Skin Care Routine Steps: The Perfect Skin Care Routine
Everyone’s skin has unique concerns and sensitivities. Because of this, there isn’t a cookie-cutter skincare routine that will deliver clear, vibrant skin to all skin types.
“The perfect skincare routine isn’t one-size-fits-all. It depends on your individual needs and the results you want to see in your skin.”
- Shani Darden, Esthetician
That said, there are some basic things to keep in mind when selecting your skincare products. While you may need some trial and error to find the perfect combination for your skin, doing your research, knowing your skin type, and sticking to a tried-and-true formula for a successful routine can definitely help.
Let’s talk about the fundamentals of a good skincare routine so you can get started.
What Should You Know About Your Skin?
When you’re planning out your skincare routine, the first thing you should do is learn about your individual skin type. There’s a certain amount of guesswork involved here — products that work for your friend with oily skin may not work for you, even if you also have oily skin.
However, starting with your skin type can help push you in the right direction. So let’s walk through some quick fundamentals to keep in mind when building your routine and getting to know your skin.
What’s Your Skin Type?
This is the first and most important thing to know about your skin. There are five primary skin types: oily, combination, normal, dry, and sensitive skin.
Knowing your skin type is important because it can affect which ingredients and products you use. For instance, if you have oily skin, you’ll want to steer clear of products that are heavy in waxes and oils as these ingredients can lead to clogged pores, pimples, and breakouts. In this case, you’ll need to look for products that are labeled as “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic.”
On the flip side, if you have dry skin, you should moisturize with an occlusive moisturizer to help seal moisture against your skin. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re using a gentle cleanser that won’t strip your skin.
In fact, sometimes, complexion concerns may be entirely due to using products that aren’t designed for your skin type. Doing this can damage your skin barrier and interfere with your skin’s delicate microbiome, leading to negative side effects.
How Do Outside Factors Impact Your Skin?
In addition to your natural skin type, you’ll also want to consider your environment and lifestyle and how these things may be affecting your complexion.
Factors like your diet can lead to breakouts and other skincare concerns. Likewise, not drinking enough water can contribute to dryness or excess sebum production, depending on your skin type. While oily skin is more likely to develop clogged pores, dry skin is more likely to show early signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles.
Additionally, low humidity and cold weather can affect your skin and exacerbate any existing skin concerns. They can contribute to TEWL (transepidermal water loss) and dehydrate your skin over time.
What’s Most Important to You?
Your skin may have different needs at different points in your life. Up until your late twenties or early thirties, your skin might look great no matter what you do. But as you get older, your skin might change. This is when you may need to start using a retinol serum.
Meanwhile, brightening ingredients might be at the top of your list if you have breakout scars or dark spots. If your skin seems dull, you might want to prioritize a vitamin C serum. So while there are some rules of thumb you can use to address your skin needs, your routine should also reflect the skin changes you’d like to see.
How Can You Build the Perfect Skincare Routine?
You can adjust your skincare regimen in many ways, but there are some fundamentals you’ll want to stick to if you want to see results.
This isn’t a product, but it is a cornerstone of effective dermatology. Aside from periodic treatments like chemical peels, being consistent with your routine can make a world of difference.
No matter how powerful a product is, results like skin firming or a reduction in puffiness or dark circles take time. You’re more likely to see results if you apply your products consistently.
It’s generally best practice to start your morning and evening skincare routines with a gentle but effective facial cleanser to remove makeup, dead skin cells, pollutants, and other impurities from your skin. If you have oily skin or wear a lot of makeup, you may want to consider double-cleansing with a micellar water first.
My Cleansing Serum is a gentle daily foaming cleanser that melts away makeup and pore-clogging impurities without stripping away your skin’s natural oils. This can promote overall skin wellness and encourage an all-around even skin tone. And, since this is a water-based cleanser, it won’t clog your pores or cause blackheads.
Keeping your skin hydrated is important no matter what your specific skin type is. If your skin is dry, you may want to consider a deeper moisturizer like my Hydration Peptide Cream. If you have oily skin, you may want to consider an oil-free moisturizer.
If you have combination skin, you may want to apply a thicker moisturizer to your dry areas while sticking to something like my Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer around your t-zone.
This moisturizer works best for oily skin types, but even those with normal skin can see the benefits of using this soothing formula. This product uses hydrolyzed collagen and red algae to attract hydration, while hyaluronic acid helps to keep your skin balanced and moisturized.
Other active ingredients to look for in your moisturizers include ceramides, peptides, and brightening niacinamide.
For your nighttime routine, you may want to stock up on specialized moisturizers, as well. For instance, a brightening eye cream like my Intensive Eye Renewal Cream can work wonders on your eye area. Eye creams are designed to work overnight, so they’re best to apply before you go to sleep.
Sun protection should be the final step of any morning skincare routine. If you want to keep your skin looking bright and youthful, wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day is crucial. Whether you use a mineral sunscreen or a chemical sunscreen, make sure you choose one that provides broad-spectrum protection and is made with your skin type in mind.
Using antioxidant-rich products in the morning, such as a vitamin C serum, can also help support your sunscreen in fighting off damaging free radicals from UV rays — but SPF should always be your first line of defense.
What Products Can You Add To Customize Your Routine?
You can add to your skincare routine as much or as little as you want, so long as you don’t overwhelm your skin. Some products cancel each other out, while others can cause irritation when they mix.
Some common additions include exfoliating ingredients. These can include beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid to fight breakouts or alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid to support your natural cell turnover.
These ingredients often show up in serums like my anti-aging Retinol Reform, which you should apply after cleansing and before moisturizing. Serums often contain concentrated formulas that are great for addressing specific skin concerns.
The perfect skincare routine isn’t one-size-fits-all. It depends on your individual needs and the results you want to see in your skin.
Things like age, skin type, environment, and a wide range of other factors can impact your skin, so taking those things into account when planning your routine can help you cut to the chase and find the products that work for you more quickly.