Minimalist Skin Care RoutineWho has time for expensive and complicated skincare routines? You can spend a fortune on skincare products, enough to break the bank, and not have skin that looks better than what you can get from a minimalist skincare routine.

Minimalism for skincare means banishing extra products from your skincare routine that take extra time to apply and cost money. With a minimalist approach, you get benefits without extra time and expense. Most dermatologists agree that you can enjoy younger-looking skin using only these five items.

A Gel Cleanser

You have to cleanse your skin, right? Your skin cells are constantly exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution. Studies suggest that air pollution can trigger acne outbreaks by clogging pores and causing inflammation. Plus, air pollution is a cause of premature skin aging. Some air pollutants reduce antioxidants, components that protect your skin against damage and contribute to loss of skin elasticity. So, cleansing twice per day is essential for limiting the impact of air pollution on your skin.

When choosing a cleanser for your skin, consider a gel cleanser. Why gel? Gel cleansers make your skin feel clean but won’t dry your skin out as soaps and foams can. They also work well for normal, dry, and sensitive skin types. When you use a gel cleanser, your skin won’t feel tight or too dry, just clean and soft. You can easily toss a gel cleanser into your travel bag when you need skincare you can take with you.


Skin Toner

After cleansing, apply a gentle toner. Doing so preps your skin for other products, like your moisturizer, and balances its pH. Toner also helps remove any microparticles leftover after cleansing. You can buy toners with an alcohol base or a water-based skin toner. If you have oily skin, an alcohol-based toner may work well for you. But if you have dry or normal skin, you should use a water-based toner. Alcohol can dry out your skin too much over time and lead to dryness and flakiness. Dermatologists also point out that alcohol-based toners can be so drying that they increase oil production and worsen acne-prone skin.

Alcohol may dry out your skin too much over time and lead to dryness and flakiness. A water-based toner contains no alcohol. It soothes irritated skin due to its cooling effect, reduces redness, and tightens pores. It can also help remove dirt from your face that regular washing cannot completely remove. Water-based toners are best for normal skin and skin on the dryer side. Most people will do best with a water-based toner.



Exfoliation is the process of eliminating dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. When dead skin cells build up on the surface of your skin, your skin looks dull and lackluster. Exfoliation can be physical or chemical. Physical exfoliation uses friction to remove dead cells from the surface of your skin. Chemical exfoliation uses a liquid solution to remove dead cells from your skin.

For most people, physical exfoliation suffices, and you don’t need fancy equipment if you’re abiding by the principles of minimalist skincare. Using a nubby washcloth will remove surface dead skin cells and restore radiance to your skin. You can also mix oatmeal with water and rub it on your skin to exfoliate dead skin cells.

Whatever you choose, exfoliating your face will leave it looking radiant and feeling soft. It also creates a smoother surface for foundation application, leaving you with a flawless-looking complexion. The best time of day to exfoliate is in the morning after you step out of a hot shower.

Retinol-Based Moisturizer

Retinol-Based Moisturizer

Retinol is an ingredient your skin needs to slow the aging process. Retinol, also known as Vitamin A1, improves skin texture, evens out skin tone, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also stimulates new cell growth, boosts collagen production, and diminishes the appearance of pores. Physical exfoliation lifts away dead skin cells, but retinol keeps dead skin cells from building up. It does this by increasing the rate at which dead skin cells slough off, leaving a more radiant complexion.

Retinol is appropriate for most skin types, but it may cause some redness and irritation when you first start using it. This usually improves or resolves after a few weeks. Over time, retinol may reduce pigmented discolorations, so age spots, sun spots, and patches of pigmentation from sun exposure look less obvious.



The sun is the most powerful producer of free radicals in your body, which are harmful to healthy skin cells. Wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day helps prevent these free radicals from damaging your skin, and helps keep your skin looking younger longer by preventing damage to collagen and elastin, two proteins that support your skin and give it elasticity.

Your sun protection should be part of your daily beauty routine, along with cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun is the number one cause of premature aging. Apply a quarter-size amount to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears, and colletage. Select a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that blocks UVA and UVB rays for optimal protection.

The Bottom Line

No matter your skincare routine, you have to be consistent. If you use a product one day and then don’t use it the next, it doesn’t matter how good that product is; you won’t see any results.