- The 5 Step Beginner’s Skincare Routine to Kick Your Skin Into Gear..
- A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Skin Care Routine
- Drink water
- Wear SPF
- Ditch makeup remover wipes
- Use a serum
- And a moisturizer
- Refresh with a sheet mask
- Best Skincare Routine – Correct Order and Steps to Apply Daily Skin Care Routine
- Combination to Oily
- Combination to Dry
- Dry Skin
- Oily Skin
- Antioxidant Serum
- Hydrating Serums
- Anti-Aging Serum
- Dry Skin
- Chemical Exfoliation
- Acid Peel
- Daily Sunscreen
- How to Build a Skin Care Regimen that Works
- 1. Get to know your skin
- 2. Start with the basics
- 3. Introduce new products one by one.
- 4. Ready to take it to the next level?
- 5. Don’t be afraid to change your routine
The 5 Step Beginner’s Skincare Routine to Kick Your Skin Into Gear..
Let’s be real—it’s easy to spend hours scrolling through the web searching for the perfect black fall boot (the one with a heel high-enough to let your coworkers know that you’re not playing games, but also low enough that you can walk more than a city block without looking a baby deer just getting control of its legs), but what about our skincare?
It’s time for a reality check.
Why don’t we spend as much time taking care of for our largest organ, our skin? It deserves just as much love as our closet does…well honestly, more! I get it, there is so much out there—exfoliators, cleansers, powders, essences, serums, peels, treatments, etcetera. How are you supposed to know what is best for you? Most importantly, where do you start, and how do you know what type of routine is good for your skin and lifestyle?
While I am all for a 20-minute self-care session either in the morning or evening, taking care of existing skin issues or prepping my skin for the day ahead, not everyone has the time.
If you’re looking for a full proof routine that will rid your skin of any pore-clogging smog (for all the city-dwellers out there me) and get your skin looking glowy, plump, and youthful, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are five simple steps to change the look and feel of your skin:
The basis of it all is cleaning your skin! If you wear makeup, I recommend starting off with an oil cleanser before your everyday cleanser. Yup, it’s all about the double cleanse if you wear makeup.
Oil cleansers melt away makeup and even break down that oh-so-necessary, yet hard to remove, waterproof mascara.
I have been liking the Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil because it doesn’t leave any traces of my overly blushed face behind.
Next is an everyday cleanser. This is where the skin cleansing begins! I recommend Kieran’s Cleanser by Surreal Skincare. It’s all-natural and leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped. You can use your hands, or if you prefer a tool a Foreo or Clarisonic, go for it. Give your face a nice massage (a little self-care moment for you) and dab your skin dry with a towel.
Step two: Toner
Right after you cleanse and dry your face, guess what? There is still makeup and other free radicals (thanks pollution). Think of toner as your trusted confidant. It’s a solution thinner than face wash that can remove the rest of the particles that cleansers can’t.
If not removed, this can create our collective favorite.. acne. Apply this with a cotton round and swipe over your face. Don’t miss a spot! If you see any residual makeup on the cotton round, give your face a second pass to ensure all the remaining build up is gone.
For a deep clean, the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Toner holds up.
Step three: Essence
When you open your first bottle of essence, you might think, “Why did I just buy an overpriced bottle of water??” Fear not! Similar to toner, essence has a very thin consistency so it can penetrate to the deepest levels of your skin.
However, un toner, instead of stripping your pores of dirt and bacteria, essence slides in to rebalance your skin’s hydration levels.
When it comes to youthful-looking skin, hydration is the name of the game! I recommend The Essence by Tatcha because it is both plumping, anti-aging, and doesn’t contain any icky ingredients.
Step four: Serums, serums, serums!
This is my favorite step to be honest. This is where the actual work of correcting skincare concerns happens. Depending on your skin type, you can modify this step however works best for you. You can layer serums on top of one other from thinnest to thickest in consistency to combat your various concerns.
DRY: If you are dry, hydration is key. Hyaluronic acid is your new best friend.
