Figuring out the perfect skincare routine could be overwhelming, especially for beginners. Some questions we struggle with are; Do I need a 10-step routine, or must I use a serum or a toner? There needs to be more than just having the best skin care products. For instance, to make the most of your skincare products, you need to consider your skin type, the correct order to apply the products, the time of day, the formulations and ingredients in your products, and many other factors. Worry not. We promise that by reading this guideline, you will be calm and confident about creating a perfect skincare routine. Let’s dive in!
The general rule of thumb in building a perfect skincare routine is to keep it simple. Layering on many products raises the risk of breakouts, allergic reactions, and irritation. The best practice is, to begin with a clean-toned base before applying concentrated active ingredients and finally finish by sealing in the moisture, not forgetting SPF for the daytime. Below is a step-by-step guide to a good skincare regimen:
1. The Cleanser
Morning and night, remove makeup and wash your face with water before applying a small amount of cleanser. Clean skin free of oil is essential if the ingredients are to be absorbed effectively. This is the stage where you can use a face mask and rinse it off with water before moving to the toner. We recommend you skip the makeup wipes because of their potential to cause breakouts and irritate your skin. We suggest using cleansing oil and following it up with a gentle cleanser. Using cleansing oil works best for those with skin prone to acne. If you have oily skin, go for gel-based washes or foamy cleansers. Dry skin requires a non-foamy face wash with additional ingredients like glycerin and ceramides for barrier boosting.
2. Apply the toner
Toners are meant to prime your face for better absorption of ingredients. In the past, most toners were alcohol based and could burn your face. Today’s toners have hydrating ingredients that are great for dry or sensitive skin, while others are full of exfoliants that address acne and bumps. Oily and acne-prone skins need toners with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) to unclog the pores, dissolve blackheads, and prevent breakouts. If you prefer essences, you can use them as an alternative to toners since they are pretty similar in consistency.
3. Apply the serum
Some people skip the serum, but it is a heavy lifter of your routine thanks to its nutrients, antioxidants, and hydrators that boost your skin health. All skin types will benefit from using vitamin C serum in the morning. Vitamin C serum is full of antioxidants to protect your skin from environmental free radicals. Vitamin C can be too intense for sensitive skin, so it should be used periodically. Nighttime is good with a moisturizing serum that contains hyaluronic acid to prevent dryness. Also, remember that oil-based serums are to be applied after the moisturizer, while water-based serums go before the moisturizer.
4. Eye cream
Eye creams should come before your creams and oils because they are thinner and lighter. However, eye creams are not essential for everyone. The moisturizer and sunscreen are sufficient for the eye area. If you choose to use eye cream, layer it underneath the moisturizer. For the morning, pick an eye cream with caffeine that helps tighten puffy under eyes. At night, look for a hydrating eye cream to protect your under eyes and repair the skin barrier. Also, use an eye cream with a metallic tip applicator, ideally one made of steel.
5. Utilize spot treatment
It is recommended to apply spot treatments at nighttime when your body works to repair itself. However, if you already use retinoids for your nighttime routine, you could spot a treat in the morning to avoid irritating your skin. Tap on your spot treatment before the moisturizer for deeper penetration.
6. Apply the moisturizer
Moisturizer is vital because our skins need moisture and hydration to be healthy. Ideally, it would help if you used a moisturizer twice daily. All skin types will benefit from formulas rich in hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin. In addition, moisturizers trap in the products underneath, increasing the effectiveness of all ingredients. If your skin is oily, use a lightweight moisturizer that is either gel or cream based.
7. Applying Retinol
Retinoids refer to all vitamin A derivatives that reduce fine lines, dark spots, and breakouts by speeding up cell turnover. Retinoids are not a quick fix and require consistent use for about six months to see results. The downside is that they can be irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin. Besides, retinoids are broken down when exposed to the sun, so they restrict their usage to nighttime.
8. Oil your face
Apply face oil after all the skin products because it is occlusive, sealing in all the other ingredients and moisture to prevent them from evaporating. Oils don’t moisturize your skin, but they are essential for increasing the effectiveness of the other ingredients making your skin softer and smooth. Oils should be applied last because they can penetrate the other treatments easily, but no products can bypass your face oil. You can forego the face oil, especially if you have dry patches and are scared of the face oil.
9. Apply sunscreen
Sunscreen is the last step, but it is not any less important. If you inquire from your dermatologist, they will tell you that sun protection is a crucial step in your skin regimen. Sunscreen protects you from UV rays that can cause skin cancer and reduces signs of aging. Select the broad spectrum that will protect you from UVB and UVA radiation when picking your sunscreen. After applying chemical sunscreen, allow 20 minutes for maximum effectiveness.
Having a great skin is not determined only by your DNA. Your daily skincare routine has an even more significant impact—the perfect skincare routine tunes up your complexion to bring out its best attributes. Ultimately, your skincare routine is personal, and you can use this guide to help you sort through the noise out there.
Salman Zafar is an ecopreneur, consultant, advisor, speaker and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection, conservation and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Salman is the Founder of EcoMENA, a popular voluntary organization based in Qatar. He is also the Founder and CEO of BioEnergy Consult, a reputed consulting firm active in biomass, waste-to-energy and waste management segments.
Salman is a professional environmental writer with more than 350 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass environmental awareness in different parts of the world.
Salman Zafar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com