Every person should have a skin care routine. It doesn’t have to be 12 steps (unless you want it to be!) but even giving your skin a little love can do some good.

Don’t know where to start? I gotchu.

1.) Identify your concerns. Does your skin feel tight? Does your makeup slide off of your face by noon? Are you worried when the lines around your mouth linger just a little too long? Figure out what you’re looking to treat on your face and go from there. To be fair, most routines should revolve around cleansing, treating and moisturizing. From there, you can customized what and how you want to use it.

2.) Find the right products. This can be the most daunting. There are so many products and SO many opinions and it can be overwhelming just to start shopping. The best thing you can do is be informed. Read ingredient labels. Google. Read this blog. Email me! Snag the products to target your concerns and don’t ever be afraid of asking questions.

3.) You can be a man and also have a skin care routine. I’m a proud millennial (Hear me out: we’re empathetic, open-minded and it doesn’t take a ton to make us happy. We’re not so bad.) and I don’t think this needs to be said in 2018 but I know there’s still people hesitant about the subject. It doesn’t make you “less of a man” to take care of yourself. Besides, is there anyone who wants to walk around with bad skin? You don’t need to schedule spa facials or do a weekly mask (unless you want to!) but cleansing and moisturizing are always a good start. To learn any more about this, please take a listen to (my FAVORITE podcast) Fat Mascara’s Episode 104: Products Don’t Have a Gender with GQ grooming director Garrett Munce.

4.) Get into a habit. If you’re not someone who already has a set routine established, make it a point to set aside at least 10 minutes before bed for your skin care. From there, you can add steps and products. Once you have nighttime down, you can start a morning routine. Tip: When layering products, apply by consistency from thin to thick. Liquid products should be used first then serums then lighter lotions thens creams then oils. The thicker the product, the thicker a barrier it creates. If you use an oil on your skin then a serum on top of it, the serum won’t penetrate the oil.

5.) Be patient. Your body takes time to adjust to something new and you will not (usually) see results overnight.  It can take anywhere from about two weeks to three months to see significant changes in your skin. For example, if you’re acne-prone, certain active ingredients might cause purging, meaning the pimples just under the surface will start to crop up all at once. In this case, your skin might get worse before it gets better but will clear up faster than a normally breakout. (Some people don’t believe in purging but it’s happened to me SO many times so I can attest it’s real.) Just trust the process.

6.) If you feel like it’s doing more harm than good, ditch the product. Our skin will sometimes just hate certain ingredients and that’s OK. Pay attention to any weird changes: breakouts in spots you don’t normally break out in, extreme redness, itchiness, severe dryness, etc., all are signs of an allergic reaction. Definitely stop using it. If it’s really bad, you have to call a pro. Tip: “Natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “non-irritating.” I’ve used products with chemical ingredients that were gentler on my skin than some natural skin care. Just because it comes from a plant doesn’t means you won’t have an allergic reaction to it. Remember that even poison ivy is natural.

7.) Treatments only work if you do. You can’t not take care of your skin but do a mud mask once a week or a facial once a month and expect a miracle. Think of it like working out. You can’t treat your body like a garbage disposal, work out once a week for two hours and expect the best results. Treatments are meant for the in-between, not as a panacea. You still need to keep up with the everyday. This falls in line with one of my favorite life mantras ever: take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.

8.) Be realistic. You can’t believe what a difference a good regimen can make. There are some things about your skin you can’t change with a cream or serum, though. Like everything else in our lives, our skin also depends on our genetics. If one or both of your parents or grandparents have larger, more visible pores, you’re probably not getting rid of yours. Same with very dark circles or hollows under the eyes. OTC products will alleviate some of these concerns and make them less noticeable in some cases but, if you’re truly looking to eradicate them, you probably should look into a cosmetic procedure. BY A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL, PLZ. Which leads me to …

9.) Make an appointment with a pro. If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be working, consult a doctor. They have institutional knowledge as well as access to products and medicines that can help you and are way more effective than anything you can buy. A licensed esthetician is a great person to consult, too.

10.) Have as much fun as you can. It’s so corny and I hate even writing it but it should be said. Skin care is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and make yourself feel good.

This is a little bonus: TAKE OFF YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE BED. I cringe when I hear about anyone sleeping in their makeup. GUYS, IT’S BAD FOR YOU. I’M SERIOUS. We’ve all done it but please, please, please do not make it a habit. Like weeknight beers and $1 tacos, it will catch up to you sooner or later. If you don’t wash your face, at least use a makeup wipe.