When it comes to skincare, we all essentially want the same thing - a youthful look and a gorgeous glow.  Some of us will do anything to get it (high-priced products, the latest gadgets and even the widely debated needles or lasers).  Others simply want to wash and go and hope for the best.  Well, here's the good news...caring for your skin can and should be simple to do and while not costing you a portion of your life savings.  There are simple steps that can take your skin from blah to beautiful along with an excellent array of product choices and price ranges to do it in.  Let's take a look at the essential steps of a simple yet highly effective skincare routine.

1. Cleanse:  Always be sure to begin and end your day with this first step towards healthy, vibrant skin. You always want to choose a cleanser that is gentle and effective and designed to remove impurities without harsh ingredients.  Depending upon your skin type, you might opt for a milky cleanser (truly wonderful for all skin) or a hydrating one (great for drier skin types).  There are also some excellent cleansing oils available now that nourish, protect and soften all skin types.  (No need to be afraid of these even if you're oily as they will help to balance you out.)  Some options to try:  Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, Clinique Take the Day Off and Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil.

2.  Exfoliate:  As time goes by, our skin looses its once natural ability to turn over and slough off old skin cells.  As a result, we can often be left with less than luminous skin.  Give your skin a helping hand by using an exfoliator.  While it can be fine to select one in the form of a scrub, there are also alpha or beta hydroxy based lotions that will do the job effortlessly.  Alpha hydroxy acids known as AHAs are designed to work at the surface level, lifting and sloughing off old, tired cells and revealing a fresh, healthy glow while beta hydroxy acids known as BHAs can delve deeper into the skin to unclog and refine pores while reducing breakouts.  Both are effective towards building collagen, the major building block of firm and youthful skin.  With results like that, this is certainly a step you don't want to skip.  A few good choices to consider:  Clear Days Ahead by philosophy and Peter Thomas Roth's Glycolic Acid Hydrating Gel.

3.  Amazing Antioxidants:  These are the cornerstone of complexion perfection.  Filled with good for you ingredients, such as vitamins, retinol, skin replenishing lipids and cell communicating ingredients, serums work overtime to restore youth and vitality to your skin while putting a smile on your face.  Again, these wonder workers are especially important for all ages as they help your skin look and act younger by effectively repairing sun damage, warding off the effects of environmental pollutants, increasing skin firmness, stimulating collagen production, smoothing skin's surface and helping repair multiple signs of aging.  With the right product selection, you can be left with the luminously smooth and supple skin you've always desired.  Options to try: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM, Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, When Hope Is Not Enough by philosophy and Creme de Serum by Meaningful Beauty.

4.  Moisturizers and Sunscreens:  The final step in a solid skincare routine includes proper hydration and sun protection for the skin.  Whether oily, dry or blissfully "normal", all skin needs the hydration that a great moisturizer provides.  Daily living can rob skin of the lipids it needs to stay balanced and beautiful.  Choose a great moisturizer designed to address your skin's particular needs.  Along with that, you should always be sure to protect your skin (hands and neck too) from the sun's daily rays.  Yes, even when you're not spending the day at the beach, you're still exposing your skin to the sun and need to protect it.  Skincare companies know this and, as a result, there are plenty of options for shielding skin from those effects.  Save your non SPF creams for night when replenishment is all you need.  Some great choices include:  Cerave Sunscreen SPF 50, Clinique City Block Sheer SPF 25, Dr. Dennis Gross Age Erase Moisture with Mega 10 Plus, Estee Lauder Nutritious Vita-Mineral Moisture Creme and Miracle Worker SPF 50 by philosophy.

Keep these four basic steps in mind and before long you'll be seeing that gorgeous glow staring back at you in the mirror each morning.  Have a skincare question?  I'd love to hear it and to help find a great solution for your skin concerns.  Feel free to ask!

Wishing you a beauty-filled Friday and wonderful weekend!