ith new products and tools continually emerging, skincare has become increasingly more complicated. It is not enough these days to wash your face, moisturize, and use sunscreen. According to TikTok and the internet in general, you need to apply around 10 different serums, spread the serums with a stone rolling device, use another stone to sculpt your face, apply a peel, pop on some pimple patches, use a microneedle roller, wear an LED light mask, and get some dermal fillers.
In 2022, this is the behind-the-scenes beauty ritual that leads to beauty – or at least the cultural perception of beauty. But, is this the right skincare routine for everybody and is it possible to get carried away and overdo it?
The short answer is yes and no. Skincare overkill is real. But, if you and your skin are happy with an in depth, 5-10 step skincare routine then that’s great! If not, you might want to stick around.
Why Choose A Minimalist Skincare Routine
Contrary to the 5-10 step morning and evening routines that every beauty brand or mogul seems to be pushing these days, more isn’t always better. In fact, you might argue that less is more.
Oftentimes, the need for a product to solve our skin issues arises after the product already exists. In other words, the creation of a skincare product generates the market for it. For instance, say you’ve seen people raving on TikTok that lactic acid serum is amazing at fighting the buildup of dead skin cells and excess sebum and you’re not exactly sure what that means or if you even have excess sebum but suddenly you must have it. This is not to say that products on TikTok don’t work or that serums should be avoided, but that you can have radiant skin without having an intricate, expensive skincare routine.
If you're crunched for time during the week or if you often find yourself waking up and going to bed exhausted, an extensive skincare routine may be too much to keep up with. It is easier to stay on track with a routine if it is simple, easy to remember, and fast. Likewise, if you are trying to keep within a budget, you are better off with a simple, minimalist skincare routine. Oftentimes, the more products you use, the more you have to spend, as you will have to continually replace 5-10 bottles - maybe 14 if you go crazy with it - rather than replacing 3 bottles routinely.
Thus, with a few basic, staple products that effectively treat all of your skincare concerns at once, you can cut time, expenses, and unnecessary excess products. With your own personalized minimalist skincare routine, every product can accomplish something – and nothing is applied just for the heck of it!
So, why turn to a minimalist skincare routine? Sure, it’s trendy. But also, your skin will thank you later.
How You Can Create An Easy, Minimalist Skincare Routine
Creating a minimalist skincare routine starts with evaluating the products you use on a regular basis. Count how many products you use for your daily routine.
For a minimalist skincare routine, you really only need four max: a cleanser, a moisturizer, sunscreen, and a topical for acne. Of course, if you have a prescription from the dermatologist, that would be a valid exception to the rule of 4s. Otherwise, nothing more is needed to achieve beautiful skin.
Most dermatologists live by the mantra: keep it simple. They claim that a 12-step routine may not actually work better than 1-4 step routines. Overwhelming your skin with too many products can clog and damage your pores, strip your skin of its natural protective barrier, and leave your skin red and irritated.
On the flip side, if your more-involved skincare routine doesn’t hurt you, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will help you. As you increase the number of products you use, you increase your chance of interactions that are not favorable. One product in a routine may inactivate another.
Or, there may be so many layers of product on your face that not all of them get absorbed. Realistically, it is the first 2-3 layers of product that are soaked up into the skin. We recommend sticking to two serums per routine – use any more and you’re just throwing product into the garbage.
In sum, with more steps comes more room for error.
Minimalist Skincare Tips To Help You Get Started
1. Look for 2 in 1s
To maintain a minimalist skincare routine, look for products that provide numerous benefits in one bottle. This will help you consolidate the products that are essential for your skin – e.g., moisturizers that have sunscreen, or cleansers that are redness reducing.
2. Don’t Skip the Sunscreen
Just because you’re downsizing, does not give you an excuse to forgo the essentials. As you can guess, sunscreen is an essential. Worn religiously, sunscreen is the best aging and skin cancer prevention tool there is. There’s no reason to not to use it, especially given the myriad of ways it can be incorporated into your routine without leaving a chalky white residue or oily appearance.
3. The Order of Product Matters
Pay attention to the order that we put the routine in. The order will determine how well the product works. When applying multiple products, the former product can sometimes help the following product be better absorbed.
