A Milk-approved guide to giving your skin that healthy AF glow.



The 5 Step Beginner's Skincare Routine to Kick Your Skin Into Gear

Let’s be real—it’s easy to spend hours scrolling through the web searching for the perfect black fall boot (the one with a heel high-enough to let your coworkers know that you’re not playing games, but also low enough that you can walk more than a city block without looking like a baby deer just getting control of its legs), but what about our skincare?  

It’s time for a reality check. Why don’t we spend as much time taking care of for our largest organ, our skin? It deserves just as much love as our closet does…well honestly, more! I get it, there is so much out thereexfoliators, cleansers, powders, essences, serums, peels, treatments, etcetera. How are you supposed to know what is best for you? Most importantly, where do you start, and how do you know what type of routine is good for your skin and lifestyle?

While I am all for a 20-minute self-care session either in the morning or evening, taking care of existing skin issues or prepping my skin for the day ahead, not everyone has the time. If you’re looking for a full proof routine that will rid your skin of any pore-clogging smog (for all the city-dwellers out there like me) and get your skin looking glowy, plump, and youthful, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here are five simple steps to change the look and feel of your skin:

Step one: Cleanser

The basis of it all is cleaning your skin! If you wear makeup, I recommend starting off with an oil cleanser before your everyday cleanser. Yup, it’s all about the double cleanse if you wear makeup. Oil cleansers melt away makeup and even break down that oh-so-necessary, yet hard to remove, waterproof mascara. I have been liking the Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil because it doesn’t leave any traces of my overly blushed face behind.

Next is an everyday cleanser. This is where the skin cleansing begins! I recommend Kieran’s Cleanser by Surreal Skincare. It’s all-natural and leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped. You can use your hands, or if you prefer a tool like a Foreo or Clarisonic, go for it. Give your face a nice massage (a little self-care moment for you) and dab your skin dry with a towel.

Step two: Toner

Right after you cleanse and dry your face, guess what? There is still makeup and other free radicals (thanks pollution). Think of toner as your trusted confidant. It’s a solution thinner than face wash that can remove the rest of the particles that cleansers can’t. If not removed, this can create our collective favorite.. acne. Apply this with a cotton round and swipe over your face. Don’t miss a spot! If you see any residual makeup on the cotton round, give your face a second pass to ensure all the remaining build up is gone. For a deep clean, the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Toner holds up.

Step three: Essence

When you open your first bottle of essence, you might think, “Why did I just buy an overpriced bottle of water??” Fear not! Similar to toner, essence has a very thin consistency so it can penetrate to the deepest levels of your skin. However, unlike toner, instead of stripping your pores of dirt and bacteria, essence slides in to rebalance your skin’s hydration levels. When it comes to youthful-looking skin, hydration is the name of the game! I recommend The Essence by Tatcha because it is both plumping, anti-aging, and doesn’t contain any icky ingredients.

Step four: Serums, serums, serums!

This is my favorite step to be honest. This is where the actual work of correcting skincare concerns happens. Depending on your skin type, you can modify this step however works best for you. You can layer serums on top of one other from thinnest to thickest in consistency to combat your various concerns.


DRY: If you are dry, hydration is key. Hyaluronic acid is your new best friend. This might sound a little sketchy to those who have never used it before but trust, it will bring your skin to life! The Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum by Peter Thomas Roth is like drinking a gallon of water for your face. This powerhouse humectant keeps skin plump and holds 1,000 times its weight in water. This will give you that “I just got back from Tulum calm” you have been dying for.

NORMAL/COMBO: I would again recommend a hydrating serum like hyaluronic acid or something really nourishing like Dr. Perricone Chia Seed serum. This product is known as a great multitasker. It conditions and hydrates the skin leaving it glowing and it can also be added to foundation to create a natural yet dewy finish.

OILY: if you are oily like me, serums that balance oil production should be your focus. Acne Assassin by Surreal Skincare is amazing at combatting current breakouts and future ones that are developing below the skin’s surface. It is 100 percent natural and made in NYC. It has actually transformed my skin and knocked my acne out—no joke.

Now if you don’t know what your skin type is or are focused on anti-aging, Slay. by anese.co is your go-to. It firms, moisturizes, and reduces fine lines and is great for all skin types.

After, use a Vitamin C serum to brighten your overall skin, but most importantly to lighten any acne scars. I recommend the Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum and the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum.

Step five: Moisturizer

Last but not least: moisturizing! This is your last round of hydration to lock in all those juicy serums. Can you tell I really love skincare??

At night, I recommend a thick moisturizer with a creamy consistency. This will seal in the moisture you worked so hard to restore overnight. The right moisturizer will have you looking like you got a full eight hours of sleep—even if you didn’t. I always look for something that has added benefits like anti-aging. If you are a side sleeper like me, there is constant pressure on your face that overtime creates unwanted sleep lines. Filorga Time Filler Absolute Wrinkle Correction Cream and the Regenerator by Surreal Skincare have been working wonders for me.

During the day, a gel-based moisturizer like the Tatcha Water Cream works best. For those who wear makeup, this consistency will provide sufficient hydration and prep the skin for foundation, while keeping your face from becoming a slip-n-slide throughout the day.

As with anything, there will be an adjustment period. Give your skin time to settle in to its new routine. It takes 27 days for your skin cells to completely regenerate. In that time, you may notice your skin adjusting to the new products and sometimes that means you may get a breakout or two. Not to worry, that doesn’t mean the products or routine doesn’t work for you, it just means your pores are ridding themselves of bacteria and free radicals that you don’t want in there in the first place. If sensitivity or breakouts persists after 30 days, change up some of the products to suite you best.  

These are some basic yet essential steps to help you along on your skincare journey. You can spend hours looking through different skin elixirs to slather on your face, but hopefully this gives you a great place to start. Whether your Lewis & Clark-ing it or you’re the Sacagawea of skincare (look it up, kids), know that this part of your day is all about you. So make it what you want!

Featured collage courtesy of Zoe Kidwell

Stay tuned to Milk for more skincare tips.

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