How To Build A Skincare Routine: A Step-by-step Guide

In a world full of 20 step routines, I’ll tell you how to build a skincare routine step by step.

good skin club

Skincare has exploded in the past few years, thanks to Instagram and TikTok. However, it might be overwhelming for someone just starting out in their skincare journey.

There are innumerable products and ingredients to browse from in today’s market but not to worry, I’m here to help with a step-by-step guide on how to build a skincare routine especially if you are a beginner. Because at some point in my life, I was also in the same place as you are right now!

Let’s start our journey to good skin.

How to build a skincare routine

When you are learning how to build a skincare routine for yourself, you must understand the most important aspects, i.e., the routine should be basic but effective.

Remember it’s a journey and as you progress through this incredible journey you can research on your own too and add to the basic skincare routine. I am linking some reputable skincare resources which you can check out and learn from.

As much as you want to jump headfirst into a 7- or 9- or even 20-step skincare routine, I strongly recommend against it. You and your skin can thank me later. Building a simple skincare routine will allow you to stick to it through your tired days and drunken nights.

Consistency is key

It won’t matter if you add on 20 steps to your routine but fail to stick with it even for 20 days.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified dermatologist or a medical esthetician, just a skincare enthusiast who likes to share what works for her.

Okay, let’s learn how to build a skincare routine for beginners!

Step 1: Know your skin type

Predominantly there are five skin types: normal, oily, dry, combination and sensitive; each with its own characteristics. Determining your skin type is an easy wait and watch test that you can do anytime. Knowing your skin type will allow you to focus your attention on the products that your skin requires rather than needlessly spending dollar bills on the latest skincare trend.

Remember your skin may fall into two different categories at one point of time. It may also change with seasons or weather conditions

Skin type: Test

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Wait for 30 minutes and then observe your skin in the mirror. Look for any of the defining characteristics:

Oily skin: Is it shiny or greasy throughout? This is caused by excess of sebum production.

Dry skin: Can you see dryness or flakes? This might be accompanied with tightness, itching or irritation.

Combination skin: Maybe you observe a bit of both, oiliness in the T zone (forehead, nose, chin) and dryness along the periphery of the face.

Normal skin: If your skin seems balanced, chances are you have a normal skin type.

Sensitive skin: This can occur in conjunction with other skin types. Usually recognized by redness and irritation; this can be caused by fragrance or any other ingredient.

Now that you have determined your skin type, I would suggest you focus on meeting your skins’ specific needs. Most skincare companies have product distribution by skin type on their websites. You can use that as your initial guide.

Step 2: Cleanser

We all (probably) have a facewash at our disposal. Now even if you don’t wear makeup, it’s essential to cleanse your face at the end of the day to get rid of the built-up impurities. Your skincare products will work better on clean skin.

cleansing as first step of how to build a skincare routine

Some people still use makeup wipes as their first cleanse. Personally, I’m not a fan of makeup wipes because I feel they are bit harsh on the skin and don’t do a good job cleansing the skin. Not to mention using them generates environmental waste. I’m not asking you to throw away all your makeup wipes at once but just encouraging you to make some conscious choices.

It’s not always just oil-based cleanser followed by water-based. An oil-based cleanser is used to melt off the makeup, but even micellar water does the trick.

This is where the double-cleanse system comes in; start with an oil-based cleanser to dissolve the makeup and/or sunscreen followed by a water-based cleanser

First cleanse:

I absolutely love the Garnier micellar water poured on my reusable makeup remover rounds that I got from Amazon. It’s an environmentally wise choice but over months of using them, I find they are bit tricky to clean. So now, I have shifted to cleansing butter. I’m currently using the Wishful Clean Genie Cleansing Butter. It’s amazing how well it takes my eyeliner and mascara off and washes off with just water. Find out my honest review here.

woman applying cleanser on left hand

Second cleanse:

I use The Body Shop Aloe Calming Foaming Wash as my second cleanse. It’s perfect for my dry yet somewhat sensitive skin. If you have dry skin, focus on a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin further. If you have oily skin, focus on oil-controlling ingredients like niacinamide or if you are struggling with breakouts, you can opt for a salicylic acid cleanser. Additionally, if you are trying to incorporate salicylic acid in your skincare routine, wash-off treatments are a good place to start to make sure your skin gets used to it. But again, over-exfoliation is a thing so don’t use that every day.

Shop reusable cotton rounds here (US) and here (India).

Shop the Wishful Clean Genie Cleansing Butter here (US) and here (India).

Shop The Body Shop Aloe Calming Foaming Wash here (US) and here (India).

Step 3: Moisturize

a woman applying moisturizer

Moisturization is extremely important since our skin loses water via trans epidermal water loss more commonly referred to as TEWL. I currently have dry skin; therefore, I moisturize over 2-3 times in a day. So, understand what your skin needs and then go along with it. Click here to know about all the types of moisturizers you could ever need.

My oily skin peeps, if you think your skin doesn’t need a moisturizer since it’s already so oily and greasy, you are mistaken. Your skin might be over-producing oil to compensate the lack of hydration. But I understand, you don’t want to use a thick moisturizer. Don’t worry, you can opt for a gel-based moisturizer instead.

Step 4: Sunscreen

Another major step in your skincare routine is sun protection. Without this, it’s not wise to proceed with actives. That’s because some of the active ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. not only that, but any improvement you seek from using these ingredients will be over-powered by continuous sun damage if you don’t protect your skin,

Sun-protection is a no-brainer for me, and it should be for you too. Studies show about 90% of skin ageing happens due to the sun. And apart from that an adequate sun-protection factor (SPF) will protect you from skin cancer. Keep in mind that this is the most crucial step in building a skincare routine.

a woman squeezing sunscreen from the bottle

Follow up your moisturizer with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (At least SPF 30 and PA rating ++++) and reapply after every 2–3 hours. Find out why is sunscreen so essential and how to choose one.

You can look at it this way, every skincare product that you are spending your money on is a waste UNLESS you put on sunscreen

The best sunscreen will be the one that you will wear daily!

Once you think you are able to stick to these three steps, you can then move on to your skin concerns and finding the right products for that. Pick one concern and look for products to treat that. Preferably serums and actives after cleansing your skin and before moisturizer.

Always patch test. Read here on how to do a patch test and why is it the most important step. If you incorporate multiple new products simultaneously, chances are your skin will become overwhelmed and if by any chance it causes some sort of irritation or sensitivity, you’ll have no way to know which product or combination of ingredients is causing that. So, take it slow and enjoy the process.

That’s it, a basic step-by-step guide on how to build a skincare routine for yourself. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

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