What is a minimalist skincare routine?

The “shelfie” trend on Instagram may be giving us the impression that a complicated skincare routine with 10 plus steps is the way to go but at Skin Trust Club we say less is more! A minimalist skincare routine can be one that achieves fantastic results addressing all of your skin concerns using a smaller number of products across some simple steps.

The idea of simple living where you declutter your house, have less belongings and strive for a simple uncomplicated life can be replicated in your skincare routine. As Marie Kondo herself would say if it doesn’t spark joy then leave it out!

At Skin Trust Club when you take our microbiome skin analysis test and receive personalised skincare recommendations from us, we usually recommend 3-4 steps in the morning and 3-4 steps at night.

Why have a minimalist skincare routine?

  • Using too many products in your daily routine can cause confusion. People can react to any number of ingredients in a skincare product regardless of how “natural” it is. If you are sensitive to a product, it will be hard to know what product you are reacting to. Equally it will be hard to pinpoint which ones are working best for you and should be part of your daily routine.
  • A complicated and long routine can be hard to stick with and there is no point in having a wonderful routine if you don’t consistently use it. You should be giving products at least 30 days in order to see results.
  • We all live very busy lives and not everyone has 30 minutes in the morning or night to carry out a long routine.
  • A routine with 8 steps can be expensive, we would rather you spend your money on a smaller amount of quality products, remember quality not quantity!
  • Using too many active ingredients without understanding how they interact with each other can lead to an ineffective routine or even damage to your skin barrier or skin health.
  • Having lots of products that you don’t use up quickly enough means they can go out of date before you get a chance to use them. Products can have a shelf life of anywhere between 1 and 3 years. Using out of date products can mean the actives are less effective or the natural oils may have oxidised and become rancid.

Simply put, too many products on your face can feel awful!

Putting together a minimal routine

We understand that putting together a simple routine is not as simple as it sounds so here are some basic routine suggestions for the most common skin types we encounter at Skin Trust Club.

Dry or sensitive skin

Morning Routine:

  • Step one is your facial cleanser – getting a great cleanser that suits your skin is so important. If it cleanses well without either stripping excess sebum or leaving excess product then it is doing a lot of legwork and cutting out the need for other products. For dry skin or sensitive skin choose a cleansing oil or balm but make sure it is one that washes off on contact with water, so you don’t need more product or very warm water to remove it.
  • Hydration is key for dry and sensitive skin – use a good hyaluronic acid-based serum. There are wonderful gel based or spritz type products on the market that are easy to use and absorb very quickly on the skin.
  • Moisturiser is the next step – you don’t need to spend a fortune here on fancy moisturisers with lots of active ingredients, you just need a decent one to keep the moisture in. Look for plant oils which provide rich emollience. Avoid essential oils and fragrances if you have sensitive skin.
  • SPF is an essential non-negotiable step and should be worn all year around regardless of the weather as damaging UV rays are always present and can cause photo ageing and skin cancer.

Evening Routine

  • Cleanse – use the same facial cleanser that you used in the morning although you could leave it on a little longer than usual for a mask like effect and to really help remove those dead skin cells!
  • Hydrate with your hyaluronic acid serum or spritz.
  • Your night cream could be your daytime moisturiser again but for dry skin we love to recommend a balm at night to really seal in the hydration

Oily Skin, Combination Skin or Acne-Prone Skin

Morning Routine:

  • Cleanse- oily skin types can use a gentle foaming facial cleanser or cream cleanser for good cleansing of those clogged pores without stripping of sebum
  • The next step is an AHA ( Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) based toner to get efficient cleansing of pores and resurfacing of the skin.
  • Look out for ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid. If you feel your skin is dull looking, switching out your acid toner for a Vitamin C serum one of two days a week can be a great addition to your routine.
  • For your moisturising step– keep it light, find a gel crème type moisturiser for oily skin and avoid too many plant oils or butters
  • SPF is again a non-negotiable step!

Evening Routine

  • A double cleanse could really benefit your skin especially if you wear makeup during the day. Start with an oil cleanser to break down makeup and SPF and finish with your usual day cleanser
  • AHA overnight creams will get to work while you sleep gently exfoliating your pores. There is no need to apply a night cream over this. This is a wonderful solution for dull skin too!

Mature Skin

Morning Routine

  • An oil or balm-based gentle cleanser will work best for mature skin as they don’t strip the skin of too much sebum. Remember, sebum levels decrease as we get older and we need it to hold the moisture in our skin.
  • Hydrate with a hyaluronic or polyglutamic serum or spritz type product. If you want to add in another treatment step Vitamin C is a wonderful active ingredient for tired and dull looking skin and can really help with those dark circles, dark spots or sun spots.
  • Moisturising is important as we age – look for plant oils, ceramides and peptides in your moisturisers.
  • Eye Cream is an important step as our skin matures and the delicate skin around our eyes becomes prone to fine lines. Look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and rejuvenating ingredients like retinols.
  • SPF as always is an important part of the routine – did you know that sun damage is responsible for over 80% of visible skin aging.

Evening Routine

  • Cleanse with your oil-based cleanser or balm-based gentle cleanser, you can leave it on a little longer than usual to get a mask like effect. Double cleansing is a nice step to add if you have the time. Start with an oil or balm based cleanser and finish with a cream based or very gently foaming facial cleanser.
  • Retinol is your best friend if you have mature skin and is one of the actives in skincare that has the most scientific research behind it. Start slowly with retinol, find one that suits your skin and build up to using it 3 times a week on your skin at night. A good retinol cream will stimulate collagen and increase cell turnover resulting in brighter, smoother skin!
  • Retinol products can be irritating so use a heavy night cream or balm afterwards on the nights that you use it.

How to select the best routine for your skin type?

We understand that skincare can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes with so much information about skincare products, ingredients, routines, and treatments. Let us help you to simplify the process. Take one of our microbiome analysis tests, find out exactly what kind of skin type you have and tell us what your skin issues are and our experts will choose a skincare routine for you based on your results. We will also provide you with lots of tips and advice on how best to achieve balanced and healthy skin.