Basic Skincare Routine: Step By Step Beginners Guide!

Determine Your Skin Type

There are four different types of skin: oily, dry, normal and combination. Knowing your skin type will help you put together a routine that suits your skin’s specific needs.

Each skin type has its nuances you need to come to understand in order to effectively care for it and its own set of pros and cons.

Oily: acne and frequent breakouts, shiny/greasy face, large pores

Dry Skin: cracking, flaky patches, easily irritated, sensitive, skin feels tight after cleansing

Combination: oily t-zone, recurring acne in specific areas, combo of characteristics from oily and dry types

Normal Skin: skin relatively clear, get occasional pimple.

Adding New Products To Your Routine

While putting together a routine you will likely experiment with a few different products before settling on one as you discover how your skin reacts to different skincare ingredients.

The most important thing you can do here is to only introduce new products into your routine ONE at a time. That means if you decide you need a new cleanser you won’t also start using a new moisturizer without giving the cleanser a test run for a couple weeks.

The reason being is that if you happen to breakout or your skin gets irritated you now have NO idea which product is causing you the trouble. Two weeks is a long enough time to test whether a skincare product plays nicely with your skin.

You can also do something called a patch test which is basically applying a small amount of product to a secluded area of your skin (say behind the ear) to check for any allergic reactions or inflammation. This can give you a rough idea of whether you can tolerate it but note that some people take days or even weeks before they notice any adverse reactions so this isn’t foolproof.

Eating A Skin Healthy Diet

Proper nutrition and a healthy diet is the foundation of every great skincare routine! Feeding your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to build that perfect skin you’re looking for is a prerequisite before you start worrying about what products to use. Drinking water is also a big help for clearing up your skin because it helps rid your body of any toxins. It also will keep your skin and body hydrated!

In some cases you’ll find that by just changing your diet your skin problems either improve or go away altogether.

Foods To Eat For Better Skin

Step 1: Cleansing

Cleansing will clear out your pores by removing gunk, excess oil, and leftover product that gets left behind and stuck in between them.

The whole point of using a cleanser is to get your skin to a clean slate. The other steps in your routine will work more effectively if your skin is cleared of the stuff we listed above.

Every skin type should cleanse at least once a day, preferably in the PM.

Oily skin types in general need more cleansing than dry skin types and may do so as part of their morning routine however it’s highly recommended that youdon’t cleanse more than twice a day no matter what type of skin you have because cleansers, especially harsher ones, will irritate and damage your skin in the long run.

The most important question to ask yourself regarding your cleanser is if your skin feels dry or tight after using it. If so, whatever you’re using is too strong and you’ll probably want something gentler.

In general foam based cleansers tend to be the strongest. They should only ever be used by the oiliest of skin types. Foam cleansers create a lot of bubbles when mixed with water. This is due to their ingredients which likely contain harsh surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate — all known skin irritants.

Nearly every ingredient in the sulfate family is too strong to be used on skin especially more sensitive skin which is prone to irritation. Gel and cream based cleansers are much gentler as they often don’t contain these ingredients.

Step 2: Toner

Toning is an important second step that completes the cleansing process, yet many people choose to leave this step out. In reality, toning should be considered an important part of the cleansing process. A good toner will remove any remaining bits of oil, dirt and debris left behind by the cleanser. More importantly, toner will help soothe, nourish and hydrate the skin while restoring its delicate pH balance! Witch hazel is a great toner to start with because it’s very gentle on the skin and is inexpensive!

Step 3 (Optional): Spot Treatment

If you’re struggling with acne, this is the step where you will directly treat it. Typically you will only apply spot treatments on specific problem areas rather than your entire face.

Here are some of the most popular spot treatments:

5 Natural Ingredients To Smooth Away Acne

Step 4: Moisturize

This is an essential step in any skincare routine. No matter your skin type and especially if your skin is showing all the signs of dehydration.

Common Symptoms of Dehydrated Skin:

• Feels very dry or tight after cleansing

• Prone to comedones (whiteheads & blackheads)

• No elasticity or “bounce”

• Has a lackluster and tired appearance overall

A moisturizer should always follow anytime you cleanse. Cleansers and strip your skin of unwanted grime and sebum but also remove much needed moisture which keeps skin healthy and radiant.

Dry skin ages faster so it’s important to replace moisture loss. It’ll give your skin that extra “bounce” it needs to liven up your appearance.

There are three main kinds of moisturizers — occlusives, emollients and humectants.

• Occlusives cover the skin with a thin barrier to prevent moisture from escaping.

• Emollients work by sinking into the skin improving elasticity and smoothing it out.

• Humectants work by attracting water vapor to the surface of the skin to keep it moisturized.

Moisturizers may contain a combination of these three elements.

Step 5: Sunscreen

No sunburn ≠ no skin damage.

Often times moisturizers also come with SPF protection so you can combine the previous step with this one. If yours doesn’t you’ll want to apply a thin layer of sunscreen over your face as the last step in your routine.

Especially if you’re going to be spending time outdoors. SPF 15 is alright for everyday regular use but SPF 30+ is better. Make sure you’re using something strong if it’s going to be sunny out or if you have lighter skin. Darker skin can get away with using a weaker sunscreen and it may even be ideal. Make sure your skin is producing enough Vitamin D!


The steps, in order, of a basic skincare routine:

1 Cleanse

2 Tone

3 Spot Treat (Optional)

4 Moisturize

5 Sunscreen (Optional if your moisturizer already has SPF protection)