The Most Basic Skin Care Routine For Lazy Girls Who Still Want To Be Pretty


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basic skin care routine

Skin care seems intimidating, expensive, and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my tips, tricks, advice, and general knowledge about all things skin care and beauty. What are my qualifications, you ask? I’m a VIB Rouge member at Sephora (meaning I’ve spent over $1,000 in a single calendar year) and I’m high key obsessed with makeup and skin care, so I’ve done hours upon hours of research into what products are best. I’m constantly watching, reading, and buying beauty products, and while my obsession is detrimental to my bank account, I know it could be useful to others who don’t have the time, money, or fucks to give about silly things like makeup and skin care the way that I do. This is simply what I’ve learned from my own research, but if you have serious skin concerns like major acne or extreme sensitivity, I would definitely recommend seeing a dermatologist. If you’re a normal girl who just wants people to stop asking why you look “tired” every time you forget to wear makeup, I’m your girl.

Starting with the basics, I’ve compiled a list of bare minimum steps and products you need to treat your skin with some damn respect, because at some point, washing your face with body soap in the shower just isn’t going to cut it. Skin care doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but you should spend at least some money on it. It is your face, after all. Lucky for you, my list is as cheap as it is easy to follow. I’m starting with evening because that’s when the majority of your skin care steps should take place.

Before we even get to step one, you should remove your makeup. If you think your cleanser works as a makeup remover, you’re only half right. Your cleanser removes trace amounts of makeup, but you should still remove the bulk of your makeup with a makeup wipe so that the cleanser can actually do its job. If you’re wearing heavy eye makeup or waterproof mascara, use eye makeup remover instead of tugging and pulling at your eyes with a wipe.

In The Evening

1. Cleanser
After removing all your makeup, you want to use a cleanser to get your skin clean and prep it for products you’ll use later on. This is an area where you can and should save money. The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a cult classic for a reason — it’s cheap and it works. You don’t need anything fancy for this step. Simpler is definitely better in this case, and you should stay away from cleansers with lots of bells and whistles. Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser is also a great pick.

2. Exfoliant (optional)
Immediately after cleanser, you should exfoliate your skin a few times a week. Don’t do this every day, or it’ll dry your skin out (and if you’re oily, it’ll make you even oiler) and for the love of all things holy, DO NOT USE THAT AWFUL ST. IVES SCRUB. Seriously, if you have that next to your sink right now, either throw it away or put it in your shower, because while it’s an awesome body scrub, it doesn’t belong anywhere near your face. The beads are too large and will cause micro tears on your face, which will make you break out if oil and bacteria get in those micro tears. Used properly, exfoliants can make your skin brighter, smoother, and your pores smaller.

The Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub is great for anyone with oily skin, and the Boots Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish Age Defense contains shea butter to moisturize while exfoliating.

3. Toner
I debated even putting this on the list because if you’re new or inexperienced in skin care, you’re probably like, WTF is a toner? But hello, that’s why you’re reading this. To learn things. If a cleanser strips away all the oils, a toner replenishes and refreshes your skin and takes away the redness you might get after cleansing/exfoliating. The Pixi Glow Tonic is my favorite because it also contains glycolic acid, which sounds scary but is actually a good thing. I’ll dive deeper into acids in a later post, but just trust me on this one. The Mario Badescu Facial Spray is a favorite of Kylie Jenner and can also be used as a toner.

4. Moisturizer
The fourth and final step. That’s not too much, right? If you’re really lazy or in a hurry, you can skip the middle steps and go straight from cleanser to moisturizer. You absolutely need a moisturizer in your skin care routine no matter what your skin type is. A moisturizer smoothes, plumps and hydrates your skin, making it look healthy and radiant. The L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Volume Filler Daily Re-Volumizing Moisturizer has high doses of hyaluronic acid work to plump your skin, but if you want something even more basic, the Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer is simple and effective.

In The Morning

1. Cleanser (optional)
I’m not one of those people who has to wash her face in the morning, but I know plenty of people do. I just splash some water on my face and get on with the next step. If you’re oily, I almost recommend not washing your face in the morning, because washing your face too much can actually make your oils go into overdrive. But if you must, go ahead and do it with the same cleanser you used at night.

2. Moisturizer With SPF
Look. I don’t want to hear it. You need to wear SPF. There’s absolutely no point in caring for your skin if you’re just gonna go out and damage it in the sun. Especially if you exfoliate your skin (like you should), your skin is left even more vulnerable to the elements. You don’t need to smother yourself in Coppertone every time you leave the house, just a regular moisturizer with SPF 15 or more is fine. Ideally, the moisturizer you use at night should be more heavy duty than the one you use during the day, but if you’re on a budget, you can use the same one at night.

This routine is very basic, and I’ll expand on this list in future posts and eventually share my beyond extra skin care routine, but for anyone who doesn’t know where to begin with all this stuff, this a great starting point. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas about what you want to see next, feel free to ask me on Twitter or email me at (not .com).

Image via Shutterstock

Cristina is a Grandex Writer and Content Manager. She was an intern for over two years before she graduated a semester early to write about college full time, which makes absolutely no sense. She regretfully considers herself a Carrie, but is first and foremost a Rory. She tends to draw strong reactions from people. They are occasionally positive. You can find her in a bar as you're bending down to tie your shoes, drinking Dos XX and drunk crying to Elton John. Email her: (not .com).

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