Ginger and Sage Blog

Skin Care Series #1: Skin Care Vocabulary

Skin Care Series #1: What does that word mean?

As the old saying goes, you are born with one body, one skin, treat it well because it is all you have. When I was a teenager I never really practiced good skin care. My mom just got me face wash from CVS and Olay moisturizer cause that is what my mom and dad have always used. I never really had bad skin as a teenager. I maybe got a few spots a month, but nothing to go crazy over. When I went to college I would sleep in my makeup, used makeup remover towelettes when I didn’t have time to wash my face, I didn’t even realize you are supposed to wash makeup brushes that often.

Right when I turned 21 my skin went crazy. No matter what I did I had huge breakouts all over my face, chest, back and even spine. I didn’t know what was going on. I switched birth controls, tried cutting out certain foods and even bought into Proactive hoping that would help. Nothing changed. I would have a week or two of semi clear skin but then wake up one day covered. If you have bad skin you understand the heartbreak and depression that comes from waking up and looking into a mirror with skin that doesn’t even feel like your own.

After figuring out that a lot of my skin issues are lovely side effects from my illnesses (immune deficient) I decided that I needed to be proactive with my skin vs reactive! I went on a f*cking hunt for how to fix my skin!

After falling down the rabbit hole of bloggers and YouTuber’s, I stumbled upon Caroline Hirons videos and blog. When I first read her website I didn’t know what the heck she was talking about retinol, acids, double cleanses? Like, I get she is from another country but who is this for? The nosey person in me couldn’t stop reading. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I started from her oldest post and read EVERY SINGLE ONE. If you have seen her blog you freaking know how many posts she has in there. After I became up to speed on her blog all I could think to myself is why the hell in my 24 years has no one, NO ONE, taught this to people. I go to Sephora constantly; I read blogs, why is no one teaching people how to properly take care of their damn skin! It was at this point I realized that because no one taught them. My mom didn’t teach me what to do with my skin because no one told her. This statement right here is the biggest reason I am going to talk a lot about skin care. Because there are millions of men and woman of all ages who were never told what to do with their skin but really want to know! What if we could take the skin care steps proactively to stop acne or wrinkles instead of running to the store after we get them? It could be life changing.  There are millions of brands and millions of products out there that are thrown in your face promising these unrealistic results.  How to we choose? Who do we believe? Where do you even start without dropping a shit load of money into it?

THIS RIGHT HERE IS STEP ONE! I will be doing a lot of skin care topics on my page because it is important to me to help others as Caroline’s Blog has helped me, but also I think it starts teaching people how to help themselves. With that being said, I want to say it flat out I am not a skin care expert! Not everything that has worked for me will work for you and vice versa! I will only talk about things I think are worth your money and time. And I will always make sure to leave no one out when talking about skin; every color, every skin type and every age!

This will be the first article is the Skin Series. For this article it will be more of a vocabulary lesson. What are all the product names you have seen but never knew what they meant. So let’s dive in.

*Oh sidenote, if you are like me and interested in all things skin care go to Caroline’s Website. She is the ultimate Skin Care Queen.

What Does That Word Mean?

Cleansing your face: this one might seem silly but I have one large point to make with this. Using a makeup remover wipe is not equivalent to washing your face. Every morning and every night you should wash your face. This is non negotiable.

Double Cleanse: A lot of people (like myself) find that washing your face twice, especially if you wear makeup or sunscreen, is a preferred method of cleansing. The first cleanse is normally a thicker cleanser that removes everything off your face. The second cleanse is more of the cleanser with purpose, as I like to call it. They come in and make sure that everything is really gone but also have nourishing properties to prep your skin for the regime to come.

Toners: They can also be called liquid lotions or sprays by some companies. There are two types of toners; acid toners that help clear out your pores, or hydrating toners that bring back moisture to your skin.

Acids: There are several different types of acids and all work in their own individual way to help your skin with a specific concern.  They are normally a similar texture to serums and can be used before or after based on which Acid it is.  The 4 most common acids you may see in skin care are.

Hyaluronic Acid: helps with hydrating your skin

Glycolic Acid: exfoliates and normalizes skin, helps reduce ageing

Lactic Acid: brightens skin pigmentation and scarring

Salicylic Acid: usually in acne products. Clears congested pores, helps treat and prevent acne.

Serums: Very similar to acids but pack a much bigger ingredient list. There is a serums for every skin concern possible. But what I notice is that serums seem to be mixes of the best acids and vitamins for that concern. You will spend a lot of money on good serums because they are good ingredients.

Face Oils: These are what I like to call and moisturizer add-on.  Face oils are created to add another layer of moisture or balance to skin. They do work on all skin types, don’t be put off by the word oil. They are also extra helpful for mature skin and dry skin.

Retinol: Also know as Vitamin A. Seems like a scary word but it is a skin lifesaver. Helps with wrinkles, cell turnover, anti-ageing, softens skin, and minimizes pores. It’s pretty much the skin care super hero. Everyone should use it. Tend to be best used at night.

Vitamin C: This ingredient has been in the spotlight for the last few years. It helps brighten your skin, reduce pigmentation and wrinkles, and gives your skin that healthy glow.

Moisturizing: This is pretty self explanatory. Face lotion (moisturizer) have been around for years and should be used by everyone. I don’t care what your skin type is. Try to customize your moisturizer for a day and a night one.

Masks: I do love a good mask. I think it is nice to have a few different types of masks around your house for different skin needs. If you are dry one day get a hydrating one. Spots show up, get clay based ones. Start out slow by using maybe once or twice a week.


If you think I have missed anything or have other questions please leave in the comments down below.

  • claudine ward

    hi haley, excellent glossary of skin care terms…. you are putting your own experience to good use, it takes courage and smarts….thanks for that!
    your little furry friend is so cute too.

    keep it up, cause now your blog is my every morning read.

  • Jeff

    OMG Haley,

    I just read your blog on skin care. It was awesome and very well written. I will let the girls and Chris know that you are up and running. So proud of you!!!!!!!!! Keep up the good work . You pooch is darling. Congrats on your new site. I'm hooked already.
    Uncle Jeff