Our skin has taken center stage the past year. Makeup routines have gone minimal — if not altogether 86’d. But even if you’re spending most of your days inside and in front of a screen, you should evaluate your skincare routine at the change of the season. Think of it like a spring clean for your face. After all, your face is your best accessory.
Clean out the closet
When the days are getting longer and warmer, you pack up your sweaters and heavy coats and look for light layers. Spring cleaning means making decisions about whether to donate certain items or keep them in rotation. The same should apply to your skincare wardrobe. Check the expiration dates on your skincare products. Yes, it matters. Toss anything that’s expired or smells…off. Especially skincare packaged in jars instead of airless pump delivery systems.
Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson gives us some guidelines on what to toss when. If unopened, most moisturizers will last two or three years, but if it’s been opened, a year at most is the shelf life. Treatments with active ingredients — think your serums and retinols — are stable for about a year. If things are in a jar, 6 months, tops, is the key. Of course, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines (these should be printed on the bottom or side of the container), but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Give your routine a refresh
You’re probably sipping iced tea on the front porch not sipping hot cocoa by a fire come spring, so give your skincare routine a seasonal refresh too. Swap out the heavy and occlusive moisturizers and balmy oil-based cleansers that protected your skin during harsh winter temps and dry inside air. Skincare guru Carline Hirons says she tends “to add more spritzes and hydration masks and use lighter creams during the day.” Opt for gel-based moisturizers if you’re oily or acne prone. Rule of thumb: if you wash your face and it feels tight after, you might need to go back to a richer cleanser or moisturizer. Or add a hydrating serum like a simple hyaluronic acid.
Remember, as air gets more humid, things can get slicker. Choosing light skincare layers can help you plan for any occasion — especially that random freeze in the middle of April.
Your future’s so bright
If you’ve slacked off a little during the winter hibernation period, spring is a great time to add in some vitamin-based, antioxidant serums to your skincare regime. There are some great vitamin C serums at every price point. Start there if you want to get your glow on. If you’re already on top of it, think about adding in some chemical exfoliation with OTC retinols or prescription tretinoin.
Speaking of glow
The sun is gonna shine, so you want to be prepared. Of course you should be in the habit by now of wearing at least SPF 30 on the reg, but it’s even more important as winter turns to spring. Even if you’re inside on Zoom meetings most of the day, you’re still getting sunlight through your windows and blue light from your gadgets. Protected skin is skin that ages well.
Get your glug on
Start from the inside out and keep your skin hydrated. Flaky patches and chapped lips are never on spring’s best dressed list. If regular tap or spring water doesn’t float your boat, sparkling water (no sugar added) is just as hydrating. Really!