Saving Face


Celebrity hair and makeup artist Eva Scrivo gives two easy-to-follow skincare regimens for morning and night

Prevention is the most effective way to care for your skin. Therefore, the sooner you learn good habits, the better your skin will look throughout your life. No matter what kind of skin you have now — whether it is dry or oily, red or sensitive, losing its elasticity or breaking out – a diligent, smart skincare regimen will improve it. The following daytime and nighttime routines are ones that I try to follow myself. We all have those nights when you get home late, exhausted and barely able to remove your makeup. In a perfect world, I would complete each step nightly, get eight hours of sleep, exercise daily and eat a well-balanced diet. Be realistic and try to do your best. Being as conscientious and consistent as possible can lead to amazing results.


Step One: Rinse
Unless your skin is oily, there is no need to wash your face in the morning. Skipping the cleansing step helps to maintain the moisture balance in the skin – especially important if it tends to be dry. (If you have oily skin and feel better washing it with a gentle foaming cleanser in the morning, then by all means do it.) Splashing tepid or cool water over the face (approximately twenty splashes) is fabulous for the skin and a refreshing way to wake it up. This splashing technique is essentially hydrotherapy, which invigorates the face and improves the color and clarity of the skin. The use of fresh water as a therapeutic treatment dates back for centuries and has been an integral part of the historic European spa tradition, which is based on the curative benefits of mineral and spring waters.

Step Two: Tone
Many dermatologists consider toner to be a superfluous product, but I believe it to be an integral step. It’s applied after cleansing to help refine the pores, balance the PH of the skin, and prepare the face for a moisturizer. It is also refreshing, and gives a light cleansing if you gently wipe your entire face and neck with toner on a cotton pad. I recommend using Lotion by Yonka.

Step: Three: Nourish
Think of serum as topical vitamins for the skin. They are the concentrated active ingredients found in most creams and lotions, and are beneficial for all types of skin. Some hydrate dry skin with humectants like hyaluronic acid, while others brighten the complexion and help to prevent or correct environmental damage with antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. Serums made for acneic skin contain anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ingredients that calm redness and help prevent clogged pores. The type of serum you choose depends on what skin condition you are addressing. I love all the serums by Yonka, as well as SkinCeuticals. Apply three to four drops of serum to your face and neck.

Step Four: Moisturize
Apply moisturizer over your face and neck. We all have our favorites. I tend to choose something lightweight that is compatible with makeup. If you have combination skin, try a water-based formulation. If your skin is drier, you can use something more emollient and wait a few minutes for it to absorb before applying your makeup. For skin that is on the oilier side, skip this step and use your serum to hydrate.

Step Five: Protect
After moisturizing the skin, protect it with a sunblock. I do not recommend using a sunblock in place of your moisturizer, although you can apply a smaller amount of it. Most women do not get enough moisture on their skin, and a sunblock is not a sufficient substitute.


Step One: Cleanse
Cleansing makeup, oil, dirt and perspiration from your face at the end of the day should be a two-step process:

1. Remove makeup with a cream-based cleanser. I like to use a non-comedogenic cream cleanser that will not clog the pores, so even someone with oily or acneic skin can comfortably use it. Massage the cleanser onto dry skin with your fingertips then continue with gentle circular motions using a damp cotton pad (made of 100% organic cotton) instead of a washcloth. Cotton is an amazing and gentle exfoliant that allows you to not use a scrub at all. This is especially good for those with rosacea or sensitive skin who find most exfoliants too irritating. It is also more hygienic, since you throw away the cotton when you are done (unlike a washcloth that harbors bacteria unless laundered after each use).

2.  After rinsing off the creamy cleanser, wash your face again with a foaming cleanser. Your skin will be radiant and clean after this two-step process.

Step Two: Tone
Now that you have thoroughly cleansed the skin and exfoliated it with a cotton pad, apply an alcohol-free toner to soothe and hydrate. Toner helps to calm the skin and lower its pH level after cleansing, which can reduce inflammation and redness caused by general skin sensitivity.

Look for a toner containing essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, geranium, or rose that calm, heal and hydrate. Essential oils can actually penetrate into the skin, helping to forge a path for moisturizing agents in a toner to better absorb. Toner can be sprayed on, applied with a cotton pad, or blended over the face and neck with your fingers.

Step Three: Nourish
A serum is a concentrated dose of essential oils, antioxidants and or botanicals applied directly to the skin before moisturizer. Use one to two pumps or six to eight drops of serum for the face and neck.

Step Four: Moisturize
A moisturizing cream or lotion utilizes emollients (agents that seal moisture in the skin and create a protective barrier) and lightweight humectants that attract water to the skin. A common sense approach is best: if the skin feels very dry, use a richer cream that contains ingredients such as squalene, coconut, shea butter, or jojoba oil. For normal skin that may become oily in the t-zone, choose an oil-free moisturizer with lighter humectant properties such as sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid and glycerin. If your skin is oily, try skipping moisturizer altogether. A water-based serum may sufficiently moisturize. You also don’t have to put moisturizer all over your face. For example, if the skin around your chin and nose tends to break out, try avoiding those areas.

Step 5: Apply Eye Cream
The skin around the eyes is thinner, more delicate, and has fewer oil glands than the rest of the face. As a result, this area can become more easily dehydrated and prematurely wrinkled. Although many women do not use eye cream, to me this is an essential part of moisturizing. At night, I like to use an eye cream that is more emollient and contains a mild over-the-counter retinoid. Apply it just in the semi-circular dip between the eye and cheekbone. It will migrate upward, so there is no need to have it too close to the lash line. Some women find that eye cream irritates their eyes, which is probably because they are applying it too close to the eyes (which can also cause puffiness in the morning). Since the eyelids are naturally oily, do not apply eye cream to them.

Editor’s Note: Eva Scrivo is the author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs To Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self. A celebrated hair and makeup artist, radio talk show host, and television personality, she owns a successful salon in New York City. Visit her at

2 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Grace OMalley says:

    Have ya looked at the price of Yonka products on eBay lately?  Cleary, having great skin correlates to how deep your pockets are. 

  2. avatar anneh says:

    this skin care routine is great for young skin but for those of us older women who are using prescription Retin A nightly this really doesn’t work.  Any tips for many of your readers who are using Retin A?  I thought I should be cleansing in the morning after using the Retin A at night so I use cetaphil as my cleanser then apply moisturizer (also cetaphil).  Sometimes I also use an alpha hydroxy lotion – ammonium lactate 12% lotion.  I always wonder what products I can use with these lotions and perscription Retin A – maybe you could enlighten?  Thanks!