Basic skin care may not be a big deal to many of us, and we could get away with a minimal skin care routine (or none at all) when we were in our teens up to our early twenties.

Look out, though. Once you’re past your mid-twenties, you might start to realise that your skin is changing. You don’t get as much active acne as you used to, but that also means your skin is drier and more susceptible to flaking and, worse, fine lines!

As Asians, we are also 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!)

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Whatever age you are, having at least a basic skin care routine is always a good idea to help keep your skin looking healthy, and will definitely make you feel more confident.

Don’t worry if you find yourself completely clueless and intimidated by all the skin care steps you’ve seen online – 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 2021!

1. Remove your makeup

skincare steps makeup removal

All good skin care routines should start off with this as the first step. This may seem straightforward, but it’s important enough of a skin care 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.

2. Cleanse your face

atorrege ad double cleansing duo 1

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 called double cleansing, and helps to remove any traces of makeup that you didn’t manage to get with your makeup remover.

skincare steps makeup removal

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

3. Apply a toner

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As a skin care step, 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 skin care 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.

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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.

4. Moisturise your skin

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Moisturising your skin is an important skin care step 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.

skincare steps night cream

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.

5. Don’t forget your sunscreen

skincare steps sunscreen

This is another skin care 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 skin care step at all, this is the one skin care step 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!

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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!

6. Summary

Remove your makeup as soon as possible after getting home. Then, cleanse your face.

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).

No excuses for skipping: sunscreen (don’t have to use at night).