Depending on who you ask, glowing, radiant skin is priceless. But when it comes to the wonderful world of skincare, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of products at your disposal. That said, if you’re new to skincare or otherwise want to simplify your routine, there are a few tried-and-true staples you’ll always want on hand.

If your goal is to know which types of products deserve prime real estate on your bathroom shelf, consider this your ultimate guide to skincare essentials.

4 Essential Steps for a Simplified Skincare Routine

Exfoliate

Sometimes overlooked yet essential nonetheless, exfoliating just might be the magical step that’s missing in your current skincare routine.

Simply put, the benefits of exfoliating are plenty. (And, if you ask me, they’re too good to pass up.) Among many things, exfoliating:

  • clears away dead skin cells
  • promotes skin cell turnover
  • smooths skin
  • evens tone
  • boosts radiance
  • helps reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines
  • allows other products to penetrate better and work more effectively

Luckily, there are different options to choose from when it comes to finding the best exfoliator for you.

First, there are physical exfoliators that manually polish your complexion. Remember to exfoliate gently with only light pressure.

If you prefer to go this route, make sure to choose an exfoliating scrub with perfectly round exfoliants—rather than jagged shells that can inflame the skin, or plastic microbeads that can threaten the environment—such as the ruby crystals in our Doctor’s Scrub. (Bonus: The Doctor’s Scrub also contains hydrating powerhouse hyaluronic acid and moisturizing jojoba oil.)

P.S.: Don’t forget that all your skin could use some love, too! Add on the Doctor’s Body Scrub for smooth, glowing skin from head to toe.

Second, there are chemical exfoliators that polish your skin with AHAs, BHAs, PHAs, and/or fruit enzymes. Personally, we love lactic acid for its gentle yet still potent properties. Luckily, lactic acid also happens to be one of the best exfoliators for sensitive skin. You can find it alongside citrus fruit enzymes in Fresh A Peel, which promotes a fresh, youthful glow—sans irritation. (Note: You’d use this type of exfoliating treatment only after cleansing.)

Cleanse

Cleansing is arguably the most important step in any skincare routine.

A good cleanser is your best bet to remove surface oils, dirt, and impurities from both daily and overnight buildup. After washing your face with a high-quality cleanser, you’ll have a clear, fresh canvas that’ll allow the next products to work their magic.

For a gentle, gel-based cleanser that’ll delight your skin and senses alike, Pure Start is your best bet. For those who are acne-prone, we also have the Detox Clarifying Facial Wash with a blend of exfoliating AHAs and antioxidants for a deeper clean.

Treat

This all-important step in your routine is all about you and will be specific to your unique skin concerns.

Such concerns may include:

  • blemishes
  • dryness
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • hyperpigmentation
  • an uneven, dull skin tone

Daily, semi-weekly, or weekly treatments are your best allies to supercharge progress to achieve your biggest skin goals.

As far as products go, skincare treatments often come in the form of a serum or oil. They’ll typically contain a concentrated amount of active ingredients to address your areas of concern.

When choosing the best specialized treatments for your skin, here’s a quick primer with a few star ingredients to look out for:

  • hyaluronic acid for dry or dehydrated skin
  • retinol for rejuvenation and anti-aging
  • alpha arbutin for natural lightening of dark spots
  • antioxidants (such as CoQ10 and vitamins C and E) for brightness and protection from free radicals

Apply your treatment after cleansing and allow it to absorb fully before moving on to the next step of your simplified skincare routine.

Hydrate & Moisturize

Last but not least, hydrating and moisturizing products will keep your skin fresh and promote a healthy skin barrier.

To clarify, hydrators (aka humectants) help from within to infuse your skin cells with water. Meanwhile, moisturizers (aka occlusives) lock in the moisture you’ve achieved thus far.

Both provide a necessary one-two punch to encourage a fresh, glowing complexion both throughout the day and into the night. After all, if you’ve made it this far into your skincare routine, your progress will be for naught if your skin gets parched or goes unprotected.

