We asked an expert IMAGE Skincare Educator to share how to build the ideal skincare routine—which products to use, and in what order— to achieve your healthiest skin.
Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, but if you’re serious about achieving your skin’s healthiest state, it’s best to consult with a pro. We called upon top International IMAGE Skincare Educator, Jennifer Ahartz, for sage advice on game-changing products, the correct skincare steps, recommended skincare order, and treatments to take your skincare routine to the next level.
A PRO KNOWS: ESTHETICIAN EXPERTISE
Achieving healthy skin is not rocket science, but it does require effort and consistency. A holistic skincare routine is essential to maintain a healthy complexion and prevent ageing, breakouts, and other skin concerns. But with so many products and routines on the market, choosing the one meant for you can be overwhelming. So, we turned to Jennifer Ahartz, IMAGE Skincare International Educator and pro esthetician for over 19 years, for her recommendations on the ideal skincare routine to achieve that perfect glow, faster.
“Achieving healthy, glowing skin shouldn’t feel like a chore. When we’re exhausted and have a million things on our to do list (trust me, I know) we tend to forget or put off taking care of our skin – but our skin needs the attention it deserves. Try our Core 4 skincare approach along with my recommended tips – and you and your skin will be very thankful you did.”
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SKIN TYPE AND SKIN CONDITION
Before we dive into creating the ideal skincare routine, knowing your skin type and skin condition are the first steps. Think of skin type as your baseline. It’s dictated by your genetics. Ultimately, understanding your skin type will dictate which products to use, how your skin will react, and what treatments will get the best results without causing irritation.
Consider your skin condition an added layer to your skin type. A skin condition can be treated, and in certain cases, prevented, with the right products. Common skin conditions include breakouts, dehydration, premature ageing, and uneven skin tone. When you’re dealing with skin conditions, it’s important to take your skin type into consideration to put a total skincare game plan together.
You can’t change your skin type, but you can manage it with the right products.
Oily skin produces an excess amount of sebum/oil and should be managed with lightweight products that contain oil absorbing ingredients.
Balanced skin isn’t necessarily oily nor dry and should be managed with balancing products to maintain healthy skin.
Combination skin is oily in the t-zone and balanced everywhere else. It should be managed (in these specific areas) with both oil absorbing and balancing products.
Dry skin produces little to no sebum/oil and should be managed with products that are more nourishing and oil based.
Sensitive skin experiences fluctuations of redness and irritation and should be managed with calming, soothing, and repairing products.
Your skin conditions can be treated, and in certain cases, prevented, with the right skincare ingredients.
Dehydrated skin: Moisture depletion calls for water-based, hydrating products containing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, Tremella mushroom, various extracts, and essential vitamins.
Hyperpigmented skin: Uneven skin tone requires brightening products containing ingredients such as plant and botanical extracts, peptides, and essential vitamins.
Premature ageing skin: Accelerated skin ageing needs rejuvenating products containing ingredients such as retinol, hydroxy acids, peptides, vitamins, and plant stem cells.
Breakout-prone skin: Congestion and breakouts need clearing and purifying products containing ingredients such as salicylic acid, BPO, Bakuchiol and astringent clays.
Sensitised skin: Sensitivity calls for calming and repairing products containing ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, and various other soothing botanical extracts.
CORE 4 SKINCARE
To achieve and maintain your healthiest skin, IMAGE Skincare developed the ‘Core 4’ approach. This easy-to-adopt regimen consists of four foundational products—cleanser, serum, SPF moisturiser, and crème—to address your unique skin type and skin conditions. Proper skincare layering is also key, so make sure to apply these products in the order above. Last, certain products are more effective for nighttime versus day, which Jennifer explains below.
YOUR AM AND PM SKINCARE ROUTINE SHOULD DIFFER, HERE’S WHY:
“During the day, our skin’s oil production is at its highest and it’s exposed to pollution and harmful UV rays. At this time, our skin needs lighter products infused with antioxidants and SPF to help defend and protect it. At night our skin produces less oil and goes into repair mode, which means it needs more nourishing products with vitamins and peptides to help restore and counteract the harmful effects of the day.”
Step 1: Cleanse (AM/PM)
The first step in any skincare routine is proper cleansing. Choose a cleanser that is best suited for your specific skin concern. “A universal cleanser designed for all skin types (and my personal favourite) is our MAX™ Facial Cleanser. It’s gentle, sulfate-free, and provides a thorough cleanse that gently sweeps away makeup and impurities – skin is left refreshed without over stripping.”
Step 2: Treat (AM/PM)
The treatment step targets more specific skin concerns, such as dehydration, fine lines, dark spots, or breakouts. There are many targeted serums and spot treatments available, so choose one that best suits your skin’s specific needs. “I recommend our bestseller – the VITAL C Hydrating Anti-Ageing Serum – because it is a multi-beneficial, supercharged serum that’s great for all skin types!”
Step 3: Moisturise + Protect (AM)
This is an essential skincare step to keep you hydrated and protected from the sun’s harmful rays. “I cannot get enough of our Prevention+ collection. Not only do these products provide you with broad-spectrum UV protection, but they also moisturise and defend the skin with powerful antioxidants. IMAGE offers a variety of formulas to suit everyone’s skin type and preference.”
