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GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
a young woman practicing self care through a skincare routine
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How to Create a Skincare Routine

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Unless you’ve been blessed with glowing skin DNA, you understand that flawless skin doesn’t happen overnight. As a matter of fact, it takes dedication, commitment, and a serious conversation with ourselves about our habits, diet, and everything else in between. No matter how many reviews you read, or how many skincare professionals you speak to, ultimately having a skincare routine is very personal.

As you sort through the thousands of skincare tips online and offline, we’ve decided to stay back with the basics. Keep reading to understand exactly how to create a skincare routine that’s suited for your unique skin.

different skincare products used in a daily routine
Image by Unsplash
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The Basics

While everyone is obsessing about the 10-step Korean skincare regimen, you only need three main steps to have the bare basics.

Cleansing – you have to wash your face

Toning – to help you balance your skin

Moisturizing – to keep it soft and hydrated

These necessary three steps are in every possible skincare routine you’ll find out there. If you’re just getting started, sticking to a simple 3-step routine will help you learn the habit of caring for your skin. Eventually, once you feel more comfortable with doing these steps every day, you’ll be able to add more steps to your routine.

To many, following a skincare routine is part of their self care regiment as it reminds them to always take time for themselves.

a woman examining her pores to determine her skin type
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Decoding Your Skin Type

Before you can even get all creative, choosing and mixing your products, you have to understand that not all skincare products are created equally. They’re indeed designed and formulated to treat and satisfy different skin types. Only by adjusting your skincare routine to your skin type, you’ll be able to see real, glowing results.

Dry Skin: Your skin often feels tight, especially after cleansing, regardless of the type of cleanser you use. You’re more prone to see flaking and redness, as well as fine wrinkles, even when wearing foundation.

Oily Skin: You’re always complaining about how your skin looks shiny and your pores larger. Blemishes and blackheads are your number one enemy. By the end of the day, all your makeup is pretty much gone, unless you reapply in the afternoon.

Combination: You’re not dry or oily. While your skin usually has a smooth texture, you have medium-sized pores and tend to get oily in the t-zone area, while you experience dryness around the cheeks.

Sensitive Skin: You have to be very delicate with your skin. You have very fine pores, but you do get allergic reactions rather quickly, which results in irritated skin or rashes.

girl creating a skin care routine that works for her
Image by Vitoria Santos / Pexels
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Finding a Cleanser

The right cleanser is paramount for good skin. Think of your cleanser as the base of your routine. Ideally, you’ll want to follow a double-cleanse routine that starts with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based cleanser to make sure you’re removing all the makeup and impurities without stripping your skin from its essential oils. As with most of your skincare routine, you should pick one based on your skin type.

Dry: Preferably a cream or lotion cleanser to wipe away impurities and moisturize at the same time.

Oily: Go for a foaming liquid cleanser to help break down dirt and excess sebum that causes acne.

Combination: Try a micellar water cleanser to attract debris and melt away all makeup.

Sensitive: An oil cleanser is your go-to, to absorb all the excess oil without irritating your skin.

facial sprays by Mario Badescu that you may use as a face toner
Image by Charisee Kenion / Unsplash
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To Toner or Not to Toner

There’s much debate around the use of toner. Some skincare experts prefer not using it, as many contain harsh astringents that can rip away essential oils. Others celebrate toner as a way to make sure there’s no cleanser residue or makeup as well as a way to balance the skin’s pH. The best way to apply toner is by pouring a few drops in your palm and wipe it on. You can also use a cotton pad and gently pass it over your face if you prefer that method.

Dry: Look for one with hyaluronic acid to seal in moisture.

Oily: Get one with alpha and beta hydroxy acids that gently remove skin cells that can clog your pores.

Combination: Try those with vitamin E to fight daily exposure to free radicals.

Sensitive: Your favorite should be ones with rose water or green tea to help calm irritation and prevent redness.

a woman using face serums and creams to create a skincare routine
Image by Unsplash
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Let’s Treat with Serum

If you want to achieve a flawless complexion, you have to treat with serums. Unlike most creams and lotions, serums are packed with concentrated active ingredients that penetrate deeper into the skin to help with issues like dark spots and wrinkles. Even if you’re not focused on solving a particular issue, serums are often loaded with antioxidants to protect your skin from daily aggressors. You can either mix or match your serums to treat specific areas of your face or choose an overall formula to promote healthy skin. Please, do not mix your serums into your moisturizer to try to save some time. This only lessens the ability of the serum to be absorbed effectively.

