrate your skin on super hot days!

    Hands using the sunscreen

    2. Heal breakouts before you have time to give up by simply slapping on a Rael acne patch. They're gentler than acne cream, speed up recovery to practically overnight, and do all the ~heavy lifting~ for you.

    3. Or! Turn to Avarelle acne cover patches to easily tackle every single breakout that dares to challenge your complexion. They're powered by tea tree oil and calendula oil (all of which are gentle on sensitive skin) to reduce inflammation and absorb pus ASAP. *And* extra-large patches are included for when you need defeat multiple pimples at once...good thing these do all the fighting for you.

    Reviewer holding the extra-large patch with pus on it

    4. Try retinol, a fancy name for vitamin A, to balance your complexion, stimulate collagen, and fade hyper-pigmentation. If you've ever so much as sat in a dermatologist's chair you've probably heard of this — but there are a lot of topical over-the-counter options for a light treatment.

    Reviewer's before-and-after with acne on August 2018 and then clear face on November 2018

    5. Keep in mind it'll take some time to see results from retinol, which is why it's so important to *keep* using it (the above is gentle enough for daily use). The stronger the formula, the more likely you'll see some initial redness and flaking if you have lighter skin so be sure to use a gentle moisturizer after using it. The overall payoff: clearer and smoother skin.

    Chart for retinol effects

    6. Don't dismiss old school acne solutions that are tried-and-true, including traditional spot treatments. Differin Acne Treatment Gel is essentially one of the formulas that you can get without a prescription — its *super* strong retinoid formula regulates skin cell turnover (aka reveals a new layer of skin) to reach inflammation deep within the breakout. Translation: there's nowhere for that darn pimple to hide.

    7. Know the difference between if your skin is *dry* or *dehydrated*. If your skin is flaky, red, and sensitive, you have dry skin (which you can treat with skin-soothing creams). If your skin is more on the dull side, it's most likely dehydrated (which you can help by layering moisturizing products).

    An easy dry vs. dehydrated test: pull at the back of your hand. If it bounces back right away, your skin is hydrated. If it takes a few seconds to settle back, your skin is probably dehydrated!

    8. Soothe irritated, eczema-prone skin without splurging on the usual suspects by switching to a popular Aveeno moisturizing cream reviewers swear by for reducing redness, dryness, and itchiness. A few swipes of this > expensive sessions of trial-and-error.

    9. Know your different types of acne — they're like snowflakes, except so much more unwelcome. Whether yours is more of a whitehead (which needs salicylic acid) or the hormonal type (usually a cyst which needs sulfur-based products), the first step to treating acne is knowing what the heck they are!

    Chart for identifying acne

    10. Master the art of ~dewy~, clear skin by incorporating a serum into your routine. Radha Beauty Rosehip Oil requires merely a few drops to tackle redness, scarring, pimples, and everything in-between. Reviewers use this before bed and wake up to ✨glowing✨, healing complexion!

    Reviewer's before-and-after of broken-out cheek and then clear cheek with caption that says "just wow"

    11. Discover the benefits of your three basic acid groups: alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and polyhydroxy acid (PHA). Glossier Solution uses all three to clear dead skin cells and leave your complexion soft and glowing. Reviewers l-o-v-e this for fading acne scars and treating breakouts.

    Want to study up more on acids? Here's a full breakdown:

    Chart with acid definitions

    12. Adjust your routine to the season — your skin needs it! When summer and spring approaches, apply more sunscreen and regularly cleanse with a gentle face wash (there's more sweat in your life, sorry). As colder weather hits, moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize with a heavy face cream!

    13. Treat your blackheads without the pain of strips by using a pore vacuum. It's just as effective as it sounds — it suctions buildup hidden in clogged pores, exfoliates dead skin cells, and removes excess oil (so they can't come back). Talk about productive.

    Reviewer's before-and-after with nose blackheads and then clear nose

    14. Study up on beauty ingredient definitions so you can have a better time building a routine that you want to stick with (and see overall results) once you can fully understand ingredient lists — and when you recognize formulas that *won't* work for you.

