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How to create a skincare routine: basic guide

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Hi there! Today I want to talk about a basic skincare topic: how to create a beauty routine. When we start to get interested in skincare and we read about beauty routines it can be overwhelming. Surely, at some point you have asked yourself: what is a beauty routine? do I need a beauty routine? what steps does a beauty routine have? how do I create a beauty routine?

With this post I am going to help you understand everything you need to know about beauty routines so that, from now on, you are able to create your own one, adapted to your skin concerns and avoiding the most common mistakes. Specifically, the topics that I am going to discuss in this post are the following:

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1. WHY YOU NEED A SKINCARE ROUTINE.

Your skin needs you to take care of it. If so far you have just taken it for granted, without giving it the pampering it needs, that is going to change. Taking care of our skin is not only a matter of aesthetics and vanity, it is also a fundamental way of taking care of our health. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ and our first protective barrier against the environment around us. Normally, our skin is exposed to various damages of which we are more or less aware (for example, we do not usually assess how much ultraviolet radiation or contamination are capable of damaging it).

A skincare routine is a set of basic steps designed to keep our skin firm, elastic, smooth and, above all, protected. The skin is a very sensitive organ, so with our beauty routine we will try to keep our skin healthy and, if we have any special concerns (whether they are wrinkles, blemishes, pimples or any other one) we will use the appropriate products to help us improve it. The skincare market is huge, but I will help you understand what you need to know in order to take proper care of your skin.

Remember that the most important thing for your beauty routine to work is being constant and patient. Although the routine itself will not take you more than five minutes, the effects of the different products we use sometimes take several weeks to be visible. Do not despair, your skin will love you for your skincare routine from the first moment.

There are two basic issues that I want to cover from the beginning. Sometimes, when we start using new products, we may think that it is normal that they irritate or slightly dehydrate our skin. If a product does not work along well with your skin, it may not be the right one for you, so I recommend you stop using it to avoid damaging your skin. To avoid this, I recommend you to always do a patch test before incorporating any new product into your beauty routines.

First of all, in this post we are going to see the essential steps of all skincare routines, those that you should not miss a single day. After that, I will help you find solutions to the problems that concern you.

The Moisturizer - How to choose the best sunscreen .

 

2. BASIC STEPS OF ALL SKINCARE ROUTINES.

As I mentioned in the previous section, your beauty routine will not take more than five minutes. It may be scary or overwhelming to read articles about 10 step Korean beauty routines but you don’t need all of that to look radiant. I like to think of my routine as a ritual, a way to relax, disconnect and be with myself, so I try not to get stressed thinking that I will not have time to do all 10 steps. Sometimes it is better to use good, well-formulated products and to do a simpler routine than trying to cover each one of these steps with products that do not add as much to your skin.

Without exception, all your beauty routines will include two basic steps: cleansing and moisturizing. In addition to this, every morning (yes, every single one) you have to use sunscreen. Simple, right? Let’s take a closer look at why those three should be the most basic steps in all of your routines.

 

  • Cleansing.

Washing your face daily is essential. In fact, you should wash your face in the morning and at night. As I explain in greater depth in this other post, when we wash our face we remove all the impurities that accumulate on the skin throughout the day, besides the makeup and sunscreen that we have applied.

In the morning I recommend using a mild cleanser. It is common to think that cleansers work better the more aggressive they are, but this is not the case. The skin is very sensitive to changes, and by using very strong cleansers we weaken it and damage the skin barrier (about which you can read more here). If you have not yet found your ideal cleanser I recommend this ByWishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser, available on Wishtrend, on Yesstyle, and on Amazon and that is perfect if you have oily or combination skin, or this other one from Cerave, which you can find on Amazon and on Feelunique and that works great on dry and normal skin.

At night I advise you to do a double cleansing. You may have previously read about it (I explain how it works in this article). Double cleansing consists of first using an oil-based cleanser to remove the oil-soluble particles (such as makeup or sunscreen), and then another water-based cleanser to remove the remaining particles on the skin. For me, starting to double cleanse was one of the best changes I could make to my skincare routine. Forget about micellar water or wipes, which are potentially irritating and less gentle on the skin, replace them with a good first cleanser like the Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil, available on Wishtrend, on Yesstyle, and on Amazon, and your skin will thank you for it. As a second cleaner, if you want, you can use the same one you use in your morning routines.

