Skincare simplified: The best normal skin routine

Find the best products for normal skin in this six to eight step routine

normal skin routine

by Lucy Smith |
Updated on

When you have normal skin, it can be easy to fall off the skincare bandwagon. You might think, "My skin's good at balancing its own oil and water quantities, so why should I pay for expensive creams and tonics?"

But, the thing is, just because your skin can balance it's own moisture levels, doesn't mean it always will and, what's more, if you're using the wrong products, you could even disrupt that fragile balance.

To help us figure out the best picks for normal skin and, more importantly, why they're indeed the best, we've called on the help of Dr. Ioannis Liakas (of Vie Aesthetics).

As he explains, "If you have neither oily or dry skin you have 'normal skin'. This doesn't mean you won't experience breakouts, or that your skin won't fluctuate between feeling dry some days and oily on other days.

"Prevent, protect and preserve are the three key tips that are vital to any skincare regime, especially for those who have 'normal skin'. It's advisable to invest in products suitable for your skin type, to nourish and hydrate."

So, to give you a helping hand, we've picked a variety of products that strive to do just that. From moisture boosting eye creams to antioxidant moisturisers, these are our top picks for a normal skin routine, with some masterclass recommendations from Dr. Ioannis.

A step-by-step guide to luminous and healthy normal skin...

CHECK OUT: The best products for a normal skin routine

Just so you know, while we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.

First up...

1. First cleanse/make-up removal

Before you get stuck in with your active ingredient skincare, it's really important to remove your make-up with a first cleanse. You can probably skip this step in the morning, or if you don't wear make-up BUT, if you do wear SPF then you're going to want to do a primary cleanse regardless.

SPF can cling to pores like glue and, if you don't remove it, you could encourage an unwanted bout of acne. No, thank you.

And, yes, before you (yes, you) plead that you never get blemishes, you should still be taking the time to do a primary cleanse.

One of the best products to help break down SPF is an oil-based cleanser.


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CREDIT: Amazon


Before you even LOOK at cleansers, you are going to need at least eight flannels in your arsenal (one for each day of the week + another for laundry day).This is a tip from skincare guru Caroline Hirons and it's one you should get on board with, stat.Washing away your make-up with a splash of water just won't do the job, and you'll be left with residue product. These cotton flannels will wash like a dream, they're soft to the touch and, most importantly, they'll wipe away all the day's make-up and grime no problem.This pack includes 12 flannels for less than a tenner - a bargain, if you ask us.

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bareMinerals Smoothness Hydrating Cleansing Oil

Best high-end cleanser for normal skinWith nourishing jojoba and antioxidant squalane, this cleanser not only does good, but it feels pretty damn good to use, too. Waterproof make-up fans, rejoice, because this silky oil will melt away the days eyeliner and mascara in a matter of minutes and, what's more, your bathroom will smell heavenly while you're doing it. bareMinerals is known for being cruelty-free and vegan but, with this little number, you can rest assured knowing it's free of mineral oil and drying SLS, too. Definitely one to check out.

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CREDIT: Amazon

Super Facialist Vitamin C Skin Renew Cleansing Oil

Caroline Hirons puts this satiny oil cleanser down as a "great" budget choice and, tbh, we have to agree. For just £8 you get a generous 200ml of product and, with Vitamin C (a big tick for Dr. Ioannis) and grapeseed oil, it works to both minimise water loss and brighten your skin's appearance.

2. Second cleanse

After removing your make-up and/or SPF, a second cleanse, or 'skin cleanse', is your first chance to really get in contact with the skin. Because of this, the ingredients in your second cleanser are arguably more important.

As Dr. Ioannis points out, with normal skin types, we don't want to upset what's an already healthy balance (mostly) of oil and water, so it's good to avoid AHAs at this stage.

While wash off AHAs might be a good choice for combination skin types, we might suggest normal skin types keep an eye out for more calming ingredients, to help maintain the skin's moisture regulation. Examples of these are rose (rosa damascena) and aloe leaf (aloe barbadensis).


Morning skin care routine for normal skin

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Lush Ultrabland cleanser

The best mid-range cleanser for normal skinNow, while these two cleansers are mid-range, rather than contrasting high-end and budget picks, they're both so effective at what they do, it'd be hard to gloss over them completely. Plus, luckily with this pair, they're each available in smaller sizes for half the price, if you're worried about forking out on something you've never tried.With Ultrabland, you get soothing rose water and hydrating glycerin and, with its pot-type packaging, not a single drop's worth of money will go to waste. Not to mention, Lush is, of course, a cruelty-free brand with an ethical focus and eco-conscious packaging. A win, win, win.

