When I first started getting into skin care, I used to think there was just cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizers. That’s it. Turns out, there are way more skin care products out there.

When it comes to choosing products, you want to make sure you’re choosing products with actually beneficial ingredients (You can download a free handbook of good natural ingredients here!)

Along with picking the right products, the order they’re applied is also important. Depending on your skin type, however, you may choose to not use one or two things. For example, I don’t use an eye cream because the skin around my eyes manages just fine when I use my facial moisturizer on it.

Below, I have put together a basic rundown of the products people talk about in the order they’re applied and whether they’re actually essential to your skin care routine or not.


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skin care products


Cleanser (ESSENTIAL)

Use a mild, gentle cleanser so you can use it every day without causing any irritation. Do not use soap. A soap and a cleanser are not the same thing, as soap will leave a residue.

A lot of people choose to double cleanse.

Double cleansing, defined by Elle, is “using a cleansing oil, balm, or micellar water to break down make-up, SPF, and sebum [the skin’s natural moisturiser] on the surface of your skin first, then following it with a deeper water-based cleanse.”

Double cleansing is incredibly beneficial for your skin and very effective.

Exfoliator (ESSENTIAL)

Exfoliating removes dead skin cells on the surface of the skin to keep your skin smooth and reduce any chance of your pores clogging. It also makes your complexion brighter.

There are two types of exfoliators:

Chemical exfoliators use acids that break down the glue holding skin cells together (it’s not as scary as it sounds). Things like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid.

Physical exfoliators are scrubs that use small particles to loosen up dead skin cells so they slough off.

Which one is better? Chemical exfoliators. Here’s why:

  • They’re more effective
  • They exfoliate more evenly
  • They’re not so harsh on the skin (scrubs can cause micro-tears on the skin)
  • They do way more than just exfoliate. Glycolic acid also hydrates and boosts collagen production (the protein that keeps skin firm and young), salicylic acid exfoliates inside the pores too to prevent acne, and lactic acid is gentle enough for sensitive skin.


Although I wouldn’t consider them an essential in your skin care routine, masks and peels do make a great addition.

Masks and peels provide your skin with extra treatment.

Masks can provide extra moisture, absorb excess oil, and give treatments to the skin to fight acne, inflammation, or aging.

Peels exfoliate by gently removing the top layer of skin to smooth the complexion. They also even out your skin’s pigment, smooth out wrinkles, and clear pores.


Toners balance the pH of the skin and remove any impurities left after cleansing.

I personally don’t think you need one. Of course, that is completely up to you but definitely take a look at this post to see why a toner is probably not necessary.

Spot Treatment (NON-ESSENTIAL)

Spot treatments are just that – they are applied directly onto any blemishes or “spots” to treat them. Spot treatments are most effective at night since they can use the whole night to seep into the skin. Some good natural spot treatments are honey, aloe vera gel, and tea tree oil.

Although not essential, if you have found a spot treatment that works really well, then go for it!


Serums penetrate deeper to deliver active ingredients to the skin. This allows them to do all sorts of things, depending on what the ingredients are.

The most important type of serum you should have in your routine? An antioxidant serum.

Antioxidants are so important for the skin. They fight free radicals that cause premature wrinkles.

Antioxidants are ingredients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, and grape extract.


Eye creams are meant to deliver ingredients that fix the problems seen around the eyes such as wrinkles and puffiness.

If you compare a facial moisturizer with an eye cream, you’ll most likely see very similar ingredients which is why I say you probably don’t need an eye cream either.

Moisturizer (ESSENTIAL)

Moisturizer is critical for the skin to hydrate it, protect it, and control sebum (oil) production on the face by keeping it hydrated so the skin doesn’t need to pump out more oil.

Try applying your moisturizer when your face is still damp. This will lock in the water, hydrating your skin even more.


Apply a night cream every night before bed. Night creams are thick so they’re meant to hold in moisture more effectively since you lose a lot of moisture through your skin overnight. After applying it, let it absorb into your face for a few minutes before going to bed so it doesn’t come off on your pillowcase.

You may not need a night cream. Despite having skin on the drier side, I actually don’t use night cream because I find that there’s no difference between when I use one and when I don’t.


Whether it’s summer or winter, every morning you should be applying SPF of at least 15 to your face. Sun protection is so important for the skin to prevent aging and any long-term sun damage.

Avoid using a moisturizer with SPF in it. This is usually not as effective as using an actual sunscreen.

What products do you use in your skin care routine?

Simply Minimal Signature


free skin care ingredients handbook



Skin Care Based on Your Skin Type

10 Things You Should Be Doing in the Shower

What You Need to Know About Sensitive Skin


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  1. Haley Chisholm

    Wow there are so many helpful tips on here! I struggle with organization and skin care and I agree that purging a lot of things at home helps reduce stress and gives you more time for important things 🙂 As far as skin care I have easily agitated skin and I am vegan so it is very hard to find products that work for my lifestyle and skin type. Is there any tips you can give me for vegan, sensitive skin care products and routines?

    • Jenna

      Thank you so much! I will be posting many helpful skincare products, most of which are natural and vegan since they contain mainly plant extracts! I will also have a whole post dedicated to sensitive skin since it’s very common and tricky to deal with so stay tuned for those posts! Thanks again for the feedback 🙂

  2. Gaby

    This was super helpful! I love your blog and all of your skincare help❤️☺️

    • Jenna

      Thank you so much, Gaby! That means a lot and I’m soooo happy my blog is helpful to you!


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