This might sound a little sketchy to those who have never used it before but trust, it will bring your skin to life! The Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum by Peter Thomas Roth is drinking a gallon of water for your face.
This powerhouse humectant keeps skin plump and holds 1,000 times its weight in water. This will give you that “I just got back from Tulum calm” you have been dying for.
NORMAL/COMBO: I would again recommend a hydrating serum hyaluronic acid or something really nourishing Dr. Perricone Chia Seed serum. This product is known as a great multitasker. It conditions and hydrates the skin leaving it glowing and it can also be added to foundation to create a natural yet dewy finish.
OILY: if you are oily me, serums that balance oil production should be your focus. Acne Assassin by Surreal Skincare is amazing at combatting current breakouts and future ones that are developing below the skin’s surface. It is 100 percent natural and made in NYC. It has actually transformed my skin and knocked my acne out—no joke.
Now if you don’t know what your skin type is or are focused on anti-aging, Slay. by anese.co is your go-to. It firms, moisturizes, and reduces fine lines and is great for all skin types.
After, use a Vitamin C serum to brighten your overall skin, but most importantly to lighten any acne scars. I recommend the Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum and the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum.
Step five: Moisturizer
Last but not least: moisturizing! This is your last round of hydration to lock in all those juicy serums. Can you tell I really love skincare??
At night, I recommend a thick moisturizer with a creamy consistency. This will seal in the moisture you worked so hard to restore overnight. The right moisturizer will have you looking you got a full eight hours of sleep—even if you didn’t.
I always look for something that has added benefits anti-aging. If you are a side sleeper me, there is constant pressure on your face that overtime creates unwanted sleep lines.
Filorga Time Filler Absolute Wrinkle Correction Cream and the Regenerator by Surreal Skincare have been working wonders for me.
During the day, a gel-based moisturizer the Tatcha Water Cream works best. For those who wear makeup, this consistency will provide sufficient hydration and prep the skin for foundation, while keeping your face from becoming a slip-n-slide throughout the day.
As with anything, there will be an adjustment period. Give your skin time to settle in to its new routine. It takes 27 days for your skin cells to completely regenerate. In that time, you may notice your skin adjusting to the new products and sometimes that means you may get a breakout or two.
Not to worry, that doesn’t mean the products or routine doesn’t work for you, it just means your pores are ridding themselves of bacteria and free radicals that you don’t want in there in the first place.
If sensitivity or breakouts persists after 30 days, change up some of the products to suite you best.
These are some basic yet essential steps to help you along on your skincare journey. You can spend hours looking through different skin elixirs to slather on your face, but hopefully this gives you a great place to start. Whether your Lewis & Clark-ing it or you’re the Sacagawea of skincare (look it up, kids), know that this part of your day is all about you. So make it what you want!
Featured collage courtesy of Zoe Kidwell
Stay tuned to Milk for more skincare tips.
A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Skin Care Routine
Share on PinterestPhotographer: Gabriela Hasbun; Hair and makeup styling: Whittany Robinson; Model: Jennifer Piccolo; Designer: Lauren Park
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Finding and committing to a routine has always seemed a daunting task to me. The sheer number of products on the market is staggering and you have to ask yourself questions : “Why does my face need a mini rolling pin?” and “Do I really have to use a cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and eye cream?”
Honestly, it can seem easier just to skip the whole thing.
Which is exactly what I did for the first 27 years of my life. But after a friend of mine physically recoiled in horror after I confessed that I did not even use a daily face lotion regularly, I thought perhaps it was finally time I changed that.
Being completely new to skin care, I turned to everyone from friends and family to beauty bloggers and professional derms to put together a routine that would enable my #GlowUp — and was simple enough that I would actually stick to it.
After testing out different products and learning from the pros, here’s my advice the easy and effective changes I made to start my skin care routine.
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In the mornings, I to keep it as easy as possible since I’m usually already rushing to get ready for work. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel put it best: “If you have never started a skin care routine, it is important to start out simple and effective. Use the fewest products necessary to get the maximum results.”