    Chart with different skincare definitions

    15. Take your usual routine up a level by using a microneedle roller at the end of the day. When combined with a serum, it essentially accelerates the product's usual benefits to exfoliate, brighten, and repair irritated skin so that you're left with a dewy glow. Plus, you get to end the day with a soothing yet effective ritual.

    16. Unleash the power of the snail! Yes, really. This Seoul Ceuticals moisturizer has 97.5% ~snail mucin extract~, along with shea butter, vitamin E, and jojoba oil to make brightening and smoothing your complexion extremely fast and easy. I guess this means even snails are less lazy than we are.

    Hand holding the moisturizer

    17. Plan out your routine by product — there's a proper order for everything (your face can tell, even if you can't). For example, applying toner *after* your face wash but *before* moisturizing is the only way your complexion can benefit from that step. It doesn't matter HOW long you use it — if it's in the wrong order, you'll never see proper results.

    Chart for how to layer skincare products

    18. Discover the benefits of washing your face with oils by using a Kose cleansing oil that'll bring you all the benefits of (usually expensive) double oil cleansing even if you use this alone. It'll work overtime to remove stubborn makeup, unclog pores, and get you squeaky clean without the need of a second cleanser.

    19. Take little (and very manageable, I promise) steps to improve your overall skincare routine. It doesn't have to take over your life obviously, but even small changes will make a big difference for your overall clarity and health. An easy start: using a lavender spray that kills acne-causing pillow bacteria *and* helps to lull you to sleep.

    Chart saying to swap out pillowcase, disinfect your phone, and use a separate towel to dry and clean your face

    20. Determine your skin type so you can minimize your routine to things that actually WORK. This is super important when it comes to choosing toners: Foxbrim's orange blossom toner treats oily complexions ~head on~ by balancing your pH levels and providing the level of hydration your skin needs. But! Mario Badescu's aloe vera toner works wonders for dry skin by soothing irritated complexions with its mild formula.

    A chart to determine your skin type

    21. STOP picking at your skin, for Pete's sake!! I know it's hard! I did it yesterday! But we need to stop! I don't think I really need to explain why. If you have a pimple you can't stop staring at, cover it with this Ebanel drying lotion, because this'll kill 👏 that 👏 zit while you sleep, even if it's not a whitehead yet.

    22. Treat consistent acne with a tried-and-true ingredient: African black soap. This Bomb'd Aesthetics foaming face wash lets you reap all the benefits of the popular soap bar formula, but streamlines the process to an easy-to-use pump. Not only will this be faster to use if you just want it for your face, but its shea butter will *also* leave your skin smoother. Clearer, softer skin with less effort? Yes. Please.

    The face wash

    23. Keep things *super* simple if you have sensitive skin to avoid unnecessary irritation/breakouts. This mild Neutrogena cleanser is fragrance- and oil-free, plus it's hypoallergenic! Its main ingredient, glycerin, successfully removes excess oil and deep-cleans pores without ever harshing your vibe. And as we all know, the more basic the routine, the better.

    The face wash

    24. Drink 👏 water 👏. Aim for eight glasses a day. Sure, you're peeing more (like....a lot more), but you're also flushing out daily toxins, increasing your skin's elasticity, and brightening your overall complexion.

    Don't worry, this motivational water bottle is here to help. Its design will keep you on track by marking your progress throughout the day — along with some motivation for when the finish line feels too far away.

    The large water bottle with time markings and encouragement

    25. Nourish the heck out of your skin with a little help from a vitamin C serum — in case you don't know, this ingredient can reduce pores and breakouts, target discoloration, and make your overall complexion ~brighter~ faster than you can think of a rhyme for orange.

    26. Stick to a skincare routine for both morning *and* night — your skin l o v e s consistency so you should try to use the same products, with a couple exceptions. The biggest difference for morning and night routines: you need sunscreen in the morning, while your skin could probably use a replenishing mask come evening.

    Chart for how to use skincare in order

    27. Wash your face before bed! Every night, people! Luckily, this Versed cleansing balm literally dissolves your day's worth of makeup and buildup so even us lazy folk can manage this necessary step (all while enjoying its heavenly eucalyptus and clove leaf oil fragrance). Plus its light, gentle milk formula will leave your face so. darn. soft. every single time.

