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Remember when skincare was easy? Three steps, right? Cleanse, tone, moisturize. Now there are serums. And oils. Essences. Sheet masks. Sleeping masks. Exfoliants. Peels. Acids. We’re not even halfway down the beauty aisle yet.

I believe skincare can be simple. Five steps: cleanse, tone, moisturize, SPF - are still the holy grail of skincare. If you want to get back to basics - or if you just need to get to basics - those three steps need to be the foundation of your skincare routine.


Cleansing is the first step in everyone’s skincare routine, it’s so important! It removes dirt, pollutants, makeup, and excess sebum- to name just a few of the gross things the biggest organ of your body collects. Afterwords it can finally breathe- I don’t mean that figuratively - literally, your skin can soak up more oxygen when it’s clean.

The other benefit of cleansing is that, when your skin is clean during relaxation and rejuvenation (which for most of us is only available at night), it can absorb 40 to 60 percent more nutrients from products like serums and moisturizers. This is why I recommend thoroughly cleansing at night, removing makeup before bed is not optional!!! Then you don’t have to cleanse in the morning if you don’t want to - just rinse your skin with cold or lukewarm water.


Toner has a bad reputation. Some people think it’s a waste of money. Some people think it’s a waste of time. And some people think it actually dehydrates your skin.

They’re all wrong.

Toner is actually a crucial step in your skincare routine. We know cleansing your skin clears away the environmental debris and makeup of the day, but this also can disrupt the pH of the skin. Toning after cleansing restores the skin to a state where your moisturizer (and serums) can be efficiently absorbed. Toner helps skin look fresher, smoother and more hydrated.  There are now plenty of targeted toners on the market that address different skin concerns - brightening toners for pigmentation, or calming toners for redness and sensitivity. High quality toners act as carriers for the water and active ingredients in your final step, moisturizing…


The final step in your simple skincare regime is moisturizers. This is where you lock in all that fresh, dewy skin - and keep it that way all day. Moisturizers lock in water (in other words, hydrate the skin) using a few different ingredients - occlusives (which prevent water loss), humectants (which attract water to cells) and emollients (which smooth skin cells and allow water to penetrate). When skin cells are hydrated, they are able to repair themselves and turn over with greater frequency. This, in turn, can reduce or even prevent hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

Sun Care

Wear an SPF daily. Some moisturizers have SPF built in, and that’s great, but if yours doesn’t, apply factor 15-30 after your moisturizer.


What about serums you ask?  If you don’t have any skin concerns (usually applies to younger skins below 28-29), you probably don’t need a serum.   So, like all things in life, things get more complicated as you get older- but that will have to be another article entirely!