Top Tips: How Do You Establish A Skincare Routine?

I write a lot about getting into a routine, investing in great products and throwing away the face wipes, but it seems there’s a lot of confusion about actually how to use skincare products once you’ve decided to make the jump. Serums, cleansers, balms, bases, primers, washes… Which comes first and how do you layer? Although everybody is different, this is what I use on a daily basis and (more importantly) how I use it. 

Face Wash vs Exfoliator
Personally I prefer to use different products in the morning than in the evening, relying on a great face wash and gentle exfoliator to kick-start my day. Although an exfoliator should only be used 2-3 times a week, it can be great at gently removing dead skin from the surface and revealing a more glowing base underneath. If you’re using both an exfoliator and face wash, I’d recommend using the face wash after to ensure you wash away all remaining product and dead skin cells – that way you’ll feel squeaky clean and can be assured you’re also cleansing a little deeper. 
(My favourites: FaceB4 Face Wash; Indeed Labs Powdered Exfoliator; Neutrogena Visibly Clear Grapefruit Scrub)

Using A Cleansing Balm 
In the evenings I love using cleansing balms to melt away makeup and dirt that builds up over the course of the day. Taking a little and warming it between the fingers helps to massage it into the face once it’s applied, lifting away all the nasties without stripping the skin. A warm damp flannel or muslin cloth can be used to massage away the product in circular motions, being careful to use a clean piece of material for each area of the face. If you’re wearing heavy makeup it’s best to repeat the process, ensuring your skin is left feeling super clean and soft.
(My favourites: Neal’s Yard Wild Rose balm; The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Butter; Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm.)

Removing Final Traces 
Although your skin may feel and even look clean, using a micellar water to remove final traces can help provide an even deeper cleanse. They work by attracting the grease on the surface of skin without stripping moisture, making them perfect for removing the traces not visible to the human eye. For waterproof mascaras or heavy liner, it’s also worth using a bi-phase makeup remover which will remove every last trace of product.
(My favourites: Bioderma Micellar Water; Sephora Bi-Phase Makeup Remover; Lancome Makeup Remover.)

Serum First, Moisturiser Second
Before you apply your makeup there are a few essential layers you need to add into the equation. A great serum will not only ensure your skin remains hydrated, but will contain lots of active ingredients that will both repair and prevent further damage. This is like a smoothie for your skin, so don’t skip it if you want to benefit from maximum results. Adding a moisturiser over the surface will add an extra layer of hydration, as well as containing free radical fighting ingredients and SPF. Although it’s not essential to use both simultaneously, they are designed to go together and the combination provides the strongest results over time. 
(My favourites: MeruMaya Iconic Youth Serum; HealGel Face; Caudalie Vinosource SOS serum.)

Primer Before Base
Once you’ve given your skin an injection of good stuff, you need to keep it there while preventing your makeup from slipping. A velvety primer will help create a subtle barrier, enabling you to flawlessly apply your base or foundation and keep it in place all day. A primer is definitely the secret of makeup artists and celebrities, as it helps to create a uniformed surface that gives the illusion of perfection – even when we’re far from it!
(My favourites: Clinique Superprimer; Illamasqua Hydraveil; Benefit Porefessional.) 

Do you have a routine that you stick to every day, or do you prefer to change things up a bit?



  1. Emily Knott
    May 15, 2014 / 8:58 am

    Skincare routines can be a little over whelming! I have just narrowed mine down and personally love to swap a wash in the evening for a balm like you mentioned! I also like to use my magnitone pulsar twice a week to remove any dead skin!

  2. Mary Bloomy
    May 15, 2014 / 10:58 am

    I love this posts! I feel more informed now and I'll definitely add some of the steps to my routine! 🙂 xx

  3. Aerie Berrie
    May 15, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    Need to try the grapefruit scrub! This was a great post very informative xBerrieBlogs| {beauty blog}

  4. Jessica Rose Nixon
    May 15, 2014 / 1:45 pm

    Great post! My bathroom cabinet screams for a little spring/summer spruce up! xx

  5. Katherine Joan
    May 15, 2014 / 2:26 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! There's so many skincare products; it's so easy to get confused and do things wrong. Very useful post, Hayley, you are definitely one of my favorite beauty bloggers! Kisses from Panama <

  6. Rebecca Bergamasco
    May 16, 2014 / 3:00 am

    I must admit I haven't used a cleansing balm before but they sound just lovely for removing makeup; for dry skin, anything with the word 'balm' in it gets me excited! xx

  7. Daire
    May 16, 2014 / 11:36 am

    I've recently started being a bit more regimental with skincare, but my routine is less intense than yours!In the morning I use a creamy face wash, followed by a light moisturiser and then tinted moisturiser. In the evening I cleanse and tone before using a luscious night cream. I also have this 3 in 1 exfoliator/face mask thing. I use it as an exfoliator every time I have a shower and a face mask every time I have a bath. I only use primer and foundation on nights out/for job interviews, most of the time I just let my sking breathe!

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