How to Build a Complete Skincare Routine

Sometimes change is good but when it comes to the skin, consistency is key. Just like a good capsule wardrobe, made up of timeless pieces and trusted favourites, there is a core collection of skin care products that work for all skin types and will see you through countless seasons and occasions. Here, we detail the most important products in your routine and what order you should apply them in to get the best results possible. 

On The Daily  

When it comes to choosing products that will form the basis of your skin care routine, the trick is to only use products that your skin needs and that will actually benefit it. Don’t worry about trend-led formulas and new innovations; stick to a core five-step routine, twice a day, and you can’t go wrong. 

Step 1. A cleanser is essential. In the morning, this product removes dead cells, sweat and impurities that have accumulated on the skin overnight and in the evening, it rids your complexion of all these nasties plus make-up, pollution particles, sunscreen and dirt. Ideally, you should have a multifunctional cleanser that works day or night, and make-up wearers should invest in a good quality oil or cream formula to double cleanse with before bed. 

Step 2. In our opinion, toning the skin is important if you want to get the best out of the products you apply to it. Think of a toner like a booster; it restores the skin’s pH after cleansing, removes anything you might have missed during the cleansing step, and preps the surface for the serum you apply afterwards. Your toner of choice could focus on hydration, acne-control or exfoliation, just choose the formula that works best for you. 

Step 3. Now it’s on to the good stuff. This is when you apply your treatment product which, in most cases, is a serum. These need to be applied before the heavier products in your regime otherwise they won’t be able to penetrate the surface, so always pat a serum on while the skin is clean. Again, opt for a formula that works best for you, but an antioxidant serum is ideal for your morning routine. In the evening, you can switch this out for something more corrective, like a Retinol-based formula, or one that contains AHAs. 

Step 4. Once your serum has had time to sink in, you can go in with your moisturiser. Its main purpose is to hydrate the surface layers of the skin and to form a protective layer that supports the existing lipid barrier, preventing moisture loss and the invasion of bacteria. In the morning, look for moisturisers with plenty of Hyaluronic Acid and antioxidants, and in the evening go for something with Peptides or conditioning extracts to replenish the skin while you sleep. 

Step 5. The final step in any routine is and always will be sunscreen. Apply it every morning as the last product before you head out the door or start on your make-up routine, to protect the skin against the sun’s rays, free radicals and pollution. You can obviously omit this from your evening routine but if you want to stick with a five-step plan, try patting on a facial oil to lock everything in and balance your complexion. 

Optional Extras 

These are the products that you wouldn’t use every day, but need on stand-by for when your complexion needs a little extra help or is going through a particularly tough time. 

A spot treatment. To nix blemishes before they take over your skin, keep a Salicylic Acid-based gel or lotion in your collection. Applied directly onto angry pimples, this helps to minimise inflammation and decongest the affected pores, clearing up a breakout in a matter of days.  

A face mask. These come in all shapes and sizes and offer solutions for everything, from dehydration and sensitivity to dullness and excessive shine. To cover all eventualities, ensure you have a small assortment of masks to keep your skin happy, like this trio of problem-solvers: a moisturising sheet mask (to restore plumpness to tired skin), a clay mask (for when skin looks congested), and an exfoliating mask (to brighten dark spots and reinvigorate dull skin). Use them as and when or dedicate half an hour a week to your favourite and use the time to chill out after a hectic week. 

An eye cream. Ideally, this should be used daily (between your toner and serum steps) but some people prefer to only use it at night. However you decide to include it in your routine, make sure you use it regularly and sparingly – too much product around the eyes can cause milia and exaggerate any creasing, so remember to pat or smooth a small amount into the skin for best results.