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4 Tips for Introducing New Products into Your Skincare Routine

Vanessa Hathaway
Founder, Your Custom Beauty

The best advice: Take it easy!

When a monthly beauty box arrives or you’ve just returned from the drugstore with a boatload of new skincare products, it’s tempting to just dive in and start using all your new goodies straight away. But hold up, sister! That approach will likely do your skin more harm than good.

On the other hand, just sticking with the same old staples (cleanser, sunscreen, moisturizer) may not be doing you any favors either. Most people benefit greatly from adding a few products with actives to their routine.

So before you go all hog-wild with a slew of new products, follow these tips to ensure you get the best results.

1. Be Sure the New Products are Made for Your Skin Type

Did you know your skin type can change over time?  Things like your age, hormones, weather, eating habits, and stress (hello, 2020!) all contribute to how your skin looks and feels.  Personally, my skin goes from extremely dry and sensitive in cold weather to combination in warmer, humid weather. 

What might work like a charm in warm summer months may not be so great if your skin becomes dry and flaky due to indoor heating and harsh winds during the cold winter months.

And it’s nearly impossible to find the right skincare products if you don’t know your correct skin type.  If you’re looking for a new product to treat a specific issue, like acne for instance, but your skin type is dry, you need to find a product that works well for DRY skin with acne. Some anti-acne treatments will be too strong —drying out your skin even further and then you’ll have that issue to deal with as well! So start with your skin type and then treat specific issues with products formulated for your complexion.

Not 100% sure what your current skin type is? Take our Skincare Quiz to find out!

Next, take a good look at the ingredient list. If any of the products you’re eyeballing have any of these irritating ingredients, pitch it (or return it if it wasn’t a sample). Even products labeled “natural, organic, and/or clean” can contain ingredients that are horrible for your skin long-term. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t buy something just because it works wonders for your favorite YouTuber, sister, or best friend! Unless you know you have the identical skin type and issues, you’ll be in for a big disappointment.

What might work like a charm in warm summer months may not be so great if your skin becomes dry and flaky due to indoor heating and harsh winds during the cold winter months.

2. Do a Skin Patch Test

What if your skin reacts badly after a few days of your new skincare regimen? If you start using several new products at once, how will you know which product is causing the problem? That’s the problem — you won’t. So, start by doing a patch test with each and every new product.

Apply a small amount behind your ear or on the back of your wrist – somewhere that won’t be visible in case you do have a bad reaction. If your skin begins to burn, itch or turn red, wash the product off with a gentle cleanser and go find that sales receipt!

Most online and brick-and-mortar stores will allow you to return products within a 30- day time period.

Keep in mind, if the product you’re testing contains actives, such as AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids – glycolic, salicylic, lactic acid), vitamin A (retinol or retinoids), or vitamin C, it’s normal to feel some tingling or slight stinging, but it shouldn’t be painful. Start out using these products 2 to 3 times a week, building up to every other day and eventually using daily, if your skin will tolerate it.

If you tend to break out with pimples or clogged pores with certain products, it may take a week or more to determine that. Try doing a patch test on a small area beneath one of your cheekbones, close to the hairline. This area typically produces more sebum than the rest of your face and if you do breakout, it won’t be as noticeable. If after 7-10 days, you’re not breaking out, you can begin to use it on the rest of your face.

If the new product you’re testing contains AHA (alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic, salicylic, lactic acid), vitamin A (retinol or retoids), or vitamin C, it’s normal to feel some tingling or slight stinging, but it shouldn’t be painful.

If you don’t have any reactions, choose the first product that you want to incorporate into your routine and use it according to the instructions on the label.

3. Don’t Fall for Products Promising ‘Overnight Results’

You’ll need to give new products some time to see results. Although some products, like moisturizers, may give you immediate results, you typically need to wait 6 to 8 weeks to see real results. Products such as lash and brow serums will take 8 to 12 weeks to see maximum results, but the payoff will be worth it!

Great skincare is a marathon, not a sprint! Don’t fall for the marketing hype if a product claims to make you look 10 years younger overnight. That’s just not possible. Like the saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

4. Don’t Change Your Skincare Routine Before a Big Event

As tempting as it may be to go for that big glow with a new product right before a big event or special occasion, don’t even think about it. Just DON’T! If you are interested in an in-office procedure or new skincare product or tool, start at least a month before any special occasion.

And, finally, you need to be sure you’re applying your skincare products in the proper order to get the most of out your new skincare routine. If you’re not sure how to layer your skincare products effectively, read our article on Layering Skincare Products for Maximum Results.

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