Some people may prefer nourishing their skin with an oil alone, like Fleuressence, which replenishes hydration and softens skin with omega fatty acids. Otherwise, a tried-and-true moisturizer, such as Vital Boost, can provide a brightening glow for all skin types.

To get even more granular, you can also use a moisturizer tailored to your skin concerns. Additionally, you may choose to use a richer formula, such as the Plant Profusion Night Cream, to boost moisture and radiance even further while you get your beauty sleep.

Final Thoughts

For those who are new to skincare or simply want to pare down their shelves to the essentials, these four pillars get the job done to inch you closer to your ideal of great skin. (And don’t forget, applying SPF daily is the ultimate insurance policy for skin protection.)

It’s also worth noting that when you revamp your skincare routine, you should integrate only one new product at a time for at least two weeks. A more ideal time frame would be a month, which will permit a full cycle for skin cells to turn over. Doing so will allow you to witness progress in the making, as well as understand which new products yield results.

Finally, once your skin starts to improve, you’ll probably start to wonder what other goodies you’ve been missing out on. (I’m talking mists, masks, eye creams, and the like.) As terrific as these other products are, start first with the basics and then feel free to work your way up.

Author Bio
Michele Ross is a beauty and lifestyle writer based in Los Angeles. She’s passionate about clean skincare and hiking in the California sunshine (with adequate SPF, of course).

Let’s face on any given day your skin is battling pollution, hormonal breakouts, stress, sweat, and clogged pores. With COVID-19 changing our lives on a daily, there’s a new type of acne that has been added to the list this year, called maskne –(mask acne). As we continue to wear our masks outdoors and indoors, there’s a high chance that the increased moisture-rich environment of bacteria could affect your skin. Meaning you’re most likely to deal with clogged pores now more than ever. It’s not just you, over 56K women on Instagram are using the hashtag #maskne to raise awareness around this skincare concern. Though it’s pretty impossible to banish clogged pores for life, it’s important to make sure they’re clean and free of debris that makes them less visible. Though those with oily skin are most prone to have an increase of clogged pores which lead to whiteheads, blackheads, and unwanted bumps — read ahead, as this applies to all skin types during this current climate. 

In order to achieve smooth and glowing skin, using ingredients with gentle detoxification elements is key. It’s important to note that, when you try to extract at home, it can cause hyperpigmentation, permanent scarring, and additional breakouts. Therefore, I urge you to step away from the mirror and refrain from squeezing away at your t-zone. This causes stress on the skin tremendously. For those with truly congested skin, investing in a deep pore cleansing product will be a major game changer as it reduces blemishes and pore visibility. Try Goldfaden MD Detox Clarifying Foam Wash, $35, to reach deep into pores and target stubborn dirt and oils. The magic in a bottle cleanser consists of two Alpha Hydroxy Acids, which are Latic and Glycolic. Both acids dissolve excess oil and dead skin which builds up insides your pores over time. This helps to achieve a smoother and clear complexion. The daily wash also has a blend of White Horehound, Acai Palm Extract, Date Palm, and Gotu Kola, the Detox Complex which will help aid against environmental stresses. This revolutionary combination of ingredients not only unclogs your pores but also, fights against pollution and texture. Using this cruelty-free product daily will result in slowly eliminating large pores, blackheads, and breakouts. 

Now let’s talk about exfoliation, you’ll have two main options such as a physical exfoliator or chemical exfoliator. Here’s the main difference between the two, a physical exfoliator is usually gritty and polishes away dead cells from the surface of your skin, while the chemical exfoliator usually consists of acids to breakdown debris and provide anti-aging benefits. This all depends on your skin type and sensitivity.   

For those interested in a physical exfoliator, I recommend Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub, $75, which provides hydration while removing dead surface skin revealing brighter, radiant, healthier-looking skin. According to a consumer study with 82 participants over the course of 28 days, ninety-five percent agreed that their skin feels smoother after use. Crafted with hyaluronic acid to deliver long-lasting hydration and ruby crystals to target unclean pores, this scrub is a must-have for all skin types. If you’re looking for a chemical exfoliation, try Goldfaden MD Fresh A Peel, $85, which polishes away dead skin cells while reducing the appearance of lines, pores, and imperfections. The plant-based actives within this peel will result in a more radiant and youthful appearance. Packed with lactic acid and multi-fruit enzymes, the powerful combination will have others asking if you just got a facial.