    Model's hand holding a jar of the cleansing balm

    28. Conquer the scars of backne-past with an exfoliating towel. This basically removes layers and layers of dead skin, a.k.a. what's keeping your scars present. It's also great for anyone who just wants healthier-looking skin!

    29. Be patient when it comes to skincare products — some are going to take time to work (like salicylic acne face washes), and that's OK! But there are other times when it's just not doing the trick, and it's important to know the difference. For example, Dr. Jart's ceramide cream only needs a few minutes to ~sink in~.

    The chart about how long skincare takes to work

    30. Vacuum out clogged pores and tough breakouts with a ridiculously-popular Aztec Secret clay mask. A little of this and apple cider vinegar has conquered thousands of breakouts so there's a good chance that this + an hour of watching TV = an easy solution for you.

    31. Understand whether your skin is breaking out or "purging" when trying new products. Purging means retinoid or acid is causing accelerated skin cell turnover, which can bring up dormant pimples that were underneath your skin surface and lead to breakouts that last a few weeks. It's usually in the form of small, red, tender bumps on the skin, so if you have cystic bumps, it's probably a regular breakout.

    Model with acne

    32. Relieve extremely dry and irritated skin (including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis) at long last with some Honeyskin Organics cream. Manuka honey, amino acids, and vitamins C and E work together to seriously soothe, hydrate, and restore your skin's pH levels. A nightly routine with this will put you on the fast track to a MUCH calmer complexion.

    Reviewer's dramatic before-and-after with irritated red acne and then almost totally clear skin

    33. Research how certain ingredients can help with specific skin goals before building a new routine. For example, this Dr. Jart+ color-correcting cream is a holy grail moisturizer for people with redness and dryness. Why? Its main ingredient, Centella Asiatica, is especially great at reducing redness and healing sensitive skin.

    BuzzFeed Shopping reviewer with one half of her face red and the other half matte because of the face cream

    34. Research what essential oils will work best for *your* skin. Everyone has their own goal so it makes sense that everyone needs a different formula. Two popular choices: tea tree oil (for acne-prone yet v sensitive skin) and rosehip oil (for dry, red, and irritated skin).

    The chart about different serums

    35. Swap out your spot treatment for some gentler tea tree oil if traditional acne creams feel too harsh (aka your skin is always left red and flaking). It's just as effective at reducing pimples, but won't leave any irritation for you to deal with. And! You can use it on your entire face to calm redness, minimize excess oil, and gently hydrate. Basically you'll want to keep this on hand all the time if you have sensitive skin.

    The tea tree oil

    36. Don't get mad at me — but you also can't pop your zits. I KNOW. So satisfying. But it leaves scars that last for weeks! Instead, gently bring out the whitehead by holding down a warm washcloth while bingeing Schitt's Creek. In a few minutes you'll be able to slide the whitehead off with the cloth. No energy. No scabbing.

    Chart of model using warm washcloth to gently wipe away pimple's pus

    37. Understand that not every mask is for you. In fact, most are designed with a very specific skin type in mind (i.e. dry, acne-prone, etc.). Take our quiz to match your concerns and complexion with the best mask for you!

    38. Speaking of! Take a skin-identity quiz to learn what works best for your skin and nix any risky trial-and-error. It'll take things like your age, typical routine, stress levels, and even diet to figure out what your complexion will actually benefit from using.

    39. Learn the ever-popular Korean skincare routine to address e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from healing tough breakouts (hello, clarifying toner) to brightening skin (and bonjour, illuminating sheet mask). It may seem like a lot of steps, but each one brings *results* that just face wash + moisturizer simply do not.

    The Korean skincare routine chart

    40. Cleanse your skin immediately post-workout (or if it's just impossibly hot outside) to easily prevent body acne. A few swipes with Goodwipes hygiene wipes will kill sweat-caused bacteria to keep backne away for GOOD.

    Model using a wipe

    41. Consider a professional facial, especially when your skin is looking a little stressed. Experts say you should shoot for once a month, but realistically every *few* months will still serve as a welcome fresh start for your face.

    Your pimples when you finally learn how to fight back: