10-Step Skincare Routine: FAQs And Doubts

Yesterday, I published a guide to the 10-step skincare routine (click here to read it). Posts on each of the steps listed will follow later. I'm going to address common doubts and frequently asked questions about the 10-step skincare regimen today.
Frequently asked questions about the 10-step skincare regimen

How long do I need to build up my skincare routine before I get to 10 steps?
I suggest adding a product only every three to four weeks. No, it won't take you 40 weeks! You can - if you already don't do this - begin with cleanser, toner, face mist, serum and moisturiser. Add an essence a couple of weeks into this routine. Add the oil four weeks later and the sleeping pack after another four weeks. Again, this is indicative. Depends on how your skin is coping.

Will all these products pill up if I apply everything?
Depends on the products you decide to use in the routine. Silicone-heavy? Highly likely. The steps themselves will not cause pilling. If the products are mostly 'cone-free, and you wait for your face to be at least touch-dry between steps, then no.

Why 10 steps? Why not 5, or 20? What good will all these steps do for my skin?
Answered here yesterday :)

How much quantity of each product do I need to apply?
I am in favour of light layering. I don't want to say pea-sized or strawberry-sized - whatever it takes for a light application. Some of the steps include products - such as essence - that need to be patted or tapped in. I've addressed the how-to here.

Will my skin turn into a greaseball or feel like there is a tonne of stuff atop?
Depends on the products used. Mine sink right in. If you apply each step AFTER your face is touch-dry, you will not have problems.

Do I need to stick to the products you listed yesterday?
Gosh, no! Those are only indicative. Feel free to buy/make your own.

Do I need to buy a tonne of products first?
No. Speaking for myself, I rotate my skincare products regularly - sometimes I'm testing something; sometimes I just want something different. This is particularly true of cleansers. I only choose from 3-4 serums, though, and own a grand total of five sleeping packs.

How do I tailor this routine to suit my skin's needs?
If you are battling acne, focus on spot treatment, and include clarifying lotions, anti-acne cleansers, clay rinse-off masks, BHA toners and products containing anti-blemish ingredients. Similarly, if you have dry skin, throw in hyaluronic acid, a milk or cream cleanser, and layer your emulsion/facial oil/moisturiser/sleeping pack. Use an AHA toner to kick out the dead skin.

Will using so many products break me out?
Doesn't for me, and has actually reduced my breakouts. Depends on YOUR skin type and mileage, the actual ingredients in the products you use, and hormones and other factors.

What if I already have breakouts? Do I stop the routine?
Double-cleansing, acid toning and spot treatment will only help. Use hydrating mists and clarifying/anti-blemish lotions in lieu of greasy creams during a breakout phase.

How many hours does the night-time 10-step routine take? I need some sleep!
One, tops - including my dinner time. And that's because I mooch about, check my email, become engrossed in a book and generally loiter. My Mum takes 40-45 minutes for hers, including dinner.

I cannot spare 45 minutes to one hour every night.
  • Double cleanse. Acid-tone. Brush your hair.
  • Apply Vitamin C. Go eat dinner.
  • Come back and do the next step. Put dishes away.
  • Next step. Floss. Brush teeth.
  • Next step. Lock up.
  • Next steps - possibly a light moisture emulsion and eye cream, and maybe spot treatment. Drink a glass of water and apply lip balm.
  • Next step. Turn off all the lights and get ready for bed.
  • Sleeping pack. Done.

Do you do this every day?
As I said, this is my night-time routine on most days. When I use a resurfacing product, my routine is condensed and I do not use as many hydrating or repairing products - so the resurfacer can do its work.

So what about a morning skincare routine?
The primary difference will be the use of SPF in lieu of sleeping packs, but I do use fewer products since I'm in a hurry in the mornings. I'll do a post on my morning routine later - once I recover from the night-routine posts. Fellow skincare-junkie and K-beauty fan Anastasia of Glamorable has just done a post on her AM routine here - do check it out.