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CREDIT: Glossier

Milky Jelly Cleanser

Best mid-range cleanser for normal skinEvery influencer and their mum uses this cleanser (yep, Caroline Hirons, too) and, honestly, we're not surprised. Combining rose water and glycerin with hydration boosting hyaluronic acid, this is a formula that'll leave your skin feeling cleansed and plumped.And, errr, we just love Glossier.

3. Toner

Once you've cleansed, a toner is a really good point in your routine to try and prep the skin for any actives and hydration it's about to receive.

As Caroline Hirons says, "A good toner (lotion) can act as a humectant – attracting moisture from the air and trapping it in the top layers of the skin," and so, along the same vein, your toner will help to improve the effectiveness of your serums, moisturisers etc.

Some of the best humectants to look out for are hyaluronic acid and glycerin.


Best CTM products for normal skin

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CREDIT: Look Fantastic

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

Best mid-range toner for normal skinIf you're avoiding AHAs (as per Dr. Ioannis' recommendations) then a formula like this is your next best bet. Combining calming aloe vera and antioxidant vitamin E, works like a breath of fresh air for the skin, waking it up and preparing it for the onslaught of serums, sprays and moisturisers about to hit it. Caroline Hirons is a fan and we are too.

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CREDIT: Amazon

L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler [+ Hyaluronic Acid] Face Toner

Best budget toner for normal skinSimple and effective. That's the best way to describe this bargain of a find. With three different humectants - hyaluronic acid, glycerin and castor oil - L'Oréal's Revitalift toner works to welcome in all the moisture from the next steps in your routine, drawing water from the air and your moisturiser etc. into the epidermis.

4. Spray hydrate

An optional step, but one that can help to boost hydration (a big tick if you experience the occasional bout of dryness) and, at the end of the day, feels a little luxurious - think spa, wellness retreat.

Plus, if you're familiar with a bit of the 'ole midday tightness around your cheeks/the circumference of your face, you can always use a face mist to give your skin a quick burst of hydration throughout the day. Yes, even over make-up.


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CREDIT: Feel Unique

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

Best high-end face spray for normal skinIf you're a fan of the cult moisturiser then you'll obsess over this. Moisture Surge is a classic no-fuss, does the job range from Clinique and this spray is exactly that, just in a refreshing spritz formula. It's comprised of hydrating glycerin, soothing centella asiatica and aloe, with a burst of caffeine on top, to give you a brightening boost. Dreamy.

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Eucerin Hyaluron PH Balancing Facial Mist Spray with Hyaluronic Acid

Best budget face spray for normal skinLike the Clinique, this mist from Eucerin is a real does-what-it-says-on-the-tin number and, in all honesty, it's a pretty similar formula, too. With glycerin and added hyaluronic acid in a water-based formula, this spray will ensure your skin is maximising on all the hydration you're giving it (serums, moisturisers etc.). Plus, it's an absolute lifesaver on a hot, sweaty day.

5. Eye cream

Yet another optional step, an eye cream is a luxury that sometimes time and money can't afford, but if crow's feet and fine lines are your nemesis, it might be something to start considering.


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CREDIT: Feel Unique

StriVectin Hyaluronic Tripeptide Gel-Cream for Eyes

Best high-end eye cream for normal skinCaroline Hirons is a fan of this gel-style eye cream and we can absolutely see why. With hyaluronic acid and tripeptide, it's a formula that works to repair and minimise signs of aging and, tbh, it's going to be your fine lines' best friend (or should we say enemy...).

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CREDIT: Look Fantastic

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Eyes

Best mid-range eye cream for normal skinWe stan a French pharmaceutical brand and La Roche-Posay might as well be the crème de la crème of the bunch. Combining hyaluronic acid, glycerin and caffeine in a fragrance free, hypoallergenic formula, this eye cream is just the ticket for dull, tired, over mascara-d eyes. Plus, for £12, you can't go wrong.

6. Serum

Now THIS is where the magic happens. Save all your money for this step because the serum stage is where you can target all your concerns. From aging to dullness, a serum will work to get to the heart of the matter and, if you ask us, it's the product we'd never be without.

For normal skin, Dr Ioannis recommends looking for vitamin C and/or vitamin A (a.k.a retinols, retinoids etc.) in a serum.

He says, "From the age of 20 our skin begins to age. Using L-ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) helps preserve your skin by promoting collagen production and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.


