Trick Your Mind Into a Good Skincare Routine

If you feel like you'll never be able to follow a skin-care regimen, think again. No, really, *think* again.

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Stress Can Help Form Good Habits

When you're stressed out, the chances of doing anything on-task seems almost impossible. But, that could actually be the best time to start streamlining any routine—and that includes your skin-care lineup.

Wait, don't panic just yet! Photograph courtesy of Getty Images
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"Having a routine is soothing, but when people are stressed out they tend to throw their typical routines out the window [because they] feel like they don't have time," says Dr. Amy Wechsler, a New York City-based dermatologist and psychiatrist. "That's never good because you start to feel bad, and your skin might not look as good because of breakouts and such," she adds.

"During a period of stress, if you maintain a routine, it helps you feel like you're taking care of yourself and taking back some of that control during a time where things may feel uncontrollable."

"If you start things out positively and take care of yourself at the beginning of the day, you can build upon positives for the rest of the day, too."

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Get a heart-pumping walk or run in to get some endorphins kicking, and make sure you're treating your skin with cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliator, and sunscreen, all of which will help make your complexion appear as if your life isn't so chaotic.

Follow the 3 to 5 Minute Rule

Start timing your routines and see where you fall! Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

As mentioned, Dr. Wechsler suggests limiting your skin-care regimen to three to five minutes. "People feel like they don't have time to practice good skin-care habits, especially while stressed or traveling," she says. "You can moisturize your entire body in under a minute, and you can definitely take care of your face and apply quick makeup in under five." It will be hard at first to get things done within those time constraints, but once you practice (ahem, like a ritual) you will be surprised at how efficient you can become.

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Speaking of Which, Try Something for 3 Days

Following a ritual throughout a 3-day period is key. "Once you do something for a couple of days, you tend to get into a habit, and that goes for anything," Dr. Wechsler says. "I'm not saying try it forever—because that can be overwhelming for people who feel like they can't change—but try something for 3 days, at least."

"During a period of stress, if you maintain a routine, it helps you feel like you're taking care of yourself and taking back some of that control during a time where things may feel uncontrollable."

Don't worry, you won't have to start waking up at 6 a.m. every day—Wechsler suggest not to stake too much on what time of day you dedicate to your routine. "It just depends on what your routine is during the day," she says. "And on the weekend, a routine could start later than it would on a weekday."

Don't Go Changing Your Products


This is the only point in your life where you truly want to remain basic. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

When you're adapting to a new skin-care habit, don't feel as if you need to spend a ton of cash on loads of products. "People don't have to do really expensive, involved routines," Dr. Wechsler says, adding that just having the basics—cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen—should suffice. "Whether they're drugstore or high-end, stick to them and don't change them." Oh, and this is where that whole, "don't use random products in a hotel," comes in, because even the slightest change can throw off your game.

Focus on the Positive

"Little positives beget more positives," Dr. Wechsler says. "Just think: If you wake up with a bad hair day, or a bad skin day, it's probably going to mess up your mood for the whole day, and even change your body language, and how you interact with the world."
Can washing your face make you…happier? Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

But a routine could help you avoid any #moods you don't want to be experiencing on a daily basis. "If you start things out positively and take care of yourself at the beginning of the day," says Dr. Wechsler, "you can build upon positives for the rest of the day, too."

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