Thank you for the quick response, Emma!
It's great to hear you that your regimen includes a make up removing step, and while wipes are a great and quick method of cleansing, they may not be the most efficient. If you think about it, a wipe gives you a set-surface area to work with, if your using it to remove make up and cleanse, then you may be going back over areas of skin with a wipe that's already loaded up with make up, oil, and the day's wear.
You can still certainly use wipes, but think of them more like the last alternative for cleansing, as in, the night is late, you're super tired, and you can't bring yourself to the sink for an actual cleanse. A wipe versus not cleansing at all will always result in the wipe being the winner of that round, but when you stack a wipe against actually cleansing with water/at the sink and a cleanser/face wash, the more traditional method will be the way to go.
Is this the Neutrogena foaming cleanser you're referring to that you use once a week (pictured below)? If not, could you please specify which one you are using?
I would put the St. Ives Apricot Scrub to use for the body rather than the face. Crushed fruit seed powders or actual sugar granuals can be rough on facial skin as the edges of the particles may be uneven and jagged, leading to risk of microtears to skin if misused or too harsh pressure is applied while working it onto skin. There are far too many alternative physical scrubs out there that don't contain rough particles than to stick with one that does. Look for alternatives with jojoba beads or silica particles which are softer, spherical, and much more gentle on skin. Powder-based exfoliants are also relatively newer on the market but becoming more popular, these tend to use starches and have a "self-adjusting" quality as they're mixed with water or cleanser and the particles slowly dissolve down as you massage, ensuring you're not overworking or overstimulating skin.
The skin care world is wide and vast and honestly, myself and the users here on Beauty Talk can recommend products all day long that may be suited in constructing a basic skin care regimen so it'll ultimately boil down to your decision of what to invest in and what to focus on.
In terms of cleansers, here's some basic information to navigate this realm:
-Gel based cleansers, these are generally geared toward oily or combination skin as gels break down and bind to oils on skin quicker than a cream based cleanser
-Cream based cleansers, these are generally geared more to dry or normal skin types and may also aid in imparting more moisture or be more conditioning in nature
-Milk cleansers, these thin/fluid-like cleansers are great for sensitive skin and are more delicate
-Oil cleansers, these types have made a huge splash in the skin care world, they're packed with fatty acids to hydrate, easily remove surface oils and can aid in regulating/rebalancing oily skin types, and aid in emulsifying make up (especially waterproof/long-wear formulas) very quickly
-Foaming cleansers, the term "foaming" may describe how a formula develops once introduced to skin and water or may be used to describe a formula with a pump-action dispense nozzle that produces an actual foam, the texture of the later tend to be very light weight and give a more basic level of cleansing
Sulfates will be a word you'll see often here in BT that is applied mainly to cleansers (from face wash, body wash, to shampoo). Sulfates are lathering agents/detergents that are used in cleansers to give that bubbly visual we associate with "being clean"; however, developments in the skin care world show that a cleanser isn't made any more efficient with the incorporation of sulfates and in fact, an excess use of them can be harsh, stripping, and drying. Bottom line, decide if this is a make or break deal for you, some folks have no issues if a cleanser has sulfates, others wish to avoid them just because there are so many sulfate-free options that they're not limited, while others steer clear for the sake that it may throw off their skin's moisture balance and cause issues.
Whether you use a separate make up remover and cleanser, or a make up remover/cleanser combo product, the key will be proper cleansing. This means taking 45 seconds at the bare minimum to massage cleanser onto skin to break down make up, dirt, oil, sebum, and even environmental pollutants that may be clinging onto skin. If you're wearing a fuller face of make up or just heavier make up than normal, even take a minute or minute and a half to massage cleanser before rinsing. For eyes, using a separate make up remover is great as this area is so delicate and you don't want to rub excessively hard or too frequently. Try to hold a cotton pad saturated with cleanser/MU remover on closed lids for 15-20+ seconds to break down make up (even longer if you're wearing waterproof/long-wear formulas) before wiping so the cleanser is allowed time to break down make up with you having to work so hard at rubbing/removal.
Toners are an optional/supplementary steps in a regimen. Toners traditionally are associated with oily, problematic, or acneic skin types due to formulas focusing on pH balance and oil regulation. Whether its through the use of astringents (which aid in constricting cell tissue to minimize the appearance of pores and regulate oil production) or clarifying ingredients, toners have since also branched into facial mists/sprays which aren't just focused on oily/problematic skin types. Conditioning liquids/sprays can be used for normal, dry, to sensitive skin types and this step will heavily involve focusing on what a toner/mist has to offer and how its formulated. Many toners still utilize drying alcohols as a method to face oil or just evaporate from skin quickly without leaving any residue, but in excess, these drying alcohols can do more harm than good. Key into formulas that may be without (again, the skin care world has developed greatly and so many options are available that you shouldn't limited to alcohol-based toners) if you're wanting to avoid drying skin or just skip toners/mists/sprays all together.