As someone who’s been more or less chronically dehydrated for the past 20-plus years, this is one of those things I already knew but had a hard time actually doing, so I decided it was high time to make it part of my routine.
I started drinking two glasses of water first thing when I woke up. I also set alarms at work to remind myself to refill my water bottle until it became a habit.
It may sound over the top, but it worked for me and helped to significantly reduce my dry skin.
As celebrity dermatologist Dr. Tabasum Mir told me, “If you don’t protect your skin with SPF, it doesn’t matter how many anti-aging creams you use. If there is only one thing you do during the day, use sunblock.”
Since I was worried about going from using nothing on my skin to several products a day, I turned to my colleague Molly Nover-Baker. A beauty expert and founder of The Edit Collective, Nover-Baker suggested I use La Roche-Posay sunscreen which is designed for sensitive skin. I opted for their Tinted Mineral Sunscreen for Face so I could get some lightweight coverage with my SPF.
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While daytime is about preventing damage, “Night is the time to use more powerful anti-aging ingredients to repair your skin,” says Mir.
Ditch makeup remover wipes
One tip I received from beauty blogger Lindsay Silberman, who shares skin tips on her Instagram series #InsomniaBeauty, was to get rid of my makeup wipes ASAP, especially if alcohol was listed as an ingredient.
“Those wipes are filled with chemicals!” says Silberman. “And while they technically remove makeup, they don’t do a great job of actually cleaning your face — most of them leave a film on your skin. Use micellar water or an oil-based cleanser instead.” She recommends Bioderma as her favorite alternative.
Use a serum
“In the PM it is important to use actives that will change your skin while you are sleeping,” says Patel. “Retinol, Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid and fruit acids are all important to use at night.
They act as exfoliants and over time can boost collagen production.” My choice was Visha Skincare Advanced Correcting Serum which contains retinol, vitamin E, ferulic acid, and salicylic acid, along with a natural skin lightener to help diminish sun spots and scars.
I was shining (in a good way) as soon as I put this product on.
And a moisturizer
Yes, it turns out you really do need both a serum and a moisturizer. Put on a good hydrating cream after you’ve used a serum.
Again, because I was on the hunt for products that would be extra gentle on my skin, I went for First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream after a friend with sensitive skin told me about it.
It’s rich and creamy but soaks in quickly so I don’t end up feeling I’m sleeping with gunk all over my face.
Potentially (ok, definitely) due to never being sufficiently hydrated, I also lived with constantly chapped lips. That all changed when I discovered Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask thanks to the helpful ladies at Sephora.
“This is a best seller for reason,” one associate told me. “It’s a miracle in a little tub.” And I have to agree with her. I generously slather this on every night and wake up with baby soft lips. I’ve even ditched my regular balm since they stay moisturized all day. Even my boyfriend, who used to fondly refer to me as “the most chapped lady in America,” has noticed a huge difference.
Silberman told me if you only add one new thing to your routine, it should be these Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross. “They remove the dead skin cells/build-up that are preventing you from being your glowiest self,” she explains.
And while she recommends using them 2 to 3 times per week, I started out using them just once a week as an introduction and saw the results immediately. I even made my sister try them out when she came for a visit and after one use, she hopped on the bandwagon too.
Refresh with a sheet mask
I often travel for work and find myself extra dried out from the plane rides. If you go out over the weekend, skip a couple days of your usual skin routine, or otherwise find yourself in need of a quick fix for your skin, a sheet mask is just the trick.
Nover-Baker suggests the Go-To Skincare Tranformazing Sheet Mask. The serum-drenched masks work to revive your face in just 10 minutes.
This is what worked for me, and it’s a great place to start, but it also took a lot of trial and error. Don’t give up if you start breaking out or don’t see results right away. Everyone’s skin is different and your first step for starting a routine should be figuring out what your skin type is.
“If you have oily skin, you are able to use stronger concentrations of acid and can use retinols with your products at night.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, then only add one active [into your routine] at a time so there is less irritation to your skin,” advises Patel.