Step 3: Crème (PM)
Nighttime moisturisation is key for nourishing skin while it’s in recovery and repair mode. “IMAGE has created a variety of nourishing crèmes to choose from, so select yours based on your specific skin concern. If you’re unsure of which one to pick, a great crème for all skin types is our ORMEDIC Balancing Biopeptide Crème. This nightly repair formula helps to balance skin with botanical butters and peptides to help improve and support healthy, luminous skin.”
If you’re a skincare veteran looking to maximise results, skin cycling your AM/PM products can enhance your skincare routine. The trending less-is-more approach has been endorsed by dermatologists and is taking the TikTok world by storm. It’s a great way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your products without stripping or causing unnecessary irritation.
PRO SKINCARE ADD-ONS
Interested in taking your glow to the next level? Jennifer suggests adding these products to upgrade your skincare routine…
“To reveal smoother, brighter skin, exfoliants are a must. They remove dead skin cells so your skin can absorb leave-on products more effectively, enhancing hydration and maximising results. Make sure to follow your chosen exfoliant guidelines on frequency of use to avoid irritation.
Masks are also a fantastic addition to your skincare routine to reset and rejuvenate your skin. IMAGE offers several based on skin type and concern, so finding the right mask suited for your goals should be easy.
The skin around our eyes is thinner than the rest of our face, so eye creams are essential. We need to hydrate and protect this delicate area. Whether you have dark circles, fine lines, or puffiness – IMAGE has an eye product to target each, or several concerns at once.
Your lips need moisture too. Our ORMEDIC Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex keeps them hydrated, smooth and visibly plump day and night. FYI – it’s a Hailey Bieber favourite, and I don’t blame her because it’s pretty amazing and I can’t live without it!”
PRO LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR GREAT SKIN
In addition to the necessary skincare steps, targeted products, and powerful add-ons, maintaining a beautiful glow calls for a healthy lifestyle. Jennifer weighs in with her pro tips:
“Hydrate. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day helps skin stay hydrated from the inside out. Also, optimise your diet by consuming foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins to support healthy skin. Last, sleep at least 8 hours a night to allow your skin time to repair and regenerate for that gorgeous morning glow.”
NO TIME TO VISIT A PRO? TAKE OUR SKIN QUIZ
We recommend visiting your local IMAGE Pro to ensure the best in personal attention, but if time doesn’t permit, you can still benefit from professionally curated skincare by taking our skin quiz. Answer a few quick questions and IMAGE will recommend products specifically designed for your needs, instantly.
THE POWER OF SKINCARE SOLUTION SETS
Looking for the all-in-one skincare package? Our skincare solution sets are the answer. Each set has been formulated by physicians to treat key skincare concerns. (Pro Tip: Sets include a 15% savings over buying each product a la carte). Read on to select the ideal set for you.
Our Dark Spot and Uneven Tone Set is ideal for pesky pigmentation. It contains brightening and exfoliating agents to refine and tone skin. Featuring an illuminating cleanser, botanically enhanced serum, a sheer, daily SPF moisturiser, and powerful crème that boosts radiance and clarity in uneven skin.
Our Dryness + Hydration Set delivers long lasting moisture thirsty skin needs. It includes a nourishing facial cleanser, a potent serum packed with four forms of vitamin C to brighten, tighten, and smooth, and the ultimate protection moisturiser with SPF 50. For nighttime, our hydrating repair cream with hyaluronic acid and ceramides boost hydration and lock in moisture.
For acne-prone skin, our Blemish Defense Set soothes and clears the dermal layer without stripping. It includes a refreshing cleanser that gently lathers away excess oil and sebum, plus a soothing serum to fight the appearance of surface shine. Next, the clarifying acne lotion helps kill acne-causing bacteria and reduces blemishes. Last, our daily matte moisturiser protects the skin against harmful UV rays.
Mature skin will benefit from our Loss of Firmness Set, which includes a facial cleanser powered by plant cell extracts, a powerful serum with AHAs and peptides that targets signs of ageing, and a sheer daily SPF 50 moisturiser. Last, the overnight crème with plant cell extracts nourishes and hydrates the skin.
If rosacea or sensitivity is an issue, our Redness and Sensitivity Set calms the skin beautifully. Our fresh vitamin C cleanser gently removes impurities, while the balancing serum protects the skin against environmental stressors. In the morning, finish with multi-action SPF 30 for the ultimate daily protection. At bedtime, apply the ultra-hydrating repair crème with a blend of hyaluronic acid and ceramides to soothe sensitivity and lock in moisture.
In conclusion, the ideal skincare routine is more than skin deep. A holistic approach will lead to greater benefits—such as optimising your AM/PM routine, cleansing, treating, moisturising, and using powerful add-ons to round out your regimen. Lifestyle matters too, so eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and get adequate sleep for the best results. Consistency is key, so stay diligent about your skincare routine to ensure your healthiest glow now, and for years to come.