How to build a skincare routine
Women and men across the globe often complain of suffering from dull, sensitive and problematic skin. No matter what products they use, they just don’t seem to be able to strike the right balance to achieve the glowing, flawless skin of their dreams. Since it can take a while for certain products to work (or not work), building up the best bank of moisturisers, oils and cleansers that are right for your skin can be a long and painful process – especially if you’re a complete beginner.
The skincare industry has grown rapidly over the past number of years and is set to hit a value of 189.3 billion USD by 2025.
Data from Statista
Knowing this, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more and more people ditch the $1 facewash and opting for luxury cleansers instead.
The tricky part of skincare is knowing which products to choose. Everyone’s skin is completely different, so what works for your friends might not work for you. Achieving flawless skin is only a matter of experimenting but having guidance can help.
We’ve put together this guide to talk you through building a skincare routine that actually works for you.
First, get to know your skin
Different skin types need different care, products and methods. Before you jump in head first, take some time to get to know your skin and the type of skin that you have. None of these skin types are a sign of bad health, they are all completely normal and decided by your genetics. A mistake many people make is thinking that they can change their skin type through using different products – but it doesn’t work like that.
These are the 4 skin types, use this information to decide which type your skin is[i].
- Normal – well balanced skin, not too dry or too oily.
- Dry – skin which is frequently tight, dull looking and dry.
- Oily – skin which overproduces sebum, giving a glossy, porous appearance.
- Combination – a mixture of all the skin types.
Skincare routine order
The basic order for a good all-rounder skincare routine is easy to remember. During each skincare session, you should:
1: Cleanse. Cleansing is the most important beginning stage for any routine. During this stage, you will remove all dirt, debris and other impurities from your skin.
2: Treat/Tone. This is an optional middle stage between cleansing and moisturizing where you will use products containing vitamins and acids that are beneficial to skin health. During the Treat stage, you’ll also use products to treat problem areas (fine lines, acne, dry skin patches). This will tone and balance the skin.
- Moisturize. Moisturising is the key to keeping skin hydrated, supple and strong. Regular moisturizing also improves the appearance of skin – you don’t want to miss this stage.
- Protect. Sunscreen is vital to maintaining skin health. You can get great SPF moisturizers, or just use regular sunscreen.
As you age and your skin changes, you’ll naturally move onto different products. To ensure you have everything covered it’s handy to keep these core areas in mind which we will go over in more depth below.
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Skincare routine steps
Now you know the absolute basics that your skincare routine should be covering, lets break it down into steps.
Step 1: Cleanse your face
Cleansing your skin should be the first step before you even think about putting any product on it. Your skin naturally accumulates dirt, sweat, oils and debris as you go about your day-to-day life, and these should be removed as part of your routine.
What to use
What you use to cleanse really depends on your skin type. There are a range of different types of cleanser on the market, including:
- Micellar Water – a water-based cleanser that is perfect for any skin type. This can be used on its own and doesn’t need rinsing off.
- Oil Based – oil cleansers are good for sensitive skin.
- Foaming – ideal for acne-prone and oily skin, foaming cleansers eliminate excess sebum and dirt.
- You should cleanse your face twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening.
- Only use exfoliating scrubs once a week. They are abrasive, and although your skin may appear ‘shiny’ and ‘fresh’ after, they can be damaging if used too often.
- Double cleansing (once with an oil-based cleanser and then with a water-based cleanser) shouldn’t be done on a daily basis. Only do this if the first cleanse didn’t feel like enough or if you wear heavy makeup.
Step 2: Toning
Toning your skin is optional but is a good 2nd step to take after cleansing if you have particularly hard to control skin. It removes any excess sweat, make-up or dirt that is clogging up your pores which your cleanser didn’t pick up on. Most cleansers contain vitamins, exfoliants and anti-aging ingredients which balance out the pH of the skin[ii].
What to use
As with most skin care products, there are a huge variety of toners on the market. You should avoid anything with high levels of alcohol in them as these can be drying. Look for toners with the following ingredients in them:
- Green tea and/or rose water, which have a soothing effect on irritated and red skin
- Vitamin C and E, which protect skin
- Hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the skin and reduces the effect of fine lines
- Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, which remove dead cells and stop the skin looking dull
- Apply gentle toner once or twice a day
- Apply harsher toners (e.g ones containing exfoliant acids) every other day
- Use a cotton ball or your hands
- Add toner and gently blot onto the skin
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Step 3: Treat your skin
In the treatment stage, you can use serums to tackle specific issues your skin has such as wrinkles, discolouration, dark spots and more. If you don’t have these issues, you can use a general antioxidant at this stage to keep your skin protected.
What to use
Look for treatment serums with the following ingredients:
- Vitamin C, which limits dark spots with continued use and makes skin brighter
- Hyaluronic acid, which keeps skin hydrated and strengthens the skins barrier
- Colloidal sulfur and niacinamide, which keeps redness at bay by limiting inflammation. These are also great for calming acne
- Vitamin B3 and retinol, which boost collagen production which helps skin to keep its elasticity
- You can use more than one serum if you have different issues
- Always apply serums before moisturizing
- Research how and when to apply your specific product to reap the maximum benefits
- You might not see the fruits of your labour straight away. It can take anywhere between 4-6 weeks for regular skincare to kick in and for you to see the effect.
- Don’t try a new product a day. Start small and work your way up to other products.
- If your skin doesn’t react well to something, stop using it straight away.
Step 4: Moisturize
Moisturizing is one of the final steps which will keep your skin hydrated and happy. It keeps your skin soft and should be used regularly, all year round.
What to use
Choose a moisturizer for everyday use which works best for your skin type. You can get moisturizers specifically for day or night use which have different functions.
- Lotion, for normal and combination skin
- Gel moisturizer, for oily skin
- Creams, for dry skin
- Balm, for sensitive skin
- Eye cream, for puffy or dry skin around the eyes
- Moisturize in the morning and at night
Step 5: Protect with sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the most important tools in any skincare arsenal and should definitely not be overlooked. It might shock you to find out that you should be using a product with a high SPF every day, not just when it’s sunny.
You can use a moisturizer that has protective qualities. Whichever product you choose, make sure you go for an SPF of at least 30.