 

  • Moisturizing.

Healthy skin is hydrated skin. After washing your face, you must nourish your skin, without exception. To do this, you have to use a moisturizer that helps you keep your skin healthy, firm, smooth and elastic. When we start learning about skincare we may even think that we do not need to use moisturizer because it is heavy or uncomfortable, especially if you have combination or oily skin like me. Instead, what you should do is find a moisturizer that suits your needs. If you want to know what types of moisturizers there are and find the right one for you, you can find it in this other post.

Between cleansing and hydration there are other products that you can incorporate into your routines to give you extra results, such as toners, serums, etc. but if you are in a hurry or if you have no concern other than wanting to keep your skin healthy, using a good moisturizer after cleansing will have your needs covered.

If you haven’t found your ideal moisturizer yet, I recommend this Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream and the Klairs Supple Preparation All-Over Lotion, available on Wishtrend, on Yesstyle, and on Amazon.

 

  • Sunscreen.

Sunscreen is not optional, you have to use it daily and all over the year. The ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun is very harmful to our skin. Not only is it the main cause of skin aging (accelerating the appearance of spots, wrinkles and fine lines), but by exposing ourselves to it, we increase the probability of suffering serious skin diseases (such as cancer).

Using a good sunscreen every day we take care of our health, as well as our appearance, so you should never pass it. Currently, there are many products to choose from, so surely there is one that suits your needs. If you haven’t found your ideal sunscreen yet, here you can see a comparison in which you’ll surely find the right one for you.

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3. HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SKIN WITH YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE.

Now that you know the basic steps that should never be missing in your beauty routine (cleaning, hydration and sunscreen) you can start to consider using specific products that help you improve what you’re most concerned about. In this other article I talk in more detail about the correct way to use the different beauty products. Remember that you shouldn’t use more than three actives in the same routine. If you want to use various serums in the same routine the golden rule is to apply first the lighter one and, if they have the same density, prioritize the ones that target our main skin concerns.

Chances are, if you’ve reached this post, it’s because you’re looking for the right way to create a beauty routine that helps you improve wrinkles, skin blemishes, acne, etc. If this is your case, the way to improve your skin concerns is through specific products that, due to their ingredients, provide you with what your skin needs.

Although I already mentioned it at the beginning of the post, I want to emphasize the importance of doing a patch test before incorporating new products into your beauty routines. The patch test is a tolerance test that will let you know if these products can cause unwanted reactions before you use them on your entire face. If, at any time, a product causes you some kind of irritation, remember to stop using it so as not to further damage your skin.

Do you want to see how to help improve your skin concerns? Let’s see it!

This graphic aims to help you understand in which part of your skincare routine you should use each product.
You don’t need to do all the steps from this routine (but you should always cleanse, moisturize and use sunscreen).
Remember it’s key to do a patch test every time you consider adding new products to your skincare routine.

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  • How can I improve wrinkles and fine lines?

Wrinkles and fine lines are one of the problems that most often worry us. While it is true that you have to think of them positively, we do not always want them to appear (or to appear earlier than they should). Wrinkles and fine lines appear when, as we age, the levels of collagen and elastin (responsible for keeping our skin firm) begin to decrease (if you want to read more about it, you can take a look at this other post). In addition, ultraviolet radiation also plays a key role in the early appearance of wrinkles, so the first way to avoid wrinkles and fine lines is to use sunscreen daily.

When the skin is especially dehydrated, wrinkles and fine lines appear more easily, so I recommend using products that help you maintain optimal skin oil and water levels.That way, you’ll reduce those wrinkles more effectively. To keep your skin well hydrated you can use a toner like the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner, which you can find on Yesstyle, on Amazon, and on Jolse. immediately after cleansing, your skin will appreciate it.

The most effective ingredients in directly reducing wrinkles and fine lines are two: peptides and retinol. For their part, peptides (about which you can read more in this other post) can help us increase collagen production, while retinol (about which you can read my complete guide here) helps to repair damaged fibers and accelerates the cell turnover process. There are many other ingredients that, indirectly, can help us to improve wrinkles and expression lines, such as vitamin C and acids, but they are not the most effective.

