Best Skincare Routine for Beginners (Step-by-Step Guide)

Skin Care Routine for Beginners

Essential tips on how to build a daily skincare regimen, including a step-by-step beginner’s skincare routine (in the correct order) that can be changed according to your skin type.

What is a good skincare routine?

It doesn’t get better than having glowing, silky skin that feels well moisturised. Having beautiful skin can have a huge impact on both our physical and mental health. While we typically feel better when we look good, many people enjoy keeping an easy skincare routine as a form of pampering and self-care.

Aside from aesthetic benefits, looking after your skin has medical advantages and is essential to protect yourself from developing sun damage spots and dangerous cancers.

Those with skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, or acne can benefit greatly from a good skincare routine, which can help treat specific skin conditions and find a solid skincare regimen that works for you should not be underestimated.

A good skincare routine is a personalised checklist of skin-caring actions, which one does daily.

The three basics of any skincare routine are cleansing, toning, and moisturising. It’s up to you which one to place more attention on and whether or not to add or leave out certain steps.

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How do you start a basic skincare routine?

If you’re unsure how to start your skincare routine, you’ll need to consider your personal skin type, time limits and budget.

Starting a skincare routine begins by setting aside 10 to 15 minutes each morning and evening for your routine.

Depending on whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin, you’ll need to source products that suit your skin and the activities you engage in, as well as the climate you live in. For instance, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, you should include an SPF sunscreen protection element into your skincare routine.

Your budget will also come into play here, as you will need to choose products that you are confident you will be able to afford to replace when they run out.

Related: 11 Meghan Markle Skin Care & Beauty Secrets

What are the basic & essential tips to care for your skin?

Caring for your skin involves controlling the products you use on your face, as well as the food you eat, water your drink and the time you spend in the sun.

Consistency is key, and it’s important to continue your skin care regimen daily without slipping up.

Here are some basic tips to keep your skin healthy and glowing:

Understanding your skin type

The best way to learn which products will and won’t work on your skin is to understand your personal skin type. Is it dry, oily or combination, and do you have pre-existing allergies or skin conditions?

Book an appointment with a dermatologist to get some specific information about your skin before formulating a skincare routine.

While it’s important to clean and moisturise your face daily, we should also utilise our natural facial oils to enhance our skin’s radiance.

Drink lots of water

Keeping your body hydrated is the key to maintaining healthy skin. Moisturising our face only does so much, and keeping hydrated from within is essential for any essential skincare routine.

Doctors recommend we drink about 2 litres (8 glasses) of water each day. Consider carrying a bottle of water with you everywhere you go; this way, you won’t need to wait until you are thirsty to drink and can hydrate yourself consistently throughout the day.

Always wear a protective sun hat and carry extra sunscreen in your bag

Especially if you live in a warm climate where you spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, wearing a protective wide-brim sun hat is a great idea. Keep a hat with you throughout the day, and wear it whenever you are in direct sunlight.

Although it’s recommended to add an SPF moisturiser to your skincare routine (to be discussed), I also recommend carrying extra sunscreen with you on warm days when you might swim or sweat, which reduces the layering and efficacy of your SPF moisturiser.

Consume as much antioxidant-rich food as possible

Foods rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A (Retinol) and Vitamin E, directly affect the health of your skin. These are commonly found in ingredients like fresh fruit and vegetables.

The benefits of antioxidants for your skin

  • Help skin cells repair themselves.
  • Corrects signs of ageing.
  • Prevents sun damage.
  • Brightens skin tone.

The best antioxidants for healthy skin

  • Vitamin C – helps to boost collagen, which firms skin and fades dark sunspots.
  • Resveratrol – has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that protect skin from infections.
  • Vitamin E – accelerates the skins healing processes.
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) – produces collagen, which helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles while preventing skin discolouration.

Get a good nights sleep

When we sleep, our skin enters a restoration cycle in which our blood flow increases. With increased blood flow, our organs produce more collagen, which repairs our broken or damaged skin cells. In this sense, getting enough sleep is of paramount importance to keeping your skin healthy.

A study in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology found that those who sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night had moisture-rich skin that was more likely to repair and protect itself against harmful UV light.

Keep consistent with your skincare regimen

Maintaining consistency in your daily routine is key to protecting and nourishing your skin and body.

Consistency allows your skin to go through natural cycles without unexpected product changes from your side. As soon as you add or eliminate a product, your skin will naturally react by producing more or less natural oils.

As with anything, results take time, and keeping a consistent regimen helps to smooth out wrinkles and lines, prevent acne and maintain the tone and clarity of your skin.

Related: How to Glow Up in a Week

The best skincare routine (8 simple steps)

The following steps will cover the basics of a good skincare routine. Do this daily skin regimen every morning and evening for the best results:

Step 1: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser

While a harsh facial cleanser can be effective at cleaning off makeup and zinc-based sunscreens, they are also known to strip your skin of its natural oils. This leaves it dryer than it would naturally be and prone to more irritations.

Dermatologist Dr Mona Gohara points out the importance of cleaning your face using a gentle and hydrating cleanser.

What skincare products are essential?

