Who Says A Stellar Skincare Routine Can’t Be Simple?
A Stellar Skincare Regimen Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
A beautiful, clear complexion isn’t always a given in life — the truth is, for many, the path to clear skin can be downright elusive. But you don’t have to pray to the beauty gods to bestow upon you that oh-so-coveted gorgeous glow. When it comes to stunning skin, you can have the odds stacked ever in your favor by committing — morning and night — to a simple but effective skincare regimen that will address any worrisome skin woes.
We break down all of the necessary (as well as
one or two not-so-necessary) steps to build a simple but constructive skincare routine for every budget beneath the sun. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll revel in this soothing but results-driven ritual of self-care that will have you looking—and feeling—like something of a beauty god, or goddess, yourself.
Cleansing Clears The Path
You’ve probably heard this a million times: a good skincare regimen starts with cleansing. Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s a million times true: cleansing sets the tone for the rest of your products to penetrate your skin better and do what they were formulated to do.
So first thing’s first: cleanse that skin, then do it again—this time with a different cleanser. That’s right, double cleansing is the only way to wipe out all that makeup, dirt, grime, as well as any other environmental impurities. This method involves using two cleansers—a cleansing oil followed by a water-based cleanser. The oil will lift out any makeup, sunscreen, sebum, and pollution right out of your skin. This way your water-based cleanser will be better equipped to dig in and get to the dirt and grime. Double cleansing is ideal especially for oily skin and acne sufferers, but anyone can benefit from it.
We recommend starting with a good cleansing oil—there are lots on the market that range in price. You don’t have to go high-end: a drugstore brand can be just as effective. The best face cleansing oils in our midst include Paula’s Choice Perfect Cleansing Oil which is pretty budget-friendly, but Dermalogica Precleanse Cleansing Oil is also a great first-step cleanser although it is on the more pricey side.
For budget-friendly water-based cleansers, Neutrogena Ultra Gentle, Hypoallergenic, Oil Free, Foaming Daily Facial Cleanser will remove all the aforementioned dirt and oil without irritating your skin
A little bit higher in price on the skin scale is Skinceuticals Soothing Cleanser which is a calming, soap-free cleanser that is great for all skin types including sensitive skin.
Remember to take your time and massage the oil thoroughly into your skin for a good minute or two. Don’t forget your neck! Rinse well and repeat with your water-based cleanser. We recommend double cleansing at night especially to get rid of the dirt of the day. You can get away with one-step cleansing in the morning if you’re in a hurry because you won’t have any makeup or leftover sunscreen to work off.
Of course, make sure those hands are clean before you start this and any other of the following steps.
Exfoliating Can Be Exquisite
About twice a week, it’s wise to exfoliate your skin to buff away dead skin cells and it paves the way for newer, brighter, and healthier skin to shine through. If you have especially sensitive skin, try doing this step once a week after cleansing. A great mid-range priced exfoliating scrub like the Clinique Exfoliating Scrub fuses out those flakes, refines pores, and even softens tiny lines. Spend about two to five minutes gently working the scrub into your skin after cleansing. You can also polish and prime that skin with Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant: a chemical alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) gel exfoliant that you leave on.
The Silk’n Revit Prestige Microdermabrasion device is also a technologically-driven, high-performance way to get in your exfoliation ritual once a week.
Exfoliating is a great way to give your skin a boost of rejuvenation.
Don’t Tone Down The Toner
This is a step that many forget, or don’t see as important. Au contraire, a toner is a last-ditch effort to get rid of anything our cleanser may have missed. The beauty about toner is that it also has the ability to restore your skin’s pH level, and it refines rough patches and shrinks down your pores. The result: an instantly more even skin tone. Forget Tinder, this is the kind of swiping that can bring lifelong results!
Swipe right on toners like La Roche-Posay Face Toner, Effaclar Astringent for Oily Acne Prone Skin with Exfoliating Salicylic Acid and LHA. This one has salicylic acid and LHA — two hydroxy acids that are great for acne-prone skin as they have exfoliating and skin renewal properties. This one is also a great bang for your buck. Vivier Refreshing Toner — a little more expensive — is just that: refreshing. It’s also gentle and alcohol-free, and your face and neck will feel soothed and invigorated all at once.
