Celebrity Facialists Cringe Every Time You Use This One Skincare Product

When it comes to skincare, it is scarily easy to get your routine wrong. After all, there are so many products on the market and so many mysterious ingredients to decode that at some point you just want to throw your hands up in the air, cleanse your face with leftover shampoo foam from the shower, and call it a day. (But, like, please don't do that.)

In an effort to understand the only skincare mistakes we actually have to worry about, we got in touch with two of our favorite celebrity facislistsRenée Rouleau and Shani Darden—to break it down nice and easy. These two skincare gurus got real with us about the only five skincare products and ingredients you really should make an effort to avoid (plus five easy swaps you can make instead). Keep scrolling for your no-frills guide to fixing five common skincare missteps. 

Instead of Bar Face Soap…


There's no doubt about it: Lots of bar soaps are gentler and more natural than they used to be, but Rouleau says that the binding ingredients that hold the bar in shape are still the same—and they're no good for the skin. These binding ingredients have a pH between 8 and 10, which is higher than the skin, which is usually at about 5.5. Soaps with such a high pH can "instantly strip the skin of moisture" since they can "cause the skin to go into an alkaline state, resulting in dryness," says Rouleau.

Try a Low-Foaming Cleanser

Instead of Solvent Alcohols…


"Alcohol" is not always a dangerous and dirty word when it comes to skincare. "Not all are harmful or drying, so you do not have to worry about avoiding the word 'alcohol' in skincare altogether," says Rouleau. The ones to avoid (because they're extremely drying) are: alcohol 40, denatured alcohol, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol. Sometimes these harmful ingredients can be found hiding in certain cleansers and acne treatments. 

Try "Good" Alcohols

Instead of Daily Acid Peels…


Alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids like glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid are by no means bad for the skin—they're amazing exfoliators that can brighten, reduce wrinkles, and prevent and treat breakouts. However, according to Darden, they're often over-used. "I am a huge fan of chemical exfoliants overall, but people tend to use them too often. You don’t need to use them morning and night, every single day," she says. "Depending on your skin type and the other products you’re using, you really only need to exfoliate one-to-two times a week."

Try a Gentle Retinol Serum

Instead of Pore Strips…


It is certainly satisfying to peel a pore strip off your nose and see all the gunk it unearthed, but estheticians do not endorse this behavior. "The best way to clean the pores is through manual extraction," says Rouleau (ideally by a professional, of course). "A pore clearing strip will not do the trick. When there is a blockage of hardened oil that is impacted deep in the pore, it must be gently extracted out."

Try a Spot Treatment

Instead of Cleansing Balms...


Lots of people love solid cleansing balms and oils for their luxurious feel and effectiveness at removing makeup, but estheticians generally aren't as smitten. "The sole purpose of a cleanser is to clean the skin. Doing so allows your skincare products that follow to work," says Rouleau. "Many people aren’t aware that [cleansing balms] actually deposit a coating of oil on the face. This is more of a moisturizing experience, rather than cleansing."

Try a Cleansing Lotion

Amanda Montell
Features Editor
Who's your beauty icon?

Tie among Linda Rodin, Hari Nef, and David Bowie.

Who are your 5 favorite people to follow on Instagram?

@petracollins @katiejanehughes @alwaysjudging @bonnyrebecca @hotdudesreading

What's the beauty essential you can’t live without?

If I have some brow gel and Sisley's Phyto-Lip Twist, I'm good to go forever.

What's your desert island album?

Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism

What's your favorite Byrdie.com story?

Game of Thrones's Nathalie Emmanuel looks so achingly beautiful in our feature with her that I think it's gonna have to be that!