Dry: Get married to a hyaluronic acid serum that seals in hydration while also preventing moisture loss.

Oily: Give a vitamin C serum a try, they help brighten skin and reduce dark spots.

Combination: A serum with retinol and peptides will help stimulate the production of collagen to fight those pesky fine lines.

Sensitive: Some serums can be irritating, try one with Niacinamide to calm redness, and reduce inflammation instead.

a close up of a woman who uses eye cream as part of her skin care routine
Image by Dhyamis Kleber / Pexels
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Youthful Eyes

Here’s a step most people consider optional. But, in all honesty, they shouldn’t. While you can survive without eye cream in your skincare routine, in the long run, you’ll only do yourself more harm than good. The truth is that we all experience issues like hyperpigmentation (dark circles), dryness, and puffiness around the eye area. Because the skin around our eyes is so sensitive and thin, it’s more likely to react to skincare products designed for your face, which is why you need an eye cream.

For all Skins: Whether you have oily or sensitive skin, your eye area responds well to anti-inflammatory ingredients like caffeine, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. Other ingredients to help reduce the pigmentation include vitamin C, Niacinamide, and Kojic acid. Expert tip: To help with the puffiness, keep your eye cream in the fridge, the cool will bring down inflammation.

a woman using hand lotion to moisturize
Image by Pexels
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Lock in the Moisturizer

Let’s debunk a famous skincare myth: not all skin types need moisturizer. Wrong. Moisturizer is the one product that benefits all skin types and should be used all year round. Moisturizers prevent water loss through the outer layers of skin, they also help complement protective oils and building blocks within the skin. Daily activities can strip natural moistures from our skin, moisturizers are there to help us lock this hydration in.

Dry: Try an oil-based cream, it should feel heavier than a lotion.

Oily: Find a gel moisturizer that’s a water-based option that absorbs quickly.

Combination: Try a lotion that feels more moisturizing than a gel but still absorbs rather quickly.

Sensitive: You’re best friend will be a moisturizing balm, their denser texture will feel very soothing.

a woman using sunscreen on her hands on a daily basis
Image by Pexels
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The Holy SPF

Even if you don’t follow a skincare routine, you should never, under no circumstances, miss your sunscreen application. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying home, if it’s rainy and cloudy outside, or if your office has no windows – you need sunscreen. Daily and consistent sunscreen use does more than protecting your skin against UV rays, it also helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles, as well as textural imperfections over time. If you’re not looking for an extra step in your routine, finding a moisturizer with built-in broad-spectrum SPF will do. No matter who you ask, they’ll probably agree: sunscreen is hands down, the most crucial step of your skincare routine.

Here’s the thing with sunscreen, most people don’t apply enough of it. Do your best to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure, and yes, you should reapply at least every two hours. The ideal sunscreen amount for your face is about a nickel-size dollop.

Dry: Preferably an oil-based sunscreen or an oil-based moisturizer with SPF 30 or more.

Oily: Stay away from oily sunscreens and choose a water-based, oil-free SPF instead.

Combination: You can get away with most sunscreens in the market.

Sensitive: Find one without chemical ingredients, try to find one without fragrances.

a woman using a mud face mask as part of her skin care routine
Image by Isabel Winter / Unsplash
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Other Fun Stuff

Things like face masks, special tools, and high-tech skincare gadgets are 100% not necessary, and your skin will probably never need these. Having said that, they are all added bonuses to your skincare routine. If you’re looking to keep things interesting, add a face mask every other week to sit back and relax. Invest in washcloths to prevent drying your skin with a bacteria-packed towel. Some light therapy and laser facials can be beneficial to treat specific skin concerns.

Remember, skincare, as many other wellness practices, take patience and dedication. Do your best to go through your skincare routine every morning and night, your skin will thank you.

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Geraldine
GR8NESS Writer
Geraldine is a GR8NESS Contributing Editor who writes about self care, clean makeup and beauty, mental health, and relationships – as well as natural remedies and fitness. She’s a coffee enthusiast with Venezuelan roots, a former ballerina, and the sunscreen patrol. Most of the time, you can find her working on her skincare routine or trying a new dance workout.
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