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How to Build a Skin Care Routine

by Jason Feldman on May 18, 2021

Having great skin comes down to several factors. Genetics plays a big part in our skin, but so does our daily routine. While many aspects of our complexion are out of our control, our daily habits are ours to define.

One of the most significant problems we all face is knowing who we should listen to. Many doctors, dermatologists, and cosmetics professionals are out there giving advice — but so much of it is confusing and contradictory. Should we exfoliate daily? How should we protect ourselves from UV rays? What's the best moisturizer? The list goes on.

It's no wonder that many people out there don't even know where to begin. But we're here to help with an article that will show you how to build a skincare routine to help you be at your glowing best.

Know Your Skin Type

Before you start to build a skincare regime, you need to know your skin type. Products that say they are suitable for every kind of skin are usually ineffective. So remember, each skin type needs tailored products and solutions to be at its best.


The Four Skin Types

The four skin types are Dry, Oily, Sensitive, and Normal/Combination.

Dry Skin: Dry skin can tend to feel quite tight. You know you have dry skin if you are prone to redness, flaking, and even fine wrinkles. Dry skin has less sebum than normal skin. This skin type doesn't have enough lipids that keep moisture and shield skin from external factors.

Oily Skin: Oily skin tends to have large pores and have a shiny, glossy look. Additionally, it's prone to acne, blemishes, and blackheads.

Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin has tiny pores. Also, it is thinner and more delicate than other skin types. This skin type is easily irritated and is prone to rashes.

Normal/Combination Skin: The typical skin type is well-balanced; neither too dry nor too oily. Combination skin contains some mix of the above.

Normal/Combination skin has medium-sized pores with a smooth texture. The oily areas are typically in the T-zone (the area made up of your forehead, nose, and chin)

Now that you understand the skin type you have, we can move on to the next step.

Skin Care Routine Overview

First, the basics. Any good skincare regime should be built around the following three fundamentals:

● Cleansing
● Toning
● Moisturizing

Cleansing: Cleansing removes excess makeup, oils, dirt, and dead cells from the skin. Refreshing your skin and allowing it to breathe gives it a clean base to apply moisturizers and other cosmetics.

Toning: After the face is clean, toner removes the last particles of impurities and dirt. Additionally, toners tighten pores and cell gaps, making the skins less susceptible to pollutants and environmental aggressors.

Moisturizing: Moisturizers hydrate the top layer of skin, sealing in water. Additionally, they improve skin texture and can camouflage blemishes.


Washing your face is the most straightforward and most crucial step to having great skin. Daily life puts us in contact with pollutants and contaminants, so the cornerstone of a suitable regime is making sure we cleanse our face twice daily.

For best effects, clean once in the morning and once at night to avoid clogged pores.

Choose the Right Facial Cleanser

Choosing the correct facial cleanser for your skin is crucial. The wrong formula can strip your skin of its natural oils.

Keep exfoliating scrubs to a maximum of one per week, and when you do use them, try to avoid scrubs with abrasive ingredients.

For your morning and nightly cleanse, these are the best products for your skin.

Dry Skin: For dry skin, use cream or lotion. These products keep your skin hydrated and wipe away impurities.

Oily Skin: For oily skin, foaming liquids are best. These liquids turn into foam when rubbed in the palm or with water. Foams are best for breaking down sebum in the pores and wiping away excess dirt.

Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin is best cleansed with oil. Argan oils are kind to sensitive skin and don't block the pores.

Normal/Combination Skin: Most skin responds well to Micellar Water. It's soap-free and works by dragging debris and dirt away from the skin. Unlike most cleansers, it doesn't even need to be washed off. Just a wipe, and it's gone.


In the 80s, toner was very different. It was alcohol-based and was used to dry oily skin after cleansing. However, times have changed, and today toners have evolved into something more like a supplement for the skin.

The contemporary toner helps the skin by delivering nutrients that assist your other skin products absorb into your skin and work better.

However, many experts say toner is not strictly necessary but can be helpful as a supplement if your products don't contain certain skin-nourishing ingredients.

So, the best way to think about the toner is as a way to get extra vitamins and minerals into your regime. Some killer ingredients to look out for are:

Oily Skin:
● Salicylic acid (beta-hydroxy acid (BHA))
● Witch hazel
● Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)
Dry Skin:
● Glycerin
● Hyaluronic acid

Sensitive Skin:
● Chamomile
● Aloe vera
● Rosewater and green tea

Additionally, any toner with Vitamin E and C reduces the damage of free radicals, which can cause wrinkling, fine lines, and saggy skin.

How Should I Use a Toner?

The time to use a toner is in between cleansing your face and applying any other products. The traditional application method suggests you should soak a cotton pad and then apply it to your face. However, this wastes too much of the liquid.