One of the things that I like the most about peptides is that you can incorporate them into your routines with hardly any contraindications. They are not compatible with certain ingredients (mainly acids), and you just have to use them after cleansing and toning (and, therefore, right before the moisturizer) to start helping your skin. If you want to start incorporating peptides into your beauty routines, I recommend trying The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides, which you can find at DECIEM, at Amazon, and FeelUnique or, if you are looking for an even more effective result, the NIOD Copper Amino-Isolate Serum 2:1 (CAIS 2), which you can find on DECIEM, on Amazon, and on Cult Beauty.

Retinol is a slightly more complicated ingredient. It is more effective than peptides in reducing wrinkles (and certain forms can even improve deep wrinkles), but you have to use it carefully, as I indicated in my guide on retinoids, which I advise you to read in detail before starting to use them. A good product to get you started in the world of retinol is this The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, which you can find on DECIEM, on Cult Beauty and on FeelUnique.

Finally, if you want to give your skin an extra nourishment, you can finish your night routines with an oil (which you must add after the moisturizer), the result is magnificent. Two of my favorite oils are the Youth to the People Hydrate + Glow Oil and the B Oil by The Ordinary, available on DECIEM, on Amazon and on FeelUnique. .

 

  • How can I improve skin spots?

Skin spots, about which I spoke in great detail in this other post, can arise from very different causes: exposure to ultraviolet radiation, hormonal changes, poorly healed irritation … There are different types of skin spots, such as melasma, chloasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), etc. When a spot appears on our skin, we want to do everything possible to get rid of it immediately, but as I said at the beginning of the post, skincare requires patience and perseverance.

The most important thing to prevent (and fix) skin spots is to use sunscreen daily (even if you don’t leave home, even if you spend the day in the office or even if it’s cloudy, always use it). Once you have created a basic routine of cleansing, moisturizing and sunscreen you can start incorporating products that help you reduce those spots.

The most effective ingredients in improving skin tone and reducing blemishes are acids (which you can read more about in this guide) and vitamin C (of which I speak in detail in this other article). Keep in mind that one of the main factors when reducing stains is their penetration (their depth), so if the stain is very deep it will be more difficult (or sometimes unfeasible) to reduce it through cosmetics.

Acids are complex ingredients that you must use carefully. In my guide on acids I talk in detail about the different acids you can use (glycolic, lactic, mandelic, azelaic, etc.) and which ones are more advisable for each skin type.

As for vitamin C, it is one of my favorite ingredients in cosmetics. On the one hand, it provides us with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that cause premature aging. In addition, it helps to increase brightness and reduce spots while it can exfoliate (depending on the product we use). As I explain in my guide on vitamin C, when we begin to incorporate it into our routines we must start with products with lower concentrations, increasing its dose over time as the skin acquires tolerance. If you want to know my opinion about some of the best known vitamin C serums, here you can read my comparison. A good product to start using vitamin C is this The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%, which you can find on DECIEM, on Amazon, on Cult Beauty, and FeelUnique. If you already use vitamin C regularly and are looking for a more effective product, I recommend The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, available on DECIEM, on Amazon, on Cult Beauty and on FeelUnique.

If you use acids or vitamin C, remember that during the months when ultraviolet radiation is higher, you should use milder products, reducing the concentration and the frequency with which you use them, to avoid further damaging your skin..

 

  • How can I improve acne?

It is difficult to find someone who, to a greater or lesser extent, has not suffered from acne. These annoying pimples usually appear due to hormonal changes in our body or due to imbalances in the skin barrier. In either case, the solution is the same. On the one hand, you must comply with your basic routine of cleansing, moisturizing and sunscreen, it is essential. On the other hand, I recommend you not use products sold as anti-acne and focus on keeping your skin healthy, the result is much more effective. Anti-acne products work by unbalancing the skin barrier (about which you can read more here), and that imbalance just brings more acne.

The skin barrier (or hydrolipidic barrier) is the outermost layer of our skin. It is made up of an oil and water emulsion that normally must be in balance. When there is an excess of oil, blackheads and whiteheads appear. Anti-acne products (as well as the abrasive cleansers that we normally use when it appears) damage this barrier, dehydrating the skin and making it try to find a new balance by producing even more oil and worsening the problem.

