5 Steps to Starting a Skincare Routine

My dream is to be wealthy enough to afford weekly facials. I’m not kidding! I’m going old school here when women used to get their hair set once a week so why not do it for facials? Anyone? Regardless, having and sticking to a good skincare routine can help with so many things in your life. Very few of us have perfect skin and it’s common for blemishes, dry skin, or patchiness to affect us all. There are times my blemishes get so bad I just want to give up, but I’ve found sticking to a skincare routine can yield really amazing results. Like most good things in life, it takes sustained practice but I truly believe good skincare creates less problems and stress and may even enable you to wear less makeup (good skin definitely beats covering up bad skin).

Step 1 – Pick Your Poison…I Mean Products

The first thing you need to do is take a bit of a skin assessment. Do you have severely dry skin? Are wrinkles becoming a problem? Are you young but already worried about sun damage (good for you!)? Do you wake up with a My Big Fat Greek Wedding size pimple on your forehead often? All of these questions will help lead you to a skin analysis so you know what you should and shouldn’t use when starting your routine. At a minimum, you should have the products below in your arsenal when you begin your routine.

  1. Face Cleanser
  2. Face Moisturizer or Oil
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Anti-Wrinkle/Under-Eye Cream
  5. Face Mask
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Optional products include a toner, exfoliant, pimple cream/essential oil, additional face mask, and a separate night moisturizer. As I don’t pretend to be a skincare expert, I will mention some of the products I use throughout this post and really love but these may not be right for your skin. I personally have very oily and sensitive skin with cystic acne under my chin (thanks 30s!) so I’ve tailored my skin care routine to address those concerns. As a jump off and as I’ve mentioned before, I use Simple Moisturizing Face Wash. I’ve used this for a few years now and I always wander back to it when I decide to be adventurous. For under $10, this is probably one of the best facial cleansers I’ve ever used and it’s made for all skin types.

Step 2 – Fit Skincare Into Your Regular Routine

If you are already freaking out that you’ll NEVER have enough time to pamper your skin, breath, take a step back and look at your regular routine. At most, an entire skincare routine will take max of 20 minutes per day, and those are only for the days you are using a facial mask. Typically 10 minutes, split into morning and night, is all you need to make sure you are treating your skin well.

If you shower every morning, wash your face in the shower. I’ve gone as far as buying two facial cleansers, one to keep in my shower and one in my medicine cabinet so they are both easy to grab. Nothing sucks more than having to reach out of the shower once you are fully submerged. Pre-shower once or twice a week is also a great time to put on a face mask that needs 10 minutes or so to cure.  During this 10

Pre-shower once or twice a week is also a great time to put on a face mask that needs 10 minutes or so to cure. During this 10 minutes, you can make coffee, pack your lunch, or start a load of laundry, then jump in the shower to wash it off. In an ideal world, you’d be able to sit back and relax while your mask sets. Unicorns would also exist and pigs would fly, it would be great!

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Another tip is that if you change out of your work clothes as soon as you get home every night, keep a pack of makeup wipes in your sloth drawer (you know drawer where you keep the clothes you wear when you move really slow) and wipe off the makeup immediately. I love Say Yes! to Cucumbers wipes. They are super gentle, smell great, and even get waterproof mascara off easily. Unless you’re going out later, there is no need to keep your makeup on when you’re hanging around family or roommates. Then later when you wash your face, you won’t have to worry about that extra step.

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Also, most people brush their teeth every night so take 5 extra minutes to wash your face and put on your night moisturizer and anti-wrinkle cream. I use ROC Eye Cream which has retinol under my eyes and on some of the more wrinkle prone areas of my skin (between eyebrows, lines along cheeks, etc.). For a retinol cream, this seems to be effective and not too harsh. As a rule, I don’t wear retinol during the day because it’s sun sensitive and can create extra redness.


Step 3 – Use Products Even When You Don’t Think You Need Them

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There are times when a cloudy day has convinced me not to use my sunscreen only to by sunny later. It’s also possible to get out of a routine and forget to use a product altogether. While some facial moisturizers have SPF built right in, I rarely find they are over 30 SPF unless you spend some serious money. My favorite SPF which I put right over my face oil is Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen with 70 SPF. It’s super sheer and goes on with almost a matte finish.

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Other times you may have a face mask you use because your skin is really dry or you have blackheads.  When it comes time to use that mask you find your skin isn’t too bad, use the mask anyway! Masks not only cure and protect your skin but they also prevent issues from popping up. So if you don’t have any acne this week, still use that mask because you have no idea what’s lurking right under the surface. One of my new favorites is the SheaMoisture African Black Soap Mud Mask.  It has a slight tingle but it exfoliates my skin while leaving it extremely moisturized.


Step 4 – Treat Yourself!

Part of getting into a skincare routine is using products that seem like a treat. Think motorized face brushes, face steamers, or a more expensive foaming cleanser. My favorites are under-eye gel pads and a homemade sugar and coconut oil lip scrub. These little touches feel really luxurious, even if I don’t use them every day. I purchase the gel pads from TJ Maxx and co. because I find they all are effective, regardless of the brand.


Step 5 – Consult a Specialist

If you still feel like you can’t stick to a routine or if you still have problem areas, book an appointment with an esthetician. They can not only give you a facial but go over which skin products they think will work best for your skin. And don’t feel pressure to buy any of the products while there. You are already paying them for the facial so if you don’t really love a product, pass on it. Keep in mind the active ingredients in the products they suggest and look for them when you go shopping for skin products. It was through a facial appointment I was told to infuse the jojoba oil I use on my face with a few drops of tea tree oil to act as a serum for my cystic acne. (For those of you reading this with oily skin who think I’m insane for using oil on my face, just try it! You can get jojoba oil at any specialty food store or online and it’s been a life changer for me.)

With just a few steps, you can create a skincare routine that is easy to stick too and most beneficial for your skin type. While I appreciate beauty gurus, it is their job to spend 30-45 minutes prepping their skin. In the real world, these steps and a commitment of 10 minutes, twice a day can shape a daily skincare routine.


Interested in learning more about the beauty gurus I stalk?  Follow me on Twitter where I will retweet their advice hoping one day to bow down at their feet!