How to Build a Personalized Skin Care Routine
Between figuring out your skin type, finding the products you need, and deciding which enhancements to make, starting a personalized skin care routine can feel like a daunting task. Thankfully, by following a few key steps, putting together a skin care routine can be a breeze. Below we outline everything you need to know to build your own personalized skin care routine today.
DETERMINE YOUR SKIN TYPE (AND SKIN CARE NEEDS)
The first step in building your own skin care routine is determining your skin type. Ask anyone with great-looking skin and chances are they will tell you that they use products specifically formulated for their skin type and concerns. To do this quickly you can consult a dermatologist or esthetician who can quickly assess your skin and give you a run down of your skin type and major concerns—think: the signs of skin aging, acne, dull skin tone, and so on. If you’re more of a DIY-er, check out our post on how to determine your skin type on Skincare.com.
THE PRODUCTS YOU NEED IN YOUR ROUTINE
When it comes to a skin care routine there are a few non-negotiables that must be a part your routine no matter your skin type or concerns.
Washing your face—or even just cleansing with a micellar water—morning and night is must. Look for a cleanser that is formulated for your skin type to get the best results.
Oily skin types may benefit from foaming cleansers that can help to remove any excess sebum on the skin’s surface. If you want to treat your skin to a gentle cleanse while still targeting excess oil, reach for a foaming cleanser such as the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Facial Wash. This daily facial cleanser is infused with the brand’s Prebiotic Thermal Water and can help remove traces of debris or makeup while also mattifying the look of your complexion. Looking for more product recs? Check out our full round up of cleansers for oily skin here!
If you have dry skin, look for a cleanser that is moisturizing and won’t strip your skin of its much-needed hydration. For dry skin types, you can never go wrong with a cream cleanser. One of our favorites is the Lancôme Crème Radiance Clarifying Cream-to-Foam Cleanser. This mild face wash is packed with antioxidants and can provide your skin with a hydrating, soothing cleanse. If you’re on the hunt for another cream cleanser, we handpicked some of our favorites here!
Sensitive skin types should seek out cleansers like micellar waters that are suitable for them. The Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Waterproof is perfect for sensitive skin types who also wear makeup daily. In a few sweeps, all traces of makeup and dirt can be effectively removed. As a bonus, this no-rinse cleanser isn’t harsh on your skin.
Everyone—yes, everyone—needs to use a moisturizer, especially right after cleansing. When your skin is dry this is a product you naturally think to have in your routine, to help replenish hydration that your skin lacks. If you’re dealing with extremely dry skin, you may need to reach for a heavy-duty moisturizer, such as the L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care—Extra Dry Skin. Formulated with aloe water and three types of hyaluronic acid, this powerful formula provides all day hydration to even the driest of skin.
But, when you have oily skin, you may think it’s beneficial to skip out on moisturizer—but you’d be wrong. When those with oily skin skip moisturizer they can trick their skin into thinking it’s dehydrated which can lead to it producing more oil, since the sebaceous glands will work in overdrive to compensate for what they think is a lack of moisture. Luckily, the L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care line also has a product specifically formulated for normal to oily skin types. This lightweight, liquid moisturizer will provide your skin with a surge of hydration without leaving skin feeling heavy or greasy.
The final non-negotiable product in your routine is sunscreen. The sun’s harsh—not to mention skin-aging—rays are hard at work each and every day, all year long, rain or shine, which is why it’s imperative that you wear a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen (and reapply it) every day. Looking for a broad-spectrum daily sunscreen that boasts SPF 50? Look no further than Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+. This lightweight formula is great for all skin types and protects your skin from harmful UV rays. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you practice other sun-safe habits like seeking shade, wearing sunglasses, and protective clothing like hats.
Skin Care Routine Enhancements
Once you pick out your non-negotiables it’s time to add to your routine to help to address some of those personalized skin care concerns or desires. Your routine can be as basic or as multi-step as you want it to be, which is the beauty of customizing your own regimen. And, with so many great products available, there’s no shortage of enhancements. Remember, your routine may need to change with age as skin care needs in your 20s can vastly differ from those in your 40s. Take a look at your routine every so often to make sure it includes everything you’ll need to get the results you’re after. Below we share a few of our favorite skin care routine enhancements.
If you are someone who believes in hydration, turn to toners. Toners can help to remove excess dirt, oil, and impurities that may be lingering on your skin’s surface even after cleansing. Many can help to balance the skin’s pH—which is especially helpful if you have hard water. Finally, a toner can help to prep the skin for moisture.
These liquid Korean skin care imports have been making waves in the skin care world for months and so many of our favorite brands are coming out with their very own. Essence, when used after toner or on its own, can help to further prep your skin for hydrators like serums and moisturizer. There are oil, gel, and water essence formulas, allowing you to even further customize your routine.
Serum or Facial Oil
One of the most luxurious enhancements you can add into your regimen is a serum or facial oil. To be used before moisturizing, a facial oil can give your skin’s surface added hydration. If you opt for a serum, you can choose from any number of formulas, which all boast varying benefits. Some serums can help to address the signs of skin aging while others can help to brighten the appearance of the skin over time with continued use. We recommend adding an antioxidant serum—formulated with vitamin C—into your routine and layering it under your sunscreen each day. These products help to neutralize free radicals on the skin’s surface and when paired with sunscreen offer you a great line of defense against external environmental aggressors.
While many will list an eye cream as an essential, for those with a more basic routine it’s more of an add-on. However, if you have the beginnings of crow’s feet or under-eye wrinkles, dark circles, or puffiness, an eye cream should definitely be a part of your routine. Look for one that’s formulated to address your specific concerns.
One to three times a week, elevate your skin care routine with a face mask. From charcoal masks and clay masks to peel-off masks and sheet masks, there are so many different face masks you can choose from to personalize your regimen. You can even further customize your experience by trying multi-masking which utilizes multiple face masks that are places on different areas of the face depending on the concerns in that area.
Dull-looking skin tone? Concerned with a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin? Reach for an exfoliator. You can opt for a chemical exfoliator—formulated with alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or enzymes from sources like pumpkin or papaya—or a physical exfoliator—formulated with scrubbing particles that manually exfoliate the surface of the skin
From lip scrubs to lip balms and hydrators, if you want a perfect-looking pout you’ll want to care for it properly. Just like dead skin can build up on the surface of the skin, it can build up on your lips as well. Exfoliate your lips as often as needed—especially if you want them to look their best for the season’s hottest matte and metallic liquid lipsticks—and immediately follow up with a hydrator. What’s more, keep lip balm formulated with SPF with you at all times and apply and reapply often to help to protect your pout from the drying affects of the sun.
While this is just a start, there are many additional skin care products you can add into your routine as you go—from retinol to overnight masks and more. Pay close attention to your skin and its needs and adjust your regimen accordingly as time goes on.