The instructions label says to use x product at y stage but you say otherwise.
Follow the instructions on the label. Or, if your dermatologist has prescribed something to be used at a particular stage, follow those instructions. Different products are formulated to work at different stages. For instance, Mizon says to use their All-in-One Snail Repair "Cream" immediately after toner and BEFORE serum as an essence rather than a cream, and it works best that way.

Filtered secretion from their legs as they crawl/glide/move around over rough surfaces. I swear it has reduced my atrophic scarring (will post photos when I publish that post in detail). Korean brands Mizon and CosRx have shown documentation that says they do not harm the snails. More on snails another time.
Snails, starfish, collagen, placenta... will discuss those when we look at each step in detail.
 Frequently asked questions about the 10-step skincare regimen

I do not use makeup or SPF. Do I still need to double cleanse?
No. Even if you do wear makeup, you can still use a bi-phase makeup remover. I prefer double cleansing because it is gentler than makeup removers, and still removes the most stubborn mascara.

If I have oily, acne-prone skin, do I need to use a cleansing oil?
Stay away from the thick balm cleansers such as Eve Lom and Emma Hardie. Runnier cleansing oils will be fine. If you are still uncomfortable, use a milk or gel cleanser and a clay cleanser to double cleanse - but this may not fully remove waterproof mascara unless you use a makeup remover at first. Post on cleansers to go up in a couple of weeks or so.

Do I moisturise when I use a resurfacing treatment?
If you want it to be intensive, no. But if you cannot do without the hydration, yes. I moisturise if my skin is in a flaky phase, and let the resurfacer go it alone if my skin is doing fine. Sometimes, I use a mist.

Moisturiser, facial oil and sleeping pack together?
Read those steps here once more. If you are following those combinations as suggested, then all products will sink in. You will not have problems if you use a lightweight oil, followed by a thicker cream or sleeping pack, or a light lotion followed by a heavy oil. If you choose to apply a heavy oil first, followed by a moisturiser, or a heavy moisturising cream followed by an oil, then the last one would be a waste. The occlusive product goes on last.

What does occlusive mean?
As I said yesterday, there are three classes of moisturising ingredients - humectants, emollients and occlusives. Detailed post another time, but for now: Occlusive products prevent other products from going through - they form a barrier.Non-occlusives are ideal for layering, with the occlusive being the last product to go on your face.

I don't have dry skin. Do I need so much moisture?
Oily skin can be dehydrated as well, for starters. Besides, you can always do the moisturising steps in the routine with non-greasy products (Caudalie Vinosource Mattifying Fluid is particularly lovely).

Facial oil? I have acne-prone skin.
I added a facial oil to my routine in December, when I had the world's worst infection, and it has helped. 

I don't know the ABC of chemistry, or understand ingredient labels. How do I tell if a facial oil is lightweight or not?
Take a couple of drops between your fingertips. Apply all over the face. If the residue washes away with a bit of water and no effort (or soap),  or if you can wipe it all off on a dry tissue, or if your fingers feel non-greasy after application, the oil is lightweight.

Cost factor?
There are brilliant products that do not cost a bomb. For instance, Laidbare's Vitamin C serum costs £9 for 30ml (and you get 15% off with code LF15). OST's C20 costs $14 for 30ml. On the other hand, Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum is also Vit C-based and costs £47 for 30ml. Choose wisely.
You'll be saving on salon visits if you have a solid skincare routine in place.

Is it difficult to sleep with so many products on your face?
Not at all; the products I use are light enough. I change my pillow covers every Saturday and my bedsheets every other Saturday.

Korean or mainstream/Western? Which is better?
There are ah-mazing and not-so-great products in both. I like using a mix. The best of all worlds.

If you have more questions on my 10-step skincare routine post (here), feel free to ask them in the Disqus comments widget below.

Stay tuned for individual posts on each step, and my morning routine - but first, some makeup posts because I need a break.


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