I'm a Skincare Expert—This Is the Uncomplicated Routine I Recommend to Everybody in Summer

Building a skincare routine is never an easy task. When you’re faced with an overwhelming array of products to choose from—on top of trying to figure out your skin type and work out what your skin actually needs—things can get complicated.

The most important thing with skincare is consistency and patience, and as an esthetician, I advise most of my clients to make changes to their skincare routines no more than twice a year. Amping up the rich creams and thicker serums to nourish skin for the winter, and then building out a lightweight skincare routine with thinner, fresher formulas for summer.

Lightweight skincare routine

(Image credit: @nnennaechem)

There certainly is no one-size-fits-all skincare routine that works for everybody, but if you have oily skin, dehydrated skin, experience congestion, or simply want a lightweight skincare routine for the summer months, you’ve come to the right place. Whenever I sit down with clients who want an easy-to-follow, straightforward, but still effective skincare routine, this simple five-step plan is exactly what I recommend.

1. Cleanser

Cleansing should always be the first step in any skincare routine, no matter hat your skin type. This essential element ensures that makeup, SPF, oil, and pollution are removed from the skin, allowing for the ingredients in the rest of our products to absorb better.

If you want a lightweight cleanser that will leave your skin feeling clean and fresh, look for gel and foam formulas, which work hard to break down impurities, but are quick and easy to remove.

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2. Face Mist

Face mists and toners are an often overlooked step, but can make a huge difference to skin that’s dehydrated—and as an esthetician I can tell you that the vast majority of us have dehydrated skin.

These light, thin solutions won’t feel heavy or sticky, but will provide skin with an initial boost of hydration, prepping it for the application of serums and moisturisers—which will perform better when applied to damp skin.

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3. Serum

Serums are where the magic happens. These potent blends of active ingredients are designed to penetrate the skin deeply and work hard and fast to address specific skin concerns.

While serums can vary in texture and formula, if you want a lightweight skincare routine, then look for water-based hydrating formulas. These will absorb quickly, won’t leave residue or feel heavy, and will instead help to provide an intensive hydration boost.

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4. Moisturiser

One thing that your skincare can never have enough of is moisture—no matter what your skin type. The best moisturisers will help to seal in all of the ingredients you’ve already applied, while softening and smoothing the skin’s surface in the process.

Avoid rich, heavy, oil-based cream formulas and look instead for lightweight gel and gel-cream textures. These will feel refreshingly light and will absorb quickly, leaving skin with a healthy glow.

5. SPF

The most essential step in any skincare routine is SPF—no matter what the weather or time of year. Sunscreen helps to protect our skin from UV rays which are the primary cause of skin cancer as well as causing the long-term damage that leads to signs of skin ageing. To protect your skin, SPF should be applied generously as the final step in your skincare routine, and reapplied throughout the day.

Sunscreen formulas have typically always been quite heavy and chalky, but fortunately brands have begun to formulate lighter, thinner alternatives which don’t leave any cast or residue on the skin.

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Freelance Beauty Editor

Grace Day is a beauty editor and content creator. She has over 10 years of beauty-industry experience, spanning editorial, retail, and e-commerce, which gives her a unique understanding into how people shop for their beauty routines. While studying for a history degree (specialising in the history of beauty) and working as a beauty adviser in department stores, Grace started writing her own beauty blog in order to share the products she discovered while dealing with acne. After graduating, she moved to Beauty Bay as beauty editor and content manager. Grace is currently a beauty contributor to Who What Wear. She has also written for Hypebae and PopSugar and works as a brand consultant and copywriter.