When it comes to clearing clogged pores consistency will help you achieve the glow of your dreams. Partner these skincare recommendations with a well-balanced healthy meal plan that’ll not only create a flawless canvas but also promote a fruitful lifestyle.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Ashley Jimenez is a multi-media journalist and Co-Founder of LatinaWatch. She oversees LatinaWatch.com and all of the website’s editorial and video content and strategy, as well as social media channels. As the former Beauty Director of HOLA! USA, the Puerto Rican-Dominican reporter, is an expert in identifying trends, highlighting multicultural content, and exploring thoughtful conversations within the influential Latina beauty segment. Her past roles include Senior Beauty Editor at Latina Magazine, where she created beauty, wellness, and lifestyle content specifically for women of color. She explored intersections of vision, Afro-Latina identity within the hair industry, socially conscious skin care, mental health topics. Ashley’s dedication to storytelling has created groundbreaking content that speaks to the duality women face as they navigate the world while honoring traditions and crafting new age customs.

By Kaitlyn McLintock

There are people who use oils and moisturizers interchangeably. If parched skin presents itself, they reach for whichever product is closest to them, either distributing a few drops of a silky oil around the skin or dispensing a dollop of creamy moisturizer. Any moisturizing product is better than none, so by that logic, oils, and moisturizers are kind of the same thing, right? The answer is not quite. Let us explain.

While it’s true that both oils and moisturizers alleviate the look and feel of dehydrated skin, they do so differently, and in order to use these products most effectively, you need to know how and why they work the way that they do. Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, we need to add 2 new words to our skincare vocabulary—humectant and occlusive.

Let’s start with the word humectant first. A humectant is anything that pulls water into the skin, either from the air or a topical product (popular humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera). These ingredients literally increase the amount of water that’s present in our skin cells, thus hydrating our skin. An occlusive, on the other hand, is something that forms a barrier on the skin, preventing the water that’s already in our skin from leaving it.

So, how does that apply to the oil vs. moisturizer debate? Well, to put it simply, oils are occlusives, and moisturizers are humectants. In other words, oils trap water in the skin, preventing trans-epidermal water loss (which is otherwise known as TEWL), but they don’t pull any added water in. Moisturizers, on the other hand, are often formulated with humectants such as glycerin or aloe vera as the primary ingredient, meaning they have the ability to draw new water into our skin cells.

Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a hard and fast rule, because there are many products on the market that include both humectants and occlusives as ingredients. Take Goldfaden’s Vital Boost Moisturizer, for instance. This antioxidant-rich moisturizer is formulated with a combination of glycerin and hyaluronic acid (humectants), and jojoba and grapefruit oil (occlusives). This fusion of ingredients hydrates the skin instantly and keeps that hydration there long-term.

Because oils and moisturizers work differently, one isn’t necessarily better, or more effective, than the other. In fact, many people use moisturizers and oils in tandem (this is our favorite tip, especially for those of us who live in cold climates or are prone to dry skin). After cleansing, toning, and treating the skin, apply a moisturizer. After the moisturizer is applied, follow up with an oil. Why the back-to-back application, you ask? It’s simple. The oil will seal in the moisturizer, keeping the skin hydrated for longer and warding off the dreaded tenants of dry skin such as redness, flakiness, and itchiness. (We like using the Fleuressence Native Botanical Cell Oil, which is formulated with a mix of omega fatty acid-rich oils—including baobab, Kalahari, rosehip, and jojoba oils).

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Kaitlyn McLintock is a beauty and wellness writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in such publications as Popsugar, Byrdie, Hello Giggles, Who What Wear, and more. When she’s not writing, researching, and editing, or testing out the latest skincare and makeup products, she’s drinking coffee and spritzing Goldfaden’s Mist RX all over her skin.