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Tips for daily skin care

Have you tried Just the Good's facial care product selection quiz available here? It offers personalized facial skin care product recommendations, as well as routine and technique recommendations.

The guide below was published before the quiz was created, but it still contains some helpful information.

General recommendations for everyone

If there is one question I am asked more than any other, it is about basic facial care. In my opinion, careful daily washing is the key to healthy, clear skin. The following is a routine suitable for everyone:

At night

  • Wash your face every night before going to sleep so your skin can breathe while you are resting. To do this, wet your face with warm water since hot water risks harming your skin and cold water will close your pores, preventing effective cleansing. Pour face wash into the palm of your cleanly washed hands and apply it to your face, creating a gentle lather while carefully rubbing in upward circular motions. Focus on your T-zone (that is, your forehead, nose, and chin) while avoiding your eyes. In fact, it is best to wash your face with your eyes closed to prevent soap and/or essential oils from potentially stinging your eyes. Splash your face with warm water to remove all the face wash lather and soapy residue. Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel – do not rub, especially if you are prone to redness.
  • If you are prone to developing hard bumps on your face that look like acne spots but do not fill with pus, or if you have flaking dry skin, this could be a sign that your skin needs a little help clearing comedones/impacted sebaceous glands and/or releasing dry cells. In this case, exfoliating face wash can help — apply it just like regular face wash and be sure to rub gently in upward circular motions (still avoiding your eye area) to work the exfoliating beads across your skin evenly and into pores. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you may benefit from daily, twice-weekly, weekly or monthly exfoliation. If your skin is too sensitive for daily exfoliation, alternate between regular face wash and exfoliating face wash as required. Please find details notes below.
  • Those with sensitive skin will find that an alcohol-free witch hazel toner without essential oils is helpful in that it helps to balance pH after cleansing. Those with oily/combination and/or acne prone skin will find that using an antibacterial toner after washing your face is an important step to help clear bacteria and excess sebum (the natural oil produced by the skin) so skin can be gently disinfected and breathe more effectively. Toner is also helpful for anyone who wears make-up and/or sweats heavily during the day. Please see section below for information on how to use toner correctly.
  • Use your fingertips to apply a tiny bit of moisturizer to the areas of your face that feel tight and/or dry after washing. A little goes a long way, so begin sparingly and apply more if required.
  • Facial moisturizer for normal/sensitive skin makes a great eye cream! However, it is important to avoid applying moisturizer for oily/combination skin and/or acne prone skin to your eyelids/around your eyes because the essential oils in those formulas will sting

In the morning

  • Rinse your face with warm water – re-washing with a face wash product is usually unnecessary, unless you have just gone to the gym and worked up a big sweat.
  • If you have accumulated a lot of oil overnight (i.e. if you’re in a hot and humid climate, or if your skin is naturally very oily), re-apply toner using the method described in the section about toner below.
  • Moisturize sparingly, as described above.

If you are currently managing acne

  • Follow the steps described above for evening and morning facial care. Avoid applying moisturizer to your eyelids/around your eyes if you are using moisturizer for oily/combination skin and/or acne prone skin as the essential oils that are great for disinfecting may sting sensitive tissue. 
  • Apply spot treatment before going to sleep and again in the morning after toning and before applying moisturizer. Allow the spot treatment to lightly dry before applying makeup. 
  • It can be difficult to use exfoliating products when you have pus filled blemished, so it may be best to use the acne spot treatment to help them heal and focus on using regular face wash (without exfoliating beads) until the pus filled spots are gone. Alternatively, you can focus the beads around the blemishes. It is especially important to wash in circular motions when using exfoliating face wash for coverage that avoids too much pressure in one single area.
  • Keep in mind that effective use of toner is the most important part of caring for acne prone skin. Please see the section below for details.

What is toner (aka micellar water) and when/how should it be used

Toner -- often sold as micellar water to make it sound fancy and new --- is, in my opinion, the most important part of a daily skin care routine concerned with lifting excess sebum, bacteria, sweat, and environmental pollutants from the pores, which is often of concern for people

  • with acne prone skin
  • trying to control oily skin
  • living in humid climates
  • working in environments with lots of dust or smoke (i.e. sawdust, drywall dust, etc.)
  • who sweat a lot (i.e. athletes)
  • who wear makeup, especially if it contains petroleum ingredients, which are often designed to remain fixed onto the skin for prolonged periods of time and prevents skin from breathing as well as it could

People who don’t have acne prone or oily skin, who don’t sweat a lot, who don’t have concerns relative to their daily environment, or who never wear makeup might not find an antibacterial toner necessary. Those with sensitive skin, however, may find an alcohol-free witch hazel toner with no essential oils useful as a way to help balance pH after cleansing.

Toner is often, and I think quite oddly, considered a gendered item, but keep in mind that aftershave works on the very same principle. In fact, many natural toners and aftershaves can be used interchangeably to clean and soothe skin -- either to balance pH or provide antibacterial support.

When using toner, please keep in mind that it is most effective when used correctly – gently rubbed onto the face with a cotton pad to pick up and remove unwanted elements, not sprayed onto the face. Micellar water should be used in the same way, not splashed on.

Need more details? Here's a step by step:

  1. Always shake the bottle very well before use to evenly distribute any essential oils -- at least 5 seconds
  2. Lightly saturate a cotton pad with toner and sweep it onto your face in upward motions to remove oil and dirt
  3. Sweep the cotton pad over all areas of your face except near/around your eyes. Toner can also be applied to your neck, shoulders, back, and behind your ears using this same method to absorb excess oil and dirt, particularly if those areas are acne prone
  4. Repeat Step 3 with the back side of the pad, or a fresh pad, until there is no longer any trace of oil and/or dirt transferring to the pad.
  5. Your skin should not feel wet after using toner, simply refreshed. If your skin feels wet after toning, this probably means you are using too much, and you'll likely need to pat dry with a towel.

