A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Skin Care Routine

Recently I was chatting to my mother about skin care, and one thing she was asking me about was knowing what order it should be applied in and why each product is necessary. This is why I decided to write up this post; skin care can be a tricky and confusing thing, with so many products claiming to be necessary for good skin. I’m going to run you through each product step-by-step, and let you know how important I think it is (hopefully this helps you to know what’s best to invest in first).

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small amount of profit if you choose to purchase something through my link. It will come at no extra cost to you, though, and means that I can continue to work on my blog.

1. Cleanser

Time: Morning and evening

Ranking: Very important

Cleansing your skin is the step at the beginning of any skin care routine: it cleans off debris from your face to prep it for product. I cleanse morning and night – I used to only cleanse in the evening, but I’ve found lately that the residue from the products I used the night before won’t come off with just warm water – and if I’m wearing makeup, I double cleanse. I wrote about double cleansing in this post, if you want to check out how I do it.

Cleansers alone are a confusing product, as there are so many variations of them depending on skin type. My personal favourite cleanser is the Glossier ‘Milky Jelly Cleanser’, as it’s very gentle but removes every single piece of dirt. My skin is quite dry, and I find that this cleanser doesn’t strip it the way a typical foaming cleanser would. I also like cream and oil cleansers, such as the Liz Earle ‘Cleanse and Polish’ hot cloth cleanser (or the No7 dupe) and the Simple ‘Hydrating Cleansing Oil’. If you have oilier skin, you might prefer to use a slightly harsher face-wash style cleanser.

2. Toner

Time: Morning and night

Ranking: Unimportant

I’m not really convinced when it comes to toners. They tend to be used to remove any last remnants of dirt/makeup, but I find that my cleanser always does the job and my skin is clean without the use of toner. There are a bunch that claim to do different things for your skin – chemically exfoliating toners, hydrating toners etc – but I don’t really see the need for them if I’m applying serums and moisturisers on top.

Recently, I tried the Pixi ‘Rose Tonic’, and I actually really enjoyed it. I found my skin was left smooth and hydrated. I do still feel that this is a bit of an unnecessary step, though, and if you’re building a new skincare routine you can probably purchase this product last.

3. Serum

Time: Morning and Night

Ranking: Important

Since I began using serums, I’ve definitely seen an improvement in the brightness and texture of my skin. I’m currently writing up a post all about the different uses for serums, and what their products mean, because there are just so many of them! I think, from my own experience, that a Vitamin C serum really will help to even out and brighten skin tone when applied every morning. I recommend the Drunk Elephant ‘C-Firma’, but I do have a post all about the best Vitamin C serums which has much cheaper options for anyone who cannot afford a Drunk Elephant splurge right now (mine was a Christmas gift).

In the evening, I use the Drunk Elephant ‘TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum’, which is essentially a chemical exfoliator to improve skin’s texture. I have to say, whilst I like it, I’m not seeing any major improvements in my skin so far. I’ve heard people talk about this serum changing their skin overnight and I can’t really relate to that. I would say if you’re going to invest in a serum, a Vitamin C serum is the best idea.

4. Eye Cream

Time: Day and night

Ranking: Important

I can personally go without eye cream, as applying a small amount of moisturiser around my eyes does the trick, but I know that the delicate skin in this area really should be getting a lighter product that’s been specifically designed for it. Therefore, if you have a bit more money to invest, I would definitely recommend a good eye cream.

I’m using the 100% Pure ‘Coffee Bean Caffein Eye Cream’ right now, as it came in my Kinder Beauty Box (read my review here). I would definitely recommend this product – a lot of other eye creams have brought my sensitive skin out in a rash. I wish I could advise more on this topic, but as someone fairly new to eye creams myself I honestly don’t have a bunch to rave about.

5. Moisturiser

Time: Day and night

Ranking: Very important

When people tell me they don’t moisturise, regardless of skin type, gender or vanity, I am horrified. You cannot get away without moisturising your skin. It will age you so, so badly. Before you argue that your skin is too oily to moisturise, know this: your skin will produce more oil when dehydrated in an attempt to, you guessed it, hydrate itself. Refusing to help your skin out is only going to work to your detriment.

If you have oily skin, you should choose a lightweight and hydrating moisturiser that sinks in instantly. I do have dry skin, but I used the Lush ‘Vanishing Cream’ for a while and really liked how it didn’t leave any greasy residue – I believe it’s for those who have oily skin. If you have dry skin you will want something a little more heavy duty; the Drunk Elephant ‘Lala Retro’ cream is a favourite of mine, and I also like the REN ‘Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream’. These products are also both really good for sensitive skin that’s prone to rashes. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, try the Simple ‘Light Moisturiser’ – I used to like it when I was younger. I haven’t tried their ‘Rich Moisturiser’, but I’m sure it’s lovely, too.

6. SPF

Time: Day

Ranking: Very Important

I’ve been wearing SPF daily since the age of about fifteen, no matter the weather. It’s so important to protect your skin from UV rays – the sun is the key cause of wrinkles and ageing. Have you ever seen a sun worshipper over the age of thirty? They tend to look a bit….older. And their wrinkles tend to be very, very deep.

I absolutely love Glossier’s ‘Invisible Shield’ as it’s non-greasy and doesn’t cause my eyes or skin to react sensitively. Alternatively, you could opt for a moisturiser that has SPF in it. If you’re wearing makeup, then you could purchase one with sun protection – my favourite is the ‘Serum Foundation’ by The Ordinary.

Optional Extra: Face Masks

Face masks are a fun pamper product, and should be done post cleansing before any other products, as they should be applied to clean skin and tend to be washed off after use. If it’s an over night mask, then use it instead of night time moisturiser.

Face masks are not necessary, but they are a helpful addition. I tend to use face masks weekly, and I like to use a detoxing one followed by a hydrating one. This Glossier mask duo is my favourite – though you can also buy them individually.

That’s it for the my beginner’s guide to skin care, hopefully you’re feeling a little less confused about it all now. Let me know in the comments – what part of your skin care routine would you consider to be most crucial, and what would you be comfortable skipping?

Thanks for reading,


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