Beginner’s Guide to Skincare

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How do I determine my skin type?

The tissue test.

Wash your face, dry it and don’t moisturise it (and try not to touch it). An hour later, blot your face with a tissue and examine the tissue. If there’s nothing on it but your skin still feels tight, you have dry skin. If there’s nothing and your skin feels and looks okay, congrats, you have normal skin. An oily skin will leave traces and look shiny. A combination skin will leave oily traces but feel dry or flaky in certain places.

Other cues: 

* Oily skin usually has enlarged pores and is more prone to breakouts. 

* Dry skin will flake under foundation if you don’t use a primer or a good enough moisturiser,  wrinkles and fine lines will appear earlier

* Combo skin will have enlarged pores only near the nose

What’s the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?

Long story short: dry skin lacks oil, dehydrated skin lacks water. In other words, dehydration is temporary. Oily and combo skins can be dehydrated, but they can’t obviously be dry.

What does drinking water actually do for my skin?

Water helps the flushing of toxins out of your body. According to some sources, drinking enough water can also help with the texture and tone of your skin by helping it build new cells.

What foods should I be eating to improve the appearance of my skin?

Healthy fats: salmon, mackerel, herring, avocados, walnuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, almonds

Veggies: sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, 

Whole grain foods

Dark chocolate

What foods should I avoid?

Refined sugars, too many dairy products, too much salt, processed foods, fast food, caffeine, gluten for some people, spicy foods (if you suffer from rosacea), alcohol.

In short: all the good stuff. 

In what order should I apply skin care?

cleanser (double cleanse, especially if you’ve worn makeup or SPF, especially at night)

exfoliant (don’t wash it off, let it dry out before moving on to the next step)

toner (e.g. rose water) (optional)

serum(s) (start with the thinnest end with the thickest)

oil (usually only at night)

creams (SPF after moisturiser, and before makeup)

I can’t afford all of these products: what is the bare minimum?

Cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.

Truck driver, the left side of his face was chronically exposed to the sun for 28 years. He didn’t wear SPF. 
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Does wearing makeup cause acne?

Makeup can clog pores, especially if the formula isn’t right for your skin type. If you suffer from acne, make sure to get complexion products that aren’t oil-based and that are non-comedogenic. 

Also, make sure to remove your makeup thoroughly every night and to double cleanse (I mentioned an amazing double cleanser in my September empties.)

When should I start wearing anti-aging products?

You can start in your 20s, but you have to keep in mind that anti-aging skincare is targeted to dry skin (because mature skin doesn’t retain moisture as well as it used to) and that it might be too rich for you.

It’s probably wiser to incorporate anti-aging skincare into your routine gradually. I’m 36 and my routine isn’t fully anti-aging yet. But, I’m already using a retinol toner, anti-aging masks and serums. I have experimented with an anti-aging night cream, but found it unpleasantly thick. My skin wasn’t absorbing it properly. That’s how I knew it wasn’t ready for that type of product yet.

The most important anti-aging step you can take when you are in your 20s is to wear sunscreen (trust me, you’ll thank me in 10 years). 

Also, using an eye cream that is way too rich for your under-eye skin might cause milia (see picture below).

source: aesthetics of London

Other random tips

Try not to touch your face too much, your hands are full of bacteria (you’ve been rubbing your smartphone screen all day).

Don’t wash your face with hot water in the shower, it’ll dilate your pores and nobody wants that. 

Get a lot of sleep. 

If you have dry or sensitive skin, avoid foaming cleansers. 

When applying skincare products, massage your skin instead of just dabbing cream. It’ll improve blood circulation. 

Clean those bloody makeup brushes. 

Wear SPF and sunglasses.

Stop smoking.

Twin A doesn’t smoke. Source:

Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comments!

For Pinterest:

the beginner's guide to skincare


    • Kate
      November 6, 2018 / 11:57 pm

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  1. October 31, 2018 / 4:00 pm

    Great post for someone as clueless as me! However I have a problem with the part about avoiding all the best food’s….you literally listed my diet.

    • Kate
      October 31, 2018 / 6:04 pm

      Imagine if all those foods actually made us slim and healthy. What a life we would live.

  2. October 29, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    This is freaking amazing. I’ve never heard of the skin type test with waiting an hour after washing your face! Fascinating. Also – perfect, love dark chocolate 😉

    • Kate
      October 29, 2018 / 9:58 pm

      I think there’s a limit to dark chocolate LOL

        • Kate
          October 30, 2018 / 1:49 pm

          lol :*

  3. October 27, 2018 / 3:07 am

    Omg this post is the holy grail to skincare. Amazing tips, I am sending this to my sister (and keeping it for myself too) because she has no idea what to do with her acne and this will be really useful. I will try out moisturiser with an SPF, and hopefully it’ll make my routine easier and quicker.

    • October 27, 2018 / 3:07 am

      And I definitely need to be drinking more water.

      • Kate
        October 27, 2018 / 10:32 am

        Me too. I feel it’ll be the challenged of a lifetime. I’ve noticed that when I force myself to drink water before I allow myself to have a meal, I tend to drink more and faster because I’m such a bloody glutton.

        • October 30, 2018 / 5:04 am

          It seems like you’re doing well if you’re drinking before meals, but I’m surprised you don’t feel a little full before starting the meal? I would be a little!

          • Kate
            October 30, 2018 / 1:48 pm

            I’m actually trying to lose weight, so feeling full before a meal is definitely something I want right now lol

          • November 1, 2018 / 5:11 am

            Pahaha, strategic as always 😘

          • Kate
            November 1, 2018 / 7:13 am

            hahaha 🙂

          • November 1, 2018 / 5:13 am

            Modern renaissance eyeshadow palette, the shades are simply stunning.

          • Kate
            November 1, 2018 / 7:13 am

            It’s their best 🙂

    • Kate
      October 27, 2018 / 10:32 am


  4. October 23, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    As someone who basically as no skin care routine this is so useful! I know I need to get one but didn’t know what products to start with. Fortunately I have very fair skin so I can’t get away with sunscreen and have already been using that. Thanks for the tips!

    • Kate
      October 23, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Would you find it interesting to have a list of affordable skin care products for beginners?

  5. katesbeautyhome
    October 23, 2018 / 11:19 am

    You have some great advice here. I have recently been looking at what I eat and drink to help improve my skin. It sound cliche but healthy eating and plenty of water really does help improve the skins appearance plus you feel a lot better in yourself.
    Kate x

    • Kate
      October 23, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      Yeah, water and a good diet help with so many things. Yet, it is so tempting to stray LOL

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