A Comprehensive Guide to Building Your Skincare Routine

Written by Ica Lim

Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies but we often forget how important it is to start caring for it in detail. By that we mean, getting into the habit of cleansing, moisturising, and exfoliating. It’s common knowledge that there are several skin types and there is no single routine that suits all men and women. Yes, skin type matters! 

Skincare routines usually consist of three to four simple steps, depending on the time of day. Day routines often emphasise protection from the harsh rays of the sun and free radicals in the air. Night routines are all about maintenance and repair. It sounds simple enough but choosing the right formulas in products can be taxing. 

Luckily, the internet is filled with useful and detailed information on what you really should be adding to your routine. You might have heard about AHA, BHA, or even Retinol as you scroll through reviews and there’s a good reason why people are turning into experts to learn more about them.

With that said, here is a comprehensive guide to some of the most popular skincare essentials to help you get started on a flawless routine!

For cleansing

The first step in a basic skincare routine is cleansing. Now, there are different types of cleansers that you will find in a store. They may come in gel or cream forms while some even have oils or cleansing water. 

With so many to choose from, how will you know which cleanser is best for you? Let’s break them down and take a closer look.

Gel cleansers

This type of cleanser is probably one of the most popular choices for oily and sensitive skin types. They are known to give your skin a deep cleanse, gently scraping dirt and oil off your face. Most formulas have gentle ingredients that leave your skin feeling supple despite a thorough cleansing. If you have acne-prone or oily skin, a gel cleanser might just be right for you. 

Cream cleansers

Cream cleansers are often interchanged with foaming cleansers but there is a significant difference between them. First, cream cleansers contain natural oils and emulsifiers that help lock in moisture in your skin. They are effective in removing dirt even if it’s directly applied to a dry face. 

Foaming cleansers on the other hand requires wet or moist skin before applying. The bigger the lather, the more effective it is in clearing away oils and dirt from your face. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to consider using this type of cleanser. If you have dry skin, the natural oils in cream cleansers may help solve that problem. 

Oil cleansers

If you want a more heavy-duty cleanser, oil-based products may be your answer. If you’re the type to wear makeup every day, an oil cleanser will do the job in just a few minutes. They are best used on dry skin so the formula can break down all the makeup, dirt, and other products effectively. 

For moisturising

Moisturisers are integral to getting flawless skin. Think of it as a blanket that keeps your skin feeling fresh and supple throughout the day. Different types of moisturisers cater to different skin types. Find out which one may work best for you below:


People with dry skin may overlook the formulas in their products, especially when they contain strong fragrance or alcohol content. Humectants are made for people with dry or brittle skin because they keep moisture locked in. Vital acids like hyaluronic acid and lactic acid are commonly found in humectants and are great for keeping your skin hydrated throughout the day. 


Most moisturisers come in the form of emollients, namely gels, lotions, and some ointments. Emollients are designed to give you smooth skin. If you are prone to inflammation and redness, this type of moisturiser may be best for you. 


Who doesn’t love a blanket of protection on your skin? Occlusives are the way to go if you want a moisturiser that gives you smooth skin and protects it from harsh conditions outside. They repel water and prevent moisture from waning throughout the day. If you feel like your skin needs that extra safety barrier when heading out, occlusive moisturisers are your holy grails. 

For protection and repair

Aside from the basic elements of a skincare routine, other products are meant to supply extra care. These are sunscreen, serums, and even essential vitamins to help speed up the process. 


A bright and sunny day is always good but too much exposure can cause more harm than good. A good sunscreen should have at least 30 to 50 SPF for ample protection against the harsh rays of the sun. Too much sun exposure can cause rapid ageing and damage to your skin so better stock up on your next trip to the store! 


There are several types of serums designed to boost your skincare routine. If you are a veteran in skincare, you may already know what serums work best with other products in your routine. If you are a newbie, the wide range of serums may intimidate you. 

Worry not! Serums are quite simple to use, just make sure you know which one you will need. They are often very potent so a little goes a long way with just a single drop. For people looking for anti-ageing serums, best to get formulas that contain retinol or vitamin A. 

For those looking to keep your skin glowing, serums that contain vitamin C and E are the way to go. Acne-fighting serums often contain ingredients that help prevent breakouts from happening too often. Serums containing AHAs, BHAs, and other botanical extras like tea tree oil are proven to be effective in keeping those bumps away! 

The bottom line

A good skincare routine is a result of discipline and research. It’s not enough to pat your face with all sorts of products because you may cause more damage to your skin. Pay closer attention to your skin type and do sufficient research before you try on anything. Once you’ve figured out what you need, you are well on your way to skincare goals! 

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