The Ultimate Guide to Building a Skincare Routine

“I have a 10-step skincare routine but it just doesn’t work.”

“I don’t remove my makeup at night. I just use soap and water to take the makeup off.”
“My skincare cupboard is filled with products I don’t use.”
“It’s exhausting.”

These are just some of the statements I’ve heard among the many confessions, hilarious incidents, experiments gone wrong with respect to skincare. Frustration makes people give up on skincare easily.

The truth is it doesn’t matter if you have a 10-step routine or a two-step routine. Here’s what really matters.

Consistency. *mic drop*

I’m obsessed with skincare. I look forward to spending time by myself twice a day slathering and layering products on my skin. This is possible only because I have a skincare plan in place. Else there’d be no slathering, layering, good skin or a life. #thisiswhatmylifeisabout

Skincare Prep: Similar to Meal Prep but less time consuming

When it comes to meal prep, keeping stock of the ingredients you need for your meals is the biggest step. You write down a meal plan, check your pantry to see if you have the essentials, shop for the ingredients and fresh produce you need, and you are good to go. It’s the same process for skincare prep. And the good news is there’s no cooking or cleaning involved.

Here’s what I do. You can alter this plan of action to suit your needs and lifestyle.

Step 1

I review my skincare routine every THREE weeks and check what has worked and what hasn’t. Here are a few questions I ask myself:
• Is there any improvement or does the concern still remain?
• Is there any product I want to repurchase?
• What are some of my skincare concerns I should be focusing on next month?
• What products and tools should I be using next month?

If there’s a new product I want to try, I slowly incorporate it into my routine without changing the products I use for the rest of my skincare routine. This way, I’m not trying too many new products at once and punishing my skin.
I write down the answers for the above questions and chalk out a skincare routine for the month. The steps involved more or less remain the same but the products and tools I use vary.

Instead of my routine being all over the place, this helps me keep track of the products I use, why I use them and whether they work or not.

Recently, I’ve started bullet journaling, which helps me keep track of my routine. I have a ‘Year at A Glance’ page for skincare, which I use to document if I’m consistent or not.

Step 2
I keep ONLY the products I’m using for the month and arrange them in a way that’s convenient for me. I put the others away in a box until I want to switch up a product.

The problem when I keep everything together is I get discouraged to rummage through all the products to pick one and use. It’s a waste of time and energy when I’m in a hurry in the morning or tired at night.

Step 3

I also prepare all the natural skincare ingredients I use. For example, I freeze pureed aloe vera so that I can use it as it is or in face packs. I keep my face pack powders ready and accessible so that I can just take a tablespoon of it, add rose water and aloe vera and I’m good to go.

Why Skincare Prep?
You use what you see. If something is in front of you, you are more likely to use it. For example, if there’s a bottle of water in front of you, you would reach for it and drink water more often than if it was not there. The same applies to skincare. Instead of stashing your products away in a cupboard you never open, keep them in your bathroom or on a shelf near your clothes. That way when you get ready in the morning or at night before going to bed, you see and use it.

You tend to use a product for a longer period of time. When we buy something new, we tend to use it for a day or two and forget about it. This can be avoided if you have a routine with a list of products in place.

You save time and energy. When you have a routine written down along with the products you want to use, half the work is done. This way you can keep only what you use and store the rest for future use.

You save money. Having a skincare plan in place helps you to buy lesser skincare products. Since you take stock of what you have and make a list of what you need, the tendency to pick up unwanted products reduces.

Trust me when I say this process is a game changer. Prepping gives you that extra push to do things regularly because everything is ready for you to use, and it saves time. It takes a little bit of effort but the benefits are manifold.

But… Skincare Prep alone will not cut it.

  • A healthy lifestyle is very important for healthy skin. If you are going to drown your sorrows in buckets of fried food and gallons of aerated drinks, you can say goodbye to healthy skin right now. I’ve been there, done that, and regretted it more than you know. Instead, distract yourself by focusing on your skin and lifestyle habits. It is therapeutic. Yes, I’m that annoying friend who pushes you to move your A, and no I’ll not give up.
  • A product that works for me need not necessarily work for you. If you are planning to invest in a skincare product, read several reviews. That will give you a broader perspective on a product and an idea of why it works for some and doesn’t work for others.
  • An expensive skincare product is not 100% fail-proof. If you’ve spent 3000 rupees on a moisturiser and it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t. I bought the Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrator and Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil and sadly both were a waste of my money. They just didn’t work for me. On the other hand, Boroline, which is 30 rupees a tube works wonders on my skin. So don’t judge a product based on the price or expect a product to work because it has worked for someone else.
  • That brings me to the very last point. Always read the ingredients list. If you don’t understand why an ingredient is featured in the list, turn to google for help. If you still have a doubt, consult a dermatologist before buying a skincare product.

The whole idea of this post is to encourage you to get into a consistent skincare routine. It’s okay to skip your routine for a day or two when you’re not up for it. I’m not perfect and I skip my routine when I’m tired or I feel lazy. That does not mean I give up. If I don’t follow my routine for a day or two, I start again from the third day and that’s perfectly fine.

Would you like to join me on this journey by prepping your skincare routine? What would you do differently? Let me know how it works for you.