Splash your face with lukewarm water. While some may like it hot, and some may like it cold, lukewarm is just right. Hot water dehydrates your skin and cold water closes your pores, making it harder to remove oils and dirt.
Cleanse your face with a water-soluble cleanser formulated without soaps, alcohols or fragrances. This gently lifts away all those nasty things that can clog your pores, all without causing skin irritation that can lead to redness. If you struggle with blemishes or oily skin, use a cleanser boosted with salicylic acid.
Follow the cleanser with a skin exfoliator two or three times per week. This skin prep technique gives your skin an instant glow and, if you're planning on using makeup, will ensure a more even color application. You can use either a skin scrub made with physical exfoliating ingredients, such as miniature plastic pearls -- and what girl would turn down pearls? -- or an exfoliating treatment formulated with chemical exfoliators like alpha hydroxy acid.
Pat your face dry with a clean, plush towel. Don't rub your skin. You don't want to cause skin irritation or blood vessel breakage via friction.
Dab on a skin primer formulated with silicone. This instantly smooths your skin, filling in extra-large pores, fine lines and other causes of uneven skin. If you're going to apply makeup, primer preps your skin and turns it into a smoother palette so that your cosmetics don't sink into pores or lines. If you're going "au naturel," it helps enhance your natural beauty.
If you struggle with oily skin, pick a skin primer formulated for it. Oil-absorbing primers come enhanced with absorbent additives that help keep shine at bay. Every girl wants to shine, not to be shiny.
Toners are often marketed as one of the steps necessary for healthy skin prep. Don't believe the hype! Put the money you saved on skin toner into your clothing fund.