Daily Skincare Routine Basics: All You Need to Know

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Having a daily skincare routine helps your skin stay clear and brilliant. Plus, it’s a lovely way to relax and enjoy a mini spa treatment every single day.

So, here’s a look at the four basic skin types, and ways to create your own daily routine to keep you looking fabulous.

The Four Common Skin Types

Every woman is unique, but our skin types can be summed up in four, easy categories: normal / combination, dry, sensitive and oily.

No skin type trumps another. Each one has individual characteristics that require a slightly different approach, all to give your skin what it needs. Let’s start with normal / combination skin.

Daily Skincare for Normal/Combination Skin

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Normal / combination skin is generally clear.

Yes, there might be some dry or oily spots in some places. But in general, you have an even, balanced complexion. And it isn’t too sensitive either.

The right routine will support your naturally clear skin and prevent problems from popping up.


Always start with a cleanser or face wash. Gel cleansers, like BareMinerals’ Blemish Remedy Acne Treatment Gelée Cleanser, or Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser are both great places to start.

The idea is to nourish your skin, while also cutting through any oily spots.

No matter what product you choose, try to use warm water and a soft, cotton cloth to wipe and wash. (This goes for all skin types!) When you use a cloth, it acts as a gentle exfoliator and buffs the skin. And don’t forget to cleanse the neck!

Gently pat your skin dry, and you’re ready for the next step.


When you think of toner, you might imagine an astringent product that burns and tingles. But toners can actually be soothing, too.

With normal/combination skin, the right toner will clean and shrink pores to give your skin a smooth, even finish. A nice option is First Aid Beauty’s Vitamin Hydrating Mist.


All skin types should moisturize, and if you can use a cream that includes sunscreen, all the better. (This is true for all skin types.)

Your moisturizers can contain oil, but make sure to use light cream. An affordable option is Simple Skincare’s Hydrating Light Moisturizer or, if you want to bump it up a notch, try Laura Mercier’s gorgeous Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20.

Daily Skincare for Dry Skin

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If you have dry skin, your face can feel rough, flaky and scaly. So, it’s important to use gentle, hydrating products throughout your daily skincare routine. Let’s start with cleansers.


Try to avoid products containing alcohol or fragrance because these ingredients will only dry your skin even more. Mild products that don’t lather or suds up are usually good options, like Neutrogena’s Ultra Light Cleansing Oil.


Dry skin loves a little toner love, too. Why? It helps prepare your skin for the next step in your skincare routine: moisturizing. One good product is Indie Lee’s CoQ-10 Toner.


Esthetician, Renée Rouleau, recommends that people with dry skin use moisturizers with borage oil, rosehip seed oil, cranberry oil, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, phospholipids, and sweet almond oil. As she puts it, “All of these ingredients mimic the natural lipids in your skin and do a better job of repairing your skin’s moisture barrier.”

Dry skin types have a lot of moisturizers to choose from, but Clinique’s Moisture Surge™ Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator is a favorite among many faithful users.

Finally, using collagen-building serums can help nourish dry skin, too.

Daily Skincare for Oily Skin

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Oily skin doesn’t need much explanation. It’s greasy and shiny, and so, you might think you need to steer clear of anything moisturizing.

But oily skin needs moisture, too. In fact, without it, your face might try to overcompensate, and end up being too oily.


Look for oil-free cleansers, such as gel or foam washes. For this skin type, it’s a good idea to wash twice a day and to follow with a toner to keep your pores clean and clear.


It might be tempting to use very drying toners, but the oil will come back with a vengeance!

So, look for toners with geranium oil and witch hazel. Geranium will help reduce oil and witch hazel is a natural astringent. So, that makes Little Barn Apothecary’s Bamboo + Fresh Mint Clearing Facial Mist a budget-friendly product for oily skin types.


The perfect moisturizer for oily skin will help you maintain just enough moisture, without making you feel greasy. Look for products that keep your skin hydrated and fresh, like Clean & Clear’s Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer, or Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion.

Daily Skincare for Sensitive Skin

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Those of us with sensitive skin need to be careful with our skincare products.

In general, it’s best to avoid products with alcohol, fragrance, perfume, acids, and soaps. Otherwise, a well-meaning lotion or cleanser can cause lots of irritation, like burning, breakouts, itching and stinging.

Whenever possible, use products containing aloe, oats, chamomile, and other natural ingredients. These can be very beneficial for sensitive skin.


While other skin types can get away with cleansing twice a day, once might be plenty for sensitive skin.

Look for products that go without lots of common additives. Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser ticks all the right boxes because it’s sulfate-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free and soap-free. Plus, it won the 2015 and 2016 Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards, proving that it’s a favorite for fellow sensitive skin types.


Sensitive skin types need to avoid aggressive and astringent toners. So, try to swap out alcohol-based toners with more moisturizing ones.

Look for ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E and calendula. Thayer’s Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner comes with many gentle ingredients, like certified organic aloe vera, certified organic witch hazel, rose flower water, and grapefruit seed extract.


While it’s tempting to reach for enticing scents and flavors, it’s best to go fragrance-free with your moisturizers.

Synthetic fragrances can cause allergic reactions and disrupt your skin’s natural barrier. Even unscented products can use fragrance to create a more appealing product.

So, be on the lookout! A good place to start is Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive Skin Ultra-Gentle Facial Moisturizer.

Whether you’ve got oily, dry, sensitive or normal skin, you can enjoy a healthy and brilliant complexion with the right daily routine.


If you don't know your skin type, you can take a look at this infographic by HealthCentral that gives some tips:

finding out your skin type

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