Want all this in your inbox?
Get the Refinery29 Newsletter
You're in for a treat...
Thanks for signing up!
Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.
Illustrated by Isabel Castillo Guijarro
Shampoo & Conditioner
We tend to go through shampoo and conditioner at lightning speed — using more product means cleaner, smoother hair, right? Not so fast. According to Geren, you need only a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and just a dime-sized amount of conditioner. Instead of adding lots of product, it's more about targeting the areas you apply it.
Concentrate shampoo solely on your oily roots, says Geren. The water will carry the cleansing agents through your strands, therefore washing the rest of your hair with no extra suds necessary. Conversely, conditioner should be applied from the middle of the shaft to your ends, where your hair is usually driest.
For an easy way to enforce this less-is-more rule, Geren says to decant your hair-care products into travel-sized bottles. You'll be able to see exactly how much you're using (and how quickly), while saving precious bathroom space.
Normally we squeeze a glob of cleanser into our hands, lather up, and finish with a splash of water to rinse off the suds. That's a fine routine, but, according to Benjamin, there's a way more effective method.
Using your fingers as a cleansing tool isn't wrong, but Benjamin prefers a damp washcloth or facial towel. The texture helps remove dirt more effectively than your hands can; plus, it wipes away suds faster and more easily than forever splashing water on your face. Bonus: You won't wind up with puddles on your bathroom floor.
Another good rule of thumb: "If you’re using up your facial cleanser in a month, you’re probably using too much," Benjamin says. "A six-ounce cleanser should last you four, five months." Like shampoo, more isn't necessarily better.
You've likely read at length about the benefits of serums — they infuse a large dose of active ingredients into your skin, and you can tailor them to your unique needs.
That said, sometimes those trusty elixirs alone just can't get the job done. If your skin doesn't seem to be cooperating, layer a boosting agent, like Elizabeth Arden's SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster, underneath your regular serum or moisturizer. It helps skin look healthier by fortifying its natural ability to repair and renew, all while amping up the benefits of the rest of your regimen to make it more effective. Think of it as the skin-care equivalent of an extra shot in your morning latte.
Cotton or paper masks are ubiquitous these days — they're cheap, they're effective, and they make for the perfect Insta pic. What makes them so amazing is that they're essentially drenched in different serums, and those active ingredients have nowhere to go but right into your skin.
While it's true that a mask does a good deal of work, there are things you can do pre-mask to better absorb its benefits. The first is to make your face a clean canvas by exfoliating, says Benjamin. This rids your skin of dead cells, making it more receptive to all those potent, good-for-you ingredients. A 10-minute steam beforehand can also work your mask to its max. It'll hydrate and soften your skin, so it becomes more receptive.
According to Webber, the first rule of foundation isn't even about the makeup itself — it's timing. "Make sure you allow 5 to 15 minutes for your skin-care products to soak in," she says. "If you apply foundation right [on top of] your skin-care products, it’s gonna slide right off."
To get the most out of your foundation, warm a dime-sized amount between your fingers so it spreads easily. Then use a combination of swiping and patting movements, starting from the center of your face and working outward. This directs the most product where skin tends to be uneven, like around the nose and under the eyes. Which leads us to...