Treatments will be the the more potent step of a skin care regimen. Treatments can range from targeted creams, serums, oils, or fluids and will contain a higher concentration of active ingredients to address whatever matter you're wanting to focus on. This is where targeting issues ranging from fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, dark spots, post acne marks, brightening, firming, and blemishes will come into play. Certain treatment based ingredients or formulas will be best utilized at night when you're giving skin a chance to rest while you sleep or when you're not as active and out and about to expose skin to as many elements. Treatments and their ability to improve your skin will be best preserved and insured by utilizing adequate and proper sunscreen or sun safety practices which tie into the moisturizing/sunscreen step.
Moisturizing is the step that wraps up and finalizes a daily regimen, even if skin is oily or problematic, moisturizing is still crucial as it gives skin a regulated dose of hydration so skin's own functions won't have to work too hard to overcompensate for the lack of moisturizer. Moisturizers come in various forms, from fluids, gels, lotions, to creams. Texture-wise, choose one that feels comfortable on your skin and has a formula that takes care of your needs. For example, someone with oily skin may choose a gel-based moisturizer over a thick cream as the gel would absorb quicker, but they should keep an eye out for a formula that contains humectants to hydrate without being heavy on skin or someone with very dry skin may prefer a richer, textured cream that feels more conditioning on so they don't feel that it just sinks right in and skin is back to feeling tight or dry immediately after.
Day-time moisturizers often include some sort of SPF protection. Even though cosmetics have come a long way and now tend to incorporate some level of SPF, still obtain your sun protection via skin care means (though a moisturizer with SPF or a sunscreen layered over a non-SPF moisturizer) as it's rare that anyone would apply enough of a cosmetic item to merit the level of protection marked. It takes anywhere from 1/4 - 1/3 of a teaspoon of moisturizer with SPF or sunscreen for the face alone to get the level marked, but should you not use that much of a moisturizer with SPF or sunscreen, aim for a product with a higher SPF. For example, if you use less than 1/4 teaspoon of moisturizer with SPF 15, you may actually be getting only SPF 8 or 10 in protection versus using less than 1/4 teaspoon of moisturizer with SPF 20 which may get you SPF 12 or 15 which will be better than the first option. Sunscreens are divided into two categories, mineral/physical and chemical. Mineral or physical sunscreens would be titanium dioxide and zinc while chemical include avobenzone, meroyxyl, helioplex, and oxybenzone (as just a few examples). It's crucial to practice sun safety, in fact, regardless of age, skin care concern, or skin type, the best thing one can do for skin is protect it from UV rays. UV rays operate on two levels, UVB and UVA. UVB rays are the shorter wavelengths that are associated with producing a tan color in skin and even burning while UVA rays are longer wavelengths that break down healthy cells and cause damage ranging from sun spots/discoloration, fine lines/wrinkles, and the loss of volume/elasticity in skin.
Night-time moisturizers can be without SPF and may contain a more intensive blend of hydrating ingredients to allow for more repair and support skin's regenerative functions while you rest and sleep, again, choose a formula that works with your skin type and one that feels comfortable.
Supplementary steps such as scrubs/exfoliants, peels, and masks can be fitted in per your skin type, concerns, and what product you're looking to use. Typically, exfoliation (be it physical or chemical) is recommended on a general 1-2x basis, this can be adjusted per skin type and product used.
Physical exfoliation was covered above when discussing the St. Ives Apricot scrub. Physical scrubs/exfoliants will focus just on the physical/surface layers of skin and aid in buffing down and removing a build up of dead cells which can dull the complexion, clog pores, and lead to skin's texture being rough. Chemical exfoliants don't have a discerning physical feel and can often look like a regular face wash or be found in peels (whether it's a gel that is applied then peeled off/rinsed off, peel pads that are wiped along skin and left on/rinsed off, or in conjunction with physical particles). Chemical exfoliants focus on breaking down surface build up like physical scrubs, but also work below the surface to boost healthier cellular regeneration to ensure that you're replacing those lost skin cells with cells that are improved and in better condition.
Masks can contribute to various focuses, from purifying/clarifying skin with agents that pull impurities and excess sebum/oil to those that condition and nourish skin by imparting hydrating ingredients. Sleep masks are relatively new on the skin care market and are richer moisturizers recommended for night time use while you sleep and aren't rinsed off or removed.