Are you need of some skincare routine inspiration? If you're feeling lost or overwhelmed at the possibilities that lay before you when you open your skincare cabinet - this guide is for you!
Below are some simple yet effective skincare routines to target specific concerns and skin types. These examples will guide you in identifying the products and ingredients that can do the most for your skin and will help you to streamline your daily routines (and drown out all of that background marketing noise we are bombarded with!) Of course, you can swap out or add in any steps according to your preferences. Also, feel free to substitute one product for another that your skin is currently loving! Please remember, sunscreen is essential as the last step in every morning skincare routine :)
This evening routine targets signs of ageing: loss of elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles and uneven skin texture.
Step 1: Beginning with an oil-based balm cleanser helps to melt away layers of sebum, sunscreen, makeup etc. Ausceuticals ‘Honey Butter’ is a nourishing option that emulsifies beautifully to gently take it all off.
Step 2: Complete your double cleanse in the evening with a gentle water-based cleanser. ‘Jelly Joker’ from Geek & Gorgeous is pH balanced (pH 5.5) to respect your skin’s barrier and doesn’t strip or dry the skin. The texture is gorgeous and the price is even better!
Step 3: A potent peptide serum is always a good idea: Timeless Skin Care ‘Matrixyl Synthe'6 Serum’ treats tired, damaged skin with a 2% polypeptide complex that targets pronounced wrinkles and expression lines. It also contains skin loving humectants aloe, glycerin and hyaluronic acid!
Step 4: The heavy-lifter in your anti-ageing PM routine? Um.. a retinoid serum of course! ‘A-Game 10’ from Geek & Gorgeous is a high-strength retinal formula (the big brother of more commonly found retinol). Retinal helps the skin cells to produce more collagen and other structural elements, making the skin more youthful, firm and elastic. It also speeds up the renewal process of the upper skin layers making it smoother and more even. This is an essential in your well-ageing game but if you’re a beginner, start with A-Game 5 first!
Step 5: Nourish and protect your skin with a well-balanced moisturiser. The ‘Peptide Moisturiser’ from Ausceuticals contains peptides as well as humectants and lipids to deliver daily hydration and protect against trans-epidermal water loss. You can never have too many peptides!
Adjust your routine: For the AM, drop the cleansing balm and the retinal serum - these are best suited for PM use. You could also add in an antioxidant serum for extra protection under your SPF! If you feel you need an exfoliating product, alternate this with your retinoid in the evenings.
This routine targets breakouts, blackheads, congestion and enlarged pores. Of course, if your acne is persistent then it's a great idea to seek a medical professional as prescription medication may be required.
Step 1: A lightweight, oil-based cleanser can break down sebum, sweat and sunscreen in a way that a water-based cleanser just can’t. Like attracts like, so if your skin is producing a bit too much oil, never be afraid of a cleansing oil! Klairs ‘Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil’ leaves your skin refreshed without a greasy residue.
Step 2: Complete your double cleanse in the evenings with a low pH water based cleanser. COSRX ‘Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser’ is a gentle, non-irritating, lightly foaming face wash. This mildly acidic cleanser respects your skin's barrier and helps start off your routine the right way.
Step 3: It’s so important to provide congestion and breakout-pone skin with adequate hydration. The ‘Mugwort Essence’ by I’m From has soothing, healing and nourishing properties as well as protecting skin from damage caused by free-radicals. Mugwort has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal ability, making it perfect for this skin concern.
Step 4: This routine just wouldn’t be complete without the hero ingredient: salicylic acid. Enter ‘Porefectly Clear’ by Geek & Gorgeous. This 2% salicylic treatment is an exfoliating superstar that can unclog pores and balance blackhead-prone, oily skin by working inside the pore to clear out acne-causing dead skin cells and sebum.
Step 5: Finish things off with a gel-cream moisturiser to provide your skin with the daily essentials for barrier support and optimal hydration. Klairs ‘Fundamental Water Gel Cream’ contains Green Tea Water, Centella Asiatica, Rice Extract and Panthenol to give moisture, deep hydration and antioxidant protection with a light and refreshing finish.
Adjust your routine: For the AM, there’s no need to double cleanse so stick with a water based cleanser only. Salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient, so we recommend using this 1-3 x weekly in the evenings. For other times, substitute a Niacinamide serum for extra pore-support!
This routine is perfect for AM and PM to help rehydrate, re-balance and prevent further trans-epidermal water loss from your skin.
Step 1: A lightweight cleansing oil will help melt down and remove the day’s sebum, makeup and sunscreen whilst protecting and nourishing the skin. Klairs ‘Gentle Black Fresh Cleansing Oil’ leaves your skin refreshed without a greasy residue.
Step 2: Follow up your oil cleanse with a gentle yet effective water based cleanser: ‘Jelly Joker’ from Geek & Gorgeous is pH balanced (around 5.5) to respect your skin’s barrier and doesn’t strip or dry the skin. The texture is a satisfying non-foaming gel.
Step 3: This is a step you can’t afford to skip! The Klairs ‘Daily Skin Hydrating Water’ is a refreshing toner that provides a splash of hydration for thirsty skin and sits beautifully under other products. It contains calming, antioxidant ingredients and has no viscosity, allowing the easy penetration of other active ingredients. Feel free to apply multiple layers...
