When it comes to skincare, it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed by all the products out there—between oil cleansers, toners, serums, and balms, it can be hard to know where to start. While some have sunk lots of money and time into 15-step skin care routines, others splash water on their face and go about their day. You’re probably more like that last example if you’re reading a blog post about minimalist skin care and the good news is that you can definitely pamper your skin without spending an hour in the bathroom.
What is the point of a skin care routine?
The aim of a skin care routine is to replenish and strengthen your skin’s natural barrier. Yes, it’s really that simple. While certain products can be added in to fine tune to your unique skin concerns, whether it be acne, aging, or dryness, the framework of the routine is pretty straight forward.
3 basic skin care essentials
We’ll go into specific products for certain skin concerns, but as a super general rule, there are a minimum of 3 products every person should be using—cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. Cleanser is used to remove oil, dirt, and pollution, as well as bacteria and viruses that have accumulated on your skin during the day. Moisturizers restore the hydration you may have just stripped from your face while cleansing, so don’t skimp on it! And lastly, SPF, which is probably the most important thing you’ll put on your skin. Aside from the risk of skin cancer, sun damage has been shown to increase signs of aging and worsen wrinkles, age spots, and decrease your skin’s elasticity.
Add-ons to meet your skin needs
Some people may do just great with those 3 products, but often you could benefit from an extra product to address your specific skin needs. Maybe you deal with persistent acne or have chronically dry skin. Here are a few things you can add to your routine to target these issues.
Dry skin: Obviously, when dry skin is a concern, the more hydration you supply it with, the better it gets. Try finding super hydrating versions of your cleansers, moisturizers, and SPFs, but also consider finding an equally hydrating serum. Look for serums with lactic acid, which is a skin-smoothing, moisturizing barrier-repairing exfoliant that works wonders for dry skin!
Acne-prone skin: As hard as it may seem, try avoiding the very harsh acne washes out there. Acne-prone skin is already in a vulnerable state, so adding strong, acidic ingredients isn’t likely to help in the way you expect. Instead, focus on soothing that inflammation by using those 3 basic products with calming ingredients or antiseptics. An important addition for this skin type that’s often overlooked is toners. What do toners do? They actually hydrate deeper into your skin than moisturizers can and help clean your pores in the process! For acne-prone skin, that hydration and deep cleaning are essential to healing inflammed skin and avoiding further breakouts.
Aging skin: If you’re 30 or older, you’ve likely heard the advice to start implementing retinol into your routine. What’s so special about retinol, though? To make it simple, retinol is made from vitamin A and helps boost the production of elastin and collagen. These two proteins are responsible for keeping your skin looking youthful. Retinol can actually help with acne, too! So if you’re over 30 and feel you need a little boost to your skin, try adding in a retinol treatment every few days (or whatever frequency works best for you, as retinol can be drying to the skin).
Aside from skin care, there are also a few more things you can do to help keep your routine minimal but effective. For the makeup-wearing people out there, make sure you remove your makeup EVERY NIGHT. It might be tempting to leave it for the morning when you’ve had a long day or are just too tired, but leaving products like makeup on your face can be very damaging. And speaking of nighttime, invest in a silk pillowcase and a silk eye mask, and sleep with them every night. Why? Because silk is incredibly gentle on your skin and won’t absorb all the good products you just put on your face. No matter how much you toss and turn, with silk you’ll wake up with soft, glowing skin!