There is so much information about skin care that it can definitely be overwhelming. Just keep in mind that your routine should be personalized to you. I don’t think everyone wants (or needs) a 10-step routine, but I also don’t think that it’s wrong to have multiple products (like me hehe). I wanted to share the basics of how I built my skin care routine and hopefully this can help you start/reset yours!
I believe every routine should have three core steps: cleanse, moisturize and protect. Everything else (toners, essences, serums, masks) is just in addition or a variation of such.
To Cleanse – The purpose of a cleanser is to ensure you have a clean slate at the beginning and end of the day. There are many different cleansers to pick from: gel cleansers, cream cleansers, foam cleansers, cleansing oils, bar soaps, you name it. But because a cleanser is a product that you put on and wash off immediately, I wouldn’t focus too much on “anti-aging” or “brightening” claims. Instead, I would look for a gentle and hydrating product with non-stripping cleansing agents; something that won’t tighten and dry out my skin.
Note: I am a believer of the double cleanse method: using an oil-based cleanser first to remove the first layer of debris/makeup and following with a water-based cleanser to really cleanse your skin. This method ensures your skin gets a proper cleanse and you have a clean canvas to work with. I tend to double cleanse only in the evenings.
- For oil-based cleansers, my favorite would have to be Then I Met You’s Living Cleansing Balm ($38). It is the most luxurious and hydrating cleansing balm I’ve ever used. It emulsifies beautifully and removes even the toughest waterproof makeup I own. I shared a mini review here. I’ve also really enjoyed Banila Co. Clean It Zero ($19), Heimish All Clean Balm ($18) and DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($28).
- My holy grail cleanser is the Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser ($16). This is a gentle gel cleanser that cleanses my skin and leaves it hydrated and supple. This is definitely the product I reach for the most out of my cleanser collection. I will tend to use this by itself in the morning or as my second cleanse in the evening. Here’s an in-depth review of this holy grail. Other water-based cleansers I’ve enjoyed are Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18) or COSRX Low-pH Good Morning Cleanser ($12).
To Moisturize – Moisturizers will vary depending on your skin type and preference. Your skin can be moisturized through a variety of steps: essences, serums, creams or facial oils. However, for the purpose of starting a skin care routine, I will focus on what I think is most straightforward: creams. It’s a general consensus that dry skin types tend to favor cream moisturizers while oily skin types tend to lean towards gel moisturizers. My current moisturizer is the Neogen Vita Duo Cream Joan Day & Joan Night ($32). I like this moisturizer because it’s a dual cream system. The day cream is a soothing cream enriched with green tea and vitamin C. It comes in a cream texture that melts on your skin like butter. The night cream is a hydrating gel moisturizer formulated with lavender and vitamin E. This gel consistency allows for layering. I really enjoy this moisturizer because I get the best of both worlds: cream and gel.
To Protect – Protection means sunscreen aka sunblock aka SPF. You will find many articles and blog posts about sunscreens and why it’s important to incorporate into your daily routine. Sunscreens are generally classified as mineral (physical) and/or chemical. Both work to protect your skin in different ways: physical sunscreens have ingredients that will block the sun rays from being absorbed into your skin while chemical sunscreens will absorb the rays and break it down. My favorite sunscreen at the moment is Krave Beauty The Beet Shield ($20). I also like Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream, My Skin Mentor Dr. G Brightening Up Sun ($38), and Supergoop Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($28). I use SPF as a standalone product. I don’t think foundations + SPF or moisturizers + SPF provides the listed SPF protection as the product is diluted for other purposes. It may take a while to find a good SPF that can layer beneath your make up, but it will be worth it once you find the one!
Tip 1: Stick with a routine. When you first build your routine, you should give it at least 3-4 weeks before changing a product (unless you have an adverse reaction). You should also be consistent with it and try not to skip days. If you’re only cleansing and putting on moisturizer, it should take less than 3 minutes. There is the infamous saying “doing something for 30 days becomes a habit”!
Tip 2: What works for someone else, may not work for you. Keep in mind that everyone’s skin is unique; like a snowflake or fingerprint! I have friends who identify as the same skin type and one called a product her holy grail while the other did not care for it at all. I’ve also seen friends with different skin types both enjoy the same product. I wouldn’t buy a product because it’s marketed to fit me and I also wouldn’t veto a product without giving it a chance. I recommend doing some light research on information and reviews of products and sampling if you’re able to!
Tip 3: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’ll take time to build a routine, whether it’s two steps or ten steps. Your environment conditions and change in seasons will also affect your skin. So one routine may do it all, and some will need adjustments.
I am not a skincare professional; I am a skincare enthusiast. As such, I have way more products than what I would typically recommend to my friends haha. I love reading reviews and enjoy discussions about products and regimes. All thoughts above are my opinions based on my personal experience. If you are dealing with skincare concerns, I would recommend going to see a professional dermatologist. I hope this was able to simplify the process of starting a routine. If you have any specific questions on any products I’ve used and my personal experience with them, please feel free to reach out to me!