Skincare for 9-5ers

As we transition back to office life, we’ve got to “look presentable” again for colleagues (sigh). Here are some skincare tips as you venture out.
Skincare for 9-5ers

Admit it: You got a little too comfortable with the WFH lifestyle during the pandemic. We all did. How nice, to wear sweatpants to the team meeting, or to simply turn off the Zoom camera whenever we looked less than presentable (which… was a majority of the time). But now, it’s back to the workplace we go, which means “hard pants” and thorough skincare regimens are back in play.

And in case you forgot how to care for your skin in the last year or more—totally understandable if you did—here are the most essential tips for looking office-ready on any day of the week. While Zoom-camera-optional days are behind you, there is something to look forward to: better, brighter, clearer complexion—not to mention some much-needed social interaction. We’ll call it net positive, even though we’ll all miss the sweatpants.

Without further ado, here are six skincare tips for going back to the office.

1. SPF, always and forever

Commit this to memory: You should be wearing SPF every time you go outside in the daytime, no matter the season. The sun’s rays don’t take a vacation, and they still seep through the clouds to age and fry our skin. Daily use of an SPF 30 moisturizer will make a huge difference in your skin’s everyday health, and especially down the line. (Think of how much UV exposure you’ll be blocking when 10-30 minutes a day is multiplied over a lifetime of commuting or outdoor work lunches). SPF could be the difference between looking 10 years younger than all your friends in a couple decades—but only if you start now and keep up the habit.

2. Target the eyes

One thing we didn’t miss during the WFH days is this dreaded comment from colleagues: “You lookreally tired. Did you have a crazy night?” Because usually, the answer was ‘no’, and the real reason was “this is just how my face looks”. Dark circles and puffy eyes happen to a lot of us, especially as we age and the skin around our eyes gets thinner and less firm. This causes blood vessels to peek through from the other side (dark circles) and for the fat deposits under the skin to sink down (because the less resilient skin isn’t firmly holding them up). You can counter this with a twice-daily eye serum or cream, to help deliver collagen-stimulating peptides to the area, which in turn keeps skin brighter, firmer, and more nourished.

Read more: How to get rid of dark circles

3. Mitigate oily skin (and get a quick refresh)

Are you nervous to be back at the office, or is that just oily skin? (Both, but mostly the oily skin.) You may not have needed to mind your overactive sebum glands for the past year or more. But now your forehead might be a light bounce for everyone in the workplace, and you’reveryaware of the situation (because you can also feel the layer of film accumulating up there). Might we suggest incorporating a toner into your everyday regimen, to help control the oil levels in your skin, without drying everything out? It could be useful to bring toner pads to the office for a midday refresh, or even a gentle (and hydrating) cleanser. On top of all that, it’s important to avoid oil-based products, which can weigh too heavily on your skin and further magnify your shine.

Read more: The best regimen for oily skin

4. Have emergency acne treatments ready

For those annoying one-off breakouts (when you indulged in sugary foods, or were simply too stressed the day before), it’s imperative to have an overnight miracle remedy ready. That’s why you need a spot treatment for blemishes, like acne patches. These use painless microneedles to pump ingredients like salicylic acid and niacinamide into the area, to neutralize the breakout overnight while also promoting rapid recovery. (A concealer stick never hurts to have on hand too, to hide unsightly spots while the lingering blemish steadily subsides.

5. Build a nighttime skincare regimen

Much of the focus on skincare is given to the morning routine, and for good reason: You need a good SPF moisturizer to shield and nourish the skin all day, and a gentle cleanser to first rinse away any overnight grime accumulation. But much of what you present to the workplace is determined by how well you sleep and how much care you put into a bedtime regimen. It’s all too easy for the skin to get dehydrated overnight (by dry air from the winter temps or summer air conditioners). Similarly, budding acne can sprout literally overnight, meaning you wake up with a gnarly pimple that wasn’t there 8 hours prior. That’s why incorporating things like a dense nighttime moisturizer or acne treatment (we like salicylic acid) can make a huge difference if applied before bedtime. The same can be said for the eye serum in tip #2, for preventing puffiness and dark circles come morning. Lastly, unless you demand a baby-smooth face in the workplace, we suggest shaving your face at night, to help the skin recover while you rest. (Again, only if you don’t mind a little 5 o’clock shadow by morning—hey, it helps define your jawline!)

6. Do a weekly hydration mask

While we’re happily wearing face masks less and less, there’s another kind of mask that you should add to (or keep in) your routine: The weekly hydrating sheet mask. You can apply it in the morning to freshly cleansed skin, or before bed (also to freshly cleansed skin). These serum-packed masks pump a high concentration of nutrients into your skin, to keep it looking bright, firm, alert, and plump. It’s not something you need to do daily—your everyday moisturizer and nighttime hydrator will go a long way there—but a once weekly supercharge can give you the most IRL-friendly skin of your life, especially the morning before a big work meeting or a post-work dinner date. (For bearded men, Cardon offers a mask + beard oil combo treatment, and we also have a full-face sheet mask for forehead-to-chin hydration.)