New to skincare, here's a beginner starter routine suggestion

Published on June 30, 2020

By Terry

Establishing a presence in the dupe hunters market has meant that generally speaking, we have our finger on the pulse of the movements and happenings in the skincare market. After all, we do try to enter every new product that comes out into our database, plus we get many product submissions everyday from users who tip us. But the goal of our Skincare Compare tool has always been to provide a 100% objective way to find comparable products. Marketers or brands can never influence the algorithmic comparison results even if, in the future, they might buy a display ad from us. So we don’t normally recommend products to people, except for vouching for their dupe-worthy status.

But we often meet people who have just started on the skincare journey and they just need a place to start. They want someone to tell them what to buy so they can just get started and start trying things and swapping them out as they go. Decision paralysis due to overwhelming choice is a pretty common problem and we totally get it.

So as objective observers, we hear a lot of chatter, follow a lot of discussions and we have some idea of the popular products in the market that we’d try if we wanted to overhaul our routine. I recently had a friend ask me for such a list: “just tell me what to buy”. He was getting started in the acting business and needed to start taking care of his skin like yesterday. So I gave it some thought and suggested his first routine. It’s a mix of high/low brands (probably the best way to go these days) and generally well received in the market from our research. In terms of target issues - it’s not specifically targeted to any one but rather just general skin glow.

Thought maybe people new to skincare or just starting to get interested in skincare would appreciate just such a “please just tell me what to buy” list. So here is the basic starter skincare for no specific issues suggested routine:

Step 1 - Cleanse: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser (skincare enthusiasts seem to love this cleanser and it’s inexpensive!)

-some more dedicated skincare people will “double” cleanse – so first cleanse with an oil based cleanser to better remove spf, dirt, makeup etc. and then you cleanse with a water based cleanser which can then cleanse more deeply after removing all the surface dirt

-so if you want to do a double cleanse then I would recommend getting the DHC cleansing oil (you can buy it at dermstore online) to use as a first cleanse. This is an effective and affordable cleansing oil and if you like incorporating this step, you can upgrade the oil based cleanser later.

After cleansing the general rule to keep in mind is applying products in order of thinnest to thickest

Step 2 - Exfoliate: Once a week I would start out using an exfoliating toner. Ingredients like AHA and BHA acids will help to exfoliate dead skin cells away and reveal some more glow. You can gradually go to 2 or 3 times a week once your skin is used to it. This one is supposed to be good: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. (you can get this on Dermstore online)

Step 3 - Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a skincare powerhouse, a powerful antioxidant that boosts radiance and helps fade sun damage. I think you should try this one that is rated highly and super cheap - The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% (get it from their website or they have stand alone stores)

Step 4 - Moisturizer: Peter Thomas Roth - Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer (You can buy at Dermstore onilne) or maybe Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. Start with these kind of textures and then you can always try different textures once you form an opinion.

For nighttime, I would suggest starting with Kiehl’s midnight recovery concentrate – it’s facial oil-esque and this is super popular holy grail product of skincare enthusiasts. According to directions you just cleanse and then put this on. I would also put the vitamin C before as well in the nighttime. It’s may or may not be necessary to do the cloud cream as well at night. Depends on how dry your skin feels I think. (kiehl’s is available lots of places online or offline, just google)

Eye cream: there are some people who don’t think you need an eye cream, like you can just use your moisturizer around the eye area also – but I like using a separate thing – so I’m suggesting something pretty budget it’s nice to try out if you even like using a separate eye cream - Yes To - Blueberries Age Refresh Eye Firming Treatment (Walmart or drug store)

Step 5 - SPF: I would recommend a separate spf that you put on after moisturizer because I don’t think you put moisturizer on enough like an SPF if you know what I mean. You need a separate one. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (you can buy at Dermstore online) or the dupe from DRMTLGY.

Occasional: Mask maybe weekly: We found a very high dupe (93%) of a super popular $60 mask called Glam Glow – The dupe is from Sally Beauty .

For occasional pimples – Try zitsticka (just google)

There you have it. To get some more skincare product suggestions or advance to a more complicated routine with more actives or to target specific concerns, you can always join our private Facebook group for enthusiasts who always have great recommendations.

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Co-Founder of SKINSKOOL, the world’s first & only IP-protected, tech-driven beauty marketplace dedicated to empowering consumer discovery, comparison and purchasing based on objective ingredient and pricing information.