With all the cleansers, serums, and moisturizers available, creating a skin care routine can seem overwhelming.


But meeting with a local dermatologist will show you that skin care doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. You can still have beautiful, healthy skin without buying all the new products and spending hours each week on your skin care.


Some of the best skin care routines stick to the basics to save you the time and money of using numerous products.


No matter if you’re embracing minimalism or just looking to simplify your skin care routine, a streamlined skin care regimen focuses on the most important elements.


A minimalist skin care routine has 3 essential steps: cleansing, moisturizing, and applying SPF protection.


Benefits of a Minimalist Skin Care Routine

It’s easy to get caught up in all the products and think your skin needs all of them. But a simple approach is beneficial to most people.


In fact, some research has found that having too many products in your skin care regime can actually make your skin less healthy and worsen the appearance.


If your skin appears dry, damaged, or irritated, it could be from the products you use. A simpler routine could be the fresh start your skin needs to be clear and healthy.


Some products don’t work well together and can actually fight against each other. Using fewer products reduces the chance that the ingredients won’t work together and allows each product to shine and be effective.


A minimalist skin care routine also cuts down on the number of products you need to buy, which helps your wallet and reduces environmental waste.


It also takes less time, which can be valuable for busy people who don’t have time to put on numerous serums and products every day.


For beautiful and ageless skin, less is more. Here’s how to make a minimalist skin care routine work for you:


Step 1: Cleanse


woman cleansing face as start of minimalist skin care routine

Great skin starts with clear skin. The most important step in any skin care routine is cleansing. As you go throughout the day, your skin naturally absorbs dirt, dust, and chemicals, not to mention the makeup and other products you use.


Cleansing your face removes everything from the skin and clears your pores. It provides a clean surface to use other products and helps them better absorb into the skin.


Cleansing should be the first step to your minimalist skin care routine. Wash your face in the morning and at night with a gentle cleanser, unless you have extremely dry skin and only need to wash your face at night.


Use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol and won’t strip your skin’s natural oils. Start by wetting your face with lukewarm water and applying the cleanser with your fingertips. Scrubbing can irritate the skin.


Rinse with lukewarm water and pat your face dry with a soft towel.


Step 2: Moisturize


applying moisturizer as part of minimalist skin care routine


Once your skin is clean, it is ready to be moisturized. The best time to apply moisturizer is directly after you have wasted your face when the skin is best ready to absorb the ingredients in the moisturizer.


Moisturizer protects and hydrates your skin to maintain healthy cells and protects them from the elements. Moisturized skin looks bright and vibrant and is less likely to have wrinkles.


Apply a gentle moisturizer in the morning and evening to keep your skin hydrated and avoid it drying out.


There are numerous types of moisturizers, so it is important to find the right product for your skin type. Later in this article, we’ll discuss the best products for every skin type.


No matter the product you use, gently rub a pea-size drop into your skin using circular motions and light, upward strokes.


Step 3: Sunscreen


woman applying sunscreen in the spring


Dermatologists agree that the single best thing you can do to improve the health of your skin and slow the signs of aging is to wear a daily sunscreen.


Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays that can cause skin cancer and a host of other issues.


It isn’t just for going to the beach—your skin is exposed to the sun every day, so you need to wear sunscreen every day. Wearing a daily sunscreen from an early age sets the stage for beautiful and healthy skin later in life.


Make sure your sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher. Many moisturizers include sunscreen, but check to make sure it is powerful enough. Even if your moisturizer contains sunscreen, adding another layer of skin protection can still be beneficial.


There are two types of daily sunscreen: mineral and chemical. Mineral-based sunscreen blocks rays from the sun, while chemical-based sunscreen absorbs UV rays.


Both types of sunscreen are effective, but mineral sunscreen tends to be gentler on skin, especially for people with acne or other skin conditions.


Bonus Step 4: Serums


apply skin serum to hand as part of minimalist skin care routine


The first three steps of a minimalist skin care routine are sufficient for most people and cover the basics of healthy skin. If you want to take your simple routine one step further, the next optional step is to add serums.


There are countless types of serums available, each of which includes a concentrated level of specific ingredients to moisturize, protect, and boost your skin.


Serums can do everything from relieving dryness, fighting acne, reducing wrinkles, and more.


One of the most common ingredients for serums is retinol, which promotes collagen production and can reduce age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. Applying a retinol serum nightly can greatly improve your skin over time.


Your dermatologist can recommend the right serums for your age, lifestyle, and skin type. In general, stick to one type of serum and apply it gently according to the directions.


What to Skip In Your Minimalist Routine

The goal of a minimalist skin care routine is to focus on the skin care essentials and leave out extra products. Just as crucial as finding the right ingredients to include is choosing the right ingredients to leave out.


Products that could irritate your skin don’t need to be part of your minimalist routine, including astringents or exfoliants. These items can be damaging if you have dry skin and don’t offer many benefits.


Toners are another unnecessary product because if you’ve cleansed your skin properly you shouldn’t need a toner to remove anything else.


Face masks and face mists might feel good in the moment, but their benefits are temporary and they don’t need to be a regular part of your skin care routine.


Find the Right Skin Care Products

When you’re only applying a few products to your face every day, those products become more important than ever. Not every type of product works on every type of skin.


It’s crucial to understand your skin type so you can choose the most effective skin care products.


There are five main types of skin: dry, normal, combination, sensitive, or oily. Each type of skin responds well to certain ingredients and may require extra doses of other ingredients to create beautiful, healthy skin.


If you have dry skin, look for products containing shea butter and lactic acid that lightly exfoliate dry skin cells. These ingredients are also great for hydrating your skin and locking it in to keep your skin moisturized.


If you have oily skin, look for a cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid that controls oil production and only hydrates in the needed areas.


People with oily skin need a light, hydrating moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and should stay away from thicker products that may add too much oil to the skin.


For sensitive skin, use cleansers and products that don’t contain alcohol. These ingredients can irritate the skin and cause dryness and redness.


Similarly, look for moisturizers and sunscreens with all-natural ingredients or that don’t have preservatives or scents. Gentle ingredients like aloe vera and shea butter are effective for sensitive skin.


Habits of a Minimalist Skin Care Routine

As with any routine, consistency is key to creating an effective minimalist skin care routine. You likely won’t see results right away. It can take up to four to six weeks to see noticeable results in your skin. Stick with the products and routines even if you don’t see immediate results.


If you stick with your routine twice a day, your skin will begin to be clearer and healthier. Switching products to get a faster result will only set you back. Choose products and use them for a while before deciding if they are the best fit for your skin.


Knowing how to create a minimalist skin care routine puts you on the path to healthy and beautiful skin. Sticking to the basics and choosing quality products that match your skin type can help you establish youthful skin, even without buckets of products.