A beginner’s guide to skincare: the four basic steps to good skin

Photo from Project Vanity

Skincare can be a bit daunting with all this talk about the Korean 10-step routines, but the truth is no one ever starts with 10 steps. A good routine starts with only a handful of products and the most basic of steps until you work your way up to figuring out your skin’s individual needs. Only then do skin-specific steps like serums, ampoules, and acids come in.

It helps to figure out your skin type first. The four basic skin types that pertain to sebum production are normal, dry, oily, and combination.

It’s important to note that dry skin is usually associated with colder climates and oily/combination skin is usually associated with warmer, more humid climates like ours. You may want to adjust your routine according to the weather. Right now, the cooler rainy season means that dry skin types ought to take extra care in keeping their skin hydrated and oily skin types can more comfortably use heavier moisturizers. When starting out, it’s a good idea to choose products that adapt well to weather changes, like moisturizers that can be layered on during colder seasons or sunscreen that is easily reapplied for the summer months.

Step 1: Cleanser

A low pH cleanser is a great first step in forming your skincare routine. It’s in charge of washing off the dirt and excess oil at the start and end of the day. You’ll want a cleanser with a pH below 7 to maintain your skin’s naturally acidic pH. Bar soap just doesn’t cut it as they can be very drying with a pH of 9-10. This article is a great read for more information on pH levels and skincare.

But wait, do you need to tone after cleansing? No you don’t, if you used a pH-balanced cleanser! Toners were made to “tone” back down the pH level of skin to its normal acidity. If you washed your face with the correct cleanser, toners are just optional.

Find out what Steps 2 to 4 are, as well as top recommendations, on Project Vanity.


Editorial cartoon, August 19, 2017