I grew up with severe cystic acne from the age of 11 which, due to some incredibly cruel kids, created significant insecurities for me about my looks. I hated my skin because of this and never really thought to look after it. About 5 years ago I started to pay more attention to my skin (your mid-30’s will do that to ya!) and last year, I really started to take it seriously. After implementing this basic skincare routine, I noticed major improvements to my skin tone and I almost never break out anymore.
I am obviously not a beauty or skincare expert however I’ve done a lot of reading and trial and error to find a daily routine for skincare that works best for me. So, if you’re wondering “how do I start a skincare routine”, take a look at my recommendations below and find what works best for you! For reference, I have combination skin.
I wash my face with Cetaphil Gentle Face Cleanser. The one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t need fancy or expensive face wash to do a good job, and you certainly don’t need something with a scrub in it.
A lot of people choose to skip a toner but I find this step removes any remaining dirt or impurities. I really like Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner because it doesn’t dry out my skin.
- Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid
Adding Vitamin C has, hands down, been the biggest game changer for me. My skin is noticeably brighter and since I started using it, my colleagues regularly comment that I’m “glowing”. In the morning, I like to use The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + Hyaluronic Acid Spheres 2%. Since it’s one product with two serums, it saves me time which is always beneficial. Lindsay Silberman has an excellent post called “How to Use Vitamin C Serum” that walks you through all the benefits of Vitamin C and how to use it so be sure to check that out.
I’ve been using Aveeno moisturizer for years and I like that it’s lightweight and has sunscreen. My go-to currently is Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 however it’s been really hard to find it anywhere. The other one I use is Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 (my husband uses this one, too).
- Firming Neck Cream
Okay, if you’ve been following my IG Stories you’ll know that I polled my followers about “neck vanity”. Specifically, how much is too much to spend on neck firming cream? Well, it turns out a lot of you think it’s worth it to shell out to tighten loose skin on your neck. I’ve been using NEOSTRATA Triple Firming Neck Cream and it’s worked so well – I highly recommend if you’re looking for a natural way to tighten loose skin on your neck.
Same as Morning
Same as Morning
- Vitamin C
At night, I have a bit more time so I like to use a pure Vitamin C like Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%, which I’ve been using for a year or so now, as well as Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%, which I added a few months ago and really love. (Use one a day, not both, obviously.) These both feel like a light oil, which I love.
- Hyaluronic Acid
Despite its name, Hyaluronic Acid is not an acid. It’s found in the skin naturally and is what gives you that plump, youthful look. Here’s the trick: before applying it, either spray a face mist on your skin or wet your finger tips and “dab” them around to slightly wet your skin. The water or mist will give the HA more moisture to draw from and absorb into your skin. Then apply a light layer (just a couple drops will do) of Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. Ensure you give it time to absorb before applying other serums or moisturizer.
- Specialty Serums
If I feel like my skin needs an extra little boost, I’ll apply a bit of The Ordinary Buffet, a multi-technology peptide serum. Or if I feel a breakout starting, I’ll dab a little Salicylic Acid 2% Solution on it.
This is my favourite part – evening moisturizer. I slather 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil on my face, neck and chest. You don’t need a lot, a few drops go a long way.
- Firming Neck Cream
Same as Morning.
I used to think exfoliating meant getting a grainy scrub from the Body Shop and rubbing it aggressively all over my face (*cringe*). Now I know that chemical exfoliants are gentler on your skin and WAY more effective. I exfoliate 2-3 times per week and notice a huge difference in appearance of my skin tone and texture. I add it to my nightly routine after I wash but before I start any other steps in my skincare routine.
- The Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peels have a bit of a cult following so I finally gave them a try last year. I bought the large box and used them every day for 10 days then twice a week after that.
- This is my absolute favourite exfoliator – CLEAR CELL medicated acne masque. It was recommended to me by my esthetician a couple years ago and I LOVE it. It’s a clay masque that draws out excess oil and impurities boosted with salicylic and glycolic acids to reduce the buildup of dead skin cells. It also delivers beneficial antioxidants and botanicals that lessen the appearance of redness and calm irritated skin. It makes my skin SO smooth so I try to use it once a week.
I hope you found this useful. If you have any questions about what your daily skincare routine should be or just how to start a skincare routine, leave me a comment below. I’m happy to make recommendations. And if you use any of the steps or products from my basic skincare routine, let me know what you think!