4. Focus on Your Cleanser and Moisturizer
On any given day, your skin encounters a lot of dirt and debris. That is why it is so crucial to cleanse your skin and rid it of excess dirt, makeup, and impurities. Without cleansing, your skin will be more prone to breakouts, dehydration, and premature aging. Likewise, moisturizing helps maintain a balance between oily and dry skin, reduce the appearance of blemishes, aid in skin repair, and fight wrinkles. As conceivably the most mandatory components of a skincare routine, it’s okay to splurge on your cleanser and moisturizer. They’re doing the heavy lifting, after all. But, that’s not to say you absolutely must pull from your savings. Some of the best products - recommended by dermatologists far and wide - are those found at the drugstore. The key here is quality.
5. Drink Your Water
Behind every good skincare routine is a person who keeps themselves adequately hydrated. Water flushes out toxins, helps maintain your skin's elasticity, hydrates you, and hydrates your skin! One study found that drinking water increased blood flow to the skin, evening out skin tone and complexion. But, to make things simple, it always helps to remember that appearing healthy on the outside starts with being healthy on the inside. Accordingly, the result of drinking water is healthy, glowing skin.
The Best Morning Minimalist Skincare Routine
Your morning minimalist skincare routine should be designed to protect your skin from all rays, radicals, and factors it will encounter during the day. So, what does your skin need to start its day?
Start your morning skincare routine with a gentle cleanser. You don’t need anything strong or harsh, since ideally you are going to bed with a clean face. Some cleansers tend to strip your skin of its naturally producing oils. If your skin feels dry or rubbery after cleansing, it probably isn’t the best cleanser for you. Any cleanser that is foaming will clean more deeply. The bigger the bubble, the more dry. If this rings true for you, switch to a cleanser that has gentle in the name, is scent free, and is made with natural ingredients. Think of brands like Dove, CeraVe, Cetaphil, and Vanicream.
2. Antioxidant Serum
The best way to protect your skin against the free radicals you may encounter throughout the day – smog, dust, cigarette smoke, household cleaners, pesticides, etc. – is with antioxidants. If you’re not getting antioxidants through food or supplements, you can incorporate them into your skincare routine. Vitamin C is a really popular product right now because it works on all skin types and it accomplishes more than one goal: stimulating collagen and elastin, fighting wrinkles, protecting from UV’s.
3. Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Here’s the golden rule: minimalist skincare routines should be kept under 10 minutes. Sure, if you have all the time in the world, you can apply your sunscreen and wait for it to dry so you can moisturize. But who really has time for that? The mornings we know involve rushing out the door with one too many bags to carry, a hot coffee in one hand, and a paper towel-wrapped bagel in the other.
If this sounds like you, use a moisturizer/sunscreen combo with an SPF of at least 30. It’s better to opt for a moisturizer made with sunscreen than to mix your moisturizer with a separate sunscreen because you don’t know how the ingredients will interact with one another. Daily incidental UV exposure adds up over time, so never skip your sunscreen altogether! With 2 in 1 products, you can save time and save your skin – you can have it all.
The Best Minimalist Evening Skincare Routine
The goal of an evening skincare routine is to wash away the day and repair any damage. How does this align with the goal of keeping your skincare routine minimal? Let’s take a look.
Throughout the day, you may be wearing makeup or sweating. Most certainly, you are collecting dirt and other irritants onto your skin. Now, your skin is never going to be 100% clean, and your body is built for that, it expects it. But you should do what you can to keep your pores unclogged and your skin breathable and fresh.
On nights when you’re extra tired, it can be so tempting to let yourself doze off before washing your face; Don’t do it. When you go to bed with an unclean face, you let your skin marinate in dead skin cells, oil, bacteria, sweat, and other debris. (Yuck!) Even though it may take an extra push of effort on your part, you’ll be thankful you did it. You can even use the same cleanser you use in the morning, at night.
2. Repairing Serum
Next, if applicable to you, you should apply your repair serum: a lightweight, concentrated formula designed to target a specific area of concern. Serums are most effective after washing your face, before moisturizing, and at night. That’s because there is more skin on serum contact when your face is freshly washed and bare. Also, by applying these at night, it allows all of the components of the serum to soak for the duration of your sleep with no disturbances. This step could be a retinol, a retinoid, a peptide, an acid, or some other natural oil. Whatever your biggest skincare concern is, beyond protecting it everyday, that should be the purpose of the serum.
Finally, cap off your minimalist evening skincare routine with a refreshing, soothing moisturizer to seal in some hydration.
Now that you’ve perfected your minimalist skincare routine, you can center your focus on the most important aspects of skin care rather than getting hung up and distracted by the endless array of trends circulating. Go easy on your bank account, free up some time, and prepare to bounce into Spring with skin that is prepped and ready to glow! Still have some questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments down below.