A simple skincare routine is all you need to keep your skin looking on point — six steps, and you’re done!

Who says skincare has to be as complicated as your last relationship status? Here’s the deal: a simple skincare routine suits most peeps and complexions. Forget the 10-step routines that feel like a part-time job. You can still look flawless without much effort.

Life’s too short, so strip it back to basics — cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, treat, moisturize, and protect. That’s the skincare routine that can elevate your face game.

So, if you’re ready to give your skin what it craves but don’t have time to spare, continue reading to learn about a basic but brilliant skincare routine.

Glowing skin starts with a clean slate. Just like you wouldn’t apply a fresh coat of paint over a dirty wall — a.k.a. the landlord’s special — don’t slap products on skin that hasn’t been thoroughly cleansed.

There’s a ton of different cleansers out there, so choose one tailored to your skin’s needs, for example:

  • Gel cleansers. They’re great for oily and combination skin types. They dive deep, cutting through grease to unclog pores while waving goodbye to excess oil and acne-causing bacteria.
  • Cream cleansers. Creamy, dreamy, and as gentle as a lo-fi beat. These are packed with moisturizing agents that hydrate and soothe dry or irritated skin.
  • Foam cleansers. Light, airy, and effective for combo skin. These cleansers remove dirt without overdrying the dry areas or underwhelming the oily zones.
  • Micellar water. Gentle and effective, micellar water attracts dirt and oil like a magnet and is suitable for most skin types.

Now it’s time to bring in the exfoliation squad to declutter your pores, allowing them to breathe easy, free from dead skin cells and grime.

You have a couple of options when it comes to exfoliation. Physical exfoliation involves using a brush, skin scrubber, or products with small particles, like coffee or sugar, to sweep away dead skin cells, making way for the new. But gently does it — think of it as petting a cat, not scrubbing a pot.

The other option is chemical exfoliants, such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), and fruit enzymes. These guys work by breaking down the glue that holds dead skin cells together. AHAs are good for surface-level exfoliation, while BHAs go deep into the pores, perfect for oily skin.

How often should you exfoliate? It depends on your skin type. Oily skin can usually handle more, while dry or sensitive skin might only need a once-a-week session. So, listen to your skin and experiment to see what works best for you.

Hydration is absolutely essential. Here’s what you need to know to keep your skin from feeling like a dried-up sponge:

  • Hyaluronic acid. This moisture magnet draws water into the skin and holds it there, making everything plump and happy.
  • Glycerin. Another hydration hero. Glycerin locks in moisture, creating a protective barrier.
  • Aloe vera. Not just for sunburns, aloe vera is excellent for all-around soothing and hydrating.

Look for these ingredients in skincare products, like serums, hydrating mists, creams, and lotions.

Pimples? No problem. Use a spot treatment to deliver targeted care and avoid collateral damage.

The main players:

  • Salicylic acid. It goes deep into pores to break up the party, causing the breakout. It’s great for blackheads and whiteheads, making it a go-to for targeted pimple warfare.
  • Benzoyl peroxide. An on-the-spot treatment to kill acne-causing bacteria. It can be a bit drying, though, so use sparingly.
  • Tea tree oil. Prefer to keep it natural? Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties to help calm the storm without going full chemical.
  • Hydrocolloid patches. These are like mini vacuums for your zits, sucking out the gunk while protecting the area from bacteria (and prying fingers).

It’s time to seal the deal with a moisturizer and keep all that good moisture locked in and protected from the harsh elements outside. Whether your skin is oily, dry, or somewhere in between, there’s a moisturizer out there that fits just right.

  • Oily skin. Look for lightweight, oil-free formulas.
  • Dry skin. Cream-based moisturizers are your best friend.
  • Combination skin. Go with something hydrating but not too rich.

Look for drying ingredients like alcohol in high concentrations. They act like sandpaper, stripping away the moisture you worked so hard to lock in.

Sunscreen is non-negotiable. Every. Single. Day. Think of it as the helmet for your bike ride or the life jacket for your swim. It protects against UV rays that can cause aging (UVA) and burning (UVB). Even if you’re inside, those rays can sneak through windows and wreak silent havoc.

Choose a broad-spectrum product to ensure you’re covered for UVA and UVB rays, and it should be SPF 30 or higher. And don’t forget to reapply, especially if you’re outside for extended periods.

A simple yet comprehensive skincare routine doesn’t need to take up more time than your coffee brewing in the morning.

Cleanse to clear the stage, exfoliate to get rid of deadbeat cells, hydrate to keep things smooth, treat any unwelcome guests, moisturize to lock it down, then protect with SPF and you’re done!