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
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.)
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.)
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.
This all-important step in your routine is all about you and will be specific to your unique skin concerns.
Such concerns may include:
- fine lines and wrinkles
- 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.
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.
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).