Choreographing Your Routine + Why You Need One


I think one of the main reasons why people avoid taking better care of their skin is because putting together a routine can be so daunting. It sounds like work. Hard, boring work. Not to mention the fact that it’s often viewed as a means to an end (going makeup free), and if you don’t need the “end”, why would you go through the trouble? And with there being so many different kinds of products on the market, it’s a tough thing to navigate. I didn’t have any sort of routine established until I attended esthiology school, and learned how to put one together. So, let me save you 6 months of your time and $10,000, and help you put together a routine of your own. It should take about 5 posts, one for each step of a basic, bare minimum routine, now that we know our skin type.


Right now Korean skin care routines are having a major moment. There are around 10 steps (10!) in a Korean skin care regimen. The French are more simplistic, with just a few steps. Why mention these two? Because they are renowned for their gorgeous, glowing, healthy skin. I’m also using these two as a comparison to show that establishing the right routine for your skin is a balance between the number of products, and the products themselves. A routine will do you no good if you don’t use it.

Why You Need a Good, Established Routine

Great skin is a daily commitment, not an occasional action. Think of it as feeding: you wouldn’t let yourself go hungry until you needed to eat, or else. So why would you deprive your skin of something it needs daily, making it wait until “or else”?

Ideally, you’ll actually have a few different routines that make up your regimen: a morning routine that includes sunscreen (every damn day), a nighttime routine that will repair the damage from the day, and a twice-or-so-per-week routine that will target, treat, deep clean, etc. Keep in mind that the more concerns you have with your skin, the more products you’ll need. However, something is better than nothing, so work within your own parameters.

According to the Milady Standard esthetics textbook, a day routine consists of a cleanser, a toner, a serum or eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Your nighttime routine will look exactly the same, minus the sunscreen.

No matter your skin type, you need products that contain antioxidants, skin-identical and skin-repairing ingredients, and cell-communicating ingredients. In each individual post, I’ll go over what all this means in better detail. (This was something I recently learned from Paula Begoun’s book, The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here.)

Before becoming an esthetician and learning about why you need a daily routine, I was a very hands-off, low-maintenance sort of person when it came to my skin. I wouldn’t wash my face unless I was going to be putting on/taking off makeup that day, I thought masks were a waste of money, and I couldn’t make myself use more than two or three products max. I (very mistakenly) thought that I was helping my skin by keeping it product-free more often than not.

The Punk Rock Routine

I’m still building my routine. I don’t even have a separate nighttime routine established, partially because I’m too broke to buy products just to try; I have to be absolutely certain they’re going to the best thing for me before I buy them. I’m finding myself fusing together Korean and French skincare philosophies, in an effort to get my skin where I want it to be without overwhelming myself. Over the last 7 months, I’ve gotten much better about performing my routine at least once a day, and I’ve incorporated more products to achieve what I want.

Currently, I’m using up the products I received at Aveda. I like them but I’m objective. I know that there are some better products out there. And besides, you should change up your routine from time to time, like when the seasons cause changes in your skin, you aren’t getting the results you want, you get bored with your products and therefore aren’t using any, etc. You should listen to your skin and change accordingly. My skin is wtf dry, dehydrated, and mature. Here’s what my routine looks like currently, and has looked like since October:

  1. Oil and water pre-cleanse using coconut oil (removes makeup, provides a hydrating layer before using cleanser)
  2. Aveda All Sensitive Cleanser (I do love this cleanser. Think Cetaphil, but actually beneficial.)
  3. Aveda Liquid Exfoliant (another Aveda product I love, gentle enough to use daily, effective enough to see results)
  4. Mario Badescu Rosewater Toner (super gentle, smells great, hydrating; however, I don’t love all of the ingredients, like the dyes and added fragrances)
  5. Aveda Balancing Infusion (absolute holy grail product. I cannot live without this blend of hydrating oils)
  6. Aveda Energizing Eye Cream (I don’t see any difference using this product, besides adding hydration. As soon as I use up the sample that I have, I’ll be replacing it.)
  7. Aveda All Sensitive Moisturizer (I feel like Aveda moisturizers kind of just sit on the surface on your skin. However, it’s hard for me to find a moisturizer that I LOVE.)
  8. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 70 (I like how this one feels on my skin, and the fact that it has a lower smell. However, I have noticed that adds to the overall discoloration of my skin, so I’ll be trying something else once I’ve finished this bottle.)

What does your routine look like? What are you looking forward to learning more about? Let me know in the comments!


The Punk Rock Esthetician

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