Last Updated on 3rd December 2023 by Sarah Sarsby

The best skincare routine for beginners image

In this blog post, I share my recommendations for the best skincare routine for beginners, focusing on a simple yet effective routine.

If you’re just starting to get into skincare, it can be pretty overwhelming. There are so many products out there like serums, essences, facial oils, cleansing butters and facial mists. Where do you begin and what does your skin actually need?

This blog post contains my suggestions for the best skincare routine for beginners. I’m not a dermatologist or aesthetician so if you have any skin concerns, you should seek a dermatologist for specialist advice. This content is based on all the different dermatologists and aestheticians I follow, as well as advice from fellow skincare enthusiasts, and products that I know and love.

If you’ve got your skincare routine down, this blog post probably isn’t for you (although you might find some new holy grail products in this post). But if you’re a beginner looking to create a new skincare routine, this blog post will be helpful.

** This post contains some affiliate links. This means at no extra cost to you, I earn some commission if you purchase a product through my link. All thoughts are my own, though, as always. If you want to find out more, visit my affiliate disclosure page **

The basics

Before I delve into my skincare routine for beginners, let’s start with the basics.

For the most minimal skincare routine, you should be using:

  • A cleanser
  • A moisturiser
  • SPF

These 3 products are the most essential in any skincare routine. Ask any dermatologist and they will tell you that SPF is the single most crucial skincare product. According to Doctorly, you should apply 2 finger lengths of SPF to cover your face, neck and ears.

You can add other skincare products into the mix, like serums, facial oils, toners, retinol, etc. For more information on how to layer skincare products, read my blog post here.

Morning skincare routine

The following products are laid out in the order you should use them: cleanser, serum (optional), moisturiser and then SPF.

1. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

£9.50 for 236ml

CeraVe Hydrating Cleansing image
Credit: CeraVe

The CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is a trustworthy classic and recommended by many dermatologists. It’s hydrating, gentle and effectively removes dirt from the skin. For people not wanting to spend a lot on skincare, this is an affordable option. Although this cleanser is aimed at people with normal to dry skin, this would work for oilier and combination skins too as it’s non-stripping.

Buy it from: Boots

Other recommendations: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

2. NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex MMHC2 (optional) 

£25 for 15ml

NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex image
Credit: Cult Beauty

Adding a serum into your routine is optional. Although I personally believe this is a great step, it’s not a necessity. If you would like to add a serum to your routine, though, I’d highly recommend the NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex MMHC2.

Containing 12 forms of hyaluronic compounds, this serum intensely hydrates the skin. Your skin will look and feel soft, smooth and plump. It’s a great way to add extra moisture to your skincare routine.

Buy it from: Cult Beauty

Other hyaluronic acid serum recommendations: Vichy Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Booster Serum or The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser

£12.99 for 50ml

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser image
Credit: Boots

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser is iconic. This lightweight moisturiser is hydrating and refreshing, without feeling greasy or sticky. There are other versions of this gel cream in the Neutrogena line, depending on your skin type. But this particular version is arguably the most versatile and popular. £12.99 for 50ml is a very respectable price.

Where to buy: Boots

Other recommendations: e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream Fragrance Free or REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream

4. Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor SPF30

£32 for 50ml

 Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor SPF30 image
Credit: Boots

Honestly, the Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor SPF30 deserves way more attention. This is one of the nicest sunscreens I’ve ever used. It’s lightweight, doesn’t leave a chalky cast (this SPF is tried and tested on deeper skins too), smells sweet and fruity, and gives your skin a gorgeous glow. Using an SPF in your skincare routine is essential, even for beginners.

The Hydra Vizor doesn’t have that typical clinical SPF smell and feel to it, which makes it more pleasant to use. You can also buy refills to reduce waste once your current bottle has run out.

Where to buy: Boots

Other recommendations: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF50+ or Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50

Evening skincare routine

The following products are laid out in the order you should use them: first cleanse, second cleanse, serum (optional), facial oil (optional) and then night cream/moisturiser.

1. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter 

£11 for 90ml

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter image
Credit: The Body Shop

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is great at removing any dirt, SPF or makeup from your face as your first cleanse. It’s gentle and suitable for sensitive skin, which means it won’t leave your skin feeling tight or stripped. After using this beautiful cleanser, your skin will feel calm, soft and soothed. 90ml for £11 is a total steal as well.

Where to buy: The Body Shop

Other recommendations: The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm or iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil

2. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

£9.50 for 236ml

CeraVe Hydrating Cleansing image
Credit: CeraVe

You can use the same CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser as mentioned above for your second cleanse. This avoids you having to buy more cleansers when you don’t need to. If you like trying new skincare products, you could definitely treat yourself to a different cleanser here.

3. The INKEY List Niacinamide (optional)

£6.99 for 30ml

The Inkey List Niacinamide image
Credit: Cult Beauty

If you’re looking for a more minimal skincare routine, you can skip this step. But adding niacinamide into your beginner skincare routine is a great idea so that you can reap the benefits of this powerhouse ingredient. The INKEY List Niacinamide is one of the most affordable niacinamide serums on the market.

Niacinamide targets breakouts, minimises pores and decongests confused complexions by regulating sebum production. It also helps renew and restore the surface of skin against moisture loss and dehydration by helping skin improve its natural production of skin-strengthening ceramides.

Where to buy: Cult Beauty

Other recommendations: Glossier Super Pure or The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

4. The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil (optional)

£8.10 for 30ml

The Ordinary Marula Oil image
Credit: The Ordinary

If you’re looking to inject some added moisture into your routine, you might want to consider using a facial oil, like The Ordinary’s 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil. Marula oil offers antioxidants, hydrates the skin and is claimed to help restore a radiant tone, according to The Ordinary. This facial oil is very affordable too. People with drier skin will particularly enjoy using a facial oil in their routine.

Where to buy: Beauty Bay

Other recommendations: Indeed Labs Squalane Facial Oil or NUXE Huile Prodigieuse

5. The Body Shop Vitamin E Night Cream

£15 for 50ml

The Body Shop Vitamin E Night Cream image
Credit: The Body Shop

The Body Shop Vitamin E Night Cream is a gorgeous, soothing and nourishing night cream. Although rich and luxurious, this night cream isn’t sticky or heavy. It hydrates, protects and renews the skin while you sleep. The Body Shop says this product is suitable for all skin types but some people may experience sensitivity to vitamin E. If you find vitamin E aggravating, please see my other night cream suggestions below.

Where to buy: The Body Shop

Other recommendations: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturising Lotion or Weleda Skin Food

Final thoughts on the best skincare routine for beginners

I hope you found this blog post helpful and discovered some new skincare goodies to introduce to your life.

Remember that skincare is personal. You know what your skin needs best so what works for you may not work for someone else. Some of it is simply down to trial and error. Find what works for your skin and stick to those products.

Do you use any of the products in this blog post? Let me know in the comments below!