From Juliana: I am 22 years old and I am trying to figure out a good skincare regimen. I went to Sephora and they suggested that I use a toner and serum.
I have normal skin, sometimes a little dry, and I have never heard of serum and was wondering if a toner and serum were things that I should be using. And if I should, what products you would recommend.
Let's start with toners. A toner is a product that you use after you wash your face. It is a liquid that you apply with a cotton ball. There are many different toners: some used to reduce oil on your skin (often called astringents) and those that do not contain oil-stripping oil. Definitely stay away from astringents with your skin type.
The verdict on toners tends to be that they are not necessary to use daily. In fact, many experts think they can be a waste of time and money if you are using a product that cleans your face well.
Personally, I use a toner. I have combination skin, and when I use a toner, I feel my pores look smaller, and my skin gets a little extra pampering. But, it's also habit for me. For your skin, I think you can easily skip the toner if you're using a good face wash.
On to serums. First, see my explanation of moisturizers verses serums.
Serums go deeper into the skin's layers than moisturizers. Often they are good for brightening treatments, anti-aging treatments and sometimes acne treatments, none of which it sounds like you need. Serums are also great for people with very oily skin, as they can use them as their moisturizer.
Because you are only 22, I think that if you have overall healthy clear skin, I'd recommend you stick with a good facial cleanser, exfoliator and moisturizer with SPF in it. You can add on extra skin care steps as you desire, such as masks or other treatment products.
As for product recommendations, here's what I'd suggest for your age and normal to dry skin. Since you're already shopping at Sephora, I'll pick products you can find there: Bliss products.
For Cleansing, try using the Fabulous Foaming Face Wash. (buy direct). Sometimes foaming cleansers can be drying, but this product works great with normal skin, and doesn't ever leave a tight dry feeling.
For a moisturizer, I'd recommend using Bliss: Best of Skintentions (buy direct) which blocks against UVA and UVB rays. (At your age, sunscreen is the number one most important thing to fend off signs of aging!)