Um, new column alert!✨ In this new series with writer, James Barrett, we get an honest look at beauty from a fresh perspective. Called (skincare) Virgin Diaries, James takes us through his own skincare journey – the highs, the lows – and everything in between. ⚡️

Skincare virgin Diaries logo for very good light column

Never have I ever used a cleanser, an exfoliator, a treatment, a serum, a moisturizer, face oil, a chemical peel, toner, a face mask or eye cream. All of my fingers are still up, how about you?

I never knew skincare was actually “a thing” because growing up my skin was always good enough for me. With my Greek roots and olive naturally clear skin, I never experienced bad acne, dry skin, or irritable redness. I always thought skincare was about fixing a problem rather than routine maintenance.

Confession time: I’m almost 30, and I’m a skincare virgin. I’ve never been to a dermatologist, and somehow my skincare routine for my entire life has been washing my face with a wet washcloth in the morning and night. No chemicals, toxins, or scrubs—literally just water. That’s my secret to good skin.

SEE ALSO: How to afford skincare when you’re broke AF.

I’m sure the skincare experts are pulling their hair out right now. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that my one-step skincare routine is not doing me any favors and I’m ready to learn from my mistakes. I’m closing the chapter of my 20s next year, and I know I won’t be young forever. It’s time to really start taking care of my skin.

How does one develop a skincare routine from scratch?

If you’re like me, you get very overwhelmed with the entire skincare industry. Like, what even is face oil? Why am I trying to make my skin oily? It’s a very noisy aisle to walk down — the aisle I always avoid. I’m a relatively frugal person, so unless my face had a serious problem, I would’ve never thought twice about a skincare treatment. I always viewed skincare as a “want” more than a “need,” which is not an accurate way to look at it. I’d walk down the skincare aisle and would instantly become so overwhelmed, I’d just grab my deodorant and shampoo and head for the hills. I try doing research but get very turned off with the tone of experts acting like they’re above you. Often, the routines are so advanced that I feel like I missed the boat and can’t catch up.

So, skincare virgins, I’d like to welcome you to the (skincare)Virgin Diaries. Join me on my journey to develop a routine to take care of my skin and protect it from further damage. Through trying a range of products and talking to experts, together we’ll:

Develop a skincare routine for someone that’s never had one before.

I’m not ashamed to be a skincare virgin, and I’m pretty excited about everything there is to learn. I’m not trying to become a skincare pro overnight. I really want to learn about why I should be using a serum, or the benefits of a face mask (other than taking a bunch of selfies with it on). Skincare isn’t black and white. Routines vary based on different skin types, and right now I don’t even know what skin type I am, but I’m ready to figure it out.

Find the best products for you—and not just the bestsellers.

Just because you see a bunch of ads on Instagram doesn’t mean it’s the best product on the market. I really want to find products that are real winners, including the ones that no one is talking about. I’d like to discover products that are all-natural, and not only good for your skin, but also the environment. I’m going to experiment with drugstore and luxury products to find out if price affects quality.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert, but we’re going to figure it out together.

Trust me—I know I’m not an expert in skincare, but through this column, I hope I’ll learn enough to feel confident giving out skincare advice to all my friends and anyone who wants to embark on a similar journey. I won’t be throwing out fluff, either. This is the realest you’re gonna get with skincare. This isn’t just about reviewing products. I’m here to tell you why it’s important to be using a type of product, or why you should skip it. I’ll be consulting with experts for information that’s been getting lost in the noise of this saturated market.

I’m not sure if my skin is ready for this long-overdue wakeup call, but I sure am. Taking the time to take care of your face is the self-care that I need in my life right now—mentally and physically. So if you’re feeling a bit lost like me, you’ve come to the right place. For next month’s column, we’re going to start with the first step of any skincare routine: the cleanser!

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