While facial masks, eye creams and toners are great additions to a skincare routine, the essential skin care products to begin using are a gentle cleanser and an SPF packed moisturiser.

Beginning with these two products is a good idea for those on a tight budget and will allow you to build more products into your essential skincare routine as you see fit.

Step 2: Gently exfoliate your face

Experts advise exfoliating your face 1 to 2 times each week, depending on your skin type. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and clean out dirty pores, directly helping reduce the chances of developing acne.

What skincare products do dermatologists recommend?

Dermatologists specify that those with dehydrated skin should be wary not to over-exfoliate, as it can lead to further sensitivity. In this case, consider using an active enzyme that contains a moisturising element, which is less harsh than physical microbeads.

Dr Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel was created specifically for dry skin exfoliation.

If you’re unable to purchase expensive exfoliants and peeling products, you can use a natural konjac sponge (made from the konjac root) to exfoliate your skin. It contains a clay property that will exfoliate without stripping the natural oils from your skin.

Step 3: Apply a luxurious facial mask

Applying a facial mask should not be part of your daily routine yet should be added in once or twice a week, depending on the state of your skin.

Choose a mask based on what your skin is craving at the time. Whether it feels dry, oily, pigmented or scaley, there are masks on the market for almost everything. Here is a list of commercial masks which are best suited for specific skin types.

If you’re on a budget, try making your own homemade masks! I can recommend using these recipes if you have problem skin conditions.

Step 4: Apply toner and let it seep into your pores

Before adding your creams and serums, dab some toner onto your face using a cotton pad. Toner removes any leftover dirt and grime stuck in your pores by restoring your skin’s natural pH levels. It’s useful for refining the tone of your skin and reducing rough patches.

Dermatologist Dr Ava Shamban suggests using a drying toner with witch hazel or salicylic acid if you have oily skin and a clarifying toner for dry skin, including glycerin ceramides, the ingredients.

Step 5: Apply a serum of your choosing, depending on the condition of your skin

A facial serum is a type of moisturiser containing active ingredients such as Vitamin C and glycolic acid. We use these to manage aesthetic skin issues, such as reducing wrinkles and pigmentation.

Dr Gohara suggests using a serum with a high Vitamin C content is a great idea for a morning skincare routine, as it creates a barrier against free radicals and chemical particles (pollution) which your skin might encounter during the day.

Step 6: Apply a small amount of eye cream under the eye

Dermatologist Dr Annie Chiu emphasises the importance of using a good eye cream at least once a day (starting in your early 20’s). Moisturising eye cream helps keep the eyelid skin thick, elastic, and healthy for a longer time while reducing collagen loss.

Try to choose an eye cream with added SPF to protect your most delicate eye skin from harsh UV rays.

Step 7: Apply a moisturiser applicable for the time of day

While our bodies naturally secrete oils to protect our skin from harsh outside conditions, everyone (even those with oily skin) needs to add moisture to their skin.

Dr Sandra Kopp emphasises how moisture helps your skin form a barrier to protect against dehydration caused by the sun, harsh weather, and chemicals in the air. It is recommended to moisturise twice daily, once before we leave the house in the morning and again before we sleep in the evening.

Whether you prefer a lotion, gel, or cream as your morning moisturiser, it’s a great idea to source a broad-spectrum sunscreen product with added sun protection. Even on a cloudy day spend indoors, UV rays can penetrate our windows and affect our skin.

Most moisturisers have a low-level SPF-15; however, the British Association of Dermatologists recommends applying an SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.

You can choose a super hydrating product for a night moisturiser to permeate your pores as you sleep.

The best night creams
  1. CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
  2. Neutrogena Hydro Boost
  3. Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream
  4. Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream
  5. SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
  6. Goop Replenishing Night Cream

Step 8: Massage your product into your pores with a facial roller and gua sha stone

Once you’ve applied your products and have gently rubbed them in with your fingertips, use a cold facial roller or a gua sha stone to massage your face.

While helping to distribute skincare products, letting your skin better absorb your moisturisers and serums, facial rollers help to improve your blood circulation in the face, making your skin look and feel firmer. They are also great for reducing puffy eyes by stimulating lymphatic drainage.

Facial rollers are also used to cool and soothe your skin and are a great device to wake up your skin after a night of sleep and relax your facial muscles after a long day.

What order should your skincare routine be in?

Typically speaking, you should begin by washing your face, followed by a gentle exfoliation, application of a facial serum or toner, and finally, a moisturiser (with daytime SPF built-in).

The key to a good skincare routine is uncovering your personal skin type while understanding the intertwining factors that affect your skin’s health and look. While a monotonous routine is necessary for hydration and cleansing, consuming the right nutrients, antioxidants and fluids, and getting sufficient sleep, are equally important for a good skincare routine.

Related: Self Care Shower Routine (Step-by-Step)

Natasha Bernstein

Born in South Africa, Natasha is a Masters educated writer with a passion for sustainability, travel, health and food. With experience in the hospitality, energy, production, and broadcast industries, Natasha has a rounded and unique worldview. When she isn’t writing in her favourite coffee shop, Natasha likes to spend her time travelling the world, surfing, gardening, sewing, and experimenting with fun new recipes.

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