Having a daily skin-care routine has always been helpful for so much more than my skin. In the morning it helps me wake up and prepare for the day, giving my mind another signal that it’s go time. And in the evening it helps me wind down and transition to relaxation mode.
Plus, when you’re working from home (as I, the rest of SELF’s staff, and hopefully you are right now, due to the new coronavirus) it’s important to have a routine to keep your work life separate from your personal life—even though they both may be taking place in the same physical space right now.
For me, having a morning and nighttime skin-care routine is definitely part of that. So I’d highly suggest leaning into the routine you have now, evaluating whether or not what you’re using is really necessary, or taking this moment to create a regimen that’s right for your skin.
The good news is that your daily skin-care routine doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, you really only absolutely need three main things in your morning skin-care routine, SELF explained previously, and you only have to use two at night.
So here’s how to build an everyday skin-care regimen that’ll work for you. Of course, if you have any skin conditions (like eczema, rosacea, cystic acne, or psoriasis) or if you’re having trouble finding something that works with your skin, it’s important to check in with a board-certified dermatologist, many of whom are taking virtual appointments online right now. But these are the basics for anyone to start thinking about their skin-care routine.
In the morning…
Complicated multistep skin-care routines may be trendy, but they really aren’t necessary. For most people there are only three essential steps to a daily skin-care routine, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and those are: cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen.
In the morning, you’ll want to start by washing your face with a cleanser that’s right for your skin type. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you might want to use a face wash that contains acne-fighting or exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid. Those with dry or sensitive skin should stick with gentle cleansers, which often have a creamy texture. If you have dry skin, you might also enjoy using an oil-based face wash, like a cleansing balm or oil. If you have combination skin, you might want to switch up your cleansers (use an acne-fighting one in the morning and a creamy one at night, for instance).
If you do choose to use any other skin-care products in the morning, like toners, exfoliants, serums, or treatments, this is where they would go (after you wash your face, but before anything else). Experts generally suggest that most people use an antioxidant serum, like a vitamin C serum, in the morning to help prevent sun-related damage (which can still happen when you’re indoors, by the way).
For the most part, you want to use your exfoliator, toner, and then your other products in the order of thinnest to thickest. The idea is that lighter products won’t be able to penetrate through thicker ones, but the truth is that the exact order doesn’t matter that much, as SELF explained previously. Of course, if you’re using a prescription treatment, follow your dermatologist’s instructions for when and how to use it.