When we think skin care, we’re usually thinking face. And with all the time we’ve been spending at home this year, many of us have been obsessively trying products, attempting to create the perfect facial care routine.

Meanwhile, we’re betting you treat body care like drinking water: “I’ll drink it when I’m thirsty.” Meaning, if the skin on your body is particularly dry, itchy, or broken out, it may get a quick sudsing and a dollop of random body cream. Otherwise, it can take care of itself.

While there are differences in the skin above and below your neck — namely thickness and sensitivity — it all needs proper nurturing! Here is your step-by-step guide to smooth, glowing, happy skin.

Step One: Cleanse
It’s probably no surprise that the foundation of a proper body care routine is cleansing. The key steps to good cleansing are a. taking your time and b. using the right products for your skin.

Especially if you aren’t one to take long, luxurious showers, it’s likely that you’re not shooing away all the superficial dirt, oil, and debris that build up on our bodies every day. Using a nickel-to-quarter-sized drop of body wash (or a healthy lather of bar soap), start at your shoulders and work your way down, using medium-sized circular motions as you go.

Take 10 to 15 seconds in each area and put a little extra TLC into spots that are subject to product build-up — like the armpits (bye bye, old deodorant) and anywhere you tend to apply lotion the heaviest.

In terms of products, just like the ones for the face, only you can know which ones work best for you. There are some general rules, though. It’s always best to avoid products that contain heavy fragrances, dyes, or dehydrating ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate.

Step Two: Exfoliate
You likely won’t do this every day, but taking time to slough off dead skin cells, dirt, and product buildup with a good exfoliant is one of the fastest ways to get healthy skin.

You can exfoliate your skin manually or chemically. The latter might sound like a bad idea, but the abrasiveness of manual exfoliants (like scrubs) can be a little much for some skin types. Conversely, exfoliating acids like AHAs and BHAs can dive into pores, clearing out excess sebum and balancing oils without tearing at the skin’s surface.

We’re not trying to discourage you from using your favorite scrub, though! Traditional exfoliants are perfectly effective, especially if you opt for a product with natural ingredients and a moisturizing element.

Step Three: Shave
This is an optional step for many women, but for those who shave regularly, you should know that there is a proper way to do it. Firstly, as with cleansing — take your time. Hurriedly sweeping a razor across the skin can not only put you at risk for more nicks and cuts, but it’s also damaging to the skin’s surface.

Another tip? Shave near the end of your shower. Given enough time, the heat and steam will soften the hairs and relax hair follicles.

Lastly, make sure to keep your razor clean and replace the blades whenever they start to feel dull or cause irritation.

Step Four: Treat
We pile all kinds of serums and oil on our faces. Our bodies want this kind of love too! Before moisturizing, consider using an antioxidant or retinoid treatment like One Love’s Antioxidant Body Serum or thisworks® sleep plus dream body.

If you opt for a body treatment with retinol, just make sure to apply a good layer of SPF on top if you’re going to be out in the sun.

Step Five: Moisturize
For best results, moisturize straight out of the shower while the skin is still a little damp and pores are nice and relaxed from the heat and steam. As with any body care product, avoid heavy fragrances, dyes, and harmful chemicals. Try to find products with short, organic ingredient lists and take care to consider your skin type. For example, extra dry types may want something substantial, like shea butter, while breakout-prone skin may prefer a lighter lotion with hyaluronic acid.

What steps do you take in your body care routine? Let us know in the comments below!

xx, The FabFitFun Team