Does healthy skin just happen naturally? Is it just something you’re born with or does it require regular care to achieve a blemish-free, gorgeous, glowing complexion? The answer to those questions may depend on who you ask as there certainly are those who are truly blessed with naturally beautiful skin that require little to no effort to maintain. However, for the majority of us, that is simply not the case, and the secret to beautiful, healthy skin is the result of a great daily skincare routine.

Contrary to what you may be told at some popular beauty counters, a great skincare routine does not require an extensive array of ‘break the bank’ products and extra spa treatments. There’s a plethora of affordable skin care products readily available, and when used together in a routine fashion, can deliver wonderful results for most of us. Needless to say, anyone who struggles with very difficult skin or a medical condition should probably see a dermatologist for a more specific type of skin care treatment that is customized to their particular needs.

So, let’s get to it. Bottom line, the best skin care routine is one you can follow on a daily basis, morning and night, without fail. At a minimum, this can actually be accomplished in a simple 3-step process with just a few good quality products. Keep in mind, the order of these steps DOES make a difference.

  1. Cleanse It - Think of your skin as a painter’s palette, it all begins with a clean slate. Whether or not you wear makeup, the first and most essential step to great skin is to insure it’s free of any oils, dead skin, dirt, makeup and topical products that were applied previously. This can be done with a facial cleanser and your hands, a facial brush or cloth. It’s good to choose a product that is safe for sensitive skin as they are usually alcohol and fragrance free. The key is to cleanse the skin without drying it out. Massage the cleanser gently all over the face and neck then rinse with warm water. Note: The eye area is particularly delicate so eye makeup should be taken off with a makeup remover.
  2. Tone It - This step is often skipped or assumed to be ‘extra’ but in fact, it’s not. Applying a toner after cleansing will remove any stubborn impurities remaining after cleansing. Toners also rehydrate and rebalance the natural pH of the skin and tighten pores.
  3. Hydrate - Moisturizer is for all skin types, not just dry skin. It’s necessary to help your skin stay hydrated, which gives that luminous, glowy appearance. Choosing the right daily moisturizer that feels good on your skin can take some trial and error, and depending on how dry (or not) your skin is, you may need to choose something lighter for the daytime and richer for overnight application.

When it comes to skincare, less is definitely more. There are plenty of add-on products and steps that can be incorporated—regularly or occasionally— to enhance this basic routine. Exfoliants, serums and masks all have their place in self-care, but without anything extra, you can feel confident you’re treating your skin right if you are performing this simple routine on a daily basis. Additionally, the use of a good sunscreen is essential to protect the skin anytime you plan to be outdoors, regardless of the season or climate.