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Skinimalism: How to Create a Minimalist Skincare Routine

While we love our skincare products just as much as the next person (well, maybe a bit more), we also know that skincare doesn’t mean having a counter full of products or doing a 12-step routine every night. Skincare can be minimal and still be effective.

A skinimalist or minimalist skincare routine is just as it sounds: It’s an intentional skincare routine that focuses on the notion ‘less is more.’ It focuses on the key steps in your regimen and cutting out the products or steps you don’t need. Instead of buying whatever new serum you were influenced by on Instagram, a minimalist approach to skincare encourages you to select high-quality products that work for your skin type and address your skin needs.

Skinimalism might not be for everybody (some people love an elaborate routine), but it could be just what your skin is craving. A pared-back routine can benefit skin health and mental health.

In regards to skin health, using too many ingredients or the wrong products can aggravate your skin. A less complicated regimen reduces the risk of irritation and gives your skin time to heal. A shorter routine can also benefit mental health because it’s more achievable and seems less like a chore. Skinimalism also encourages you to trust your intuition and take a calm approach to treating your skin concerns. And because you aren’t using a thousand products at once, you’ll be able to tell which products are working for you and which aren’t.

Benefits of a Minimalist Skincare Routine

We’ve already covered some of the major benefits of skinimalism, but here’s a recap:

  • You’ll save time, money, and storage space.
  • You get to see how your skin reacts to products and ingredients.
  • Reduces your risk of irritation.
  • Helps improve skin’s overall health.
  • It’s a more intentional, intuitive approach to skincare.

How to Create a Minimalist Skincare Routine

  1. Go for a gentle cleanser

Arguably the most essential part of a minimalist skincare routine is a high-quality facial cleanser suitable for your skin type. Whether you have oily skin, dry skin, or acne-prone skin, a gentle cleanser will prep your skin for the rest of your routine without stripping away the skin’s moisturizing natural oils.

You can’t go wrong with micellar water for removing makeup and sunscreen at the end of the day or giving your skin a quick refresh in the morning. Simple, straight-to-the-point cleansers, like La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser or SkinCeuticals’ Purifying Cleanser, are also great options because they remove impurities while hydrating and softening the skin.

  1. Use multi-tasking products

One of the best (and easiest) ways to minimize your skincare routine and still get results is by using one multi-tasking serum or treatment rather than layering multiple different products. Using just one product with actives in your morning or evening routine means you don’t have to worry about ingredients reacting adversely to one another while also enjoying the simplicity of a single step.

Using a product like the C+ Correcting Complex 30% during the day will boost your glow, target signs of aging, stimulate collagen, reduce inflammation, and brighten hyperpigmentation with its blend of potent antioxidants. In your night routine, you can use something like the Retivance Skin Rejuvenating Complex, which is a 3-in-1 serum that targets skin texture, tone, and aging with ingredients like peptides, antioxidants, and retinaldehyde.

But when using any new active ingredient or product, take it slow. Start by using it once to twice a week before building up to regular use.

  1. Skip the actives and go for hydration

Letting your skin heal from too many intense actives and exfoliation? It’s also okay to trim back the active ingredients – like AHAs, retinol, and vitamin C – for a few weeks and focus on repairing your skin’s moisture barrier. In addition to your cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF, a hydrating, soothing serum can help calm inflammation, rebuild the skin barrier, and combat other skin concerns like redness and flakiness. We recommend gentle, hydrating serums like the Phyto Corrective Gel or the ClarityRx Take It Easy Calming Serum.

  1. Always moisturize

Even the most minimal skincare routines need a moisturizer. This fundamental step seals in all the hydration on your skin and forms a protective barrier that prevents water loss and skin barrier damage. In a skinimalist routine, choose a moisturizer that benefits your skin. Sounds simple enough, right? If you have dry skin, opt for a richer cream like the Dermal Repair Cream by SkinMedica. Oily skin types might prefer an ultra-lightweight texture that sinks in quickly to the skin—try the PCA Skin Clearskin. Whereas sensitive skin types need a moisturizer that won’t trigger irritation, like the Avene XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cream.  

  1. Sunscreen in the A.M.

Sunscreen is the one step in your morning skincare routine that shouldn’t be skipped. It’s not only essential for preventing premature aging caused by photodamage, but it also helps promote overall skin health and defends your skin from things like pollutants and blue light. Even on cloudy days when you’re not leaving your house, you need to apply sunscreen.

You can still have a minimalist approach to skincare and use SPF daily. If you’re feeling lazy or in a rush in the mornings, it’s totally okay to skip cleanser and serums and head straight in with your sunscreen. For certain skin types, sunscreen can also be used in place of moisturizer if it’s packed with moisturizing ingredients – like the Revision Skincare TruPhysical Intellishade Sunscreen is. To make your beauty routine a little easier, swap your foundation or BB cream with a tinted sunscreen like the UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 Tinted Sunscreen by EltaMD.