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What should a basic skincare routine include?

23.11.2021 | Skincare

Skincare: we all love it, but it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed from time to time. These days, the number of brands and products available to buy is endless, while advice and information is often conflicting. Here, we break down what you really need to know about a basic, solid skincare routine.

The importance of a skincare routine 

There are so many benefits to having an effective skincare routine, but overall, it’s a great way to ensure your skin is at its healthiest and you are feeling your most confident. A good regime can help to prevent issues such as inflammation and acne, as well as wrinkles and other signs of aging in the long term. It helps to protect the all-important skin barrier, which keeps the good stuff (such as hydration) in, and the bad (ie. pollution and other aggressors) out. Having a routine can also be good for your wellbeing overall, not just for how you look. Many of us find the ritual of skincare comforting, and an act of self care to follow no matter how stressed we may feel. 

Back to basics: is less more?

These days, it’s incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed by skincare. There’s a never-ending list of new brands and products being released every week, with beauty trends coming and going just as often. However, while you could very easily bombard skin with lots of different actives and formulations, less is indeed often more, and really you only need a few good, solid baseline products that do their job well. 

In fact, using too many products can usually outweigh using too few when it comes to negative side effects. A skincare routine with numerous active ingredients that may be harsh, potent, or abrasive used all in one go can compromise the skin barrier rather than strengthen it. Complicating things can often lead to breakouts and other issues, whereas a simpler regime will get the job done without rocking the boat.  

Does skincare need to be expensive to be effective?

In a word: no. With brands like The INKEY List, top quality ingredients are utilised but offered in an affordable way so that everybody has access to a comprehensive skincare routine. In fact, we are committed to doing so, along with providing the knowledge and information needed for every person to make the right decisions based on their skin goals. 

Do you need a day and night skincare routine?

This is usually down to personal preference, nothing more. Of course, there are some changes that make sense to make between the morning and night time. For example, you don't need to use an SPF in the evening, and instead can just stick to a moisturizer. A preferred choice for evening is sometimes a richer, thicker cream, which works better to sink in overnight, while lighter lotions sit more nicely under makeup in the AM, and SPF is crucial.

Some ingredients are also better suited to certain times during the day. For example, as vitamin C has antixoidant qualities (that help to protect skin from pollution) and brightens up the face overall, it’s a great ingredient for the morning, so you may find yourself sticking to your vit C serum or moisturizer first thing. Retinol, on the other hand, can cause sun sensitivity, so it’s best to reach for before you go to bed, with SPF use the following morning.

However, the core elements of your skincare routine can work across both morning and night. A good cleanser, treatment and moisturizer are pillars of both.

The core routine

Speaking of this ‘core routine,’ the INKEY concept of Clean, Hydrate, Treat, Moisturize, SPF works well with a ‘less is more,’ ‘back to basics’ mindset. Here’s what we mean…

Step 1: Cleanse

Cleansing is at the core of all good skincare routines, and sets you up for what’s to come. Applying serums or creams without a clean base is much less effective, so it’s definitely worth taking this first step seriously. We recommend beginning both your morning and night time routines with a cleanse. However, some people can tend to find that skipping an AM cleanse and just using water can work, but it's important to play around and find what works for you here. Either way, make sure the water isn’t too warm - hot water can strip skin of it’s natural oils leaving your skin feeling dry and tight.

Oily or blemish prone? Try using our Salicylic Acid Cleanser for oil and breakout control!

Dry or sensitive? Try using our Oat Cleansing Balm for an effective yet nourishing cleanse.

Dull skin? Try using Fulvic Acid Cleanser for a gentle exfoliation to reveal glowing skin. Learn more about our new brightening ingredient in our Ingredient 101 : Fulvic Acid blog post

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Step 2: Hydrate

After cleansing, the next step is all about hydrating. We recommend trying our hero hydrator Hyaluronic Acid Serum after washing your face, which can work especially well on damp skin, meaning less time in between steps!

