Minimalist Skincare: Simplifying Your Skincare Routine

Cleanse, exfoliate, tone, mask, steam, hydrate, rejuvenate. All terms I’m sure we’re familiar with. What ever happened to Simplicity? Minimalism?

It can be a bit daunting at times, the idea that you must do all of these things to keep your skin in tip-top condition

Have a glance at your cosmetic shelf, countless toners, anti-aging serums, exfoliators, AHA/BHA formulations, pore strips, peels, the list goes on. When did it all get so complicated, and do you really need it all?

My number one tip is to reduce, I’ll give you a few pointers as well as recommend some products to help you along the way.

First things first, get rid of things you haven’t used in ages. This is a bit of a no-brainer, we have things lying around that were last used two years ago. Sure it may have cost a bit and that’s why you’re still holding on but it’s time to move on. You want to have a staple collection of products that work for you, without clutter getting in the way

While the routines will differ for skin care types, the general steps I like to follow are,


  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone I don’t find toner to be necessary
  3. Moisturise
  4. Targeted treatments


  1. Face masks, including sheet masks
  2. Exfoliating
  3. Pore strips No. Never. Get rid of them.
  4. Targeted treatments

Why don’t I use toner?

Toner I feel is an addition to a routine that is simply unnecessary. Here’s why:

Are you using toner to cleanse your skin?

A good cleansing face wash should take care of this, if you find there’s still residue left on your face after cleansing perhaps be more thorough, or invest in another product

Are you using toner as a targeted treatment?

Toners have the active ingredients you find in targeted treatments such as Salicylic Acid. Now, if you’re toning and following it up with a targeted treatment, you’re putting twice as much on your face. Keep it simple, if you’re going to use toner make sure you know what’s in it before you double up. I find toners don’t work as effectively as targeted treatments; the ‘cleaning’ aspect is largely it’s purpose and it usually just dries my skin out.

Skin goals

You need to understand your skin and therefore set the goal. I’ll focus on the two ‘problematic’ types

Oily skin? Clogged pores? Set the primary focus on clearing up those pores to prevent breakouts.

Cleanse. This is particularly important, you don’t want the oil and dirt build up to clog your pores. If your skin is oily, you want to worry less about how gentle the cleanser is as the goal is to be squeaky clean. A cleanser I recommend is the Clinique liquid facial soap, for combination oily to oily skin.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap – Oily Skin

This formulation leaves skin dirt and oil-free, and it is unscented. I found after a few weeks my T-Zone was dramatically improved

Get it here:

Exfoliate. You will probably doing this more often than someone with dry/normal skin. I recommend exfoliating 3-4 times a week if your skin is particularly oily. Exfoliation can be accomplished through the use of exfoliating scrubs or targeted treatments, primarily Salicylic Acid (or BHA as you may see it described). Salicylic acid exfoliates the pores from the inside, reducing black head formation and reducing the appearance of large pores.

The Ordinary - Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution – The Ordinary

This is a fantastic formulation by The Ordinary. Click here to read our review

Or get it here

Pore Strips?

You might be tempted to bring out the Biore pore strips as a quick solution to your blackheads but I guarantee this is doing more harm than good. Most pore strips have been known to enlarge pores, and they won’t be tackling the root of the problem

Well what do I do instead?

Ensure you’re consistent with your skincare routine; as with anything it may take some time to clear up but it will be worth it. I recommend doing face masks perhaps once a week, these will often clear pores and rejuvenate your skin without being as harsh

Estee Lauder Clear Different Purifying Mask

Estee Lauder – Clear Difference Purifying Exfoliating Mask

A product I’ve been using for years. Apply liberally to face and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then scrub like an exfoliator and wash off. Skin is visibly clearer and smoother.

Get it here

Dry, skin? Constantly moisturising? Dull complexion?


Your goal here is to use a gentle cleanser, you don’t want to strip away the essential oils on your skin any more than is necessary.

Cetaphil Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

A cleanser I’ve used in the past, very gentle, non-drying. Perfect for dry & sensitive skin.

Get it here


This is perhaps the most important step. You’ll want to get a moisturiser that keeps your skin hydrated all day, without looking greasy or clogging your pores. I won’t be recommending a product here as I don’t really suffer from dry skin. A brand I’ve heard works quite well is Aveeno.


You’ll want to do this less than someone with oily skin. Perhaps 2-3 times a week maximum. Find an exfoliating scrub instead of a targeted treatment. BHA treatments are typically harsh on the skin and can cause further flaking.

Nivea gentle exfoliating scrub

NIVEA Gentle Exfoliating Face Scrub

I use this often. It’s very gentle on the skin, nice fragrance as a bonus.

Get it here

What about face masks?

You might be discouraged from using these as many claim to cleanse, purify, etc. Find the right ones for you however, there are many which hydrate skin; leaving it looking fresh and healthy. Again, once a week is more than enough.

A quick word on targeted treatments

By targeted treatments I’m referring to anything applied topically that won’t fall under any of the other categories. This includes serums, anti-aging creams etc. You’ll have to find treatments such as these for your particular skin type.

Examples include BHA for oily skin, clogged pores. Hyaluronic Acid serums for dry skin. This list is endless, there are products for uneven tones, fine lines, flaky skin, sensitive skin, scars. You have to find what works for you and include it to your regime.

Final Word

As always, less is more. By reducing you’re not only making life easier for yourself, but also giving your skin exactly what it needs.

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