The best 3-step routines to improve your skin

The world of skincare can be a maze when it comes to finding your ideal skincare routine. Some swear by the 10 Step Korean Skincare while others wash their face with Dove soap and call it a day. Having clear skin can make the difference between a bad day and a great day, so it’s understandable that people want to find the routine that leaves them with smooth, plump and blemish free skin. 

In 2019, Korean skincare was on the lips of every skincare guru, with companies like COSRX and Glow Recipe dominating the beauty world. 2020 was the year of active ingredients which worked for some, but left others with terrible breakouts and skin that was oversaturated with acids. Recently we’ve seen a return to a simpler system, the 3 Step Routine has been touted as the new trend in beauty and may be the ideal solution for those who struggled with more complicated practices. Besides, as the world re-opens and more of us start travelling into work again, do we really have time for the layering of serums, essences and acids? For most people, a dialed down and quick regime is the best way to go in 2021.

Which type?

But how do you find out which is best for your skin type? The Korean version advises cleanse, tone & SPF. L’Oreal suggest cleanse, exfoliate & moisturise and finally Vogue state the order should be cleanse, serum & moisturise. The choice as to which to follow really comes down to skin type and your make up routine. 

If you tend to wear a full face of make-up most days, the Korean style of double cleansing will make sure your face is completely primed at the start of the day or neutralised before bed. People with oily skin will likely need an exfoliant to keep their slick skin in check and if you have a dry complexion, a serum will help lock in the moisture you need to keep your face glowing. However, if you prefer toning to exfoliating, or want to incorporate SPF in, there will be a product out there that can do both for you.

For beginners out there, the best thing you can do is figure out your skin type and go from there. To do this, get a neutral cleanser, something like Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleanser (you can always get some free samples from a beauty counter), wash your face and leave it for 30 minutes. When half an hour is up, have a look at your skin, is it oily? Dry? A combination of dry and oily? This will give you a good indication as to where to start. 

This is not a definitive guide to choosing your 3 step routine, what works for one person may not work for another. However, if you’re a budding amateur dermatologist, you will likely have a toner, exfoliator or serum at home that you can try out these different styles with. If you’ve found a product that you absolutely adore, you can fit it into your 3 step regime. 

Now you’re armed with the info you need for the perfect complexion, check out the brands below to get started with where and what to buy.


Lush’s natural ingredients and eco-friendly practices put them at the top of the list for skincare. 

Cleanse: Ultrabland cleanser

Exfoliate: Angels on bare skin

Moisturise: Vanishing Cream

The INKEY List

This brand is perfect for beginners, use their quiz to find the best products for your skin, their products are super affordable and easy to get your head around.

Cleanse: Oil & Water Double Cleanser

Serum: Hyaluronic Acid 

Moisturise: Multi-Biotic


Although perhaps at the pricier end of the scale, COSRX is widely touted as the best Korean skincare you can find in the UK with a huge beauty guru following.

Cleanse: Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Tone: AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

SPF: Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++

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