What Is Skinimalism? Plus, How to Build a Minimalist Skincare Routine

December 01, 2023
Jordan Julian
By: Jordan Julian | skincare.com by L'Oréal
Model smiling and resting their chin in their hand

If layering serums and multi-masking aren’t your thing, or you’re new to skincare and finding the whole thing a tad overwhelming, don’t worry — a minimalist skincare routine can be just as effective as a more complex one. It has even become a viral trend on TikTok and Instagram this past year. Commonly referred to as “skinimalism,” the trend towards more stripped down skincare routines is good news for anyone who wants to save time or money, or just doesn’t like the feeling of applying a ton of products. Keep scrolling to learn more about the beauty world’s return to simplicity. 

What Is Skinimalism?

According to Dr. Teresa Song, board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical, “skinimalism refers to the practice of having a simplified skincare routine by using key ingredients tailored to individual skin needs.” It relies on using just a few simple yet effective steps, rather than constantly adding buzzy new products to your skincare routine in pursuit of your skincare goals. 

Benefits of Skinimalism

“As a dermatologist, this trend is my favorite,” says Dr. Song. “A minimalistic skincare routine allows you to reap the benefits of essential ingredients without the potential risk of irritation from multiple ingredients.” That’s right — sometimes, using too many products or different ingredients can actually trigger adverse reactions such as breakouts. Skinimalism also makes it easier and less time consuming to actually follow through with your skincare routine every day. “Its practicality promotes adherence and yields better long-term results, as patients are more likely to follow a simpler routine compared to a complex 10-step regimen,” she adds. 

How to Build a Skinimalism Routine

Step 1: Cleanser

No surprises here — cleansing with a gentle face wash should be the first step in any skincare routine. Dr. Song recommends using “a non-stripping formula that removes overnight build-up while preserving the skin barrier.” We love the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, a staple on our bathroom counters because it removes makeup or grime without stinging or stripping the skin of its natural oils. The fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, dermatologist-tested formula is suitable even for sensitive skin types.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Step 2: Vitamin C Serum

Using a vitamin C serum is a great second step in a morning skincare routine because it “helps defend the skin against daily stressors,” says Dr. Song. Check out the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, a bestselling serum formulated with 15% L-ascorbic acid (AKA pure vitamin C). At nighttime, swap this step for a retinoid, such as the skinbetter science AlphaRet Overnight Cream, to gain anti-aging benefits. 

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

Step 3: Moisturizer

Moisturizer is another non-negotiable in even the most minimalist skincare routines. According to Dr. Song, using a moisturizer is “recommended for all skin types as hydration strengthens a healthy skin barrier.” She recommends the MMSkincare Revive Moisturizing Serum. Prefer a face cream to a serum? Try the Thayers Barrier Bestie Ultra Whip Face Cream.

Thayers Barrier Bestie Ultra Whip Face Cream

Step 4: Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

Sunscreen is important all year — even during the winter. The SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 is a broad-spectrum formula that contains niacinamide and tranexamic acid to help reduce discoloration and signs of sun damage. It also has mica to give your skin a pretty, luminous glow.

SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30

Step 5: Body Lotion

Your skincare routine shouldn’t stop above the neck. Make sure the rest of your body is well-moisturized with the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Body Lotion, a glycerin- and shea butter-infused moisturizer. The lightweight formula also contains the brand’s signature thermal water, which is packed with free radical-fighting antioxidants.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Body Lotion
Photo: Anisha Sisodia

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