Beginner’s Guide to: The Skincare Routine

Have you ever experienced the dirty mix of envy and guilt whenever you see someone applying moisturizer this, cream this, or body scrub that and are really taking care of the skin they live in? Yeah, cause I do (or did). But that’s okay. I’ve rolled up my sleeves and researched the basics of the facial skin routine for the average Jo or Joana! Or if you’re like me and aren’t in a place in their life where they can drop dolla dolla bills on serums and creams without knowing if it’s worth it. (Psst. There’s a free chart you can print!)

SO… since prevention is easily better than cure, we should get a good skincare regimen in our 20s and build it from there. BUT it’s never too late to start! I’ve known people who’ve always taken care of their skin but I just couldn’t get myself to dedicate the time for a little self-lovin. Until now! Aha! I’ve realized though it’s mainly due to the fact I’ve had decent skin all my life so it wasn’t a concern… but now I’m… y’know… “getting up there”, the maternal clock is ticking, all the good men are gonna be married and I’m gonna die alone, I hope you guys know I’m joking and talking like a mother here, and wrinkles are coming for me. Anyway.

A good start is always with the basics.

What kind of skin are you workin’ with? There’s normal (chill-not-so-needy-anything-flies), normal-dry (has days and spots where it’s a bit thirsty), dry (thirsts for days and almost as flaky as that one friend we all know), normal to oily (typically likes to slip ‘n slide around the T-zone), or oily (this friend knows all the cool hangouts, not just the T-zone).

From there you can determine what kind of product your face needs, but all of us should follow the same basic routine. Cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Easy enough, right? Think of this routine to be like a superfood to help your skin stay as healthy as possible with minimal effort.

Cleanse: Needed because well, duh, the face has accumulated a lot of gunk during the day and at night your skin’s pores need fresh, unclogged, clean air to breathe in order to rejuvenate! What to do is pretty straightforward. You need warm water (not hot! dries it out), a cleanser; cream cleansers moisturize dry skin but gel cleansers are good for normal to oily skin. Most products will tell you if they have cool new features that are oriented for the skin types we’ve discussed already.

Tone:  Needed because it removes whatever your cleanser missed and diminishes blemishes, balances out PH levels, helps evens out skin tone, and minimizes signs of redness and inflammation. This is a great step in the anti-aging process! You’re already ahead and helping out 50-year-old you… that is if 50-year-old you cares about this or not. Spoiler: You probably do. At least a little. I find that toning helps most at night after taking off makeup because, let’s be honest, our makeup remover makes it look like we’ve taken it all off but the toner shows the ugly and final truth on that flat cotton pad.

Moisturize:  Needed because it maintains balance, can reduce the appearance of blemishes, keep your skin plump and tight, and make it clear and smooth. Plus, after the cleansing and toning, your skin could use some of that moisture back into it. Most skin things have the same benefits but that’s because they have a common end goal; they want to aid healthy, supple, glowing skin for the rest of your time on earth. The chart I have included mentions an SPF in the morning which a lot of moisturizers include in their formula. This is incredible for people lazy like me that really don’t want another product to apply or crowding the bathroom cabinets.

  • Oh, and you need to do this routine morning and night because your skin produces sebum while doing this glorious rejuvenating as you’re asleep.

This routine is great – for now. Eventually, as we grow older and our skin stops being so forgiving, we’ll need to update our routine to include regenerative, skin elasticity boosting, and deeply moisturizing skin creams. It is a truth few escape…

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Eventually, our skin will lose firmness. When will Will Smith join us wrinkling mortals??

Now, for the second half of this post, the intimidation began here for me. I’d shut down and say no to the whole thing like a pizza kid being handed a big basket of broccoli and expected to understand, consume, and ask no questions.

But wait! Don’t worry! Don’t give up! It’s NOT THAT BAD. Much to my surprise (lol).

There are also “supplementary” products. Serums, masks, and exfoliators.

Serums: Good (if you have spare monies/time, [[keepin it real]]) because they take your skin to another level! Their ingredients typically contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and hydrators. They’re like a light moisturizer so they wouldn’t be enough without an actual moisturizer but they will make your skin so great that you’ll find yourself needing less makeup or none at all! They’re pricey sometimes but shop around to get the most bang for your buck! Remember you’re only using drops a couple mornings and/or nights out of the week at a time so a tiny jar will last you months. The chart below helps illustrate how often you may apply serums (it varies depending on the serum/person but read the label to find out how often you think you should be using it).

Masks: Good because they’re fun, easy, and good at getting into the nitty gritty pores. They’re also a great excuse to make a night of pampering. Your skin won’t die if you don’t do a mask every week, but it will be yet another effort to helping your skin find it’s oasis. Different masks promise different results. Purifying, hydrating, relaxing, pore minimizing, deep cleansing, refreshing, etc… Solutions galore. Personally, (FOR MY MOODY NORMAL-OILY-DRY SKIN), L’oreal’s Pure-Clay mask was amazing. I received a free sample from the Beauty Concierge at Target and man oh man I’m gonna invest in a jar.

Exfoliators: Good because your skin is constantly replacing its cells and the old ones have nowhere to go but remain on the surface of the skin, leaving the skin to look lifeless, rough, and pretty dry. These old dead cells can clog your pores and create blemishes to acne. Exfoliating your skin removes these dead cells and avoids this entire unfortunate situation! Beware though, too much exfoliating can leave it really dry, red from irritation, and all around worse!

I found this awesome chart that inspired me to I re-make it before printing and taped it to my bathroom mirror. Feel free to print this chart and use it as a guide yourselves!

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Friendly reminder, make sure the products you choose for your skin is made for your skin type. Sally that sits in front of you in Comp 101 doesn’t have your skin so what worked for her may or may not work for you. Just sayin *insert shrugging emoji here*

Let me know in the comments if ya’ll learned anything or are at least a little less intimidated by the whole “skin care” thing. I want to hear about your journey with your skincare routines! Also, I’m planning on doing a post on (truly) affordable skincare products that I have either tried or am going to try in the next week. Let me know if you’d be interested in that post or a similar one at that!

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