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Post in Skincare Aware

Not sure where to start!

Hi everyone, I recently turned 30 and I’ve decided I probably need to start taking better care of my skin! Problem is I have no idea where to start. I’d like to keep it affordable and minimal but I have no real clue what I should add in. Maybe a moisturizer? I don’t know! I don’t wear makeup most days and I always remove with a miscellar water. 


I use Nutrogena oil free acne wash daily scrub and I have acne prone skin but nothing else. It helps keep things at bay but not clear all the time. Ive always thought of my skin as oily but not extremely so. I tend to breakout a lot around the sides of my face/chin but also on my cheeks. My skin also tends to be pretty sensitive. 


Any help?

Re: Not sure where to start!

Thank you everyone! I wasn't getting email responses to this post and I totally spaced. I will take all your advice in and head to the store soon.

Re: Not sure where to start!

@samtind  You need 5 steps (4 in the night you don't need sunscreen in the night), one product from each of the below category -

Products with * sign below are being used by either me or my tweens and have been effective as well as gentle. I have listed only low cost recommendations here. 

Take serum and moisturizer to your neck and eyes if you are not ultra sensitive in eye area. 


Minimum, affordable routine

Cleanser -

  • Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser,
  • First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser*
  • The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

are good low cost one.

  • Drunk Elephant Beste* you can get in MArshalls etc on sale. 

If you wear make-up you need something that can clean off the silicones. All the above ones would. 


Exfoliation -

  • CosRx Blackhead power liquid (2% BHA) in Ulta*


Treatment Serum -

  • The Ordinary Buffet 
  • Niacinamide serum (will help with breakouts and reducing dark spots)


Moisturizer -   

  • The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA*
  • Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream,
  • The Inkey List Turmeric

are all good and low cost.       


Sunscreen -

  • Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte*
  • Derma E Sun Defense Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 Face,
  • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream SPF 30

(last two are currently on sale in dermstore)

Re: Not sure where to start!

@samtind You may wish to read "The Beauty Bible" by Paula Begoun.  It's been years since it was last published, but the info is still sound.


The CeraVe is a good cleanser, so you're off to a good start.  I also love their moisturizer (CeraVe PM).  To address acne, BHA is great.  I only rec Paula's Choice. It comes in 1, 2, 4 and 9%.  You may wish to start with the 2% and take it from there.  Differin is also good.  It is available OTC, but I think the Rx version is superior.


For anti-aging, antioxidants, AHA and retinol are fabulous.  For budget-friendly lines, you can try The Ordinary and The Inkey List (new to Sephora).  Alpha Skin Care also has some nice AHAs.  I personally use Paula's Choice 8% AHA, FIRST AID BEAUTY - FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% Pure Concentrate

(I'm increasing slowly to OBAGI CLINICAL - Retinol 0.5 Retexturizing Cream)

and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair® Hydrating Serum

which is billed as a hydrating product but has some nice antioxidants.


Best of luck!

Re: Not sure where to start!

Moisturizer is good but sunscreen is more important if you aren't already using it. For affordable skincare, I'd recommend CeraVe @samtind.

Re: Not sure where to start!

Hello! Fellow 'recently turned 30' over here :)!

I actually have been a skincare junkie since about 18 years old (I struggled with acne for years prior and have been dealing with adult acne/scarring since).  

It sounds like, from what you've stated, that you get hormonal acne (if it's around the sides of your face/chin).  Do you breakout regularly or just occasionally?

I also don't wear a lot of makeup so I'll focus on what my recommendations would be as far as introducing.

Important- moisturizer and sunscreen

Semi Important (to me)- Night serum, weekly mask, eye cream

Here's my excessive skincare routine:

Morning- gentle face wash, an essence/treatment lotion and a light moisturizer

Evening- deep cleansing face wash, rice powder exfoliant, essence, night serum (vitamin c), and either an oil or night moisturizer


A good moisturizer should help replenish your skin after washing your face (washing your face can strip natural oils).  Dry skin is not good for anti-aging.  Hate saying that word sometimes because I feel like as 30, we are very youthful 🙂 Just preparing!

There are a ton of moisturizers our there that work for oily skin or even slightly oily.  A good moisturizer (in my opinion) should sink into the skin.

I always use sunscreen when I am out in the sun.  There are a lot of great products on Sephora that are great for the face and not just ones that you spray all over your body (Which can feel greasy).

A night serum that I use will almost always include Vitamin C.  This is great at rejuvenating the skin, followed up by a moisturizer.  Some moisturizers are made for night (cells rejuvenate at night) so depending on what you want to invest in, there are many as well made specifically for night.

Eye creams are also a good anti-aging. I recently started to dabble in this.  I don't have any issues (besides darkness under my eyes) but I am told, always, to use one to prevent.

I love using a weekly mask (I use one with AHA/BHA) and a clay one (used at separate times, of course) to help with acne flare ups or just prevention and to really clean out the skin.


I do use a lot of product but I have found what works for my skin throughout the years and have fallen into quite a routine.  I think the more you get to know what you're looking for (anti-aging, hydrating your skin, acne), etc. it will be easier to recommend!

I have a ton of product I can recommend but I don't want to overload you.  If you have any questions, let me know and I would be more than happy to recommend product!


Not sure where to start!

Oh my! I think you may not have got many replies bc your ?'s are many and huge. so much info to give you. wish I could talk to you. But here is some starters : 1. get a gentler cleanser, if you strip oil your skin over produces more to make up. 2. eye cream morning and night. I started at 30 and sooo glad I did. 3. daytime moisturizer, oil free, with sun protection. 4. night moisturizer with retinol (put some around eyes too) hope this helps. this is a basic routine. so proud you want to care for your skin.

Re: Not sure where to start!

Thank you! I would be happy to fill in more info about my skin but I just don’t know anything about it! That totally helps me thank you again!

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