Self-care during finals is just as important as regularly taking care of your skin!

It’s that time again: finals. You’re likely feeling extra stress, and that stress might be exhibiting itself very boldly on your face. Fear not! Bwogger and skincare aficionado Lucy Danger has these skincare for finals tips ready to prepare you for your exams and those stress-free days after finals final-ly end.

Skincare isn’t a one-stop shot, even during finals season. Doing one face mask won’t make a difference if you still don’t take off your makeup after long nights at Butler. These tips are quick, easy ways to incorporate good skincare habits into your routine when you really have no time, but they’re always useful.

It’s around this time that you’ll start hearing RAs, Stressbusters, and other campus de-stressors bring up face masks as relaxation techniques, along with massages, ice cream, and who knows what else! Here are some best face mask habits.

Don’t mask too often. Face masks are certainly a great skincare habit to get into – but it’s key to remember that masking too often can actually have detrimental effects. It’s safe to say that you shouldn’t mask more than 3 times per week, no matter how stressed you are.

Work with what you have. Especially when you’re already busy and stressed out, you don’t need to go out of your way to buy fancy products or spend hours and hours trying to figure out how to use gimmicky masks. Sheet masks are great when you’re in a rush because you can use them anywhere – including Butler at 4 am, if that’s what your life is like! Tub masks are good too, but generally take a little bit longer and require water and a towel. And DIY masks, which only work the way they’re supposed to about half the time and take way longer than you have every time, aren’t the best choice.

Check the ingredients first. There are some ingredients that generally should never go near your face, but often appear in masks and other skincare products despite that, like alcohol, which can really dry out your skin and make it more sensitive, and artificial dyes and fragrances – there’s not really any reason for skincare products to be colored, or to be scented with anything other than essential oils. They’re not the worst things in the world, but can be irritating for those with sensitive skin.

Target your mask usage. Don’t just grab whatever’s available at the store closest to the door, because it can make things worse. Keep in mind these very generalized mask usages:

  • Dry skin? Try a moisturizing mask! Anything with honey – a humectant, which means it keeps moisture in your skin – is good for this, as well as aloe vera, banana, oats, avocado, and any standard face-quality moisturizing oils and butters. Some of my favorites include Glossier’s Moisturizing Mask, Lush’s Oatifix, Fomo, and The Sacred Truth, as well as the TonyMoly I’m Real sheet masks in Radiance, Hydrating, Vitalizing, Nutrition, Nourishing, and Vitality, and the TonyMoly Master Lab Ceramide and Hyaluronic Acid masks.
  • More oily skin, or lots of breakouts? This can be caused by a multitude of imbalances, including severely dry skin. For the time being, it can be helpful to stay with more generalized detoxifying and balancing masks and ingredients like lavender, clays, and green tea. Glossier’s Galaxy Greens Pack is good for this, plus Lush’s Catastrophe Cosmetic, Brazened Honey, and The Birth of Venus, TonyMoly Skin Soothing sheet masks, Peach and Lily Soothe + Restore sheet masks, and Mizon M-Line Soothing sheet mask.
  • Stressed out finals skin? We’ve all been there. Stick to balancing and calming masks and ingredients like lavender, tea tree, and calendula. The Ariul brand 7 days mask in tea tree, lemon, green tea, and aloe are great for this, as are Lush’s BB Seaweed, Rosy Cheeks, and Fomo, and TonyMoly Purifying, Skin Soothing, and Nutrition.

Dealing with your problems
It’s indeed true that extra stress, like that of Columbia’s stress culture, can affect your skin, including by causing breakouts. There are a couple of ways to deal with this:

  • Detoxifying masks, as listed above
  • Targeted treatments, like niacinamide serums. Glossier has a good one, Super Pure, and The Ordinary’s Niacinamide + B5 is also great. Other good treatments for acne and breakouts include tea tree and green tea, whether in the form of a quick toner, a spot treatment, or a face wash. You can also use gentle chemical exfoliators like Glossier’s Solution or the Pixibeauty Pixi Glow Tonic.
  • Specific cleansers, like foaming ones, which will cleanse a little bit more deeply, or gently exfoliating cleansers: the Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser is good, as is the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder (get the travel size if you don’t have an expendable income, it lasts forever anyway.
  • Spot treatments! These are magical miracle workers that you can put on overnight (or during an all-nighter as you study) and wake up with better skin! Any hydrocolloid patches will work for this, like the Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots. There are also liquid and cream spot treatments like the De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment and simple things like rosehip oil.

Working a quick skincare routine into your life can help it run better in general, and help your skin a great deal overall. But how will I have time for a skincare routine, Lucy, you ask, when I have 87 tests to study for and 600 papers to write and only 3 points left to spend on coffee at 4 am??? Well, shh. I’ll help you. It’s okay. Here are some easy steps to develop a routine that will better your skin and overall wellness.

Wash your face. Every day, twice a day. Even if you’re only getting 4 hours of sleep, even if it means going to your dorm from Butler and then going back. It’ll really help balance out your oil production, which is is especially helpful when you’re stressed. Use a gentle all-purpose cleanser to start out with like Glossier’s Milky Jelly, Lush’s Ultrabland, or the Bahi Cosmetics Milk Facial Cleanser.

Moisturize. After you wash. Even if you have oily skin, using a quick and light moisturizer once or twice a day will make you feel better about caring for yourself and show your skin you care about it! The Glossier Priming Moisturizer is a great one to start out with, and the Mizon Snail Mucin is light but targeted and not too oily. Lush’s Imperialis moisturizer is also good for lots of different skin types.

Remove your makeup. If you wear it, this is one of the most important steps to a good skincare routine! Don’t go to sleep with it on, even if it’s sleeping in a library for two hours right before your 9 am final. Use a basic makeup wipe or micellar water – the Bioderma one is great.

Use sunscreen. Every. Single. Day. This is one of the most important skincare steps ever; your other products won’t work as well without it. There are different levels of coverage even beyond SPF, but try for SPF 30 or higher for every day. The Biore Watery Essence is a great inexpensive one that doesn’t make your skin oily or leave a white cast. And remember, moisturizers and foundation products with SPF in them are still not enough! Protect your skin, whether you’re spending all day inside studying or getting ready for those sunny summer days that are just around the corner.

Image via Pixabay