You want to take good care of your skin, but you don’t want to wake up an hour early to throw on a bunch of products. Plus, the more products you use, the worse your skin seems to get. What to do? Simplify, simplify, simplify. Sometimes basic really is best, and when it comes to skincare, nothing is more true. Try these 10 tips to simplify your skincare routine—and go ahead and set that morning alarm a little later.
1. Stop Washing Your Face in the Morning
Save both time and money by skipping the morning face wash. If you washed your face well before you went to bed, washing it again in the morning is superfluous. Save yourself a bit of time by simply splashing your face with warm water and lightly massaging your face with your fingers. This will only take a few seconds but will help to wake up your skin.
2. Use Multi-tasking Products
If you’re using one product on top of another on top of another, it’s time to rethink things. There are so many products that work in more than one way. Get a moisturizer that has sunscreen in it. Try an in-shower body lotion. Any product that works double duty will save you time and sanity. If you’re prone to breakouts, get a concealer that contains salicylic acid: it will treat and cover at the same time. Try a lipstick and blush in-one. Every minute you save is a minute you could be doing something else – like sleeping in.
3. Make only Minimal Routine Changes when the Weather Changes
You don’t need to overhaul your skincare routine every time the seasons change. You’ll likely need more moisturizer in winter when your skin is drier, and you might need a toner with salicylic acid in summer to counteract dead skin cells that hold onto oil. You might need to make other small changes, too. Your lips will probably need more moisture in winter. You should up your sunscreen game in summer. Beyond that, there’s no need to completely change your routine. Keep it simple no matter the season.
4. There’s only One Product You Really Need
There are days when you’re out running errands and you don’t feel like throwing on any makeup. That's fine. There are also days when you want to skip exfoliating. That’s fine, too. If you’re in a rush or simply not in the mood, you can skip 90% of the products that go on your face and still be okay. There's one product you should never skip, though: sunscreen. Wear it every day, regardless of the weather, and even if you plan on staying inside. You become exposed to UVA rays, even if you never leave the building. And if you do leave the building – for lunch, for a quick walk, going out to your car – your skin is exposed, even if it’s cloudy. If you need a truly minimalist, no-fuss routine, skip everything but the sunscreen.
5. Visit the Dermatologist Once a Year
You may think you know everything about your skin’s condition, and you may be treating it yourself accordingly. Visiting a professional once a year could give you new insight about the state of your face. Is that dry skin or is it seborrheic dermatitis? One needs a moisturizer and the other requires a prescription, so it’s best to visit your doctor and find out for sure. Don’t waste your time using the wrong treatment for the wrong issue. Find out what your skin really needs.
6. Use an Anti-aging Product
You don’t need seven anti-aging products. You need one. Look for a product that contains retinol. Retinol is a multi-tasking ingredient that minimizes fine lines, dark spots and UV damage while helping skin texture and firmness. You can find products with retinol in both high-end beauty stores and drugstores, so don’t assume it’s something beyond your reach.
7. Use a Tinted Moisturizer
Count tinted moisturizer as the queen of multitasking products. Get the same result from one coat of tinted moisturizer as you would from moisturizer, concealer, foundation and powder. Imagine the time you’ll save if you use one product instead of four.
8. Remove Your Makeup Every Night
This is a simple step that can have big consequences if you don’t follow through with it. Sleeping in your makeup will lead to clogged pores and breakouts. There’s no need to use two different products to remove your makeup and wash your face – simply get one gel cleanser that does both in one step. No matter how tired you are, make sure you do this. Sleep a little extra in the morning, but never skip this step to gain sleep at night.
9. Do Things in the Right Order
If you're going to use a lot of products on your face, make sure you’re putting them on in the right order. Otherwise you’ll minimize or cancel the results of the products you’re using. The order you’re going for is this: 1. Cleanser. 2. Toner. 3. Serum. 4. Eye Cream. 5. Moisturizer. Here’s another way to think of it: Start with your lighter products first and work up to your thicker ones.
10. Exfoliate Weekly
You don’t need to exfoliate every day – and you shouldn’t. Exfoliating a few times a week, though (or at least once a week) can have great benefits for you skin. There are many different ways to exfoliate: with a facial scrub, washcloth, microdermabrasion, chemical peel, or retinoid. Figure out which system works best for you. For the sake of simplicity, start by making your own two-ingredient facial scrub using brown sugar and oil. It’s just as effective and a whole heck of a lot cheaper than any product you’ll find in a store.
Remember: When it comes to skincare, simple is best. Don’t let the advertisements fool you. You don’t need to pile on product after product to see results. You need a few simple products that can get multiple jobs done in less time. And then you need to relax – nothing soothes skin more than reducing your stress level. Take a breath, try these tips, and let your skincare worries go.