There’s no denying that beauty is big business—just look at the aisles well-stocked with beauty products, celebrities coming up with their own beauty lines, and influencers and vloggers gaining massive followings on their respective platforms. You may roll your eyes at al these, thinking it’s all just for vanity’s sake, or that there are bigger things to worry about than skin care, or that it’s time and money unnecessarily spent. But the steps to starting a skin-care routine daily don’t have to complicated, and they can change you in ways you didn’t even imagine.

The Importance of Having a Skin-Care Routine

There are several reasons having a skin-care routine is important. First, your skin is the biggest organ you have, so why neglect it? You take care of al your other organs (or at least you should), so you shouldn’t skip the major one that acts as your body’s first line of defense. Second, if you have skin issues like acne or discoloration, a regular routine can do more to address them and keep them at bay than one-off treatments that seek to cure rather than prevent. Third, a regular skin-care routine can give you healthier, glowing skin that will make you more confident in, well, your own skin—and a confident boost can carry over to other areas of your life. Fourth, getting used to a skin-care routine can help you form other healthy habits, like having a workout routine or a meditation routine. Fifth, looking youthful when you get older starts with laying the foundation in your 20s and 30s, so now is the best time to start thinking about skin care. And finally, the few minutes you take out of your day to take care of your skin can be counted as self-care, which is good for you not just physically but also psychologically.

Convinced to give proper skin care a try? The key is to keep things simple at first. No need for a fancy 10-step routine—the more complicated it is at the start, the harder it will be for you to stick to it and make it a habit. Read on for simple steps to starting a skin-care routine effectively.

Basic Skin-Care Routine

Your skin-care needs will vary depending on such factors as skin type, age, lifestyle, and the weather; in the summer, for example, you might want to switch to a lighter moisturizer, and if you’re taking an extended vacation in a winter wonderland, you’re going to need extra moisturizer.

Your routine will also vary slightly during the day and at night. Northwestern Medicine offers this bit of information so as not to overcomplicate things: Your skin-care routine in the morning is all about prevention and protection, while your routine at night should be about cleansing and repair.


Cleanse. Wash your face in the morning to get rid of nighttime oils and any product residue from the night before.

Tone. Some would argue that not everyone needs to tone, especially if you don’t have oily skin. But today’s toners aren’t your mother’s toners of yesteryear. The formulations aren’t drying and can benefit your skin. They’re especially good for those with oily skin. If you’re in a rush and have normal or dry skin, it’s okay to skip the toner.

Moisturize. Keep your skin hydrated to prevent issues from cropping up. Even oilier skin will benefit from a moisturizer —just make sure you find a formulation that’s right for your skin type.

Protect. Photoaging is a real thing. You may not see the effects of repeated exposure to the sun now but you’ll see the signs of damage over time. If your moisturizer doesn’t have built-in SPF (sun protection factor), look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum (meaning it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays) and that has the bare minimum SPF15 (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendation; the American Academy of Dermatologists recommends a minimum SPF30). Learn more about choosing the right sunscreen here.


Deep cleanse. Remove all the makeup and dirt from the day with a makeup remover formulated for your skin and give it a thorough washing.

Apply serum. Serums can penetrate your skin more deeply and can address specific skin-care concerns. (Look for anti-aging ingredients like retinol if you’re concerned about fine lines, Vitamin C if you have blemishes or uneven coloring, or glycolic acid if you’re addressing acne.)

Apply eye cream. The skin around the eyes is especially thin and sensitive so treat it with care. Pick one based on your needs, like one to address fine lines, puffiness, or dark circles. And stop rubbing your eyes throughout the day!

Moisturize. You can choose a richer moisturizer to give your skin a boost of hydration overnight.

You may also include a spot treatment in your routine if a pimple has cropped up.

Ease yourself into your new routine and stick to a product for a few weeks before deciding to switch it up. You can take a selfie every week (in the same lighting) to see if there are any changes and to better keep track of how your skin reacts to products.

Once you’ve gotten used to the steps to starting a regular skin-care routine every day, you can introduce other products as you see fit, such as exfoliants to slough off dead skin cells that cause dullness and masks that give a hydration boost. Just remember that beauty products aren’t the be-all and end-all of skin care—you also have to take care of your skin from within. A healthy diet and exercise work hand in hand with your skin-care routine to give you that glow.