Every article, tutorial, video, blurb, meme, and brochure that talks about skincare misses one critical but very true thing: nobody wants to do it. Everybody already has a million things to do. When I start my day, I honestly feel like I’ve been shot out of a cannon. This late due notice came in the mail, my mom is calling about some issue with my grandpa, the dog threw up a little, these emails need answering, that appointment needs confirming. There are so many things that demand my attention. I feel like, “I don’t have time to exfoliate and put vitamin C serum on my face right now!” It’s a hassle, a burden, a nuisance—a chore. Whatever your skincare routine is—whichever products you’ve found are best for you—you probably don’t exactly enjoy doing it. Or, look, maybe once you dive in, you find it kind of relaxing. But just getting started feels like such a task. And your skincare won’t yell at you for ignoring it the way a roommate, family member, or boss will. It’s really easy to ignore your skincare routine. Well, until you notice your eyes looking saggy and those fine lines becoming not-so-fine. So, what do we do about it? How do we address the never-ending issue of needing to care for our skin but always feeling it’s a hassle? There are some things you can do that will make you more likely to do your skincare regiment each night, without having to talk yourself into it.
Keep your evening routine simple
Find a way to simplify and minimize your evening skincare routine. Nighttime is the hardest for skincare—you’re so tired and you just want to pass out. So take a look at your evening products, and see if there are some available that combine a few. I know for me, for example, finding a moisturizer that contained hyaluronic acid meant I could use one product instead of two. Finding an exfoliating face wash meant I didn’t have to wash my face, and then exfoliate.
Retrace your steps
Really think about your day and where you’ve been. The subway. That dusty hiking trail. Those polluted city streets. That greasy diner where oil just seemed to emulate from the walls. Now think about how all of that gunk is in your face—trapped in the crevices and pores. You’ll probably feel compelled to wash your face then. You won’t want to wait another minute until you can clean your skin.
Do it before you get tired
Change up your routine. If you wait until you’re falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV to even begin your skincare routine, you’ll just skip it and pass out. When you find yourself up and about, prepping dinner or talking to your partner, begin your face washing routine. It doesn’t have to happen in the immediate minutes before bedtime. Anywhere in the couple of hours before bedtime will still yield the effects you need.
In fact, don’t get horizontal before you do it
If you can avoid it, just don’t get horizontal before doing your skincare routine in the evening. That means not sprawling out on the couch, cozying up with your dog and a TV show, and not getting in bed with your partner to cuddle—not until you’ve done your skincare. Lying down tells the body it’s time to go to sleep and will bring on the exhaustion.
Do it with your partner
Make a pact to handle your skincare with your partner. Men need to moisturize, exfoliate, and all of that fun stuff, too (even if they don’t like to admit it). So set a time when you both stop what you’re doing, and do your skincare routine together. It’s kind of a cute and fun bonding experience to stand side by side with funny pasty masks on your faces.
Position your products strategically
If your products are hard to get to, then you won’t use them. So organize them together, and in a good place. Don’t have one in the shower in one bathroom, two in a cabinet in the other bathroom, and one in your purse. If you have a product that you like to bring in the car and have at home, then just get two of them, and keep one in your car and one in your bathroom. Realizing you need to walk down to your car to get that moisturizer at 10pm could be the reason you don’t use it.
Keep easy headbands nearby
Sometimes, the hassle of getting your hair out of your face is enough to make you quit on the whole face-washing thing. Have a little hook by your sink where you hang up a few simple, elastic headbands that you can just put on in one easy motion and pull all of your hair out of your face.
I personally benefit from a little visual inspiration. I play a YouTube video of someone doing her skincare routine, and between the bright lights and fun music, it inspires me to get out my products and do the same. Listening to the person in the video talk about the benefits of the products further motivates me to use them.
Do it in the shower
Do whatever part of your skincare routine that you can do in the shower. You’re already in there with moist skin, ready for product. And if you have product that must sit for a moment, it’s much more pleasant to do that with warm water pouring onto your back. You can multi-task, too: let that product sit while you shave your legs.
Have one easy day a week
Give yourself a break one day a week. On that day, you can just use some really nice cleansing wipes. That’s it. Give your face a nice wipe down, letting it feel clean and fresh, and let it be. Add a moisturizer if you want, but that’s it. Knowing that this day is coming will encourage you to do the more in-depth routine throughout the week.
Do it between other tasks
I personally love to multi-task—I practically get off on it. If that sounds like you, then do that with your skincare routine. This is what I do: I finish dinner, and immediately go wash my face. Then, as I let it air dry I bit, I clean some dishes. Then I go add my serum. As that sits, I tidy up around the house. Then I add my moisturizer, and as I let that settle, do my final chores before getting in bed. It’s much more satisfying than standing in front the mirror, waiting for your products to settle.
Stick to a schedule
Like with anything in life, making a routine habit of something is how you’ll actually stick to it. You have your time you go to the gym, your time you prep food, and your time you clean. So set a time that you clean your face. Maybe it’s first thing when you wake up, or when you’re waiting for your coffee to brew. Maybe it’s when you walk in the door from work at night, or while your food is in the oven.
Put on a favorite show
We get so few moments to just relax, unwind, and watch a good show. I personally hate having my skincare routine get in the way of precious relaxation moments. So sometimes I just prop my laptop open on top of my toilet, put on a show, and leisurely do my skincare routine while watching a favorite program. Just make sure not to get any water on your laptop.
Make your products presentable
Presentation is everything. The right presentation makes us want to buy that dress, eat that food, go in that store—you name it. Give your products a pretty tray to stand on. Put a little vase of flowers on it. Transfer them from their boring plastic containers into some pretty reusable ones. Make them look appealing to you.
Post a pretty picture of yourself on the mirror
One where you look glowing and fresh-faced. Perhaps this was right after a facial or just doing your simple skincare routine at home. When you look in the mirror after a long day and see that you don’t look like that, you’ll want to do something about it. You also know that you owe it to yourself to look like that, because you can.