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How to Choose the Best Skincare Routine

How to Choose the Best Skincare Routine

Here’s how to build an effective and customized skincare routine.

1. What kind of skincare products should I use?

2. How to develop a skincare routine

3. How long does it take for new skincare to work?

4. In what order should I apply my skincare products?


At its core, a well-edited skincare routine should protect and repair your skin so that it looks good and functions at its best. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Well, it can get complicated. Not so long ago, skincare routines were simple: cleanser, toner, moisturizer. But in recent years, they have evolved and grown in leaps and bounds. With a constant influx of new serums, oils, exfoliants, targeted treatments, skincare masks and peels, there are more options than ever before, which can be overwhelming.

The fact is, our skin’s needs shift depending on the time of year, external factors and our age—which means we should be using (and adapting) our products to address these ever-changing needs. With all the clutter and conflicting advice out there, you might be asking yourself “Where do I begin?” or “How much skincare do I really need?” Indeed, you might be wondering how to develop a skincare routine. Well, we’ve got the answers. Follow our straightforward advice to help you put together an effective skincare routine that will have your complexion looking and feeling healthy and glowing.

1. What kind of skincare products should I use?

This first step in building a better skincare routine involves figuring out your skin type. There are four basic types of healthy skin: normal, dry, oily and combination. To complicate things, sensitive skin can also be a factor with each of these types. Skincare for sensitive skin should include hypoallergenic (meaning it won’t cause an allergic response) and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) formulas that contain effective yet gentle active ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help repair and fortify your skin.

A common mistake people make is staying in one lane. Just because you had an oily T-zone and acne when you were in your teens and 20s doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s still your skin type in your 30s and 40s. According to the various internal and external factors, the condition of skin can vary greatly. Also, as we age, our skin changes significantly. But before you address specific concerns related to aging (wrinkles, dullness, uneven skin tone), you’ll need to choose a formula that works effectively with your skin type; it’s only then that you’ll notice a meaningful change.

2. How to develop a skincare routine

With the trend of multi-step routines, sometimes containing upwards of 15 skincare products, it only makes sense to ask “How many skincare products should I use?” Dermatologists suggest using a minimum of three: cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen.

Washing your face is the most basic yet essential step of any routine. The right formula cleanses your skin without stripping it of healthy oils. The best face cleanser is one that caters to your specific skin type. Foam cleansers work best for normal to combination skin; oil, cream or milky formulas work best for dry skin; and gel cleansers work best for oily and acne-prone skin. If you have sensitive skin, stick with micellar water. This liquid cleanser is a combination of purified water, hydrating ingredients and low concentrations of mild surfactants. Vichy Pureté Thermale One Step Cleansing Micellar Solution has the added benefit of being formulated with soothing and fortifying Vichy Thermal Spa Water.

You also need to consider your skin type when choosing the best face moisturizer and best sunscreen. The best skincare for acne and oily skin are formulas that are oil-free, non-comedogenic and lightweight. If your skin is dry and tight all over, look for a rich, thick cream.

If you want to build a more substantial routine, consider cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen (and your skin type) as a framework. Next, strategically start introducing additional products to address skin concerns that focus on specific areas like eye care, lip care and neck care. For all-over results, you can also add a toner, a serum or an ampoule.

3. How long does it take for new skincare to work?

Does skincare work instantly? No, not really. Science has come a long way in skincare formulations, but it’s not realistic to expect visible results in a night or even a week. The only prompt results you’ll see from a new cream or serum are temporary ones, such as hydrated skin that looks slightly plumper, thus helping to minimize fine lines. Another common instant yet temporary fix is from formulas that have a blurring effect. These creams use pearl powders and mica, a silicate mineral common in makeup, to create this fleeting effect.

Patience might be the ingredient your skincare routine has been missing. For significant change, you need to use the products consistently for four to six weeks, applying them at least once or twice a day. The length of the typical skin cycle is 28 days. This means it takes four weeks for a fresh skin cell to appear, mature, die and shed, so after 28 days your face will have had a chance to experience the efficacy of the products in question.

4. In what order should I apply my skincare products?

Step 1: Cleanser
Rinse and repeat this step to rid your skin of every scrap of dirt; the first cleanse attacks the surface grime, while the second reaches right into your pores for a deep clean.

Step 2: Toner or skin fortifier
A toner helps to remove any left-behind traces of dirt, close pores and add hydration to the skin. A skin fortifier, like Vichy Mineral 89, infuses skin with hydration and helps to rebuild and strengthen the skin’s barrier to protect it from external aggressors.

Step 3: Serum or ampoules
The best face serums and ampoules are packed with a high concentration of active ingredients. These types of products are easily absorbed; you want to apply it before your moisturizer, so the serum can be absorbed fully.

Step 4: Eye cream
Much like serums, many eye creams are thinner and need to be clear of barriers, so, using your ring finger, pat one on before applying your face cream.

Step 5: Day or night cream
We know that moisturizer is non-negotiable, so reach for a tub of the creamy stuff and massage it in using an upwards and outwards motion. If you’re wondering what’s the difference between day and night creams, the main one is texture. The best night products are a little a richer and often contain active ingredients that are photosensitive, like retinol. On the other hand, day creams are lighter and often contain sun protection.

Step 6: Sunscreen
It may not be the most exciting step, but it’s the most important one. Sun damage is the biggest contributor to premature aging. The reason it’s the last step is that if you were to apply it first, it would render your other skincare useless because it wouldn’t allow it to penetrate. Applying it at the end gives you protection while ensuring that your other products are working at full potential.


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