31 May 2022

CTM Routine: Skincare I Swear By

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There are some of us who have genuinely been blessed with great, glowing skin. On the other hand, there are some of us who take many precautions and put efforts into maintaining healthy skin. Whichever group you fall in, the CTM routine, or the Cleansing-Toning-Moisturizing routine, is going to be very beneficial for your facial skin.

Now, I too am one of those people who gets a lot of unwanted, “Ma’am, you have a lot of open pores” or, “Ma’am, have you ever tried the ritual facial? You should take it!” from the salon lady every time I visit the parlour. 

For a really long time, I had been looking for a simple and easy skincare routine that will genuinely help with my skin type. I’m not someone who has a lot of patience and regard for lengthy beauty treatments anyway. It was then that I came across the CTM routine and decided to finally try it.

CTM Routine

CTM stands for Cleansing, Toning, Moisturizing. It’s a three-step ritual or process that you can do anywhere, in a matter of 3-5 minutes max, with the help of certain easily available products.

Performing the CTM Routine

How often should you do it?

Ideally, you should perform the three-step process twice daily. Once in the morning, once in the evening. I do this because I have a combination skin type with open pores.

Although it is a very harmless process, it is advisable that you consult a skin expert for the right kind of products and frequency based on your skin.

Which products are needed for the CTM routine?

For the Cleansing, Toning, and Moisturizing ritual, you namely need 3 products and an accessory. The products are – a cleanser (a facewash), a toner, a moisturizer, and some cotton.

Now, the most important thing about these products is choosing the right ones for your skin.

skincare products for the face, cotton swabs, moisturizer, bottles, on a solid background
Right products are the key to the CTM Routine

How should I choose the right products for me?

It’s best to consult a skin expert, or a dermatologist, to find out your skin type and therefore the products that are best suited for you. 

From an overall perspective, though, the simple idea is to: 

  • For Oily to Combination skin type: Go for products that are gel-based, oil-free, non-comedogenic, lightly moisturizing and not intense moisturizing.
  • For Combination to Dry Skin: Look for hydrating cleansers/facewashes that are cream-based and not gel-based, avoid scrubs, choose products that are free of alcohol, and choose cream or oil-based moisturisers or serums.

Understanding the CTM Routine


woman cleansing her face, foam on skin, massaging with fingers.

Cleansing essentially means washing your face with a foaming or cleansing product such as a facewash, ubtan, or any other homemade face cleanser that you generally use. 

Face cleansing is done to remove dirt, oil, any excess sebum, dead skin, or any other foreign substances from your face.

 If you step out, pollution, dirt, sebum, oil etc. are likely to accumulate over your skin over a period of a few hours. Even if you’ve been indoors all day, some amount of skin-irritation causing substances can accumulate over time that can lead to acne formation or drying or clogging of the skin.


woman with a bottle of liquid and cotton in her hands

Toning is a step of the CTM routine that most of us tend to skip, and I was one of those girls too. However, ever since I’ve started using a toner, there are visible signs of skin improvement. My pores have started to close down, the tone of my skin has become even, there is a certain radiance in my skin now. 

This is actually what a toner essentially does. It helps cleanse your pores, tightens them, evens the tone of your skin, provides hydration, and increases radiance. 


woman moisturizing her face, lotion on her skin

Cleansing or facewash leaves our skin’s pores open. Apart from removing the dirt and comedogenic foreign substances from our face, it is also important to prevent more of these harmful substances from clogging the pores again.

If you’re someone who has dry or combination type skin like me and is also a city-dweller, you might have noticed your skin getting dry, pale, or flaky sometimes. 

Moisturizing helps prevent that and keeps your skin healthy, hydrated, and supple.

Products to Use for the CTM Routine

If you’re just starting out on the routine and don’t want to go big, then it’s advisable that you start with the most easily available products. It’s always best to test it out, see how it goes, and choose whether you’d like to continue with a routine based on how it’s working out for you.

Here’s a list of products that I have personally used and enjoyed great results from. These products are easily available online at Milkbasket and I usually order them from there. I’m not worried about them running out, coz I can get it the next day by 7 AM!

Best Affordable Facewash/Face Cleansers

Face Cleansers on Milkbasket: VLCC Vitamin C Foaming Facewash, Everyuth Naturals Moisturizing Fruit Face Wash ||

VLCC Vitamin C Foaming Face Wash, available on Milkbasket
Everyuth Naturals Moisturizing Fruit Face Wash, available on Milkbasket

Other recommended Facewashes: Simpl Hydrating Face Wash, Nuetrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser 

Toners on Milkbasket: Dabur Gulabari, Homemade Rose Water, Refrigerated Brewed Green Tea (brew some green tea without any added sugar, refrigerate it, use it as a toner)

Dabur Gulabari Rose Water Toner, available on Milkbasket

Other recommended toners: Plum, MamaEarth, WOW skin mist toner, Simple, Re’Equil

Moisturizers on Milkbasket 

Pond’s Super Light Gel, Vit C Sleeping Mask, Cetaphil

Other Recommended Face Moisturizers: Hyaluronic Acid water gel by WOW and MamaEarth, Biotique Clear Improvement light gel & oil-free moisturizer, Bioderma, Cetaphil DAM.

Thank you for reading this post, hoping that you found it useful! In an upcoming blog, we will cover the right techniques to perform the routine so that you can receive the maximum benefit out of it.

Do let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!


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