a practical guide to skincare what products to use

A practical guide to skincare and which products to include in your daily / weekly routine

Targeting the skin on a daily basis will give the most benefits and best long-term skin health. This article gives a practical guide to skincare and an overview of why you may want to incorporate certain products into your daily / weekly routine.

The products discussed are very generalised and may vary depending on your skin type and concern. As unique as your face is, so are your skin care needs, it is not a one size fits all.

The products are listed in order that they would be used depending on whether it is morning or evening. When applying products it is generally best to incorporate the whole face, neck and chest unless using a treatment product.


Cleansing is just a technical term for washing your face. It is an essential part of a skincare routine as it removes oil, dirt, other environmental pollutants as well as bacteria from the skin. It is advisable to always wash your hands before cleansing.

Ideally it is best to cleanse twice daily; in the morning and evening before bed. It depends on your skin type as to what cleanser is the most suitable for you. As a general rule of thumb non-foaming cleansers tend to be milder than foaming cleansers so are great for sensitive skins or for certain skin conditions such as rosacea.

Just be aware that cleansing can exacerbate certain skin conditions and weaken the skin barrier as briefly mentioned in my article What should I be looking for in a skincare product so be cautious with the products you choose to cleanse with.


Toners help to adjust the skins pH and prepare it for the next step in your skincare routine. Ideally you should tone your skin twice a day after cleansing.


Serums are an effective way of targeting various skin concerns such as hydration, brightness fine lines and wrinkles. They are able to penetrate deeper than a moisturiser, delivering highly potent, concentrated ingredients into the skin. Serums are usually applied twice a day after a toner.


Hydrators and moisturises are used to keep the skin hydrated. They are also able to soothe dry, flaky skin depending on the product being used.

Hydrating products may not need to be used daily, it depends on your skin type and concerns. If using a hydrating product, it will follow the serum.


Daily SPF is recommended for everyone regardless of any other skin concern as it protects your skin against UVA and UVB rays. There are many ongoing discussions about sunscreen usage versus Vitamin D production.

The most effective way of obtaining Vitamin D which is important for many health reasons, is from sun exposure. It is still controversial as to the level of vitamin D produced whilst wearing SPF verses not wearing SPF. Many researchers recommend spending a few minutes in the sun without sunscreen but do not recommend prolonged periods of time as damage from the sun’s rays is irreversible and can have detrimental effects whereas Vitamin D can be supplemented.

The secret for best SPF usage is regular applications, applied evenly to the whole face, neck and chest in appropriate amounts; roughly 1.5 teaspoons to cover these areas.

This is the last product to be applied in your morning skincare routine. If wearing makeup it would be applied after your SPF.

Treatment products


Exfoliants help to remove the top layer of old, dead skin cells, allowing other skincare products to work more effectively. Exfoliants can either be mechanical (particles within it) or chemical (smooth).

Both are effective and ultimately achieve the same goal of removing dead skin cells although chemical exfoliators are often able to penetrate deeper and achieve additional results depending on the ingredients.

Some exfoliators are a combination of both chemical and physical to give similar results to a microdermabrasion type treatment.

Ideally the face should be exfoliated at least once a week either after cleansing or as your cleanser depending on the product of choice.

** If using retinols, the face should be exfoliated every morning following retinol usage.


Masks are a great at home treatment and are able to target various skin issues including hydration, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles as well as improving cell turn over.

Depending on the type of mask and ingredients being used it can be applied between once and a few times a week after cleansing.


This is a game changer for many reasons. My previous article What should I be looking for in a skincare product talks about retinols (vitamin A) in more detail.

Many people with dry skin avoid using retinols as they can make the skin drier for a period of time, however long term they help to hydrate the skin.

When using a retinol, it is always best to avoid applying to the eye area. The neck and chest areas may also not thank you for using a retinol on them as the skin can be more sensitive.

If using a retinol, it should only be applied in the evening before the serum.

During your skincare routine it’s important to think of layering. Apply a product and allow to dry before applying the next product for the best results.

Additional Advice

Face to face consultations are held in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, but I also offer online skincare consultations with product delivery direct to your house. This is within the UK as well as various overseas countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Poland. Many of the skincare products recommended offer a 45-day money back guarantee.

If you would like to chat in more detail about skin care in general or specific product advice, please contact me for an online consultation using the form below.

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