How To Listen To Your Skin To Determine Your Daily Skin Care Routine 

Written by mindbodygreen

Image by JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Great skin doesn't simply come from "good genes." Your daily habits—from diet to hydration to rest—all matter when it comes to the health of your skin and what you see in the mirror. 

That, of course, includes your skin care routine. And since we're all dealing with different skin types, concerns, and needs that shift with the seasons and as we age, there's no "one size fits all" regimen that works for everyone. Ultimately, if skin care is anything, it's personal.

But building an effective skin care routine for your needs is about more than simply knowing your skin type. Just as you listen to your body to know which foods make you feel your best (and which ones don't), we should be listening to our skin regularly to learn what it truly needs every day—and adjust our routine accordingly. The face care philosophy behind Weleda (and we're calling out some of our favorite products from the plant-forward beauty brand below) is that your skin needs different things at different times, and there's a plant associated with the specific benefits that your skin needs. And here at mbg, we're all about it.

Timing is everything.

Similar to how our skin conditions change seasonally, our skin has different needs in the morning than it does at night. Go beyond the standard a.m. and p.m. routine and instead consider that every step is dynamic for what your skin needs at that moment. As a rule of thumb, your routine may not be the same every day. With help from Weleda, here's how to listen to your skin with each step.

Your skin's daytime job.

It's all about prevention and protection. During the day, your skin's role is mainly on the defensive, requiring protection from the environmental aggressors you'll face when you leave the house (or even while you're in your house, where the air quality is often worse than outside, according to the EPA). Your skin will be exposed to a practically endless variety of contaminants, from airborne pollutants and dirt to UV radiation from the sun to the bacteria on your phone and the germs on your yoga mat—not to mention any impurities from your own makeup. 

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Listening for your skin's a.m. needs:

1. First things first, start clean. Cleansing your face will help you prepare your skin for the day, but notice how your skin is feeling first. You never want to strip your skin of its natural oils, which is especially important at the start of the day, so opt for very gentle cleansers. For all skin types from normal to combination, we like Weleda's Gentle Cleansing Foam because it's lightweight, delicate, yet still effective in removing excess grease from the skin—without disrupting its natural, protective moisture. If you have different types of cleansers in your rotation, listening to your skin can also help you determine which type of cleanser is best for its current needs: For instance, if your skin feels flaky and overly dry from using a retinol the night before, a moisturizing micellar water to cleanse the face can also be soothing.

2. Feel out any changes from last night. If you didn't get a full night's rest, chances are you'll notice it right away: Research shows that just one night of poor sleep can cause swollen eyes, hanging eyelids, under-eye circles, and dull skin. You can alleviate puffiness from sub-seven-hour sleep with a face-rolling ritual using a jade roller or other facial stone. Our beauty editor finds that targeting her eyes in the morning following her morning eye cream especially helps with any lingering water retention.

3. Think about your day ahead. Next, consider your calendar: Will your skin need extra hydration? More sun protection? Take a mindful moment to assess what your routine might require for the day. Moisturizers containing protective antioxidants are ideal for morning use, like the Awakening Day Cream from Weleda. It's formulated with pomegranate extract known for its high concentration of potent properties and vitamin E for a double dose of antioxidant power against environmental stressors. Pomegranate in particular is a radiance-restoring ingredient for skin that is also known to help rebalance the skin's surface. The result? Dull skin looks and feels hydrated and vibrant, with the appearance of deep lines smoothed over. Don't forget the SPF! Wearing sun protection is a crucial step in every skin care regimen.

Image by Leandro Crespi / Stocksy

Your skin's overnight job.

On the flip side, your skin goes into offensive mode overnight. Just like our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm—keeping us on a daily sleep/wake cycle—our skin cells abide by an internal clock, too, regenerating and repairing themselves overnight. Focus your bedtime skin care routine on supporting your skin's nightly activity: Rejuvenating it from anything it may have been exposed to over the course of the day. This is also when you can maximize the benefits of specific treatments for any personal skin care concerns you might have.

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Listening for your skin's p.m. needs: 

1. First, take off the day. At night, cleansing is king. Massage your cleanser into your skin to create a lather and deep clean any makeup, sweat, and impurities you picked up during the day, working the cleanser all over the face. (If you're wearing heavy makeup, soak a warm cloth in water and gently swipe it across the face, removing any residue before cleansing). Still, be careful to avoid harsh overcleansing, which can set your oil glands into overdrive to compensate for the skin being stripped of its natural oils. Again, Weleda's Gentle Cleansing Foam is a good choice here for removing traces of makeup and excess oils, helping to replenish skin's moisture levels throughout the evening.

2. Notice any skin care concerns—and target them. Take a moment to evaluate what your skin might need as it restores overnight. Serums are your skin's best friend for nighttime routines. They're highly concentrated doses of ingredients that are helpful for treating your skin's personal needs and fortifying your skin, but they'll also supercharge your routine by helping prep skin for the remaining products in your regimen, allowing them to absorb and work better. Weleda's Awakening Serum is also packed with powerful ingredients like pomegranate; it's lightweight and can help you achieve a supple, radiant glow. 

3. Think about your next day. What you see in the mirror tomorrow will reflect how you treat your skin before bed. To wake up with a glowing complexion, try a sheet mask during your wind-down routine, then seal in hydration while you sleep with a rich, deep-penetrating night cream or moisturizer. This step helps maximize skin's nighttime renewal process. In an anti-aging routine, you may be looking to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Weleda's Awakening Night Cream combines potent pomegranate with borage seed and argan oils—all plant-dense ingredients that are considered to help skin regeneration, especially for dry, aging, and stressed skin. As a result, skin looks and feels firmer and stronger.

Think of your skin care regimen as a daily ritual, paying attention to your skin's unique needs every time. With the right ingredients—and this includes your day-to-day exercise, rest, and eating well—the results will show.  

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