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Having a basic skincare routine may not be a big deal to many of us, and some of us may even think that if we have youth on our side, we can get away with little to no skincare at all.

Look out, though. Our skin’s needs may change with age, but at every stage, a basic skincare routine is important. Knowing what products you should use and the correct skincare steps to take will help you age more gracefully as you get older; studies have shown that the earlier you start caring for your skin, the more you can prevent signs of ageing later in your life.

As Asians, we are more likely to suffer from two problems because of our genetics: acne and hyper-pigmentation. (By the way, did you know that you can test whether you’re pre-disposed to have certain skin concerns because of your genes? Find out more about how genes affect your skin and where you can get a genetic skin test done!)

Don’t worry if you find yourself completely clueless and intimidated by the idea of getting the correct skin care steps – it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Keep on reading to find out what are the most basic skin care routine steps that beginners should start off with and make them your goals in 2024!

Step 1: Remove Your Makeup


A basic skincare routine should start off with this as the first of the correct skincare steps. This may seem straightforward, but it’s important enough of a skincare step to warrant us placing repeated emphasis on it.

Makeup removal is one of the most important and basic skin care steps in preventing clogged pores and acne (remember Asians are more susceptible to this?)

Don’t just take it from us – we even interviewed four aesthetic doctors who unanimously agreed on that cleansing is an important skincare step.

Using a makeup remover would help to dissolve your makeup so it would be washed away when you rinse your face.

Here are the types of makeup removers you can consider as a beginner:

  • Acne prone skin: Micellar water. Pour it onto a piece of cotton pad and soak it. Then, hold the pad over each part of your face before wiping lightly.
  • Dry skin: Cleansing milk. Dispense an amount equivalent to a 20-cent coin onto palm and apply it directly onto entire face. Massage it gently in a circular motion and then use a cotton pad to wipe everything off.
  • Oily skin: Cleansing oil. Dispense one pump of oil onto your palm, and apply it directly onto entire face (while it’s dry). Wet your palms and emulsify the oil on your face by massaging the water over it. The cleansing oil will turn milky at this point. Then, rinse it off.

Remember to remove your makeup as soon as possible after you get home, and take the time to do a thorough job. You want to make sure there are no more flecks of eye makeup, and no foundation left in your pores or on your skin.

Step 2: Double-Cleanse


While your face may feel squeaky clean after you’ve removed your makeup, Daily Vanity still recommends that you cleanse your face again after that.

This is one of the correct skincare steps to follow, called “double-cleansing”, and helps to remove any traces of makeup that you didn’t manage to get with your makeup remover.

It’s generally recommended to cleanse your face at most twice in a day. But take note not to over-cleanse or it may strip your skin of moisture and causing it to flake.

Step 3: Apply a Toner


The next of the correct skincare steps in your routine is using a toner.

We must say that a toner isn’t the most necessary in a basic skincare routine, but it’s still a good to have. DV recommends using a toner every day if possible, but don’t sweat about skipping this occasionally if you’re in a rush.

Almost every skincare brand would have at least one toner, or a lotion that functions as a toner, under its name. Whether drugstore or high-end, you’ll be able to find toners for every budget at every corner.

Toners help to give you skin a final cleanse. There are toners for every different skin concern nowadays, so whether you have oily skin, congested pores, sensitive skin, or dry skin, there’s probably the perfect toner waiting for you somewhere.

Previously, most toners on the market used to contain alcohol as a main ingredient as it felt cooling and soothing on the skin.

After people started realising that alcohol actually dried out their skins, however, alcohol has slowly been replaced by other more organic soothing ingredients that does the job without the drying effect.

Toners are usually applied with a cotton pad. You simply have to pour out about a 50-cent sized amount of the toner onto the pad and then wipe it gently all over your face.

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Step 4: Moisturise Your Skin


Note: If you’re building a skincare routine that’s more than just basic, using serums and eye cream will be the next correct skincare steps before you moisturise. But if you’re looking at just a basic skincare routine, you can move on to a moisturiser after toning.

Moisturising your skin is an important skincare step in a basic skincare routine that no one should miss out on, even if you are in a rush. Just like toners, moisturisers for every skin care concern and budget are available on the market these days, so there’s no excuse!

Naturally, this would be important when you have dry skin, but it’s also equally important if you have oily skin.

Poorly hydrated skin (yes, oily skin can also be poorly hydrated) tends to produce even more oil to try and retain more moisture for itself, which in turn also makes skin more prone to acne breakouts.

Depending on your preference, you can choose a gel-type moisturiser for a lighter finish , or a creamy moisturiser which will provide more long-lasting hydration. If you feel up for it, you can even upgrade your moisturiser to a night cream for your bedtime skin care routine, and use a lighter moisturiser in the mornings. This is especially important if you sleep in an air-conditioned room and find yourself waking up with drier skin that feels tight.

Finally, don’t forget to also treat your neck to some moisturiser!

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Step 5: Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen


This is another skincare step that you absolutely should never miss out on. We would go so far as to say if you have no time for any other skincare step at all, this is the one that you should always, always do conscientiously.

It doesn’t matter whether you are intending to put on makeup, go bare-faced, or even just stay at home all day – always put on sunscreen in the mornings!

Sun protection is important for all sorts of reasons. Most importantly, it lowers the risk of skin cancer caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

UV rays are responsible for the appearance of dark spots on skin. Asians are very susceptible to hyper-pigmentation, so making sure you’re protected from sun’s rays will help keep your skin looking clear and radiant.

Sun damage also causes a whole host of signs of ageing on your skin, which can be dramatically reduced over time by the daily use of sunscreen.

Needless to say, sunscreen should also include your body – it’s not just your face that the sun shines on, after all!

Summary: Correct Skincare Steps in a Basic Skincare Routine


  • Remove your makeup as soon as possible after getting home. Then, double-cleanse.
  • If you have time: toner, moisturiser, sunscreen (don’t have to use at night).
  • If you are in a rush: moisturiser, sunscreen (don’t have to use at night).
  • For those who want something more than basic, use serums and eye cream between toner and moisturiser
  • No excuses for skipping: sunscreen (don’t have to use at night).