The most efficient way to apply a toner is to:

1) Clean your hands
2) Apply the lotion to your palm
3) Then put it on your face

Tip: While most toners can be used whenever you'd like, those with exfoliating acids are best kept for every other day or for strictly at night. Twice a day can be a little harsh on the skin.

Skin Care Serums

Serums are an unbelievably effective skincare product to have in your arsenal. Serums are a product that contains high concentrations of active ingredients that are great for your skin. They are effective at cleaning dark spots, wrinkles, and more.

Some of the better ingredients to look out for are.

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid draws water towards the skin to rehydrate it, making it smooth and reducing wrinkles.

Vitamin C: Vit. C is an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. It helps with skin repair, reduces inflammation, and fights the signs of aging.

Retinol: Considered one of the best anti-aging ingredients available on the market, Retinol exfoliates and promotes cell turnover.

Peptides: Peptides contain amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. They help firm the skin and reduce aging and wrinkles.

Colloidal Sulfur: Great for oily skin. Sulfur dries out the top layer of the skin and absorbs excess oils.

3 Tips for Applying Serums

1) Specific serums are needed for each skincare problem. A serum that helps reduce aging may not help with dryness, and so on. So, the best advice is to treat each issue with a dedicated serum.

2) If you have multiple different skin problems, allow each serum the time to work on its own. Applying a serum cocktail reduces the effectiveness of each solution.

3) While you should apply some serums daily to get the best results, some serums require a lower cadence. Always check the instructions.


Moisturizers exist to hydrate and soften the skin by restricting water loss through the outer layer of the skin. Additionally, they help with natural oils and ceramides.

As we age, the skin's ability to keep moisture declines. Most doctors recommend that we use moisturizers all year round.

Again, understanding which moisturizer is best for your skin is essential.

Dry Skin: Dry skins do better with cream or cream softeners. They're heavier and oil-based.

Oily Skin: For oily skin, a gel moisturizer gets the best results. It's not too heavy, absorbs quickly, and is mainly water-based.

Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skins respond well to balms. It has a heavier texture than cream, but it's perfect for irritable skin.

Normal/Combination Skin: Lotion is the best moisturizer for many people. It absorbs well and feels more like a moisturizer than a gel.

Day Cream vs. Night Cream

Different creams are suitable for day and night.

Day Creams:
● Protect skin from environmental factors
● Contain antioxidants to shield free radicals
● Have sunscreen to protect from UV
● Are lightweight

Night Creams
● Repair damage
● Speed cellular turnover
● Replenish moisture levels
● Have a heavier, thicker texture

Eye Cream
Eye creams aren't a must-have of every skincare regime; you can use them to target specific problems in the eye region, like:

● Hyperpigmentation
● Puffiness
● Dryness

The skin of the eye area is thin and delicate. Because of this, it's more prone to reacting to certain ingredients. So, look for concentrations with lower active ingredients.

You can treat under eye bags and inflammation well with products that contain caffeine, peptides, and hyaluronic acid.

Dark circles underneath the eyes can be due to several factors. Visible veins or discoloration can be treated by brightening ingredients like vitamin C and kojic acid.

Additionally, creams that use strong retinoids can cause irritation and redness. These products should be avoided for eye care.


Of all the products that are available for skincare, the easily most important is sunscreen. Without building sunscreen into your daily routine, you risk exposing yourself to UV light which causes:

● Fine lines
● Wrinkles
● Textural Imperfections
● Changes in the pores
● Skin cancer

Many moisturizers come with an SPF (sunscreen protection factor) of 30 or above built-in. Building one of these creams into your everyday routine will give you protection from the above risk.

Which Sunscreen Formula is Best?

Which sunscreen formula is best is a hotly contested debate. There are two types of ingredients in a sunscreen: Chemical ingredients (that absorb into your skin) and physical ingredients (that sit on top of the skin to protect from UV rays). Both of these ingredients have their advantages and disadvantages.

Chemical Suncare Ingredients

● Lightweight
● Easy to apply
● Transparent

● Can cause reactions and irritability
Ingredients like oxybenzone have been the subject of health warnings on the Environmental Working Group (EWG)Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.

Physical Suncare Ingredients

● Reactions and irritability are unlikely

● It can leave a grey or white residue.

To better shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, products that contain a mixture of chemical and physical ingredients are best. Enhanced protection and less of the temporary tint on the skin are the reasons.

How to Apply sunscreen

Applying sunscreen is a must. Here are some tips to ensure you protect your skin adequately.

● Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out in the sun
● Re-apply every 2 hrs
● You should apply chemical sunscreen on clean skin
● You should apply physical sunscreen after your skincare routine but before applying makeup.

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