Step 4: Treat dehydration from the source: Ausceuticals ‘Rehydrate Serum’ is an intensive moisture complex designed to provide hydration and fortify the skin’s barrier by supporting its natural self-repair mechanisms. This serum is perfectly designed to mimic the skin's own balance of cholesterol, fatty acids and ceramides - these are essential for long term skin health and strong barrier function!
Step 5: Now that you’ve put in the work to re-hydrate, make sure that water is locked in for supple, smooth skin! Klairs ‘Rich Moist Soothing Cream’ is a comforting deep replenishing moisturiser that contains a rich blend of hydrating ingredients. It’ll help prevent trans-epidermal water loss through a careful balance of humectants, emollients and occlusive ingredients.
Adjust your routine: In the AM, skip the cleansing oil and stick with the water-based cleanser, or skip cleanser all together if your skin doesn't need it. If you have multiple skin concerns, you can borrow from the other routines in this guide. E.g. if you also want to target fine lines, add in a retinoid serum in the evenings.
This AM routine provides the skin with antioxidant protection and brightening ingredients to keep your skin calm and even-toned.
Step 1: A gentle, low pH cleanser will help prep your skin for ultimate Vitamin C absorption in the mornings. The Klairs ‘Gentle Black Facial Cleanser’ is fragrance free and non-drying to help skin tolerate the active ingredients needed to target hyperpigmentation.
Step 2: Here comes your pigmentation-fighting hero; ascorbic acid (aka active Vitamin C). Geek & Gorgeous has nailed this 15% Vitamin C formula! ‘C-Glow’ is easy to use, absorbs completely and layers beautifully under the rest of your products. The price is also very agreeable!
Step 3: It’s important your hydration step comes after your ascorbic acid serum for pH and absorption reasons. The Klairs ‘Fundamental Ampule Mist’ is a green tea based mist that provides nutrients to the skin and locks in moisture for long-lasting hydration. It’s packed with antioxidants to support the Vitamin C and boost its efficacy within the skin.
Step 4: When it comes to reducing hyperpigmentation, a multi-faceted approach works best. Adding in a supportive skin-brightening ingredient like tranexamic acid will help the vitamin C do the heavy lifting when it comes to evening out your complexion. The ‘Rice Serum’ by I’m From contains rice extract and tranexamic acid to fade discolouration, alongside madecassoside for calming and reducing redness. It’s a genius combination!
Step 5: Seal in moisture, protect and calm with a well-formulated moisturiser. I’m From ‘Rice Cream’ is rich in ceramides and antioxidants and provides the perfect balance of hydrating and emollient ingredients to lock in moisture all day or night. It helps your skin tolerate the active ingredients in your routine by supporting the skin’s precious barrier function.
Adjust your routine: In your PM routine, substitute the Vitamin C serum for a radiance-boosting alpha hydroxy acid formula to remove those dull skin cells!
This fragrance-free AM/PM routine will help manage sensitivity and reduce redness as well as signs of irritation.
Step 1: This gentle water-based cleanser is a dream for sensitive skin! ‘Jelly Joker’ from Geek & Gorgeous is pH balanced (around 5.5) to respect your skin’s barrier and doesn’t strip or dry the skin. The texture is gorgeous and the price is even better! Can be used once or twice if a double cleanse is needed.
Step 2: You’ll need some hydration and calming ingredients next. Enter Timeless ‘HA Matrixyl 3000 with Cucumber Spray.’ Lightweight and super hydrating, this mist is more than just water and hyaluronic acid. Peptides and soothing cucumber extract make this a cooling and plumping drink for your skin!
Step 3: Your serum needs to contain the workhorse ingredients within your routine and for sensitivity and/or redness, we’re talking about madecassoside and beta-glucan. Geek & Gorgeous ‘Stress Less’ is a light & silky gel formula with high amounts of both these ingredients to soothe and repair the skin. You’ll love using this clever formula alongside actives like retinoids or acids (if using) to help increase tolerance and repair.
Step 4: When everything else is not agreeing with your skin, you need squalane! This ingredient mimics the skin's natural sebum (oil) and is a great moisturising ingredient for even the most sensitive or acne prone skin. It's technically not an oil but a hydrocarbon - making it fungal acne friendly too. Find it in The Ordinary's 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.
Step 5: Your moisturiser needs to be working with you, not against you! Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream cream contains ceramides, ferments and peptides to calm and soothe sensitivity. Its star ingredients are 1) Guaiazulene, a natural component extracted from chamomile for ultimate skin serenity and 2) Centella Asiatica Extract with proven wound healing, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
I hope these guides have been helpful and have inspired you to put together thoughtful and targeted routines to help you towards your skin goals!
Words by Julia Pratt
Julia is a self-confessed skincare nerd and co-founder of The Formula. She has been obsessed with skincare for many years and researches and talks about skincare almost every hour of every day. After many years working for some of the world’s top skincare brands, she is focusing on sharing her experience and knowledge learned from her countless hours of research and experimenting with every product she can get her hands on.