5 mistakes women make with their skincare routine

It's taken me years to perfect my routine...here's what I've learnt in the process

Woman applying skincare in bathroom
(Image credit: Sora Shimazaki / PEXELS)

When it comes to your skincare routine, it can be difficult knowing where to start or even what to do. Whether you have dry, combination or oily skin, there's a different technique for everyone. Unfortunately, this also means it's easy to make mistakes, especially when you're unsure of where to begin. 

I'm now in my early twenties, but it's taken me around three years to work out my skin type and find the products that work for me. This resulted from years of trying out different methods and combinations, and boy, have I learnt a lot. To save you some time (and frustration), I've compiled a list of the most common skincare mistakes anyone can fall victim to, and how to avoid them. 

Before you begin, make sure to have a look at our guides to the best skincare gadgets and best LED face masks

1. Not double cleansing 

woman cleansing

(Image credit: iStock)

One of the biggest skincare mistakes out there is not double cleansing, and fixing this has caused a transformative effect on my skin. It's literally as simple as it sounds, but you have to be careful about which cleansers you use to really see a difference. 

It's important to begin with an oil-based cleanser as these are designed to remove oil-based impurities, including makeup, SPF and a build up of dirt from that day. You then want to follow with a water-based cleanser, as this will remove any residue from the oil cleanser (which can lead to break outs) and remove any leftover grime. 

Not only is a double cleanse meant to give your skin a deeper clean, but it can further make dry and dull skin look plumper and allow other products to work more effectively. My current favourites are the ANUA Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil and ANUA Quercetinol Deep Cleansing Foam, and I use them every evening to begin my routine.

2. Skipping SPF

Woman in a towel applying moisturiser to her face

(Image credit: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels)

Including SPF in your skincare routine is essential for keeping your skin glowing, healthy and protected from the sun. Despite this time of year resulting in a considerable lack of sunshine, UV rays can still penetrate the clouds and reach your skin, risking your complexion being damaged. 

Even during the winter, it’s recommended to apply a high SPF after cleansing but before you moisturise to fully protect your skin. I use the Ultrasun UV Face & Scalp Mist SPF50 in between these steps, and its spray form makes it super quick and easy to apply. 

Read these 5 reasons why you should use sunscreen daily for healthier skin to find out more.

3. Not washing your reusable pads 

reusable pads make up

(Image credit: Revolution Beauty)

Another huge mistake is not washing any reusable make up pads, cloths or headbands. As sustainable and environmentally friendly as they are, these are in close contact with your skin before and after cleansing, so they are susceptible to picking up dirt and bacteria. As they are often damp after removing make up or skincare products, this provides a perfect environment for bacteria to spread, so washing them regularly is extremely important. 

I have been washing my reusable make up pads and cloths everyday for the past few months, and my headband every three days, and it's made a considerable difference to my skin. I've also noticed a lot less breakouts around my hairline, which is great to see. 

4. Over-exfoliating 


(Image credit: Freepik)

Whilst dermatologists promote exfoliation as a great way to shed dead skin cells and get your skin looking radiant again, over-exfoliating is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Skin should be exfoliated only one to two times a week to help refresh skin cells without too much damage taking place. If over-exfoliation takes places, this can break the skin barrier, leading to sensitive skin and a dry, dull-looking complexion. 

I use the Wildmsith Skin Dual-action Exfoliating Treatment around twice a week after cleansing and before moisturising, and this has proven just right in keeping my skin looking as clear and healthy as possible. 

5. Using too many products


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Believe it not, using too many skincare products can have more of a detrimental effect than you'd actually think. Instead of layering more and products on top of one another, dermatologists encourage the strategic use of skincare, ensuring products complement one another rather than overwhelming the skin.

I've recently been trying 'Skin Cycling', a 4-day skincare routine that incorporates ‘rest days' during the week, ensuring your skin is given the time to repair itself. It prevents irritation and inflammation, which results in your products working more effectively.

Read what happened during my Skin Cycling experience and how it helped my complexion.  

If you're interested in more skincare help, read our guide to the best moisturiser for women

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.