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The Birchbox Guide To: Reaching Your Skincare Goals

Cleanse, treat, moisturise, protect: the basics to a good skincare routine. While there are plenty of options that cater to any skin type, if you have specific skincare goals in mind (brightening undereye circles, restoring your glow, or nixing breakouts, to name a few), you may need to incorporate products with certain ingredients into your routine to make your skin look and feel its very best. Below, we identify some of the most common concerns so you can build the ideal routine.

How To: Brighten Dull Skin

There’s good news: dullness is pretty easy to deal with. First, make sure you’re exfoliating on a regular basis. Then, use a facial treatment packed with vitamin C. “Vitamin C brightens skin by promoting collagen growth, speeding cell turnover, and improving skin tone,” says Michele Farber, MD, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. And, because it’s an antioxidant, vitamin C protects skin against free radicals, molecules that damage collagen and elastin and can lead to dark spots.

For Your Treatment Step, Try: BeautyPro BRIGHTENING Collagen Sheet Mask with Vitamin C
How to Use It: Once a week, apply the mask to dry skin after cleansing. Leave it on for 15 minutes, discard it, and then massage any remaining serum into your skin. (No rinsing necessary!)

How To: Hydrate Dry Skin

Dry skin is a two-part problem. Not only does your skin not contain enough moisture, but your protective moisture barrier may also be too weak to hold in any hydration that you add. “It’s important to repair the skin barrier to properly hydrate your skin, as it’s more sensitive to the environment and can be extremely irritated until the barrier is healed,” explains Dr. Farber. She recommends using gentle moisturisers to get your skin back to a balanced state. Look for one that pairs deeply moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid (which can hold up to 1000x times its weight in moisture) with those that heal the moisture barrier. Not only will you be less likely to have redness (or other signs of sensitivity), but your skin will feel more comfortable, too.

For Your Moisturiser Step, Try: GLAMGLOW Waterburst™ Hydrated Glow Moisturiser
How to Use It: After cleansing and treating your skin, apply it all over your face morning and night.

How To: Mattify Oily Skin

If your skin turns into a grease slick by mid-afternoon, know this: you’re definitely not alone. And with astringent ingredients, you don’t have to worry about hiding the shine all day. “Products with astringent properties help get rid of excess oil on the skin and may contain certain alcohols to help dissolve oil,” says Dr. Farber. “But be careful that you are not drying your skin too much, as excessively dry skin can get irritated and become breakout prone.” To avoid drying out your skin, cleanse with non-alcohol astringents such as fruit extracts and check to make sure they contain moisturising ingredients, like sodium PCA or glycerin.

For Your Cleanser Step, Try: NUXE Aquabella® Micro-Exfoliating Purifying Gel
How to Use It: Morning and night, massage a coin-sized amount into damp skin. Gently rinse with warm water and pat dry.

How To: Clear Up Congested Skin

So you woke up with a new breakout. (Of course!) While many factors contribute to acne, bacteria is a big one. “Bacteria can cause inflammation, which can lead to bad acne,” says Dr. Farber. “But over-the-counter products, like benzoyl peroxide, can help calm skin and reduce breakouts.” If benzoyl peroxide is too irritating or drying on your skin (as is often the case), opt for a gentler formula that contains naturally anti-inflammatory ingredients, like eucalyptus. Or, if you have the time and no time to wait, make an appointment with a derm. “Cortisone injections in the dermatologist’s office work by reducing inflammation,” says Dr. Farber. “This is especially great for cystic pimples as it helps prevent scarring by healing more quickly.”

For Your Treatment Step, Try: Balance Me Congested Skin Serum
How to Use It: Smooth a thin layer onto skin after cleansing morning and night, or use as a spot treatment by dabbing directly onto pimples. Follow with moisturiser.

How To: Hide Dark Undereye Circles

If eight hours of sleep isn’t exactly a reality for you, no sweat: Dark circles are surprisingly easy to remedy. While moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid are always a plus, the combination of peptides and caffeine can also work wonders. “Peptides bring water to the undereye to hydrate bags and banish dark circles,” explains Dr. Farber. “And caffeine helps constrict blood vessels, soothe sensitive undereye skin, improve darkness, and reduce fine lines.” An eye cream that’s tinted will not only conceal dark circles on the spot, but will also treat them throughout the day.

For Your Treatment Step, Try: This Works light time open eyes
How to Use It: Just before applying make-up in the morning, dab beneath your eyes and blend out with the rollerball.

– Deanna Pai