This series is not called 'how to have perfect skin' because, despite the promise of, oh, every skincare advert you are ever likely to see, ABSOLUTELY PERFECT SKIN! ALL THE TIME! FOREVER! is neither achievable, nor a sensible goal if you want to maintain some outward semblance of sanity. Half-decent skin most of the time, then, is our aim here. And that is a reasonable ambition for most of us.
Everyone's skin is different, so I can only say that this works for normal-to-combination skin that is prone to the occasional breakout (i.e. mine). I have learned from bitter experience that keeping it simple is the best way of avoiding problems, so the four steps in my regime are cleanser, moisturiser, foundation and the odd face mask (very odd when I'm wearing the charcoal one that used to prompt my former partner to break into black-and-white minstrel songs).
Step 1 is, I fancy, the most important. It is my DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. Now, you might think that slathering olive oil over your face would be likely to result in a mass breakout, right? Actually, not right. The oil cleansing method* is based on the chemical principle that like dissolves like. So the olive oil in the cleanser dissolves the oil in make up and sebum, leaving pores clean and not at all dried out.**
For my money, the DHC cleanser is better than many others (or, just cracking open the Bertolli, for that matter), because it contains surfactants, which allow it to be washed off without a trace (I don't ever use toner afterwards and have never had any problems). I cannot recommend this stuff highly enough. If you want to give it a try, you can order samples on the DHC website. It is no exaggeration to say that you may well thank me for the rest of your life.
* Google 'oil cleansing method' or 'OCM' and you'll find loads of stuff about this online.
** Read more about the chemistry involved on the excellent Beauty Brains blog. And side note, this site is a brilliant place to get to the bottom of what's really going on behind much of the beauty industry's pseudo-science (L'Oreal, I'm looking at you. I mean, Boswelox? I ask you...).