Perfecting Your Skincare Routine: Part 1
By: Swathi Anand
Cleanse, Moisturize and Protect
Figuring out a skincare routine that works for your skin can be time-consuming — researching ingredients, experimenting with products, and patch testing them can take months and definitely money! My skincare journey began a couple of years ago when I started to break out more than I could manage. I wanted to have skin clear enough where I could wear little to no makeup on a daily basis. It took me TWO YEARS to nail down my skincare routine and now enjoy smooth, bright, and acne-free skin.
Luckily for you, I’m here to show you how to develop a skincare routine that’s right for you based on what I’ve learned during my skincare journey, so you can spend less $$$ and less time experimenting with your pretty face! To begin, let’s start with the bare minimum amount of steps you need to follow to maintain healthy skin: cleansing, moisturizing and protecting.
1. Double Cleanse
The double cleanse is a famous Korean cleansing method which involves washing your face in two steps: first by using an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based cleanser. The first step draws out oil-based impurities such as sebum, SPF, and pollutants while the second step cleanses water-based debris such as sweat and dirt.
Double cleansing morning and night is one of the greatest things I ever did for my skin. It has helped prevent breakouts and ensured I started with a clean canvas for skincare and makeup. You should still use an oil cleanser even if your skin is oily because it removes excess sebum and helps balance your skin, actually making your face less shiny over time!
What I use:
Farmacy’s Green Clean ($34) - This makeup meltaway balm does exactly what it says it does and even removes stubborn eye makeup and layers of foundation with minimal effort. I also love this balm because it’s travel-friendly and leak-proof.
Maelove’s Day Eraser ($19) - This is a cheaper alternative from one of my favorite brands — Maelove. They provide luxury skincare by removing middlemen markups, so they can deliver great products with quality ingredients at a radical price. This oil is as gentle as Green Clean and smells amazing, without the hefty price tag.
Cerave’s Foaming Facial Wash ($10.50) - You really can’t go wrong with choosing a gentle facial cleanser, but Cerave cleansers are a popular choice in the skincare community because they contain ceramides and cleanse your skin without stripping it of moisture.
Whamisa Green Tea Cleansing Gel ($20) - If you’re willing to splurge, I love this cleansing gel. It smells fresh and is free of parabens, sodium lauryl & laureth sulfates (SLS) — deeply cleansing your skin without stripping it.
After you cleanse, it’s time to moisturize your skin. A big part of my journey was figuring out I had mistakenly thought my skin was oily when it was actually dehydrated. Dehydrated skin can happen to anyone with normal, oily, or combination (oily and dry) skin — but it ultimately means the skin lacks water and as a result, over-produces oil to compensate for the lack of moisture in the skin. As someone who often forgets to drink water every day, learning this opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t feeding my skin enough moisturizing agents. Instead, I was using anything and everything under the sun that would “mattify” my skin and dry it out so it looks less oily. Doing so only did more harm than good.
I repaired my moisture barrier by switching to moisturizers with ceramides, which help form a protective layer on my skin to lock in moisture, while also providing anti-aging benefits. Doing this was a game changer for me because it controlled my oil production and eradicated my acne!
What I use:
Stratia’s Liquid Gold ($24) - This moisturizer is formulated with ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids to mimic and strengthen and replenish your natural moisture barrier. It heals dehydration making skin healthy, bouncy, and resilient.
Cerave PM ($12) - By far one of the most popular and cheap drugstore choices, Cerave PM is an ultra lightweight cream that can be worn day and night. It features 3 essential barrier-strengthening ceramides and hydrating hyaluronic acid to hold moisture, and niacinamide to improve the appearance of the skin by lightening dark spots.
The last step for a basic skin care routine is to protect and prime your skin for makeup with sunscreen! You’ve probably heard this multiple times but sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more is a must. Sunscreen should be worn everyday, regardless of the weather or plans for outdoor activities, because you risk exposure to UV rays from windows, car windshields and even from the UV rays reflected from clouds on a cloudy day. You won’t see any anti-aging benefits in the short term but you will thank yourself 20+ years from now!
What I use:
Maelove’s Sun Protector ($17) - Maelove’s Sun Protector is lightweight, does not leave a white cast and is also mattifying!
Elta MD UV Daily ($27) - A popular sunscreen choice by many women, if you’re willing to spend a little more! This sunscreen acts as a lightweight moisturizer with UV protection, which can be worn alone or under makeup. It has hyaluronic acid to boost moisture retention.
That’s all I have for part 1 of this series. Hopefully, this was helpful for you as you pursue your own skincare journey. In the next part, I talk about how to choose products for addressing different skincare concerns. In the meantime, if you have any skincare questions, feel free to contact me or search for answers in the famous skincareaddiction reddit!
Disclaimer: All product recommendations are not sponsored. These are purely by choice. This article is not a paid advertisement.