There are certain products that can give you a very effective result when it comes to improving acne, such as this ByWishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser, available on Wishtrend, on Yesstyle, and on Amazon, which I told you about when explaining how your basic routine should be. Different ingredients help us to rebalance oil levels, so we can use ourselves to our advantage. Niacinamide, for example, is a perfect complement to our beauty routines, so you can incorporate a serum like this The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, available on DECIEM, on Amazon, on Cult Beauty and on FeelUnique or this one from Paula’s Choice and your skin will greatly appreciate it.

Salicylic acid, about which you can read more in this other article, is very effective for those of us who have combination or oily skin, but it should be used with caution. If you want to start using it, I recommend that you read my guide on skincare acids first. One of my favorite products with salicylic acid is this Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant from Paula’s Choice, available on Cult Beauty, on Amazon and on FeelUnique. Remember that if you plan to use it, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not abuse it (or you will risk further damaging your skin).

If the acne is very severe, your dermatologist may prescribe retinoic acid. Retinol is a very effective ingredient in reducing acne, but to use it you must follow a series of very clear guidelines, since it can cause side effects. If you are considering incorporating retinol into your beauty routines, I recommend that you read my guide on retinoids..

 

  • How can I improve dark circles?

Dark circles are a very common (and complex) concern. They can appear because of different causes, such as skin ageing, hyperpigmentation, lifestyle changes, dehydration, etc. Depending on their nature, they can be solved on an easier or more difficult way, and sometimes cosmetics can’t reduce them.

If you’re worried about dark circles and under-eye bags, in many cases you can benefit from including in your routines an eye contour like this one by The Ordinary. Besides this, it’s important to keep a healthy lifestyle and get enough sleep. There are other ingredients, like peptides and retinoides that may help too, so you can complement the previous eye contour with this one, which is also from The Ordinary.

If you’re worried about wrinkles and fine lines in this area, I advise you to include in your routines a good eye contour that includes peptides or retinoides, such as this one by Paula’s Choice or this one by Dr. Roebucks, which is also available at Cult Beauty.

Remember that it’s key to keep the area properly hydrated and, of course, apply sunscreen here to prevent the appearance of spots and other signs of ageing.

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4. WHAT TO DO IF I WANT TO USE VARIOUS STRONG ACTIVES.

It may happen that you have different concerns regarding your skin and you want to improve them at the same time. In that case, it is very likely that to improve them you will have to use powerful actives that are incompatible with each other. This does not mean that you have to choose between focusing on one problem or the other, but that you will have to combine the products appropriately.

I am aware that sometimes this can be difficult to manage, but the solution may be easier than you think: you can alternate different beauty routines, so that you can get the benefits of different products, using some in the morning and others at night and in the case that the products should only be used at night (as it happens with retinoids, acids, etc.) you can just have a couple of different night routines and alternate them.

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5. CAN YOU USE THE SAME SKINCARE ROUTINE ALL OVER THE YEAR?

In an ideal world we would be able to use the same beauty products throughout the year without problem, but the reality is quite different. Although most of the products in our beauty routine can be used throughout the year (for example, cleansers or moisturizers), others should be changed during the summer.

In the case of sunscreen, I prefer to use a high protection one throughout the year (SPF50 and PA ++++, you can read what this means in this article https://imthemoisturizer.com/como-elegir-el-mejor-protector-solar ). If this is not your case, I recommend using this type of product during the summer.

In this other post I talk in more detail about the main changes that you should implement in your beauty routines during summer. There are certain ingredients, such as acids, vitamin C or retinoids that do not get along well with ultraviolet radiation, so I recommend changing them for others that give you similar results or, at least, reduce the concentration and frequency with which you use them.

On the other hand, not only in summer should our skincare routines change. There are certain changes that can lead us to make certain modifications. During pregnancy, for example, there are various ingredients that it is not advisable to include in our routines, in this other article I talk in detail about that topic.

I hope that with this article you have learned to create your own beauty routine, knowing how to differentiate the basic steps and the ways to solve the problems that concern you the most. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below and I will answer you as soon as possible.

 

If you liked this article and want to continue learning to take care of your skin, you will be interested in reading these others:

Do you want to learn to take better care of your skin? You can see an index of all my informative posts here

 

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The Moisturizer

I’m Nacho and I’m passionate about skincare. I really enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge about skincare and I read scientific papers so you don’t have to. I want to break stereotypes because I believe skincare has no gender: skin is skin.  

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