It’s the new year, and for many people a new year comes with resolutions. Although I wouldn’t really consider it a resolution, this year I definitely want to finetune my skincare routine even further. In my post about my simple drugstore skincare routine I wrote about how I never really knew what I was doing until I started looking up information about skincare and skincare ingredients. Although I am in no way a skincare expert, I feel like I have learned a lot about how to start a simple skincare routine or simplify an existing one. So in this post, I want to share what I have learned in order to help others build a simple skincare routine as well.
Start with the basics
Whether you don’t have a skincare routine yet or have one and want to start from scratch: the best thing to do is to start with the basics. And there are three skincare products that a lot of skincare experts seem to consider the basics: cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. A cleanser will help you remove all the dirt and make-up from your face at night, a moisturizer will hydrate and moisturize your skin, and a sunscreen will protect your face from sun damage. Even in the winter this is important, as there are still UV-rays from the sun. A moisturizer with an SPF can also be a good option, but might not give enough protection in the summer.
Find out your skin concerns
Before you go out and buy any products, you need to figure out your skin type and skin concerns. You may think you know this, but it’s not always so clear. Sometimes your skin isn’t necessarily oily, but compensating for overcleansing. Or maybe you think you have dry skin (a lack of oil) but it is actually dehydrated (a lack of water). In order to know what products work best for you, it is good to have at least some sort of idea of what your skin type is and what your main skin concerns are.
So next up is to research ingredients. There are a lot of different skincare ingredients out there that are really popular right now, such as AHA’s and BHA’s, retinols or niacinamide. But you don’t necessarily need all of these ingredients! Before you buy into any hype, it’s good to learn what these ingredients do for your skin and whether they might benefit you. It can be a bit tricky to find trustworthy information online though, as there are lots of beauty gurus who are just trying to sell you their products – but there are dermatologists and other knowledgeable people out there who know what they are talking about. I personally learned a lot from Liah Yoo on YouTube, but I also really like Lab Muffin Beauty Science.
Apart from ingredients that can be beneficial to your skin, there are also a lot of skincare ingredients that might be better to avoid depending on your skin type. Drying alcohols are usually better to avoid or at least be very far down in the ingredient list – these types of alcohols are usually way too drying for the skin and are not beneficial in the long run. Sulfates in cleansers might also be too harsh for some people, and fragrance can be irritating for sensitive skin. In fact, some dermatologists advise avoiding fragrance entirely, because it can be a cause of allergies over time. In general, I find that products made for sensitive skin are a good choice because they are less likely to contain these possible irritants. However, it is always a good idea to read ingredient lists and not just trust whatever the packaging says.
Add products for your skin concerns
Once you have figured out all the above steps, and have found a basic cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen that you like using, it is time to add products for your skin concerns. This is where active ingredients such as glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid, vitamin A and C, and niacinamide come in. These ingredients can often be found in products like toners, serums and oils, which you might add to your skincare routine depending on your skin concerns. There are also cleansers and moisturizers that contain these ingredients though, so you might need to research how these active ingredients are best applied. I personally like to use serums so I can add these ingredients whenever I need them and leave them out when I don’t. However, sometimes it definitely can be a good choice to use a cleanser or moisturizer with these ingredients. It all depends on your skin type and the formulation of the product – so it is always good to research what works best for you.
In the end, the key to a good skincare routine that works for you is research. Whether you have a super minimal skincare routine or a really extensive one, the most important thing is that you know what each product is for and why you are using it.