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How to Build the Best Skincare Routine

How to Build the Best Skincare Routine

InstaNatural Team

Finding the perfect skincare routine can be overwhelming. You may ask yourself: how many products do I need? What order do I use them? Is there a specific ingredient I need? What about exfoliation? The list could go on. But, what's most important to remember is that it doesn't need to be complicated to be effective and consistency is how you’ll see results.

Vitamin C Skin Care

When building a skincare routine, the first thing you want to understand is your skin type (oily, dry, combination, or normal).

If you’re unsure, start by washing your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. If after 30 minutes your skin appears shiny, it is likely oily. If your skin appears tight, it is likely dry. If you see that only the T-Zone (forehead & nose area) is oily but the rest of the face is dry, you likely have combination skin. Lastly, if your skin feels comfortable, you likely have normal skin.

Sandy Skotnicki, M.D., founder of Bay Dermatology Centre tells SELF, “Knowing your skin type will help steer you toward products that will manage dryness and oiliness while effectively taking care of any other skin concerns you have."
Skin Type Graph

A skincare routine for oily skin should include lightweight products that balance oil production without stripping and a skincare routine for dry skin should include nourishing products that moisturize and hydrate.

It’s important to understand that your skin can change. Factors such as the weather, hormones, environmental changes, and age can cause changes in your skin. When this happens, observe what your skin needs most and small product and ingredient adjustments depending on your skin's needs. 

Now that you know your skin type, what skin concerns do you have? In other words, what are you looking to improve in your skin?

Wrinkles, dark spots, acne, blackheads, dehydration, and dull skin are examples of common skin concerns that you may experience. 

Incorporating different active and botanical ingredients is the best way to address skin concerns while also balancing your skin type.

Our Most-Loved Active Ingredients to Drive Results Include:

  • Vitamin C - Brightens
  • Hyaluronic Acid - Hydrates
  • Niacinamide - Strengthens
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids - Exfoliates
  • Retinol - Reduces Lines

When you know your skin type and skin concern, you'll be able to create the best skincare routine for you.

Three Basic Skincare Routine Steps

FACT: You don't need a 10-step skincare routine to achieve results. Plus, who has the time?

Angelo Landriscina, MD, FAAD tells Healthline, “It’s easy to complicate things with so many products out there. When it comes to skin care, more isn’t always merrier. You can actually make your skin worse by using too many products.”

A simple skincare routine will deliver results while being more sustainable. Consistency is the most important aspect of a successful skincare routine and if you have a complicated, long routine, it will be difficult to maintain good habits.


1. Cleanse

Cleanse everyday to break down buildup, dirt, and excess oil to keep your skin clear and refreshed. Daily cleansing will prevent breakouts and clogged pores while also ensuring you get the most out of your products.

2. Treat
Serums are concentrated treatments that absorb deep into the skin for visible results. We like to call serums the “workhorse” in your skincare routine.

3. Moisturize
Moisturizing should always be the final step in your skincare routine - even if you're oily! Moisturizers defend your skin barrier against free radical damage and lock in the powerful ingredients applied in your serum. During the day, be sure to follow with SPF!

As you find a good routine, you can always add additional steps and treatments to further your results - but always remember, less is more!

Our Ultimate Skincare Routine

Building off the three essential steps, our complete skincare routine outlines the benefits, recommended ingredients, and application tips for a complete (but still simple!) 5 step routine that is designed to deliver results.

1. Cleanser
  • Breaks down buildup, dirt, and debris
2. Toner
  • Balances pH to while prepping for maximum absorption of your serum. 
  • Bonus: Toners also remove any leftover residue (like makeup) that your cleanser may have missed.
3. Serum
  • Concentrated treatments that absorb deep into the skin for visible results.
4. Moisturizer
  • Defends your skin barrier against free radical damage and locks in the powerful ingredients applied in your serum. 
  • Bonus: Don't forget to moisturize the eye area! Eye care products are designed for the thinner, more sensitive skin and to address eye-specific concerns.

5. Exfoliator

  • Removes dead and dulling skin cells to maintain a healthy skin barrier while ensuring products can fully absorb (and therefore work!) in the skin.

What About Morning vs Night?

The great thing about building your routine is that it’s up to you to decide how simple or involved you want to be. You can choose products that can be used both morning and night to keep things simple or you can incorporate nighttime treatments based on your skin care goals. 

Some ingredients such as Glycolic Acid and Retinol should only be used once a day or at night to avoid sun exposure. When you want to target advanced concerns, using these ingredients overnight will work with the skin’s natural nighttime recovery process and create even better results.

Ingredients We Love in the Morning
Ingredients We Love at Night
Pro Tips
  • Don't use multiple products that include robust levels of actives like Retinol. Incorporate 1 at a time and increase only as your skin's tolerance allows.
  • Don't layer advanced actives, instead alternate them.
  • If you want to amplify your routine but don't want a dedicated AM and PM routine, simply make 1 product swap at night - such as an AM and PM serum - and keep everything else the same!
  • Exfoliate 1-3 times a week and avoid using robust actives after you've exfoliated, to prevent irritation.

Need Help Finding Your Perfect Routine?
Take Our Skincare Quiz!

Vitamin C Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

We've covered a lot of information but you still may have some questions. We're here to help!
How often should I exfoliate?  You should exfoliate 1-3x a week depending on your skin's needs and the type of exfoliator used.
How do I tell if my skincare routine is working? Time and consistency! The average skin cell renewal cycle is 30 days so we recommend a full 60 days of continued use to properly assess the impacts of the products. Also, take before and after pictures!
How often should I change my skincare routine? Your skin is always changing! Factors such as weather and age can impact your skin. For example, you may want to include more nourishing products during the colder months and more lightweight products during the warmer months. Pay attention to how your skin feels and if it starts to feel unbalanced, adjust! 
If I only want a 2 step skincare routine, what steps should I do? Always cleanse and moisturize! Cleansing will keep your skin clean and hydrated and moisturizing will keep your skin defended and nourished!


Don't Overcomplicate It.

Less is always more and healthy skin comes with consistency and time. Create a skincare routine that's sustainable for you and tailored to your skin goals. Skin changes but the power of our products don't!

Take our skincare quiz if you'd like us to recommend a personalized skincare routine based on your unique skin needs!