Introduce new products one at a time and try them out for a month or so before deciding if they’re right for you. You’ll be posting glowing #IWokeUpThis selfies in no time.
Best Skincare Routine – Correct Order and Steps to Apply Daily Skin Care Routine
Starting a skincare routine can seem overwhelming, but once you find products that work for you, it’s truly a low-lift way to add important self-care to your daily routine.
Not only can using skincare products actually be a meditative moment in your day, but we also truly need skincare to protect us from skin cancer, and take care of our body’s largest organ (the skin!).
“At the most basic level, your routine should protect your skin in the morning and work to prevent environmental damage during the day. In the evening, your products should repair any damage and strengthen your skin while your sleep,” explains dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner.
But where to even start? With a myriad of cleansers, serums, exfoliants, and emulsions, it can be overwhelming. With expert recommendations, and our favorite product recommendations: here’s how to do it, from the order you should use your skincare products, to how often you should exfoliate.
The first rule: start slow. Especially if you currently have no skincare routine at all, don’t overwhelm yourself and start slow. “You should start with just a few products and then build on your routine over time,” says dermatologist Dr. Morgan Rabach.
Just you wash your hair and body, it’s important to use a cleanser (made just for your face) to wash your skin. Rabach recommends cleansing twice daily.
“Cleansing helps remove dead skin, reduce oils in acne prone skin, remove buildup of bacteria and yeast that live on the skin, remove pollutants that collect on the skin during the day, and remove all makeup, so pores do not get clogged.” she says. We think that’s motivation enough.
Therefore, washing your face is where your skincare routine should start. To pick a cleanser, consider your skin type. Oily-combination skin types often benefit from a gel cleanser, which can be more purifying, while drier skin types benefit from a cream or milk cleanser.
Combination to Oily
Oilier types should reach for gel cleansers, which effectively lift grim and crud off the skin, but don't overly dry out the face, which can cause overproduction of oil.
Combination to Dry
If your skin is on the dryer end of the spectrum, look for cleansers that when added to water become milky emulsions. No stripping or drying of the skin in sight, what you're left with is just a clean and comfortable face.
First things first: if you want to keep your routine quick, skip this step! If not, we a toner to: 1. truly make sure the skin's got a perfectly clean canvas post-cleansing and 2. either add hydration or exfoliation to our routine. Dr. Rabach recommends making sure your toner is oil-free.
Look for a hydrating toner that is filled with soothing botanicals and hydrating fatty acids to seal in moisture.
For blemish-prone skin, a chemical exfoliant that helps lift dead skin and oil that could clog pores, as well as skin soothers chamomile help calm redness and inflammation from breakouts.
Serums are one of the best ways to address your personal skin concerns. “A serum is a skincare product designed to deliver a high concentration of a specific active ingredient to the skin,” dermatologist Dr.
Zeichner says, adding that they're usually designed to “perform a single job, whether that is to hydrate, protect, brighten, calm, or even the skin.” It's important to make sure you're choosing a serum that's actually right for you.
One thing dermatologists agree on is using an antioxidant serum ( Vitamin C) in the morning.
However, at night, you've got options, again depending on your skin's specific needs. Another tip: if you are layering serums, do so by weight, with the heavier product on top. While an antioxidant is typically best for day, hydrating emulsions are best used both morning and night, and anti-aging options are best left for the nighttime.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C are crucial when protecting skin against environmental stressors, making them the perfect selection for a daytime serum.
Layer on extra hydration with a hyaluronic acid serum. The ingredient is a humectant—it draws water into your skin—and helps keep it there. The result is plumper, more hydrated skin.
For dermatologists, retinol is the be-all, end-all ingredient when it comes to anti-aging. “Retinol is perhaps the best studied ingredient we have to fight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” Dr.
Zeichner says. “It has been shown to bind to retinoid receptors within skin cells to stimulate collagen production and enhance cell turnover. This translates to brighter, more even, more radiant, stronger skin.
Pro tip: while serum should always be applied before moisturizer, be sure to apply your retinol and let it be before you layer on a hydrating serum on top.
