A Complete Guide to the Perfect Skincare Routine
Starting off as an introverted little elementary school kid, the extent of my skincare routine was lathering up a bar of Dove body soap, scrubbing it all over my face in the shower and wiping my face dry when I got out. Little did I know, future me with her severely dry skin could be cringing to death thinking of how my skin would suffer in the years to come.
When all I cared about was putting on performances at school, secretly sharing snacks at lunch time, and playing different variations of Four Squares with my friends - life was freakin' great! And then we grew up and puberty hit - and all of a sudden, life was less about playing Manhunt and Hide and Seek at recess, and more about wearing way-too-fancy dresses to school and acting cooler than we actually were. As with every kid, I suddenly became hyperaware about my appearance. Not only that, but I began to realize - people don't just wash their face with body soap in the shower? There were special soaps dedicated to just your face? After hours and hours of conversations with my friends and scouring the internet for information, I began to realise the true importance of taking care of our skin(and I'm so glad I finally did because my skin was a whole mess - yikes). What started off as something that really intimidated me, ended up as something that I fell head over heels with, and all these years later, I'm so glad to say that I've finally got my information locked down and ready to pass on to you!
If you're like mini-me who had absolutely no idea what the difference between lotion and moisturizer was (to my credit, they're both creams that come in bottles 🤷), that's completely okay! This post is dedicated solely to teach you the basics of forming a healthy skin care routine, so use this free time put this routine into action, and achieve the healthy skin you've always wanted.
Considering the fact that there are various different skin types to exist, the basic routine is kept relatively the same. What truly makes the difference are the ingredients within the products that are being used.
1. Cleanse for a clean palette.
Dry skin: Begin with a non-foaming and gentle facial cleanser that includes hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and doesn't foam. A gentle and balancing formula that doesn’t irritate and dry out your skin will remove dirt and makeup without stripping moisture
Oily skin: While oily skin can be washed in the morning and at night, it’s absolutely crucial to ensure that you’re washing your face in the a.m; Dirt, excess oils and other impurities build up on your skin overnight, and will clog your pores leading to breakouts if they aren’t removed using a cleanser. Start with a mild water based or gel cleanser, which will decongest any clogged pores and remove any excess oils without dehydrating them. Formulas with antibacterial ingredients will do just this, and will help combat acne bacteria on the skin.
Combination skin: Use a pH-balanced foaming cleanser that will effectively remove any excess oil and dirt without drying out your skin. Cream or oil based cleansers are a great choice because they don’t imbalance either skin type; They replenish moisture, hydrate and calm that dry part of your skin, and clear congestion and impurities while controlling excess oil production.
*Note: after you're done cleansing your face, please make sure you pat your face dry with a towel instead of rubbing it! This is such a simple step that can have such a positive affect on the health of your skin. Rubbing a towel on your skin can cause irritation, and repeated tugging can cause it to lose its elasticity.*
2. Tone for a deeper clean.
Dry skin: A good toner for should get rid of any residual dirt or makeup left on your skin, provide hydration and prepare your skin to absorb the contents of the rest of your skincare routine.
Oily & Combination skin: Both oily and combination skin benefit from a toner’s capabilities; it restores your skin's pH levels, which will help control oil production and add hydration as well. It should contain either salicylic acid, glycolic acid or lactic acid. Natural ingredients such as chamomile, rose or ginseng will reduce any inflammation as well.
3. Treat with serum.
Dry Skin: Hyaluronic acid perfectly tackles the issue of dryness and dehydration, because of its ability to draw moisture into the skin and prevent it from escaping. In fact, each molecule can store up to 1000 times its weight in water, so this absolutely maximises the hydration of your skin.
Oily Skin: With a whole bunch of concentrated actives, a hydrating serum will deliver essential ingredients to the deep layers of your skin where these actives will engage biologically. Vitamin B3 (aka niacinamide) and Vitamin C would be the most beneficial.
Combination Skin: Finding a serum that will cater to the needs of combination skin can often be tricky, but opting for a retinol based one is a great choice - however, it’s extremely powerful and can be irritating so ensure that you are testing it out before routinely using it on your face. When using a retinoid during the day, it’s crucial to follow up the serum with SPF.
4. Moisturize to lock in hydration.
Dry skin: Dry skin often needs a thicker moisturizer to maximise its hydration needs, so a non-comedogenic or oil-free formula would be most beneficial.
Oily skin: Adding more moisture to your skin may seem counterintuitive, however a lack of hydration is often what causes more oiliness. When your skin feels as though it’s lacking moisture, it will produce even more sebum (think, overcompensation) to make up for the lack of hydration. By using a good moisturizer with a gel formula that will leave your skin feeling light and refreshing, your skin will receive more moisturization and will minimize its perception of over being too dry, and will thus slow down sebum production.
Combination skin: Combination skin simply requires balance for true hydration. Picking a moisturizer that is not heavy, greasy or clogging and will keep your skin nourished throughout the day is the key to happy and healthy skin.
5. Eye cream for those pesky dark circles: Any eye cream with hyaluronic acid, which locks hydration into the skin, is a great choice for all types of skin types; it’s light and moisturizing enough for both dry and oily skin.
6. Sunscreen to battle the sun’s rays: It doesn’t matter what type of skin you have, make sure you always end off your morning skincare routine with a layer of sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
1. Exfoliation: This step comes after cleansing, and should be done only a few times a week depending on the condition of your skin.
Dry skin: Exfoliating allows us to remove dead skin cells, increase blood circulation and improve our overall complexion and appearance. Avoid anything that will further dry out your skin. AHA’s are often effective for dry skin.
Oily skin (Exfoliation (only a few times a week): With skin that is prone to dead skin build up, blackheads and clogged pores, chemical exfoliants like BHA are great. They allow for a boost in cell turnover and deep cleaning.
Combination skin: Exfoliation is great for both dryness and oil buildup. Exfoliating will get rid of any dry and rough skin, and will unclog pores to give you the healthy and revived complexion you deserve. Achieve this by using a salicylic acid (BHA) exfoliant on the oily areas, and a glycolic acid (AHA) exfoliant on the dry areas.
2. Face masks: Should be applied after exfoliation, and also depend on the condition of your skin. A hydrating mask should be used for all types of skin, however oily skin particularly benefits from clay or charcoal based masks. They help pull out and absorb excess oil from your skin leaving it more matte.
It may seem quite daunting at first, but trust me, giving your skin the love and care that it deserves is one of the best feelings and truly does pay off in the end!