[Guide] How to Build A Simple Skincare Routine Under $50

A skincare routine is as essential as it is daunting. Obtaining the right products, knowing if the ingredients are safe, dealing with the high prices, and getting the steps right – all of which way too intimidating to be fun.

However, it does not have to be. The truth is that the most basic skincare is good enough for most people.

This article will explore two essential things: How to Identify Your Skintype and The Four Main Steps.

Identifying Your Skin Type

Knowing your skin type can help you pick the right products and tackle your skin issues more accurately. There are four main skin types: normal, dry, oily and combination.

Normal skin refers to relatively healthy and balanced skin without any alarming issues. Normal skin tends to have fine pores, a soft and smooth texture, little to no blemishes and is not prone to sensitivity. This means you do not experience breakouts or allergic reactions often.

Dry skin is a skin type that produces less sebum than normal skin. Due to the lack of sebum, this type of skin lacks the lipids to retain moisture and build a protective moisture shield against external influences. If your skin feels dry to touch or peels occasionally, you probably have dry skin.

Oily skin is a skin type with heightened sebum production. An over-production like this is known as seborrhea. Your skin would feel oily when touched, and you will always have a thick layer of oil resting on the top of your skin.

Combination skin is, as the name suggests, skin that consists of a mix of skin types. You may be normal in some areas while oily/dry in other areas. It is common for people to experience oiliness in the T-zone and nose but dryness on the cheeks.

Suppose you are still unsure about your skin type. Here is a very simple test you can do. Wash your face with a cleanser and pat it dry. Do not do anything to your skin after and wait 30 minutes. Look and feel your skin after that 30 minute is up. If your skin feels extremely tight, you have dry skin. If your skin begins to generate excessive oil, you have oily skin. If your skin looks normal and feels supple, you generally have normal skin. A combination of any of these would mean you have a combination skin type.

Your skin type should heavily influence your skincare purchases. Look at the labels on products carefully to see which skin type they cater to. Opt for creamier products if you have dry skin, and opt for lighter, more gel-like products if you have oily skin.

The Four Main Steps

  1. Cleansing – to wash your face
  2. Toning – to protect, balance, and refresh the skin
  3. Exfoliating – to remove debris and dead skin cells
  4. Moisturizing – to hydrate the skin

Step 1: Cleansing

A good face cleanser cleans well without stripping any essential oils and moisture off your face. Avoid substituting a good daily face cleanser with a face scrub as they have me too abrasive for daily use. You should be washing your face twice a day: when you wake up and right before bed.

Cleanser Recommendations: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($14) and the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser ($15).

Step 2: Toning

A toner is basically a thin liquid that delivers extra nutrients to the skin to help other products absorb better while balancing your complexion, protecting and refreshing your skin.

Toner Recommendations: Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner ($9), Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner ($6), and the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($21).

Step 3: Exfoliating

This is a process that removes all the gunk you don’t want on your face. This includes dead skin cells and debris to help prevent clogged pores as well as reduce breakouts. Overall, think of exfoliating as a necessary step to enhance your skin’s appearance from within.

Although there are two types of exfoliants: physical (face scrubs etc.) and chemical, this article will only focus on the latter as it is less abrasive and tends to provide better results.

I recommend looking into Paula’s Choice and The Ordinary for affordable and trustworthy exfoliants and purchasing those according to your skin type.

Exfoliant Recommendations: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($12) and Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($10 – $29.50)

Step 4: Moisturizing

The most basic function of a moisturizer is to hydrate and soften the skin, to prevent that rough texture no one likes. A moisturizer prevents the loss of hydration through the outer layers of your skin. Think of them as a protective barrier that locks your essential oils and moisture in.

Everyone needs a moisturizer, more importantly, the right kind of moisturizer for their skin. Most of the time, moisturizers will the type of skin they are suited for on their packagings.

Moisturizer Recommendations: I would recommend these for daily use and even night time: Cerave Moisturizing Lotion ($14), Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer ($14), and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream ($16).

However, if you are going out, you should opt for a moisturizer with SPF in it. It would act as a duo product, a moisturizer and sunscreen in one. Any skincare expert would unanimously agree on one thing: that sunscreen is, hands down, the most crucial skin-care product for protection from the harshness of the sun. Daily and consistent sunscreen use help prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, textural imperfections, and changes in pores’ appearance over time. More importantly, daily sunscreen use can help to prevent the formation of certain skin cancers.

Day-Time Use Moisturizer Recommendations: I would recommend these products for daytime use: Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 ($11), Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($13), Paula’s Choice Calm Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30 ($29).

At the end of the day, no matter what product you choose to do with it, it should be based on your preference and comfort. The stigma around bad skin has been proven to diminish the quality of life, and it is high time to create your perfect routine to improve your skin and life. When you start putting your skin’s health first, everything will fall into place.

Note: Each product listed is under $30 and is priced in USD.

DisclaimerThis article contains affiliate links that I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Nevertheless, these are skincare products I use and highly recommend.

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