To seal in the rest of your products, and to protect your skin, a moisturizer is essential. “Moisturizers protect the outer layers of skin and prevent moisture from leaving your cells. Overly dry skin and overly oily skin can both lead to breakouts,” Dr. Rabach says. She recommends a thicker moisturizer if you have dry skin and a lighter gel moisturizer if you have oily skin.
If your skin is chronically dry, then reach for a thicker cream that works to improve skin barrier health and hydration levels, which also plays a part in helping improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Chemical exfoliation refers to ingredients alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, which work to resurface the skin, and help it stay clear, and glowy.
“Everyone should use alpha and beta hydroxy acids at least once a week to remove outer layers of skin and help collagen and elastin stay active.
Be sure to add this step in after you wash your face, but before you add serum or a hydrating toner.
Reach for peels that combine ingredients glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids to reduce dullness, uneven texture, and help brighten dark spots. Tip: don't use on nights that you are using your retinol or retinoid serum.
You didn't think we'd finish a basic skincare routine without proper sun protection, did you? It's every dermatologist's ultimate non-negotiable. “Even incidental sun exposure adds up over a lifetime.
You may not realize it but you are getting sun exposure on your walk to grocery store or on your drive to work. UVA rays even penetrate through window glass, so you are not immune even if you are indoors,” Dr. Zeichner explains.
His advice? “Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF30 and look for the words “broad spectrum” to make sure it blocks both UVA and UVB rays.” (Our recommendation below).
The benefits are plentiful: “SPF reduces the chance of skin cancer, and sun-related skin damage sunspots, pre-cancers, wrinkles, sagging skin, discoloration and uneven tone,” Dr. Rabach adds.
Daily SPF is an important final step in any skincare routine because it prevents sun damage, but it also happens to be non-negotiable if you are using chemical exfoliants or a retinol, which tend to make skin sun sensitive.
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How to Build a Skin Care Regimen that Works
Navigating the beauty world at large can be a dizzying experience, especially when you’re on a mission to find a solution, fast. Somewhere between a late-night /Instagram hole (which may or may not have been punctuated by a dimly-lit phone falling on our face, mid-scroll) and giving up altogether, there’s clarity.
Here’s how to find it. Whether you’re a skin care newbie or a seasoned skin connoisseur, we recommend starting with these basic steps:
1. Get to know your skin
We recommend taking our free skin analysis as a jumping off point to receive a customized regimen, but it’s also important to consult an aesthetician. If you’re experiencing chronic acne, redness, sensitivity, or any other pressing concerns, do see a dermatologist. You’ll cut out a lot of trial and error when you work with an expert.
2. Start with the basics
It’s human nature to go into a frenzied spree because you think you need everything, but resist as best you can.
More often than not, the root of any concern ( a breakout) is an imbalance that results from something as simple as improper cleansing or lack of hydration.
Hit pause before you buy every serum or spot treatment under the sun. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm both you and your skin.
Our philosophy revolves around keeping things simple yet effective, after all, and that applies to both the physical product and actual practice. We recommend using the following guidelines to build a basic skin care regimen that actually works:
- Cleanser: Face wash seems such a simple, inconsequential thing, but it easily may well be the most important product in your entire routine. Without a clean slate, anything applied onto the skin is useless. Make sure you wash away the makeup, oil, and impurities so your skin can actually absorb the benefits of your beloved serums and creams.
- Toner: Also to be used twice daily. Toner helps re-balance the skin and impart complexion-boosting benefits, too.
- Eye Cream: The eye area is one of the most delicate parts of your skin, so treat it with extra love and care. Mario Badescu was a firm believer that everyone over the age of 21 should have an eye cream in their routine. Apply eye cream every morning and evening to ensure your skin stays well moisturized.
- Moisturizer: Hydration is key, no matter your skin type. Finding the right level of moisture is the difference between a happy, balanced complexion and one that’s, well, not. When properly moisturized, oily skin types will find that they’re far less prone to a greasy T-zone—and parched skin will relish in a dewy, healthy glow.