Celebrate With Serum
Now this is where the science of skincare begins. Serums are concentrated lightweight products that know how to pack a punch: they’re made up of active ingredients that target a host of skin issues like discoloration, dullness, fine lines, and those other good-for-nothing blemishes. It’s hydrating, brightening and fabulous for evening out skin tone; it’s also a powerhouse when it comes to pushing back on the aging process.
A Vitamin C serum is ideal to use during the day because it is activated by the sun. Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster is a great choice for getting your glow game on: the 15% pure Vitamin C formula is absorbed quickly and reveals a radiant complexion. Neostrata Vitamin C Concentrate is also an effective Vitamin C serum that lauded for its results-driven formula.
By night we recommend the only retinol. This baby isn’t lauded as a hero ingredient by dermatologists for nothing. A type of retinoid which is a derivative of Vitamin A, retinol has the ability to neutralize free radicals, boost collagen, and create a healthy plumping effect. Keeping retinol in your nightly arsenal will reduce fine lines, soften wrinkles, shrink enlarged pores, treat acne, and minimize acne scarring.
Retinol is strongly recommended for the PM because it can make your skin especially sensitive to the skin. When adding retinol to any skincare regimen, we advise starting at a lower percentage (like 0.25 percent) and working your way. Start using two or three times a week and work up to nightly so your skin can build up a tolerance. Retinol is a game changer and it’s also a serious investment. A good retinol will set you back on average about $100 but it’s also long-lasting (we’re talking six months to a year) and well worth it. You only need to pat on a pea-size amount to get consistent results over time. Also be careful not to use retinol around the delicate eye area. Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Microdose Serum is a great formulation that promotes firmness and cell turnover to reveal a more radiant skin surface. Zo Skin Health Retinol Skin Brightener 0.25% is also a great higher-end, dermatologist-grade starter retinol that will feel sublime on the skin.
You May Want To Eye A Little Eye Cream
Investing in an eye cream certainly isn’t essential, but it can help minimize the look of dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and an otherwise tired look around the sensitive eye area for those who could benefit from it. Eye creams are also great for protecting the delicate eye area—especially since it loses collagen as we age.
The best all-around eye creams include CeraVe Eye Repair Cream (which is also great on the wallet) and Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex.
Much Ado About Moisturizer
This baby speaks for itself. Moisturizers keep our skin hydrated, plump, and beautifully refreshed. Aging is a beautiful thing, but the oil glands that keep our skin healthy start to lose steam and create fewer oils. Moisturizers put this lost, well, moisture back in the skin so that our oil glands don’t have to work so hard to keep our skin healthy. Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid—a humectant which dermatologists say can help 1000 times its weight in water are primed to increase skin moisture, help the skin look firmer, and reduce redness. It also helps to soothe dermatitis.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid is a great bargain buy to infuse all that water intensity into the skin. If you want to go the more luxurious route, you could lather on Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream with Hyaluronic Acid to pack a water punch. If creams are too heavyweight for your liking, a moisturizing face oil might be a better fit. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil, for example, is infused with Vitamin E, cocoa butter, and rosehip to inject some serious skin therapy. It’s also highly cost-effective.
Don’t Be Seen Without Sunscreen
This one is a no-brainer and no-nonsense. You could be using every “perfect” skincare product on the market, but if you don’t protect your skin with sunscreen, it will show. Sunscreens are a barrier to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays; they protect our skin from sunburns, and also limit the appearance of sunspots. Sunscreen can also help you avoid broken blood vessels. It’s no secret that sunscreen also has the ability to reduce the risk of skin cancer. A beautiful side effect? Sunscreen also has the power to reduce the premature signs of aging. Our favorite sunscreens for the face happen to be EltaMD UV Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ which is a great mid-range product. Even more budget-friendly is the CeraVe SPF 50 Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen for Face.
The Silk'n Titan AllWays - Wrinkle Reduction & Skin Tightening Device is a great way to buff and blur away any superficial sun and age spots you have. It also goes one step further and has the ability to strengthen the deeper layers of skin and is an all-around anti-aging support for your beauty arsenal.
In Conclusion, See Skincare As Self-Care
While it may seem like there are quite a few steps to even a basic skincare routine, in reality the entire process shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes on regular days and perhaps 20-25 minutes on exfoliating days (if you choose to use a scrub instead of a gel exfoliant). Taking care of your skin is a wonderful self-care ritual—especially at the end of a long day. You’ll love seeing the results staring back at you in the mirror.