Published on:
December 14, 2018

The Perfect Simple Skin Care Routine

Are you overwhelmed with all the skincare advice out there? With so many products and tips floating around, it’s easy to get confused about what your skin actually needs. Do you need 18 different products to keep your skin healthy? Do you need to drop half your monthly paycheck to get quality products? How you can take excellent care of your skin without spending all your time and money on elaborate routines? Good news! Skin care doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive. Your skin is an amazing organ that does a lot of the work on its own.

The First Step to Your Perfect Skin Care Routine

The key is to understand WHY you’re using each product or performing each step in your routine. It’s not enough to just buy a bunch of products and use them because someone told you to. If you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, you can decide what’s right for your skin. I’m going to explain each step in the perfect skin care routine so you know exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. That way, you can decide how much you need to emphasize that particular step.

The Basics

What are the elements of a basic yet awesome skin care routine?

Your most basic bare-bones skin care routine should look like this:

AM: Cleanse, tone, moisturize, apply sunscreen

PM: Cleanse, tone, moisturize

A few times a week: Exfoliate. Maybe do a steam facial. Working on special concerns? Targeted serum before moisturizing is key.

Pretty simple, right? Our goal here is to keep the skin clean and moisturized and minimize sun damage, which can age you faster than anything else.

Let’s walk through those steps:

Cleansing - The first step to any skin care routine is to clean your face. You want to remove dirt, makeup, and excess bacteria to keep your skin healthy and blemish free. Pretty obvious, right? The trick is that we want to clean your face without over-exfoliating or drying out your skin. If you don’t wear makeup on your skin, you might be able to get away with just using a targeted toner on a cotton ball as a cleanser. However, the process of using warm water to cleanse the pores can help soften the pores and add radiance to the skin. If you have very oily skin or if you wear foundation or powder, use a gentle cleanser morning and night. You want to make sure that your skin is clean before you apply makeup and that you’re getting it all off at night. My favorite cleanser for our more dry or sensitive clients is our Green Tea Goddess cleanser. It’s completely natural and contains vitamins and antioxidants that not only cleanse your skin, but strengthen it as well. It packs a punch for a single product!

The Perfect Simple Skin Care Routine - The Portland Girl

Toner - If there’s one product that you could stand to use more, it’s probably toner. Most people have no idea what toner actually does! Basically, toner balances your skin’s PH level. What does that mean? Fewer breakouts, wrinkles, and dryness. Well balanced skin = clear, smooth, and soft skin. Not convinced yet? Check out our post on toner.

Toner works best when used after cleansing and before moisturizing. My favorite toner hands down is our Valencia My Love toner. It’s completely alcohol free and will balance your skin without drying it. It’s great for all skin types, but especially awesome for dry or mature skin.

Should you be using a facial toner? - The Portland Girl

Moisturizing - Moisturizing is KEY, even if you have oily skin. I can’t emphasize this step enough! When your skin is moisturized, it doesn’t need to produce excess levels of sebum (oil) to stay soft and supple. After cleansing in the morning and evening, use a gentle, water-based moisturizer to keep your oil levels balanced, slow the effects of aging, and soften your skin. Our best seller for moisturizer is our Hella Hydration cream. It keeps your skin smooth and elastic with evening primrose oil.

The Perfect Simple Skin Care Routine - The Portland Girl

Exfoliating - This doesn’t have to be complicated or abrasive. You can get plenty of exfoliation when you wash your face by using a soft washcloth or choosing a cleanser with a gentle exfoliant. If you go for an exfoliating cleanser, avoid anything with plastic beads! Go for plant-based beads instead. My favorite physical exfoliant is our Brightening Beads scrub with jojoba beads. No plastic here! It not only exfoliates, but brightens the skin too!