- Exfoliant: Regular exfoliation is the solution to most skin care woes. Dull? Flaky? Congested? Uneven in tone and texture? Exfoliate. Our aestheticians recommend exfoliating 1-2 times a week for dry to normal skin, and 2-3 times a week for combination to oily skin types.
- Mask: Masks are still having a moment—but they’ve been a core part of the MB regimen since 1967. Your twice-daily routine is maintenance; masking 2-3 times a week allows your skin to hit the reset button.
3. Introduce new products one by one.
Now that you have your regimen outlined, it’s tempting to try everything all at once… but don’t. Reign in the excitement just a bit and take it step by step, product by product. Doing so will allow you to actually gauge if a new product is effective, or in the case of a reaction ( a breakout), you can pinpoint the problem instantly.
Start with one to two products a day, then continue to add on.
If you have sensitive skin, patch-test each product before using it on your face. Apply a pea-sized amount to your inner elbow or wrist; if you experience irritation or redness, try something else instead. Once a product gets the green light, try it out for a week before adding another new product into the mix.
4. Ready to take it to the next level?
Once you’ve established the foundation, you’ll have a more accurate read of what your skin s and truly needs. You might not need anything beyond your MB “six,” but if you find that you do, start adding additional products a night cream, serum, spot treatment, or secondary mask (to rotate or multi-mask with).
A few pointers when expanding your skin care regimen, because layering is an art:
- You’ve seen our facial spray everywhere, but how do you actually use a face mist? Good news is that there’s no wrong way to use it, but there are a few ways to use it with purpose. We recommend misting your complexion after you’ve cleansed and toned your skin, but before you apply your moisturizer. Doing so will not only give your skin a botanical boost, but it’ll add essential hydration to your skin—which you then seal in with your face cream. Read this for more ways you can use your facial spray.
- Serums go on before your moisturizer or night cream. The only exception to the rule are products our Herbal Hydrating Serum and Rose Hips Nourishing Oil, which can be applied before or after.
- Targeting breakouts? Apply Drying Lotion or Drying Cream directly onto the blemish and leave it alone. Avoid applying serum or face cream on top, and instead, moisturize around the area.
Learn more about the art of layering skin care, here.
5. Don’t be afraid to change your routine
You should follow your regimen religiously, but that doesn’t mean the products within your routine are set in stone. Allow for flexibility because your skin is living, ever-changing organ; anything from seasonal shifts to new stress can affect it.
For example: You may find that your skin tends to get a little flaky and dehydrated come fall. Try incorporating an acid into your daily routine—such as through Glycolic Acid Toner—to help remove the buildup of dulling, dead skin cells. Then, counter the moisture loss by layering a serum under your current moisturizer or choosing a richer face cream.
Say you’re off to a warm-weather beach vacation. Lucky you! Arrive prepared, because the combination of travel stress and shock from extreme climate change can wreak havoc on our skin.
- Herbal Hydrating Serum will prove to be your best friend; it’s lightweight, oil-free, and can be worn over moisturizer to boost hydration or alone on super-hot, humid days.
- If your skin is oily to begin with, swap out Enzyme Cleansing Gel for Acne Facial Cleanser, which contains Salicylic Acid to help break down pore-clogging impurities and keep skin looking clear. Dry? Use Enzyme Cleansing Gel or Seaweed Cleansing Soap instead of your at-home face wash to rejuvenate skin.
- Don’t be afraid to change up your toner, too. Go a step up to combat unwanted shine and sweat. For example, dry skin types might want to use Seaweed Cleansing Lotion instead of their usual Aloe Vera Toner since the Witch Hazel boasts astringent properties. Combination skin should try using Cucumber Cleansing Lotion instead of Seaweed Cleansing Lotion, and oily types might find that Special Cucumber Lotion is a savior in clarifying and refreshing skin.
For more ideas, check out our #MarioMonthlyEdit where we show you how we’re switching things up our top shelf.