Solar radiation, pollution, cigarette smoke, temperature changes and makeup cause the skin to become aged, dehydrated and dull. Fortunately, it’s very simple and somewhat delicious to keep your skin away from all this.

You just have to commit! EVERY NIGHT. Good skin cleansing, combined with the right cosmetics can ensure you balance oiliness and offer your skin much more protection.

Step 1: Remove makeup

Soap, no matter how great, is not enough. To remove all of your makeup you must have a good make-up remover in hand. My favorite and most used is the Bi-Facil by Lancôme. For those heavy makeup days I use my Dermablend LongWear Makeup Remover.

Spread the product of your choice with a cotton cloth, massaging it all over, until the cotton has no traces of dirt, foundation, eyeshadow or blush.

Makeup wipes are a good call for those lazy days so you don’t have any excuses! I always have my trusty (and budget friendly) Neutrogena wipes, but lately I have been loving Shiseido wipes, the refreshing cleansing sheets. It literally takes me less then a minute to erase my game face!

Step 2: Wash away

Do not even think about using body soap on your face. Liquid or bar, body soaps are more abrasive and tend to increase oil production on your delicate, facial skin, increasing your chances of having blackheads and pimples. Ask your dermatologist for a cleanser suitable for your skin type. The ones with a more astringent characteristic are for oily skin types while a more moisturizing and gentle type is best for skin more on the dry side. These products go deep, removing impurities like makeup you haven’t removed, excess oiliness and dead skin cells, all thanks to active agents that work with water to lift away the bad stuff without leaving your face feeling striped. I like my NormaDerm from Vichy.

Just read carefully the instructions of each specific product, especially when it comes to the amount of time you can let the product sit on the skin. Otherwise, itching, scaling and even red spots can come your way (and nobody wants that).

Step 3: Exfoliate 

Twice a week, apply something specifically to remove dead skin cells. You generally remove some while cleansing, but take the time twice a week to really get in there. Some brands have exfoliating masks that can both exfoliate and nourish. The more care the better! This step will leave your skin much brighter and free of those black spots that, if not removed, tend to become blackheads.

I have two big time favorites in this category. The Clarins Gentle Peeling Smooth Away Cream. The Vasanti Brighten Up! enzymatic face rejuvenator is enriched with papaya and aloe vera. This last one is made with 99% natural ingredients and I just love it!

Step 4: Decongest the eye area

This tip is especially dedicated to those who suffer with dark circles. After your cleansing ritual, hold a sache of chilled chamomile tea over each eye. It takes ten minutes a day and you’ll notice the progressive whitening of the region in a few weeks. Easy, cheap and effective! For more intense cases, a vitamin K based cream can do wonders! I am addicted to my Doctor Babor Derma Cellular Eye Cream.

Step 5: Work on your problem areas

If you have a tendency to suffer from acne or blemishes, enjoy the evening to use products that work on those issues. The same goes for creams that prevent wrinkles and sagging (especially in the under eye and neck areas). Bring on the acids and serums! Because of their strong ingredients, these formulas can generally only be used when there is no solar radiation. Just be sure to wash your face thoroughly and remove the product when you wake up!

I alternate a few products in my search for perfection. For wrinkles a must is Retinol! If you don’t know what it is you should. I use a physician directed serum from Di Morelli, the Retinol Serum. For my dark spots I use a Zo Medical by Zein Obagi product called Melamix. It has Hydroquinone as an active ingredient to brighten.

Step 6: Hydrate

A good moisturizer is essential for maintaining skin health, no matter what skin type you are! Yes, oily skin I’m talking to you. Moisturizing is, second to cleansing, the best thing you can do for your skin! There are a lot of different types of moisturizers out there and you can choose the one that better suits you, a gel, a lotion or even a serum consistency. My absolute “can’t live without” favorite moisturizer is my Doctor Babor Collagen Booster Cream. On days in which I want to go that extra mile I use Onsen’s Tenseless Cream. It gives you the famous Cinderella effect that reduces the look of wrinkles drastically for a day.

Don’t forget that moisturizing also works from the inside out, so drink lots of water and keep those minerals and vitamins in check in your diet. Another important step: rest! Now that your skin has been cleansed, treated and moisturized it needs rest to let the products sink in and do their magic!