The ordinary products for normal skin

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CREDIT: The Body Shop

Drops of Light™ Brightening Serum

Best high-end serum for normal skinAs Dr. Ioannis says, vitamin C is a great ingredient for normal skin types to keep an eye out for, and this serum from The Body Shop is, put simply, a delightful way to include it in your routine. In a light, hydrating formula (which, by the way, you don't need much of to cover your whole face), you get vitamin C, anti-inflammatory rosa centifolia, aloe, glycerin and, to top it all off, a little bit of salicylic acid (a BHA) to decongest.

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CREDIT: Beauty Bay

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

Best budget serum for normal skinGet it while it's hot because this serum will be out of stock in no time (and for good reason). With a two per cent retinoid in squalane, this is the perfect way to introduce vitamin A into your skincare routine. The squalane acts as a buffer to any irritation and, if you're a little bit nervy, why not try introducing it a couple times a week, as opposed to every night. Your wrinkles and fine lines will certainly thank you for it (a.k.a it'll help to minimise them), as will any blemishes and flare ups.Plus - less ud83dudc4f than ud83dudc4f a ud83dudc4f tenner ud83dudc4f.

7. Moisturiser

A moisturiser is the best way to sandwich in all the good work you've done up until this point. Caroline Hirons describes it as "a good coat," and we have to agree.

You can still squeeze in some actives at this stage (and indeed we will) but, more often than not, your moisturiser is where you want to give your skin one final hydration/moisture boost - as the name suggests - before we move onto SPF.


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Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème

Best high-end moisturiser for normal skinThis moisturiser screams vitamin C in every aspect. For starters, it's chocked full of the stuff with three different variants (Ascorbic Acid, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate) and, on top of that, it smells deliciously orangey. C-Rush is anti-oxidant hydration in the best way and it'll leave your skin feeling zingy, awake and at the same time soothed with the formula's added jojoba. It's a thumbs up from us.

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CREDIT: Bioderma

Bioderma Hydrabio Hydrating Gel

Best budget moisturiser for normal skinThe micellar water is loved by people everywhere and, though you might not have heard of it, Bioderma's Hydrabio moisturiser is NOT to be overlooked (in fact, we'd argue it's better than the micellar water...).Pulling together niacinamide, vitamin E and salicylic acid, Hydrabio is your best bet for a brighter and revived complexion at the start of any day and, for £11.60, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.

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Florena Fermented Skincare 24H Hydrating Day Cream

Best mid-range moisturiser for normal skin If you've been on the lookout for a moisturiser that glides effortlessly onto the skin, then look no further. This gem from Florena contains Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil as well as fermented Camelia and Olive Oil to hydrate and leave skin feeling soft and supple. The cream has a lightweight formula that quickly absorbs into the skin plus, it's vegan. Sounds good to us.

8. SPF

Last and definitely not least, sun protection factor.

Dr. Ioannis LOVES SPF, and so do we. He says, "SPF is number one for protecting your skin against harmful UV rays and, regardless of your skin type, preventing future damage."

Explaining how it has a "safe track record," Dr Ioannis recommends looking out for Zinc Oxide in an SPF for normal skin.

"It is not absorbed in the skin, but instead safely remains on the outer layer of skin (the stratum corneum or epidermis)."


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CREDIT: Dr. Sam's

Flawless Daily Sunscreen SPF50

Best high-end SPF for normal skinYou may have to buy this off a dedicated site, but it's absolutely worth it, and here's why starters, it follows Dr. Ioannis' recommendation for zinc oxide and, with added Niacinamide, it'll help to brighten the skin, too. On top of that, it comes in a non-greasy water-based formula that'll leave skin feeling hydrated (with hyaluronic acid) rather than six feet under a cakey smear of white.We cannot rave about this enough.

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CREDIT: Beauty Bay

Bondi Sands SPF50+ Fragrance Free Face Sunscreen Lotion

Best budget SPF for normal skinThis is the bargain you didn't even know existed and you need it in your life.With aloe vera and vitamin E, together in a non-greasy cream, the Bondi Sands SPF will leave your skin with all added benefits of an SPF without any of the feel. Plus, Caroline Hirons likes it sooo...

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How often should normal skin be exfoliated?

As Dr. Ioannis explains, normal skin types should avoid AHAs at risk of "changing the acidity of your skin which is already balanced."

Instead, we'd recommend exfoliating with a BHA, for example salicylic acid, two to three times a week.

The main takeaway is to listen to what your skin wants. If, for example, your BHA is bringing your skin up all inflamed and sensitive, then take this as a sign to draw back on the exfoliation.

Generally speaking, as Caroline Hirons explains, chemical exfoliants tend to be more gentle than physical (bead or sand-type) exfoliants. Just look out for any signs you might be overdoing it (flaking, stinging etc.) and decrease your frequency of application as needed.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us