10 Basic Skincare Hacks That Every 20-Something Should Know

When you’re in your twenties, your skin is at its peak. It’s soft, smooth, barely wrinkled, and still has that overall aura of youth glowing behind its cells. Often, it’s common for 20-something women to totally forget about how lucky they have it with their youthful complexion. They end up not taking care of it the way they should, from falling asleep with fake eyelashes still intact after a hazy Saturday night (guilty as charged), to caking on foundations and concealers for the “perfect” photo op (also guilty as charged). We’ve learned a thing or two from our own skincare mishaps and pore clogs, so we put together a list of 10 basic skincare rules to follow to maintain your 20-something glow for years to come:

1. Wash Your Face DAY AND NIGHT

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We know that this isn’t always the easiest. But it’s so so important. Washing your face twice a day will change the way your skin looks, feels, and breathes. In the morning, cleanse with a refreshing wash, something that will get you awake. We recommend staying away from using exfoliators everyday. Why? Because they’re too harsh on the skin for repeated use like that. You may not realize it, but since exfoliators were created to strip the skin of gunk and oil, they can end up being so harsh that they actually strip away the top of the epidermis and wear it down. Stick to cleansers that are soft and gentle in the morning, like First Aid Beauty’s Face Cleanser. Even a bar of Dove soap works wonders. For nighttime, follow the same idea and pick a soft cleanser and occasionally, this is the best time to exfoliate your skin. Always follow up with a face mist or moisturizer before bed.

2. Use Face Masks, Pore Strips, and Exfoliators sparingly

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Believe us, we love these products as much as the next girl, but it’s always a good idea to use them sparingly on youthful skin. We know, you really wanna try that banana-chocolate Lush refrigerated mask because it just sounds glorious, but how about you start with just a sample? We’ll tell you why. Masks are glorious, exfoliators are thorough, and pore strips are fun, but sometimes your skin is best left alone. We know that sounds a little harsh, but let’s break it down. These products are made to do some heavy lifting: from physically removing pores from the face, to seeping into every crevice of the skin removing oil and dirt, to stripping away daily gunk. If you’re constantly doing heavy lifting on your already beautiful skin, there’s going to be some repercussions. You might start to heavily break out, or get really oily or really dry. These products are super fun, don’t get us wrong, but you have to know when to really use them. We recommend a 1-2 month gap between uses of masks and pore strips, while a 3 week gap is good for exfoliating. Trust us, this will be a life saver.

3. Go To a Dermatologist, No Matter Your Skin

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This one is again, SO IMPORTANT. Go to a dermatologist, no matter your skin. Your relationship with your dermo is so vital, you can go to he/she and express exactly how your skin feels and/or figure out why you’re breaking out or why you’re super dry or super oily. These people are medically trained to examine and take care of delicate skin, and will prescribe you the correct topicals or medicines that may be needed. Always ask questions when it comes to these visits, and express concerns about certain meds if you have them. Don’t just go on a medicine because they tell you to. Make sure you’re comfortable with being on that med, first and foremost, whether it be skin antibiotics, Birth Control, or Accutane. They know what’s best for your skin, but you have to discuss with them what’s best for you, too! Also remember that individuals can develop skin problems at any age. You may have never had acne in high school, but now you’re breaking out like crazy in college. You may not even break out until your 30s. Skin is unpredictable like that. But that’s totally okay, cause your dermatologist is your secret weapon.

4. Retinoids Are The Bomb.com

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So once you attend your dermo appointment, depending on how acne prone you are, you may be prescribed a retinoid topical treatment (a fancy name for gel/cream). Point blank: retinoids are what we have until we discover the fountain of youth in the lost city of Atlantis. These gels and creams are usually used for acne and wrinkles, and happen to have this special anti-aging formula in them. AKA, the younger you start using a retinoid cream/gel, supposedly, the more youthful your skin will appear and be as you grow older. Retinoids are prescribed medicines, so you will have to ask your dermatologist about them, but they are certainly WARRIORS when it comes to skin, and are worth looking into.