As well as quenching your skin’s thirst and keeping things looking plump and radiant, this product can help carry your other following products into the skin by making them work more effectively.

It's effective for all skin types, and we recommend Hyaluronic Acid Serum for everyone! This hydrating hero should be a staple in just about every skincare recipe, from simple skincare routines to more advanced skin regimens. Find out more about this powerful hydrator in our Hyaluronic Acid : What you need to know blog post.

Step 3: Treat

Once skin is clean and the hydration feels locked in, it's time to get to the treatment portion of your regimen. We have a number of serums and treatments in our range that can each target different skincare goals. Most tend to work well with each other, and can even help to boost each other as they work in tandem. If you're looking for a rule of thumb though, we suggest working from the thinnest to thickest consistency. For example, you may want to begin with exfoliating toners or serums, as they help to buff away dead or dehydrated skin cells so that the next serums can penetrate deeper into the skin.

Dull skin? Try our 15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum for a glow.

Breakouts? Try our Beta Hydroxy Acid Serum to help clear out pores and reduce breakouts.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles? Try our Retinol Serum to gradually reduce their appearance while renewing skin and evening skin tone. Got more questions about Retinol? Read our Ingredients 101 : Retinol & Retinoids blog post

Speaking of treating skin, it’s important not to forget the delicate areas such as the eyes too. In our range, we have three brilliant eye creams, all of which have been formulated to target different concerns and reach specific goals.

When applying eye cream, be sure to do so with care, as the skin around the eye is incredibly thin and vulnerable. Use your eye cream around the orbital bone and under the brow - steering clear of your eye lids and gently patting in with the ring finger for the perfect amount of pressure.

Dark Circles? Try our Brighten-i eye cream to instantly illuminate while long term, helping to restore skin to its natural tone. Its ingredients list makes the product four times more potent than Vitamin C, meaning a noticeably brighter under-eye area.

Puffiness? Try our Caffeine Eye Cream which can help reduce water retention under the eye, and aid in dark circles and/or puffiness that you may experience particularly in the morning. 

Signs of aging? Try our Retinol Eye Cream to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Step 4: Moisturize

Another real pillar in any skincare routine is a good moisturizer, no matter what your skin type. Moisturizers help to maintain moisture while oils work on the surface of the skin, helping to keep your skin barrier strong, further locking in moisture and improving texture. In the INKEY range, there is a moisturizer suited to any skin type or goal.

Mature skin? Try our Peptide Moisturizer to help reduce wrinkles and leave skin looking radiant.

Dull Skin? Try our Symbright Moisturizer to brighten skin and reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone. Read our Bright Skin 101 blog post to find out why we get dull skin and the other ingredients that help brighten skin. 

Oily Skin? Try our Multi-Biotic Moisturizer to help balance your skin pH level, helping control oil production.

Normal skin? Try our Vitamin B, C & E Moisturizer for healthy-looking skin.

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Step 5: SPF

While cleansing and moisturizing are up there, there truly is not anything more important to a skincare routine than sun protection. You’ll want to reach for your SPF every morning come rain or shine, no matter what time of year it is. Learn more about wearing SPF all year round.

Our daily, lightweight, broad spectrum Dewy Sunscreen SPF 30 UVA & UVB blends in seamlessly for all skin tones leaving a dewy skin finish. This ultra hydrating, non-greasy formula is THE most important step in your skincare routine and is loaded with skin-loving ingredients like 8% Polyglutamic Acid, Glycerin and Squalane to lock in moisture for smooth, dewy skin.

If you need more help creating a simple yet comprehensive skincare routine to suit you, our ultra-clever Recipe Builder tool can help. And remember, no matter which new products you introduce into your routine, it’s important to be patient and consistent in order to see results. And carrying out a patch test with active ingredients or if you have sensitive skin is always advisable!

Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available 24/7 on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.