Intuitive Skin Care: How To Listen To Your Face

Photo: MCV Photo.
The concept of listening to your skin sounds odd, I know. Along the same lines as trusting your intuition and "paying attention to your little voice," it's advice that can incite more than a few eye rolls. But, as annoying as that advice is, it makes your skin-care routine incredibly easy, and it might just give you the best skin of your life.
Once you learn how to read the signs, just giving your skin what it needs makes taking care of it easier and a bit more fun. My routine has a smaller arsenal of products and very few rules. Other than the usual (washing my face at night, putting on sunscreen and night cream, a religious fervor for eye cream...), I honestly don't think about my skin very often anymore. And, I've never been happier or looked better.
Listening to the needs of your skin is extremely simple and will save you loads of money, time, and stress if you know how to read the signs and deliver the goods. The skin cues in the following slides won't necessarily make you the Face Whisperer, but it might end the war between you and your skin issues once and for all. Ready to listen in for better skin? Let's do this...
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Photo: Courtesy of Ulta.
Icky Morning Face = Toner
Apply toner to a cotton ball and apply it over damp skin. The toner resets the pH balance and the moisture is a way to double down on hydration for a glowing complexion.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dermalogica.
Face feels tight = use a more gentle cleanser.
If your skin feels uncomfortably tight right after cleansing, it means your cleanser is too harsh, or you're scrubbing your face too hard. A gentle product will get the job done without stripping, and take your rubbing back down a notch.
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Photo: Courtesy of
Skin feels squeaky clean = Add hydration
Your skin is never supposed to "squeak," which means you took your cleansing routine too far. Moisturize, particularly with a bit of SPF before the sun goes down.
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Photo: Courtesy of GNC.
Skin feels irritated and painful = go all natural
Washing your face with coconut oil can help balance your face from irritation. Let's also add that it not only has antibacterial attributes, it literally seals in hydration, which makes it perfect for all skin types, including acne prone. Best skin of your life, right this way.
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Photo: Courtesy of Walgreens.
Undereye bags = add more eye cream
Undereye baggage that no longer fits in an overhead compartment is a sure sign that you need to up your eye-cream game. Also, get more sleep, add a better pillow to your bed strategy, and slow down on alcohol and sodium. That should fix it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kiehl's.
Skin looks sallow = add a serum
If the thrill is gone, it's time to bulk up the nutrients. A great serum, especially a nighttime formula added under your night cream before bedtime can literally give you vacation glow while you sleep. As in, no extra work required.
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Photo: Courtesy of
Body acne = carry cleansing wipes
Wearing your workout gear too long creates a breeding ground for body acne. Carry wipes with a touch of salicylic acid in your gym bag, and wipe down the minute you're done sweating. And, get out of your sweaty gear. Now.
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Photo: Courtesy of Clinique.
Dry skin in the a.m. = Bulk up the night cream
Morning dullness is a sign that your night cream isn't tough enough for the job. Be sure it contains retinoids to help boost cell turnover so you can wake up fresh faced.
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Photo: Courtesy of NARS Cosmetics.
Congested skin = Lighten up on your makeup
Your skin needs to breathe, and a field of zits and irritation is a true sign to take a break. Either go bare faced with concealer on any imperfections, and/or use a tinted moisturizer to provide light coverage so your skin can get some air.
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Photo: Courtesy of Murad.
Acne feels painful under makeup = Use a medicated concealer
The worst thing you can do with a blocked pore is cover it up, but if you've got to do it, use a medicated concealer. If this isn't your color, add medicated acne spot treatment under your concealer and let it breathe the minute you get home.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
You get the same zit in the same place = Change your habits
In addition to dabbing on a spot treatment, think about your daily habits. Clean your phone more often, wash your hands before you touch your face, and change your pillowcase more often. Also, slow your roll on white flour and white sugar. You should see a difference.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
A face full of pillow lines in the a.m. = Use a sleeping facial
If you wake up regularly with creases on your face, try using a sleeping facial to put a moisture barrier between your skin and the pillow. You'll wake up with just-got-lucky glowing skin —add bed head to keep them guessing.
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Photo: Courtesy of Walmart.
Skin looks dull = Exfoliate
If you can run your nail over your skin and come up with debris, it's time to exfoliate. Once a week, use a gentle home peel or scrub to remove dead skin, followed by all your usual serums and hydration creams.
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