Building a perfect skincare routine that you can stick to… every day, morning + night, is so important! That being said, knowing which products are going to work best for you can be a little bit challenging. We all have different skin types, so it can be hard to know exactly which products to use. And if you don’t have a skincare routine yet, I get it – no judging! It can be intimidating, confusing, and overwhelming.
This month, Sephora launched the Skincare Routine Builder on sephora.com. It’s a quiz (LOVE a good quiz!) that takes in your skin concerns, preferences, age, and more to develop a 5-step skincare routine. The quiz takes away all the guesswork, helping you find the perfect, personalized routine for you!
PS – Sephora is doing a little sale through 8/24. Take $15 off your purchase of $75 or more OR $20 off your purchase of $100! Use code WELCOMEBACK.
Building Your Perfect Skincare Routine
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the products, let’s quickly review the skincare fundamentals: product order! The easiest way to remember this is that after cleansing and toning, skincare products are applied thinnest to thickest.
- Cleanse. You always want to start with a clean face. I cleanse every night even if I didn’t put makeup on that day. I’ve heard mixed things about cleansing being mandatory in the morning. Sometimes I just splash my face with water. It kind of just depends!
- Tone. Think of toner as the last step of the cleansing process. It sweeps away dead skin cells (my top concern as I have dead skin) and any extra oil.
- Eye Cream. I recently learned that eye cream should go on before moisturizer… just because it has its own special actives to target stuff like dark circles and puffiness. Regular moisturizer can interfere.
- Essence, if you use one!
- Serums. There are so many types of serums. Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid, Retinol, Acids, etc. These go on after cleansing but before moisturizing. Moisturizer locks in those actives! My rule is always one active at a time. I never layer acids, retinol, etc.
- Face Oil (PM) or SPF (AM). You could use oil in the morning too (pre SPF) but I generally save oils for nighttime. Especially during the summer.
I highly encourage you to take the Skincare Routine Builder quiz.
I get asked all the time for skincare routine recommendations and it’s incredibly hard for me to make recommendations without knowing someone personally. And even with my close friends who I know and see regularly… that’s hard too! I can really only speak to my own skin type and what I know works for me. This is especially true for those with oily skin or sensitive skin. It’s harder for me to give out recommendations. When you take the quiz you’ll be paired with 5 steps to cleanse, treat, and moisturize… along with SPF and a few fun “extra credit” products, too.
My own skin is DRY! I am 38 (39 next month!) and starting to see fine lines and wrinkles. So hydration is really key to my own skin care routine. Add to that: dullness and the loss of elasticity (UGH this is depressing to write but I swear it’s not thaaat bad – a great skincare routine makes a huge difference!) It’s taken me a little while to nail a routine but a few things are constant: a cleansing balm to remove my makeup without stripping, toner to lightly exfoliate and allow my serums and moisturizers to better absorb, a great eye cream, and an ultra rich moisturizer, face oil if my skin is feeling extra dry and moisturizer doesn’t feel like enough. If I have those key things, my skin is happy.
I’m excited about this post because I spend a lot of time trying and testing different actives: acids, retinol, etc etc. But what about those core building block products of healthy skin? The tried and true CORE products you will use morning and night to supplement those actives and let them do their best work!
What it is: An ultra gentle cleansing balm that takes off all my makeup without stripping the skin.
Why I love it: Washing your face every night is so important and this is my favorite cleansing balm. Hands down. The jar lasts forever and it’s also less expensive than a lot of the other cleansing balms I like. I have talked about it at length before, but I love it because it gets my skin really, really clean without drying it out. It also smells amazing and a little goes a long way.
How to Use it: Take a small amount of product, warm it up between your fingers, and apply it to dry skin. Massage the balm into the skin to loosen any makeup, and then splash with a little water. Continue to massage – the cleanser transforms into a creamy milk and will take off all your makeup. Use a warm, damp towel to remove.
What it is: An alcohol-free 2% BHA toner that gently exfoliates and cleanses without stripping the skin. It’s great on all skin types: oily skin, combination skin, dry skin, etc. Toner is the final step of the cleansing process and prepares the skin for serums and moisturizers. It’s also great for clogged pores.
Why I love it: It’s funny, toner was the missing step in my routine. I hadn’t been using toner until a couple years ago when my facialist suggested it. Even though I have dry skin, I was getting these pesky little bumps on my cheeks because dead skin was getting trapped under my moisturizer. This is the second step in cleansing for me and makes such a difference. And I love this one as it exfoliates and brightens, but it’s still really gentle – it does not have salicylic acid but still gets skin all tingly and clean.
How to Use it: After cleansing, shake a few drops onto a cotton ball. Sweep it all over your face and neck using upward strokes.
BIOSSANCE Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
What it is: An ultra hydrating, creamy eye cream with Marine Algae Complex to help reduce the appearance of fine lines in as little as a week!
Why I love it: My under eye area can get so dry! This is normal as the delicate skin of your eye area has fewer pores. This cream is ultra rich and contains all sorts of good ingredients to help brighten and visibly lift. Over time the eye area is more hydrated and fine lines are less visible, but it provides a smoother, more lifted look immediately. I didn’t use eye cream when I was younger; now it is one of the most important parts of my own skin care routine.
How to Use it: Using your index finger, dot this on all over your eye area (including your eyelid!). As mentioned above, I like to apply my eye cream before moisturizer.
KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Ultra Facial Cream
What it is: A bestselling moisturizer to target dryness, dullness, and uneven texture and deliver up to 24 hours of hydration.
Why I love it: Kiehl’s was the first high end skincare brand I ever used and this moisturizer was an instant favorite. It’s the perfect no-nonsense face cream and it’s great for day and night. It delivers up to 24 hours of moisture so skin always feels hydrated and soft.
How to Use it: After any serums or “extra credit” products, apply a layer of this cream to lock in moisture and (at night), lock in any active ingredients. This makes for a great night cream.
SUPERGOOP! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
What it is: an ultra lightweight sunscreen primer with SPF 40.
Why I love it: It’s so lightweight. It’s literally clear, and feels light as air. And because it’s also technically a primer, it helps to ensure your makeup goes on more evenly (and stays on longer). The best way to prevent skin cancers and wrinkles. I love this sunscreen so much.
How to Use it: Apply after moisturizing! SPF should always be the last step.
For Extra Credit:
I do acids 2-3x a week (Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum is my favorite – more on that in this post!) and Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum is my favorite retinol – more on that in this post!!!) BIG Biossance + Farmacy fan if you couldn’t tell! These go before your night cream and/or face oil.