Fashion Week Skincare Pros Share the 5 Most Common Mistakes You’re Making With Your Routine

A model has moisturizer mask applied to her face backstage before presenting a creation by Carolina Herrera Fall/Winter collection during New York Fashion Week February 16, 2015 in New York

Backstage at any fashion show, you’ll find a dense sea of frenzied makeup artists, hair stylists, nail techs, and stage crew trying to check off every box on their to-do list within a very compact timeline. If the models are lucky, you may find another category of experts within the cloud of hairspray: skincare pros. 

Special attention to skincare isn’t a given at every show, but when it is, models look extra radiant on the runway. That’s no small feat in such a high-pressure environment — especially considering that the models’ complexions are often sensitized from the assembly line-like experience of makeup application backstage. However, you’d never know it, thanks to the complexion experts backstage! To gain some of their knowledge, we seized the opportunity to talk to a handful of skincare pros while doing the New York Fashion WeekTM circuit, and zeroed in on one question: What are the most common skincare mistakes people make on a regular basis?  

Major Skincare Mistake #1: Skipping Active Ingredients Like Retinol  

Your body does an OK job of repairing itself at night, but a carefully-selected skincare regimen could really help expedite the repair process while you sleep, says celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas, who we spoke to us backstage at the Rebecca Minkoff® show. “People expect the body to repair itself naturally without helping it along a little, but it’s great to use something like a retinol at night to assist that process of collagen repair and regeneration,” she explains. “It’s also important to use hydrating formulas so that you’re super hydrated when you wake up.” Retinol can notoriously cause sensitivity and dryness, especially if your complexion isn’t used to it. Try the retinol sandwich technique, which can help lock in hydration, and learn more about how to use retinol on sensitive skin here.

[Editor's note: Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]

Major Skincare Mistake #2: Not Washing Your Face Adequately

Not everybody washes their face at night, which I find terrifying,” says Vargas. Cleansing your skin every evening is just as important as brushing your teeth, she explains. It rinses away gunk and product from the day, plus allows your skin to better absorb the actives that are in your nighttime products.

Rosalyn Demesa, an educator for K-Beauty brand Mamonde®, agrees. She adds that it’s important to not just wash your face, but to wash it well. “A lot of people just cleanse with one foamy cleanser and then use a lot of makeup wipes to try to get everything else off, but they’re not really removing their waterproof makeup or foundation,” she told us backstage at Alice + Olivia®. “Cleanser alone isn’t going to get rid of foundation. You need a proper makeup remover to get everything off.”

The most thorough way to wash your face is by doing a double cleanse. Start by using a cleansing balm or oil such as the nourishing ELEMIS® Pro-CollagenTM Cleansing Balm ($64), which will grab onto the oils found in your skincare products and makeup. Then, wash your face again with a gel or foam (we like Lancôme® Miel-En-MousseTM, $40) to remove any residue.

Major Skincare Mistake #3: Rushing Your Regimen

We tend to speed through our skincare regimen in the name of getting out the door on time, but Vargas notes that it’s important to take time to really massage the products you’re using into your skin.

“I like to do a lymphatic drainage eye massage whenever I put on eye cream at night so that I wake up depuffed in the morning,” she shares. “The easiest way to do it is to just pinch around the eye. It takes literally seven seconds. It’s a great way to care for yourself, and it really helps keep your eyes looking bright in the morning.”

[Editor’s note: If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor before doing lymphatic drainage.]

You can apply the same concept to the rest of your skin, the pro adds. If you want to get real fancy, you can even look into lymphatic drainage techniques. “It helps the skin look contoured, depuffed, and like you’ve slept enough,” she says. “There are different hand techniques from all around the world, and you don’t need a roller or other tool to do it. It’s a quick and easy technique anyone can do at home.” That said, a crystal gua sha does make facial massage even simpler. Be sure to glide your tool away from the center of the face and down the neck for best results.

Major Skincare Mistake #4: Not Using a Toner or Serum

“One of the biggest skincare mistakes that I see most often is that people aren’t using a product with a watery texture — like a toner, emulsion, or serum — after their cleansing and before they put on moisturizer,” remarks Demesa. “They’ll slap on moisturizer or an oil and call it a day, but your skin has layers, so when you’re just putting something on top, you’re not really treating the layers underneath.”

She used a layered cake metaphor to explain it better. We put frosting in between each layer of a tiered cake to keep it moist and delicious; if we just dumped the cake onto a plate and put frosting on top, then the inside would get dry. In the same sense, you should layer your skincare with different textures to hydrate your skin, then top it off with a moisturizer or oil to lock all that moisture in. For maximum hydration benefits, consider trying the 7 Skin Method, a K-Beauty technique that relies on the application of seven layers of toner before the rest of your skincare routine to keep your complexion moist.

Major Skincare Mistake #5: Forgetting the Other 98 Percent of Your Body

Our faces are out there for the world to see, so it makes sense that we prioritize facial skincare. That said, the rest of our body makes up about 98 percent of the same organ.

“People tend to neglect whatever is covered under clothing, but it’s important to take care of that unexposed skin, as well,” explains Alina Gurcinaite, an esthetician for Kariné Kazarian Spa℠ who was backstage with Bawdy® Beauty at Chromat®. “One of the best things you can do for the skin on the rest of your body is exfoliation every couple days. You can do this with a chemical or physical product.” Regular exfoliation will help promote cellular turnover, resulting in smoother, firmer skin. Try the SLMD® Skincare Glycolic Acid Body Scrub ($35) — it features powerful glycolic acid, as well as exfoliating granules to slough away dead skin.

Gurcinaite notes that full body moisturization — after every shower! — is also really important. Showering causes us to strip away some of the natural oils on our skin, she notes, so we need to moisturize right away to help rehydrate, rebalance, and replenish the protective barrier. We’re fond of Hempz® Herbal Body Moisturizer ($23), which contains hemp seed oil and shea butter to lock in deep hydration. Once you’ve started ramping up your body care routine, learn how else you can pamper your body like your face here.

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