The Perfect Simple Skin Care Routine - The Portland Girl

Don’t exfoliant more than three times per week, or even less if you have very dry or sensitive skin. Sun protection - I don’t have to tell you this right? This is one of those things that we all know about, but we often neglect. Sunscreen is non-negotiable. Nothing ages your skin faster than sun damage, so make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen daily! Moisturizer with SPF 15 is a great start (especially if you’re likely to forget to apply real sunscreen), but I highly suggest using a mineral sunscreen on your face daily (and anywhere else that gets sun exposure).

You can also wear a cute hat that shades your face, avoid the sun during peak times (10am - 2pm), and wear polarized sunglasses so you aren’t squinting all day. (Hello crow’s feet!) Our favorite sunscreen is Suntegrity SPF. It’s organic, chemical free, and coral safe. Perfect for a tropical vacation or just a regular day!

Read our post on sunscreen. Bonus tip: One of my favorite affordable skin care tricks is a weekly steam facial. After cleansing your skin, place a small towel on your coffee table and then place a big metal bowl on top. If you want to get extra fancy, put a few drops of essential oil and dried herbs (such as rose petals, lavender, or spruce) in the bowl. Heat up a tea kettle of water. Gently pour the water into the bowl, but don’t touch the bowl. If it’s metal then it will be HOT! Place a larger towel over your head and hover over the bowl, fully enclosing yourself in the sweet scents and heat to soften your pores. Finish with toner and moisture cream.

The Perfect Simple Skin Care Routine - The Portland Girl

Step it up

Once you have the hang of the basics, you might want to step up your skin care routine for maximum health and beauty benefits! Eye cream - Even if you’re only in your mid to late twenties, it’s not a bad idea to use eye cream. (If you’re in your teens or very early twenties, you’re probably fine.) The skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate, and it’s not uncommon for premature wrinkles to form long before most people start even thinking about wrinkles. I’ve seen premature wrinkles on women as young as 30!

I know what you’re thinking. Can’t I just use moisturizer in my eye area? My answer: Moisturizer is better than nothing, but I highly recommend a high-quality eye cream to use at night. Eye cream doesn't just provide heavy-duty moisture, it contains cell-regenerating ingredients that work against the aging process, so it pulls double duty!

Learn more about eye cream in this post. My favorite eye cream is, of course, our Whipped Coffee eye cream. Not only does it seriously moisturize your eye area, it also brightens dark circles, tightens the skin (buh-bye wrinkles!) and stimulates cell regeneration. It also smells delicious!

The Perfect Simple Skin Care Routine - The Portland Girl

Masks and acid/enzyme exfoliants - I love this step, because who doesn’t like to relax with an exfoliating face mask and a magazine? Exfoliating gets rids of dead skin cells and other particulates that sit on the surface of your skin and get down into your pores. A lot of people overdo it on the scrubs though, which can irritate the skin, cause redness, and even blemishes! Exfoliation comes in a few different flavors: Physical or abrasive exfoliants and chemical exfoliants. Abrasive exfoliants are probably what you think of first. They use abrasive surfaces or ingredients (think washcloths and cleansers with microbeads) to physically slough off dead skin cells. These can be beneficial, but make sure to only use them 3 times per week or less if you’re sensitive or have dry skin. Never over scrub your skin! Chemical exfoliants dissolve the glue that hold dead skin cells to your skin so you can slough them off. You can buy at home chemical exfoliants or get professional facials (in case you didn’t know what a professional facial actually is!). You can do these less often, a basic at home about once per week or a professional facial once a month. If you’re ready to try out an enzyme exfoliant, get a load of our Plumpin Pumpkin Glycolic Face Mask. It feels tingly-good and is great for brightening, anti-aging, and clearing. You’ll love how your face feels afterwards.

The Portland Girl Guide to Pre-Wedding Skin Care - The Portland Girl

If you’re ready to get out the big guns and splurge for a professional facial, check out our menu of services to get glowing! Skin care doesn’t have to be crazy-complicated. Start with the basics and work your way up when you’re ready!

Contact us

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