In addition to being more effective when applied with a cotton round, another reason I don't recommend spraying toner directly onto the face is because it's not a good idea to risk essential oils (especially astringent ones) being sprayed into your eyes, mouth, or onto the delicate mucous membranes of your nostrils.

Remember: Toner should never burn your skin. If it does, the bottle may not have been adequately shaken or - more likely - the formula you're using may be too strong for your skin type. Please discontinue use of any product that is too strong for your skin type. For assistance chosing the best products suited to your needs, please check out my skin care quiz here: https://justthegoods.net/pages/just-the-goods-skin-care-product-selector.

How to use facial scrub

If you choose to use a facial scrub (such as, for example ) to control blackheads or bumps, I recommend that you always scrub after washing, but before toning and/or moisturizing. Directions are as follows:

  • Wet face and hands with warm water
  • pour a little bit of scrub into hands and/or dab and apply using wet finger tips (it ultimately depends on how much you’d like to use and whether you’d like to scrub your whole face, or just a particular area such as around the nose, upper lip and chin and/or forehead, all of which can be particularly troublesome areas)
  • apply to face in gentle circular motions avoiding eye area; let product rest on face for a few minutes as a mask before rinsing if desired; rinse well with warm water; pat dry with a clean towel and tone and/or moisturize as desired.

Additional product tips:

  • To enhance this product for dry skin, blend a small amount of scrub with rose water in a bowl to desired consistency before applying it to your face
  • To enhance this product for oily/combination skin or acne prone skin, add lavender water instead
  • Use more scrub to create a thick paste if you’d like to double this item as a facial mask. In that case, after scrubbing, allow the product to rest on your face for approximately 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water. Pat dry with a clean towel and tone and/or moisturize as desired

How often you use facial scrub is entirely up to you since only you will know how your skin responds to the product/formula you've selected. My general suggestion is to start once a week then increase or decrease depending on how your skin feels. Some people can use the variety for sensitive skin as often as daily (i.e. if they have very easily congested skin, or if they're on medication that causes extreme dryness and flaking). Some folks like to use the variety for most skin types every few days, more or less depending on issues like humidity, medications that impact skin, etc. Others might find once or twice a month is all they need. The best way to find out what works best for you is to experiment.

How to safely clear blackheads / comedones/ impacted sebaceous glands

Blackheads / comedones / impacted sebaceous glands (the hard bumps appearing on skin as a result of sebum, dirt, makeup residue, etc. hardening and creating a waxy substance within a clogged pore) can be prevented, but do require manual extraction once formed. Ultimately, the accumulation of these materials indicate a need for:

  • regular exfoliation because pores can become clog when dead skin cells linger on the surface of the skin, trap material inside the pores (see notes above for how to use exfoliating scrub)
  • deep pore cleansing with the correct use of toner (see notes above for how to use toner most effectively)

Although blackheads / comedones / impacted sebaceous glands aren't necessarily bacterial in nature, using toner with antibacterial support can help break down accumulated materials within pores.

In all cases, the issue is one of prevention and any existing bumps will need to be removed manually. If you have never done this before and feel that you need tips, booking an appointment with an esthetician for a basic facial with extractions is the best way to learn.

Regardless of whether you pursue this route, or choose to remove build ups under the skin at home, it is important to begin extractions after cleansing the skin thoroughly and ideally after a facial steam, preferably at the end of the day/before bed so your skin has an opportunity to heal overnight.

Do not use your nails to clear your pores as that can lead to bleeding and scars. Instead, use the soft ends of two cotton swabs or stainless steel tools such as the ones available here https://justthegoods.net/products/4-piece-stainless-steel-blackhead-pimple-and-or-comedone-acne-extractor-tool-kit

After extracting the material that has accumulated within your pores, rise, apply toner, then apply a tiny bit of moisturizer to areas that feel tight/dry after cleansing.

Note: If you are using an at-home method, you might not be able to clear the clogged glands all at once. You might need to re-steam, or you might need to wait until another day as, again, aggressive force can cause damage to your skin.

With respect to prevention, if you choose to exfoliate daily, you may prefer a face wash with exfoliating beads. Lightly foaming for oily/combination skin is most recommended. Alternatively, you can use a stand alone scrub, once or twice a week, or more/less as you find is necessary. Toner should be used daily or even twice daily depending on your skin type, and the climate in which you (i.e. hot, humid environments).. 

Answers to frequently asked questions about night cream, eye cream, sunscreen, and anti-aging products


Does Just the Goods make a night cream: Our skin doesn't distinguish between night and day. And, what if you're someone who works night shifts or otherwise sleeps irregular hours? In my experience and perspective, simply using a quality moisturizer that delivers the nutrition of 100% plant-based ingredients is perfectly sufficient to use day or night. Why buy extra products when you don't need to? Please see my suggested skin care routine above. Or, for more customized product, routine, and technique suggestions, please try my skin care quiz here: https://justthegoods.net/pages/just-the-goods-skin-care-product-selector

Does Just the Goods make an eye cream: No because, similar to the response above, "eye cream" strikes me as another way conventional companies convince folks to buy more and redundant products. Please find more information here: https://justthegoods.net/products/eye-cream

Does Just the Goods make anti-aging products: No. Please find out why here: https://justthegoods.net/pages/why-doesn-t-just-the-goods-make-anti-aging-products

Do you make sunscreen: No. Please find out why here: