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Four-step Skin Care with Shauntavia Ward

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Shauntavia Ward shares her simple skin-care regimen for healthy, happy skin.

By Shauntavia Ward, Photo by Heather Halbert

Spring has sprung and it’s time to exfoliate and prep your complexion for a sun-kissed, natural glow. Every skin-care regimen is built on four simple steps that create the foundation for healthy, happy skin.

STEP 1: CLEANSE

Cleansers wash the day away and offer you a fresh canvas for your routine. Ideally, the most beneficial cleansers will remove makeup, dead skin cells, oil, dirt and pollutants, while simultaneously prepping your skin to reap the benefits of all the goodness to follow. A stripped, tight sensation in the skin may indicate a cleanser is too harsh for you.

Ingredients we love to see:

Water, green tea, activated charcoal, tea tree, jojoba, fruit enzymes, colloidal oatmeal, manuka honey

Take it to the next level:

Consider using an oil cleanser just before your regular cleanser. Oil cleansers include a combination of oils that work synergistically to break down buildup in the pores, so your water-based cleanser doesn’t have to work as hard. This is a happy balance in facial cleansing and an excellent choice for oily skin.

Esthetician pro tip:

Avoid face wipes, brushes or tools that could potentially disrupt the skin barrier during the cleansing process. Clean hands are the most gentle and effective skin-care “tools.”

STEP 2: TONE

Toners are an underrated yet easy-to-use product that can elevate your whole skin-care regimen. More than just an astringent, good toners reduce inflammation, hydrate the skin and balance its pH. Everything in skin care is chemistry. When the skin’s pH is balanced, it better soaks up the serums and moisturizers that follow. If your skin burns or feels dry after toning, consider an alcohol-free option with gentle, nourishing ingredients.

Ingredients we love to see:

Aloe, witch hazel, rose water, flower extracts, vitamins, geranium, cucumber

Take it to the next level:

Two words: hydrosol toner. Hydrosols are floral waters created from the distillation of plants. A byproduct of essential oils, hydrosols contain the plant’s immune system and have a robust affinity for healing and nourishing skin.

Esthetician pro tip:

Get a hydrosol toner into your routine today and keep it in the fridge for a cool, refreshing mist. Cool temperatures help bring down inflammation in the skin.

STEP 3: MOISTURIZE

Moisturizers are an essential step in maintaining optimal skin health. Moisturizers allow the stratum corneum, the skin’s outermost layer, to protect and hydrate the layers beneath. Think of moisturizers as your skin’s defense against the environment. When skin is moisturized, the stratum corneum functions properly to protect and provide a thriving environment for your skin to flourish. When the stratum corneum is disrupted, you can expect dry, itchy and irritated skin. All skin types and conditions can benefit from a moisturizer.

Ingredients we love to see:

Glycerin, honey, hyaluronic acid, hempseed oil, calendula, ceramides, rosehip

Take it to the next level:

Consider layering on a serum just before you moisturize. Serums are typically lightweight and packed with active ingredients that deeply penetrate and target specific skin concerns. Serums are fun, and vitamin C is a cult favorite.

Esthetician pro tip:

If you’re no longer wearing a winter coat, why should your skin? With increased heat and humidity, opt for a lightweight gel or lotion moisturizer.

STEP 4: SUNSCREEN

The most important thing you can do for your skin is protect it from the sun by all means necessary. Unprotected exposure to the sun and its damaging UV rays cause early signs of wise skin. Think fine lines, loss of elasticity and sun spots way before your wise years. Most importantly, sun-damaged skin increases the risk of developing skin cancer. So, incorporate sunscreen into your regimen like your life depends on it, because it does!

Ingredients we love to see:

Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

Take it to the next level:

Wide-brim hats, large sunglasses, long sleeves and anything that physically shields your skin from the sun and its harmful UV rays will provide additional protection. You know, skin care but make it fashion.

Esthetician pro tip:

The first step in treating hyperpigmentation is sun protection. The sun stimulates melanin production and can increase the appearance of sun spots, melasma, acne scars and freckles. Frequent use of sunscreen is your secret weapon against hyperpigmentation.

Shauntavia Ward is a nurse practitioner, licensed esthetician and the founder of eleMint Skin Health & Wellness Studio.


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