The Dos And Don'ts Of Building A Skincare Routine

Daily Routines

Every year thousands of people make the same new year’s resolution: “I shall get my skincare routine together.” If you’re looking to build or even improve your skincare regimen, there are some essential things you need to consider. From reading the inkey list (and actually understanding what it means) to learning how to mix active ingredients and avoid purging; familiarizing yourself with these skincare rules will make or break your new routine. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the most important dos and don’ts of building an impeccable skincare routine. Get ready for that 2021 glow up.

DO Consider Your Skin Type

The most fundamental piece of knowledge you can have in your toolbox when creating a bomb skincare routine is knowing your skin type. If you’re unaware of your skin type and use the wrong products, it can compromise your skin’s natural balance and result in breakouts, irritation, inflammation, and even premature aging. It may sound simple but it’s one of the most common mistakes people make.

Plot twist! Your skin type changes over time, especially during hormonal changes, and it can even fluctuate with the seasons. For instance, if you have oily skin as a teenager, post-puberty it could be dry or combination. Similarly, it’s very common to have dry skin in the winter and oilier skin in the summer.

DO Your Research

There are literally thousands of skincare products out there and while some of them pack a major punch, there are A LOT of average, or worse, harmful skincare products out there. This is why doing your research is SO important, whether you’re looking for a new cleanser, toner, moisturizer, serum… You get the idea. Not only should you look to the experts for recommendations but you also need to read reviews online. Check out the rating on Ulta or Sephora or do a quick search for before and after shots.

You can also use a site that checks product ingredients to scope out what’s actually inside your products. Skincarisma lets you search hundreds of brands and thousands of products, and gives details on the ingredients, what they do for your skin, and what skin type they’re best suited to.

DO Consider Your Budget

Building or adding to your skincare routine can be expensive, so before you even start researching, consider your budget. There are some great formulas in the drugstore aisle that derms and celebs rely on for healthy, glowing skin. It’s also worth knowing which types of formulas you should invest more in, like serums and facial oils. A simple drugstore cleanser, toner and moisturizer can be a good way to save money if you want to spend a little more on a serum that can make a real difference to your skin. Check out our fave drugstore cleansers, toners, and moisturizers here. We also love these serums under $40!

DON’T Forget SPF

We’ve said it before (so has every derm we’ve ever spoken to) and we’ll say it again, wearing sunscreen every day is essential. A lot of the skin concerns you will experience later on in life could probably have been avoided by wearing a high-quality SPF when you were younger – we’re talking fine lines, dark spots, pigmentation and more. So, do yourself a favor and get a good SPF 30 (minimum) and wear it every day. Check out some of our fave sunscreens here.

DO Be Careful Mixing Actives

Skincare is science, so when you’re layering different formulas and active ingredients, you need to be careful. If you’re thinking active-what? Active ingredients are the ingredients in your products that get results such as brightening vitamin C and retinol, and exfoliating heroes AHAs and BHAs. However, if you use too many powerful ingredients at one time, you can overwhelm your skin, which can lead to irritation, redness, and sensitivity. To learn how to cocktail actives ingredients, check out our guide to mixing active ingredients here.

Don’t Forget to Layer in the Correct Order

Applying your products in the correct order is another MUST. If you don’t, you can prevent some formulas from being properly absorbed, which is not only a waste of product but of your money too! The general rule is to apply the most lightweight formulas first so they can be easily absorbed without the barrier of heavier creams. After each skincare layer, give your skin time to absorb the product, this will also help to prevent your products from pilling when you’re layering – those tiny little balls you get when you’ve used too much product.

DO Always Start With a Good Cleanse

Cleansing is the first and one of the most important steps of your skincare routine. You need to start with a clean blank canvas to fully reap the rewards of your following steps. And for the record, makeup remover wipes just won’t cut it.

Our general rule of thumb is: always start the morning by using a gentle cleanser, then follow with your skincare routine and SPF. At the end of the day, always double cleanse, even if you only wore SPF and/or light makeup. Double cleanse means melting away makeup first with an oil-based cleanser, and then following with a water-based cleanser that suits your skin type. Check out our guide to cleansing and finding the best one for your skin type here.

DON’T Use Everything All at Once

Okay, so you’ve got all your products and you’re ready to get cracking on your new skincare routine. Well, before you do, take a step back and look at what you have. If you’ve built up quite an extensive collection, come up with a weekly plan so you can plan which days you will use what products. For example, on the day you exfoliate, you would probably not want to follow with a strong glycolic acid toner, so this is a day you can either skip your toner, or use a more hydrating option. Similarly, if you’ve used retinol the night before then you may want to consider using gentle and extra hydrating products the next morning – and you definitely wouldn’t want to skip the SPF!

DON’T Forget to DIY

Building a skincare regimen from scratch can be expensive, however, it doesn’t have to be. Aside from shopping in the drugstore aisle, another great way to save money and still get good results is by DIYing it! Some of our fave weekly masks, daily toners, and hair treatments are all handmade at home using natural ingredients found in our kitchen. Check out our go-to DIYs here.

For more helpful skincare tips, check out what derms want you to know.