How to build a skincare routine

I’m guessing that since you’re here you’re convinced to some degree a skincare routine is important.

Maybe you’re second guessing you have what it takes to stick to a daily routine??

Or you're simply overwhelmed, and questioning why even do it?

You may be in the “just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it" mindset. I get it- I created THE Free Instant Skincare Routine for exactly this reason. 

Wherever you are in your skincare journey let’s get back to the basics. 

Start with this mindset: skincare is about self care and self love. It’s like giving your skin a hug... and a workout.

The goal is to keep it healthy. This means keeping your skin in a constant state of exfoliation  and moisturiszation, and it will repay you with a healthy, glowing radiance.

Your skincare routine is your time in the morning and evening to take deep breaths and put yourself first. It’s not another task on your to-do list. If it feels that way, then it’s time to adjust. There are plenty of options! 

Here’s how skincare can be easy:

Do as many or as few as you prefer, but start and continue in this order. 

Most of us are familiar with cleansers and moisturizers. So I’m going to assume you have one that you like, although there is much to say about both.

Moisturizer is like the parent that keeps everything going- the unsung hero of skincare routines everywhere.
Our skin can handle A LOT as long as we continue to replenish it.

Step 1: WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY MORNING if you do any skincare at all.

Do we even need to talk about why sunscreen?? It’s your number one anti-aging treatment and prevention. It’s your best skincare resource for cosmetic reasons (looking at you brown spots) and for skin cancer prevention.

In short, just do it. Worried about sunscreen safety? I love this topic and want and need you to understand it. 

Choosing a non-tinted versus tinted sunscreen depends on personal preference, but consider that tinted sunscreen is more protective since the iron oxide in it protects from blue light. Choose tinted if discoloration or melasma is one of your primary concerns!

My personal favorite is Alastin Hydratint, which comes in a tinted option only. Tinted sunscreen can replace makeup. The goal, at least, is to wear less makeup and more tinted sunscreen. Many times these can even be mixed together before applying.

Choose a sunscreen:

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$0.00
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

$43.00
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36

Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36

$64.00

As we age our skin will look more blah. It's science.

  • As females, our estrogen decreases which means skin gets drier as the years go by.
  • It also takes longer for dead skin cells to slough off, so we literally are walking around with dead skin cells for up to 1 month unless we step it up. See how in step 2 below!

Step 2: add a retinoid at night as your PM treatment step.

Retinoids help with EVERYTHING: acne/oil, discoloration, fine lines, dull complexion. It works by increasing the rate of cell turnover by bringing new cells to the surface and sloughing off dead ones. They're like lifting weights for your skin. THIS IS WHERE you'll see the quickest transformation in skin texture.

Retinoids are for ALL ages, genders, and concerns. Note that they should only be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

I want you to know:
Most skin types benefit from using a thicker moisturizer at night, especially when starting a retinoid. Retinoid success is only as good as your know- how.

Choose a retinol or retinaldehyde:

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Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream
Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream
Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream
Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream

Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream

$74.00

Step 3: Add antioxidants like Vitamin C Serum as your AM treatment step for age 25+

Vitamin C serums are a must for preventing and reversing brown discoloration from the sun.

If brown discoloration is your main concern, go for the more expensive medical-grade option. Obagi and SkinCeuticals, which are are both two great options that are highly researched with 30 plus years of data.

Most people can start at 15% ascorbic acid then move up to 20% when it's time to repurchase in 6 months. If you have sensitive skin, 10% is typically better. If you have redness and rosacea, skip ascrobic acid and use a derivative like THD ascorbate instead. The Instant Skincare Routine will give you my best recommendations depending on your skin type. 

I want you to know:
If you're serious about anti-aging skincare (synonymous with anti-sun), the first step to spend money on is a medical grade Vitamin C Serum.

Choose a Vitamin C serum:

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Obagi Professional-C Serum 15%
Obagi Professional-C Serum 15%
Obagi Professional-C Serum 15%

Obagi Professional-C Serum 15%

$110.00
Epionce Intense Defense Serum
Epionce Intense Defense Serum

Epionce Intense Defense Serum

$150.00

Step 4: Add exfoliation in the form of a toner. 

Chemical exfoliators prevent AND treat breakouts + discoloration + improve texture! Textured toning pads offer the extra benefit of physical exfoliation.

You can add exfoliation in many forms. Read the entire scoop on exfoliation here. 

Start with a Daily Toning Pad with 5% glycolic acid + 2% salicylic acid once daily or every other day depending on your skin type. 

I want you to know:
Toners aren’t necessary so make sure they have these exfoliative ingredients to improve the skin. It’s better to skip the toner step than to over-dry the skin with astringents that contain mainly alcohol and witch hazel.

Choose a Toner/Exfoliator:

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$0.00
SBS Daily Toning Pads
SBS Daily Toning Pads
SBS Daily Toning Pads
SBS Daily Toning Pads

SBS Daily Toning Pads

$55.00
SBS Weekly Brightening Peel Pads
SBS Weekly Brightening Peel Pads
SBS Weekly Brightening Peel Pads
SBS Weekly Brightening Peel Pads

SBS Weekly Brightening Peel Pads

$68.00

There are also products to incorporate exfoliation a few times weekly like Weekly Brightening Peel Pads. They add supportive ingredients into your routine like lactic acid, mandelic acid, licorice root, and bearberry (arbutin) to help brighten + reverse discoloration!

Are you wondering how to piece all of this information together?

Read my guides and build a personalized routine with all the information provided there.

I also dreamed up and created another way for you THE Instant Skincare Routine

Have a complete, personalized skincare routine delivered to your inbox after telling us about your skin.

Take the Quiz

Step 5: In-Office Treatments

Your daily skincare routine is the foundation of your long term skin health.

There are additional treatments to target specific issues- breakouts, sun damage, discoloration, fine lines, etc. For prevention and correction I would prioritize in-office treatments first, then add these other anti-aging products if you have the bandwidth and willpower to do them.