One question I get asked alot is “what are the minimal amount of products you should use in your skincare routine?“. I share a lot of different skincare products in my Sunday Facials and across this blog – it’s a part of my job – but of course you don’t need 20+ products in your routine. A long skincare ritual is not for everyone (whether that be because skincare isn’t a top priority for you, time constraints, etc.). This is about how to create a minimalist skincare routine that will still deliver results but won’t take over your time. Essentially, we’re talking about 5 steps that can be channeled into just 5 products. These are what I consider the bare essentials to allow you to benefit from your skincare routine treating concerns and maintaining healthy, balanced skin.
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01 – Choose a Cleanser
Cleansing is non-negotiable at night but not everyone needs to cleanse in the morning. Sometimes a splash of water works for some. And when it comes to double cleansing, nobody said you have to use two different products. You can double cleanse with the same product at night to ensure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the skin. It is up to you whether you prefer a gel, cream, balm or foaming cleanser. Some of my favourites for gentle cleansing are: CeraVe Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser* , Oskia’s new Rest Day Cleansing Milk* and the Elemis Pro-Collagen Naked Cleansing Balm*.
02 – You Need an Exfoliator
The frequency at which you use an exfoliator will depend on your skin. If you’ve got oily skin or blocked pores you may prefer daily exfoliation. Overall, you need to work this out for yourself based on your skin type and skin needs. When choosing your exfoliator, go for either an AHA or BHA. BHAs are oil soluble and good for blemish prone skin offering anti-inflammatory benefits (I like the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid*). If you’re choosing an AHA, the Skinesis Liquid Surface* is a great pick.
Generally AHAs work on fine lines, dullness and treating sun exposure. They can be sun sensitive so I’d recommend using this step at night or only in the morning if you’re using a good sunscreen. Check out my skincare guide to acid exfoliants for more in-depth explanations.
03 – Pick Your Treatment Serum
The options are endless when it comes to this step so I’d go with choosing one product that treats your biggest skin concern whether this is dryness, open pores, hyperpigmentation or fine lines etc. If you’re not sure, niacinamide is a great all arounder to address many skin concerns. From hyperpigmentation to excessive oiliness to even dryness – it’s a versatile skin ingredient that works well in formulations between 5%-10%. You can use this morning and night. Or if you want to choose an additional treatment like a retinol, you’d make sure to use that retinol at night only.
04 – Choose a Moisturiser
Choose a moisturiser that can also replace your eye and neck cream if you’re really looking to streamline your routine. If you are going to use it as an eye cream as well then make sure you choose something fragrance free. Moisturisers offer that layer of hydration, replenishment and skin barrier protection to really hold in that moisture.
05 – Never forget sunscreen!
And of course you must include a sunscreen! If you have super oily skin and don’t want to use a moisturiser then just go straight in with your SPF but this is a step never to skip! Here are my best sunscreens for face if you’re not sure which to choose.