by Amanda Etkind
Creating a solid skincare routine can be different depending on who you ask. Some may wax poetic about their intensive 18-step regimen, while others simply use face wash and moisturizer and call it a day. Of course, both routines are 100 percent valid—we all have a unique skin type that requires its own personalized care depending on a number of factors. But, with the skincare market and available skincare education being so vast, it can be hard to decipher what you actually need for a basic skincare routine—and that’s where we come in. Regardless of your skin concerns, there are a few key steps and techniques that everyone should follow when it comes to their skincare, including when to apply, how much to apply, and where. So whether you’re a skincare-savvy junkie with a 20-step routine, or just starting on your skincare journey, we’re here to help. Ahead, we share the products and steps you need to build a basic skincare routine.
Cleanse Your Complexion
Every basic skincare routine begins with a cleanse—morning and night. During the day, dirt, debris, sunscreen, and makeup gets trapped inside your pores, which can lead to unwanted breakouts and irritation—and let’s face it, nobody wants that. If you’re unsure where to start, pick a gentle cleanser that’s designed for your skin type (i.e. oily, dry, combination, etc). If you’re wearing makeup that day, we suggest a double cleanse. This process consists of using a cleansing oil or balm to wash away makeup, then following up with your typical cleanser. Luckily, our Clean Scene Micellar Gel ($38) does both and works for all skin types, including sensitive complexions. This rinse-free gel removes waterproof and long-wearing formulas, along with dirt, excess oil, and impurities without stripping your skin of essential moisture.
Apply An Exfoliating, Brightening or Rejuvenating Serum or Treatment
This step is where your skin type and concerns come into play. But, let’s start with the morning. As a general rule of thumb, mornings are the best time to add an antioxidant into the mix, like a brightening Vitamin C serum to help protect from free radical damage. You can even layer our Catch Flights, Not Feelings Skin Shielding Serum ($58), which features a potent mix of pollution-fighting antioxidants, for a dose of complexion protection that amplifies your SPF’s effects (more on that later). But reserve your heavy-hitters for nighttime, as that’s when your cells work overtime to rejuvenate. This includes things like chemical exfoliators, retinoids, or other heavier-duty treatments. In terms of exfoliators, we recommend going the chemical route with our Texture Magic Exfoliating Toner ($66), which offers a potent blend of lactic, phytic, citric, malic, and salicylic acid that is safe for even the most sensitive skin types. There’s also a spike of niacinamide to help soothe, hydrate, and balance skin, along with our BLU5 technology to protect against the harmful effects of blue light. For anti-agers like retinoids and retinols—which help to reduce dark spots, breakouts, and fine lines by increasing skin-cell turnover—you’ll want to only use a pea-sized amount for the entire face. Start with every other day and see how you react. Regardless, you’ll need to slather on a nourishing hydrator over the top to keep your skin’s barrier protected.
Dab On Eye Cream
Eye cream may not seem essential, but it kinda is. Since the skin around your eye area is the thinnest on your face, you want to treat it with some extra TLC. But here’s the caveat, we recommend skipping eye cream at night and opting for daytime use, as some hydrating eye creams can cause water retention when worn overnight. You’ll want to apply your eye cream of choice directly onto your under eye area using your pointer finger with a light patting motion. Another hot tip? Try using an eye cream with a metal roller-ball applicator like our Bright Awake Eye Cream ($46) which uses a potent blend of ingredients to treat discoloration, puffiness, thin skin, and strain from staring at your screen for too long—plus, it has that handy metal tip applicator which feels oh-so good under the eyes.
Slather On Moisturizer
Another crucial part of a basic skincare routine is moisturizer, which hydrates skin and locks in all the other layers of product you’ve applied. For a.m, we recommend a lightweight lotion that already has built-in sun protection, and for evening, try a thicker cream to really seal in those actives. Those with dry skin may want to use a cream morning and night. As for ingredients, keep an eye out for lightweight hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the options, our Water Jelly Dew Cream ($55) is a safe bet. This gel-cream delivers heavyweight hydration with a lightweight texture thanks to hyaluronic acid and a blend of 20% humectants so it works for all skin types especially for those with sensitivity and dryness.
Apply SPF—Daytime Only
Contrary to what you might think, SPF isn’t just reserved for beach days and vacations. This everyday must-have is crucial not only for protection against cancer-causing rays, but also for keeping wrinkles at bay. We suggest picking one that boasts a broad ultraviolet spectrum between 30-50 SPF, and covers UVA and UVB rays. Also, amount matters when it comes to application. Opt for half a teaspoon or two finger-lengths worth for your face and neck, and a full teaspoon per body part.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of our comprehensive beginner skincare guide. If you take one thing away from this article, remember that no matter your skin type or concerns, having a basic skincare routine is imperative for skin health. We can’t wait to see how you put our Goodhabit lineup to test with our above tips. Share your beauty tips on Instagram and tag us @goodhabitskin.