The pursuit of perfect skin can be overwhelming. From 15-step K-Beauty routines, to slug facials there’s enough conflicting information to make you break out. Thankfully, modern science has whittled down an ideal facial regimen to three-ish easy steps. You can take those steps and modify them to fit your specific skin needs, mix it up with drugstore products or the top-shelf stuff but it all boils down to these components.Here’s your simple guide to mastering at-home skincare once and for all. 

1. Cleanse (30 seconds to a minute)

Most experts recommend washing your face twice a day —although some people with oily or acneic complexions might just stick to an evening cleanse. The first step of any routine should be to swab off your makeup using wipes, soap and water, or the french girl classic: Micellar Water. 

Some people are advocates of double cleansing which involves using one product to take off your makeup and another to wash the face a second time. Don’t put too much elbow grease in though, the goal here is to clean the face, not strip it of its natural oils. 

Those of us who grew up as St. Ives Queens might be inclined to reach for an exfoliating cleanser but contemporary findings say that using something with walnut shells or other scrubbing agents can actually tear or dry out skin if used every day. Try to limit exfoliation to once or twice a week. 

2. Tone (30 seconds) 

Toning is a way of replenishing anything good that cleansing might have accidentally taken off of your face. It’s a balancing step that also preps your mug for moisturizing and cleans it a little too. Apply toner when your face is still damp from step one. Use a cotton ball or cloth to lightly dab toner all over. Experiment a bit and figure out what toner works best for your skin type, and if you’re feeling dried out by this step try using a product without astringent alcohol. 

2 ½. Serums (5 minutes)

Think of this step as extra credit once you’ve already done the basics. A serum is a high concentration of specific ingredients, meaning it’s something you can apply based on your personalized facial issues. Serums are great ways to spot treat things like redness, wrinkles, acne scars, and more. And the neat thing is, you can use several serums at a time, just make sure to allow 5-ish minutes between each layer to allow your skin to absorb the product.

3. Moisturize (30 seconds) 

The most beautiful granny you know will tell you, long-lasting gorgeous skin starts with moisturizer. You should be applying this twice a day all over your face and even down to your decolletage. Daytime moisturizer tends to be lighter and is meant to act as a layer of protection between your face and harsh elements like wind and sun. Most derms suggest you use a product that has at least 30 SPF broad spectrum coverage. If your moisturizer of choice doesn’t have this element, layer a light sunscreen over it. 

Night-time moisturizer helps baby your face after a day spent outside. It tends to be thicker and sit on the skin a little longer. 

Both kinds of moisturizer can be applied with clean hands, but be careful not to pull your skin near your sensitive under eye area. 

If you’re still confused about building the perfect routine book a virtual skincare consultation with a StyleSeat pro.