5. Use non-comedogenic makeup products

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What the hell does non-comedogenic mean, you say? So glad you asked. Comedogenic means blocking of pores. So non-comedogenic is simple: said product will not block your pores. So any creamy concealer or foundation that is non-comedogenic are made to not seep into your pores in any way whatsoever. This is key when it comes to shopping for foundations and concealers and anything cream-based that will be sitting on your face all day. Look for the non-comedogenic label on the product before you buy! Our picks: Makeup Forever Full Cover Concealer, and Laura Mercier concealers and foundations.

6. On That Note, Quit Foundation. Use Tinted Moisturizer + SPF.

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We know this one is a doozy. But, it will change your life in the long run and has been a secret weapon of ours for years. Foundation can be cakey. Heavy. Kinda gross for everyday use. And guess what? The use of heavy foundations on your already glowing skin every-day can actually be a bad idea. Because if they’re not non-comedogenic, chances are, they’re blocking your pores in ways you didn’t even realize, often making you break out. We recommend saving the foundation for formals, parties, Instagram photoshoots, and big night outs. Instead, try using a tinted moisturizer or BB cream for everyday use. Tinted moisturizers are exactly what they sound like: a moisturizer that’s tinted. But guess what? They also have enough coverage power to be used as a foundation. And that’s exactly what you can dupe them for. The bonus? They have SPF in them too. Our pick: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. And, pro tip: Make sure to pick foundations, tinted moisturizers, and concealers that are oil free, no matter what kind of skin you have.

7. Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize

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Moisturizing day and night is really important in allowing your skin to get the extra hydration it needs, especially in colder weather. It’s also worth looking into to find a priming moisturizer that acts as a primer before you put your makeup on in the morning, and a moisturizer that soothes the skin after you take your makeup off. Also, we cannot stress this enough: lip balm will change your life. Put it on nightly, and you’ll notice that your lips will be smoother and more buoyant (you don’t need a shot glass to get that Kylie Jenner pout). Our moisturizing picks: Glossier Priming Moisturizer, and Glossier Coconut Balm dot com.

8. Research Before You Buy

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This is something that our millennial generation is already rather good at it, since we spend like 70% of our time online. No one wants to be stuck reading the ingredients on the back of these tubes, trying to decipher whether it’s benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Research products your interested in. Watch Youtube videos of people trying them. Listen to what others have to say if they have similar skin problems as you do. This goes for any kind of skin product, from makeup, to exfoliators, to acne creams. And worse comes to worse, if you’re really not sure, just call your dermatologist and see what they have to say about it. Bring the product in on your next appointment as well. Remember, what you put on your skin at this delicate age will always have long term affects.

9. Follow The Rules You Already Know

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You know that you should be taking off your makeup at night. You know you should clean your makeup brushes every week. You know to wash your pillowcases as often as possible. These are the little tips and tricks that will especially benefit your skin in your 20s. Taking care of your skin is so relevant, and these details will be so effective in the long run.

10. Remember that Blemishes Are Only Temporary

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We know it’s not always that easy. We know that sometimes it SUCKS to wake up and not have your skin looking like the way you want it to. We’ve been through it, we’re still going through it, and we will continue to go through it. But it’s important to remember that blemishes are so fleeting. Once you figure out a skin routine that works for you, (which might take a few days, a few months, or a few years), you will achieve the complexion you’ve been wanting. And most importantly, remember that your skin is beautiful, no matter its flaws.

Alanna Martine Kilkeary

Contributing Editor, Fordham University Graduate Major: English, Fashion Studies Her heart belongs to: The chaos of Manhattan and the musings of Sir William Shakespeare You can find her: Sketching at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or making her way into every NYFW show... Take her away to: The Swiss Alps, a Wes Anderson Universe, the Valley of the Kings, and Outer Space

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