Cutting Corners: How to Trim Down Your Skincare Routine
Time to hit a skincare routine refresh
Not to be dramatic, but parting ways is never easy––especially not when a tried and tested skincare routine is concerned. Skincare routines, once perfected, are the result of tireless research, years of trial and error and an unshakeable bond between user and product, which is precisely what can make shaking up the 7-step or 10-step habits we’ve set in stone such a difficult thought to fathom.
Despite the emotional toll involved, I’ve learned the hard way that streamlining skincare can become a necessary evil. In the face of hormonal changes, weather shifts or pollution (and man, do we have a lot of that here), at any given time, the magic of skincare routine you had so meticulously planned out could just come to an unfortunate full stop. Case in point: a recent Korea trip caused an unprecedented flare-up and a valiant effort to dial my routine down to a skeletal state was the force that saved my skin.
Thus, with a three-product routine having come to my rescue, I’m in full skipcare preaching mode. I’ve been talking about the wonders of spending, applying and stressing less over skincare like it’s some sort of religious propaganda, which might sound like an exaggeration (I assure you, it isn’t). If you’d be so willing to take a chance on my proclamation, consider these steps as you whittle down your routine.
Step 1: Identify the issue
Whether it’s a flare-up or simply dwindling efficacy you’re facing, the first step to cutting your skincare steps down begins with identifying your skin concerns. Get to the bottom of things with a little self-diagnosis: check your bare skin in the AM before applying any product and in the PM after the makeup comes off. What don’t you like seeing? What could be better? If there’s any itching, discomfort or acne punctuating your skin, retrace your steps to discover when those began to appear and what could have caused them. Pay close attention to what your skin tells you.
Step 2: Dial down
While skipcare rose to prominence with a standard three-step routine (cleanser, moisturizer and SPF), like any other diet, there just isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Let your skin observations be your compass for your own slimmed-down skincare recipe.
Searching up your skincare products and discovering the ingredients that go into each cleanser, cream and moisturizer you slather on your face becomes crucial at this point. If you suffer from dry patches, keep products with hyaluronic acid or squalane in your rotation. Stick to basic, straightforward products that deliver on their promises, like Hada Labo‘s Hydrating Lotion and The Ordinary‘s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.
|THE ORDINARY 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, P700|
Like a sinner paying penance, oiliness is often the result of the skin overcompensating for serious dehydration. It’s just as important for those with this skin type to nurse the skin with ample moisture––albeit with more lightweight and oil-free options. If you find your current line-up does nothing to temper that layer of excess sebum that finds its way back to your skin by mid-day, give the rest of your routine a break and take these for a spin:
|IN HER ELEMENT Low pH Rose Gel Cleanser, P675||
NATURE REPUBLIC Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel Tube, P295
If you notice a loss of bounce or spot wrinkles beginning to show through, follow up your cleansing step with products that help lock in collagen like Mizon‘s Collagen 100 Ampoule.
MIZON Collagen 100 Ampoule, P750
Those with sensitive or irritated skin would want to avoid alcohol and harsh ingredients––in which case they could reach for a gentle first step like the CosRX AC Collection Calming Foam Cleanser and finish off a calming cream. The Dear, Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream would be an ideal option, what with its soothing and barrier-strengthening properties.
COSRX AC Collection Calming Foam Cleanser, P730
|DEAR, KLAIRS Midnight Blue Calming Cream (P1280)|
Regardless of skin type or skin issue, here’s one non-negotiable: Never. Skip. Sunscreen.
Step 3: Hang in there
Perhaps the toughest bit in the entire process for the hoarders and the brand-curious: sticking to your condensed skincare routine long enough to observe results is just as crucial as mapping out your product plan. At its core, skipcare is rooted in the purpose of giving the skin a much-needed break, so allowing your extensive skincare wardrobe take a backseat long enough to see improvements––whether that be for three days, a week or long enough for your skipcare to become your regular skincare––would only be well and good in the name of science and beauty, wouldn’t it?
RELATED: A Beauty Debate On Skin
Let’s face it: Not everyone can afford dermatologist consultations and, without a professional involved, there’s going to be a lot of playing it by ear. Be warned, to make these strides you’ll have to brush up on your ingredient knowledge and take the brave risk of dialing down your routine to the products that make sense. But hey, isn’t that the fun of beauty anyway?
Art Alexandra Lara