How to "Habit Stack" Your Skincare
Following a skincare routine can be difficult, especially if you already have a billion things to think about every day. That’s where habit stacking can help. Developed by self-help author S.J. Scott in his book Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less, habit stacking involves identifying your regular daily habits and building new habits on top of those existing habits.
For instance, after brushing and flossing your teeth (a habit deeply ingrained in your morning routine), you could wash your face. Once you start connecting those two habits, it’ll become instinctive. But that’s just one example. There are many ways you can habit stack — in your life, work, and of course in your skincare routine.
Here’s how to habit stack your skincare regimen.
#1: Brush Teeth > Wash Face
Brushing your teeth is something you do every day, twice a day — morning and night. Since it’s such a fundamental part in your daily routine, use your teeth brushing sessions to remind yourself to wash your face. If you feel like you never have time to do a thorough cleanse, start habit stacking. Or in other words, always remember to wash your face after brushing your teeth. Think of them as a joint task rather than two separate tasks. This is a perfect example of habit stacking, and how you can use those small habits to add another one on top.
#2: Apply Your Fave Serum > Moisturize
Does applying that vitamin C or retinol serum come as second nature in your skincare routine? Perfect! Now, stack a new habit on top: moisturizing. You need to moisturize daily, and if you feel like you always forget, use your daily serum habit as a reminder.
Skincare is a form of self-care, and something more of us should be doing in order for the sake of our mental health — as well as our skin, of course. If you love slathering your serums on, try pairing that habit with another skin-healthy habit, like moisturizing. After applying your fave serum, apply a nourishing moisturizer on top to seal all those active ingredients in.
We recommend Truly’s Flawless Skin Care Bundle, which features a face serum, face cream, and eye cream.
#3: Make Coffee > Drink Water
According to the experts, habit stacking works best when you stick to one topic area.
“It’s likely easier to stack together habits that have something to do with each other—like doing pushups with meditating, if they both make you feel more calm and empowered when you start your day—as opposed to stacking unrelated things, like making coffee and reading a book,” says behavioral scientist Sekoul Krastev, MSc, co-founder and managing director at The Decision Lab.
A good example of a perfect habit stacking pairing is making coffee and drinking water. Since you probably brew coffee as soon as you wake up in the morning, it’s the best time to hydrate. Whenever you wait for the coffee to brew, drink a large glass of water to hydrate from the inside — and it’ll show on the outside. After all, drinking plenty of water is a well-known skincare secret so it’s definitely worth remembering!
#4: Get Dressed > Apply Sunscreen
Whenever you get dressed before leaving the house, always remember to slather on some SPF to keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays. Daily sunscreen application is so important for keeping your skin healthy. Try to stack it on top of a similar habit in order to create a new routine that’ll protect your skin.
These small changes can make such a difference to your complexion. Plus, they’re not hard to incorporate as long as you stack them with a similar habit so they stick!
#5: Listen to Podcast > Apply Body Lotion
Listening to a relaxing podcast is a great way to unwind after a tough workday. How about optimizing that mind-soothing habit by adding another calming habit on top, like massaging in body lotion.
There’s just something about rubbing butters and lotions into your skin. Not only does it feel extremely relaxing, it helps to relieve tension in the muscles while hydrating and smoothing your skin.
If your current habit is listening to a podcast after work, add another desired habit on top that’ll help you relax while simultaneously benefiting your skin.
We recommend Truly’s Unicorn Fruit Whipped Body Butter. It’s the TikTok-famous swirly body butter that feels oh so heavenly on your skin!
#6: Get Ready For Bed > Do Your PM Skincare Routine
Struggling to find time to follow an actual skincare routine? Right now, you’re simply squeezing in cleansing and moisturizing whenever you find time. Change that by habit stacking your skincare routine. Next time you get ready for bed, whether that involves taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or dropping essential oils onto your pillow, remember to do your night-time skincare routine.
We recommend trying Truly’s Anti-Aging Body Bundle, which features a sleep mask, boob polish, and boob serum to restore your smoothest, most radiant skin.
WHY HABIT STACKING WORKS
As we get older, we lose neurons in the brain. Behavioural psychologist James Clear explains that, "Your brain prunes away connections between neurons that don't get used and builds up connections that get used more frequently." You can build up connections by adopting strong habits and connections to build new habits.
Those daily habits that you do automatically — like making coffee, brushing your teeth, scrolling social media, etc. — only became habits because of a particular kind of brain chemistry. Adding a new practice onto this super strong habit can speed up your brain’s adoption of it.
Best of all, you can apply habit stacking to any area of your life, from your work to your home life to your relationships and your beauty routine. Wherever you need habits to stick, start habit stacking!