Building your own skincare routine is not an easy task when there are so many different products out there. It seems like every week there’s a new trend, a new brand. It can be easy to feel like you’re left out there completely alone, just trying to figure out what the heck of anti-aging cream is the best for your skin! This is why we’ve created this Skincare for Beginners Guide!
I know, I know… the wide range of cosmetics and brands might seem overwhelming at first. But, it’s just a matter of knowing what your specific skin type needs in order to look its absolute best. In reality, building your own skincare routine is not as hard as it might sound and I will show you why.
First of all, you don’t need all those fancy last generation creams. Sometimes, all your skin needs is a cheap drugstore serum! We’re all unique and our skin reacts differently to different substances, formulas, and even perfumes. Determining what your skin likes (and what it doesn’t) is the first step.
Skincare starts with self-care. Before you do anything, before you start any skincare regimen, you should first be truly aware of who you are, what’s your body like and how it changes over time. And that, ladies, is self-care.
Like I said, our skin types are as different and unique as we are. You might get acne from applying a certain kind of serum and your bff might see amazing results! That’s why we have to take recommendations (especially from people on YouTube) with a grain of salt. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.
So, before we even get too deep in this skincare for beginners’ guide, you should first properly understand your skin type. You’ve probably known since you were a teenager whether you have oily skin, dry skin, acne, whatever. But keep in mind: our skin changes as we age. Our hormones are the ones to blame – most of the time – and as we go through life, they ride on a rollercoaster. PMS and pregnancy, for example, can take a pretty serious toll on your skin.
If you’re not sure what your skin type is, no worries. I created a free guide where you will learn everything about skin types and how to find out which one is yours – even during pregnancy. Once you’ve read the guide and identified your skin type, you can move on and keep on reading this post.
Building a skincare routine doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, there are only 5 steps you need to follow. But even before you get started on these five steps, I want you to think about your skincare goals. What are you trying to achieve with your skincare routine?
For example, if you have oily skin, your goal might be to manage that extra shine. If you have dry skin, you might want to keep it hydrated and get that coveted glow. Once you have a goal, you can start gathering products that will help you achieve it.
One last thing: skincare results don’t happen overnight. The more you take care of your skin, the better your skin will look and feel. Set aside a few minutes in the morning and in the evening to invest in your skincare game. It will pay off, trust me!
This is the fundamental step of any skincare routine. Cleansing helps to clear your pores and gets rid of any leftover product that might still be on your skin. This is also a great way to manage oil and prevent pimples and blackheads.
Cleansing also prepares your skin to absorb other products that will come later in your skincare routine, like serums and creams. Don’t skip this step! You can do it once or twice a day – but that’s it! Don’t overdo it.
If you have oily skin, you should cleanse twice a day, in the morning and before bed. If you have any other skin type, once is probably enough. Cleansing too much can damage your skin and dry it out.
Foaming liquid cleanser is super effective for oily or acne-prone skin. The airy texture of the foam helps to break down any dirt that’s stuck in your pores and eliminates the excess sebum from the skin. It’s designed to deeply cleanse your skin and make you feel refreshed.
Cream cleansers and lotions are usually made with glycerin or shea butter which are great to keep your skin feeling fresh and hydrated. Oil cleansers are a great option for dry skin, too. They do double-duty by both cleansing and attracting other oils present on your skin, dissolving them without drying you out.
Oils are generally well tolerated by people with sensitive skin. Argan, avocado, coconut, and jojoba are some of the great oils to choose. Bioderma Sensibio also has amazing cleansers for sensitive skin. This line is highly tolerated even by people taking isotretinoin, who end up having really sensitive skin during the treatment.
Melting balm is awesome. It has a butter-like texture, but when you rub it on your skin, it… well, melts. It feels like you are already on the third step of your skincare routine because you don’t even need to wash it off. It is the perfect choice for mature skin.
Micellar water is a universal choice that works for all skin types. It contains molecules that break down dirt and oil without making your skin feel dry. The texture is light (after all, it’s basically water!) and there’s no need for you to rinse it off of your skin once you’re done cleansing.
If you are like me, you have some very vivid memories about using astringent toner as a teen. You know, the ones that are basically pure alcohol and can make even the oiliest skin crack? I can’t believe I used to think that was great for my skin!
Fast forward: skincare has evolved, and toner is no exception. These days, it’s all about giving your skin an extra (gentle) shot of nutrients to prepare it for the next steps in your skincare regime.
Make sure you choose toners that are suited for your skin type. Bonus points if you can find a product that contains hyaluronic acid, rose water, or vitamins E and C.
Serums are highly concentrated formulas that address specific issues like fine lines, acne, dark spots, rosacea, etc. Even if you don’t have these specific concerns, an antioxidant serum is always a good choice to get you through the day and protect your skin.
Vitamin C is a common daytime brightening serum that most people can use without issue. Retinol serums are common for people who want to stimulate collagen production to prevent wrinkles. Niacinamide serums, on the other hand, focus on treating inflammation and acne.
The best way to choose is to do some research on the topic you want to improve and talk to a dermatologist or esthetician. Always remember to carefully read the product instructions before applying it to your skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Do NOT skip this step… even if you have oily skin. Yes, even oily skin needs a good moisturizer. Why? Because moisturizers are not made to make your skin oily, they are made to keep your skin hydrated. Two different things. As we get older, our skin starts losing its ability to retain water and a good moisturizer becomes even more important.
Of course, there are ideal moisturizers for every skin type. For oily skin, for example, a gel moisturizer is a good option because it’s light and water-based. People with dry skin should go for creams that have more oil in their composition and people with normal skin can use lotions (a little more moisturizing than gel and less oily and thick than creams). Last but not least, people with sensitive skin (but without acne) may opt for a balm that feels more soothing for sensitive skin.
If you only have time to do one of these five steps, this is absolutely the one. All experts recommend sunscreen as THE fundamental skincare product.
Using sunscreen is the best way to prevent wrinkles, fine lines, and of course, skin cancer. It can even help to correct skin texture and reduce the appearance of pores.
Some people combine steps 4 and 5 and look for moisturizers that have a built-in SPF. I don’t love this, because I think it’s less effective. Just be aware, the minimum protection factor dermatologists recommend is 30.
Keep in mind, there are different kinds of sunscreen for different skin types. So, make sure you do some research to find the perfect solution for you and apply it every single day of your life from now until forever.
So, have you built out your skincare routine? If not, now is the perfect time to learn the basics about skincare for beginners! Who’s in?!
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I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!