The Bare Minimum Skincare Routine You Need to Be Doing

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Just a couple of months ago, I started getting serious about a skincare routine.

It wasn’t the first time I had tried to keep up with a set routine. See, I’ve dipped my toes into that pool many times, but I’ve never been able to stick with it. There’s always a hundred steps, and I’m supposed to do it twice a day? Who has time for that?

Finally, I struck gold. I realized that the best way to stick with it was to come up with a bare minimum, feels-like-nothing skincare routine.

Like, can I do it in less than five minutes before my head hits the pillow? Sold.

Look, it’s not being lazy — it’s being efficient.

So, here it is. A bare minimum skincare routine that anyone can do — and should do — to keep your skin looking it’s best.

Step 1: Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser

From the time you get up in the morning to the time your head hits the pillow — and let’s be honest, even while you’re asleep, too — your skin is constantly taking a major beating. That’s why the first step in your skincare routine should always be cleansing. You need to get rid of all that dirt, excess oil, and impurities that have built up, plus any makeup or other products you’ve put on.

These days, you don’t even need to put in the extra work to stand over the sink, either. Instead of traditional cleansers, pick up some micellar water. It’s got tiny micelles, aka oil molecules, that lift away dirt, oils, and makeup in a snap. Just squeeze some onto a cotton pad and swipe away the grime.

And since there’s no rinsing, you can even keep it on your nightstand for easy access on nights when you’re too tired to haul yourself into the bathroom. Or, keep micellar water in your gym bag for a quick cleanse after a sweaty workout.

Step 2: Don’t Exfoliate Everyday

I’m telling you not to do something. I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming! But seriously, you shouldn’t be exfoliating your face every single day.

Sure, exfoliating is a great way to get rid of built-up gunk and grime, or dead skin that can cause dullness and acne. But you shouldn’t be exfoliating every day because it’s too harsh for a daily routine.

Instead, give your face a good scrub a couple of times a week — with a chemical exfoliant if possible. They can speed up the removal of superficial dead skin cells, wiping out dullness and allowing the active ingredients in your skincare products to penetrate better.

Step 3: Targeted Serums or Creams

Look, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are. Serums and creams provide additional benefits to your skin, and who doesn’t want that? Besides, if you wait until you have deep wrinkles and dark spots, it’s going to be a lot harder (and more expensive) to get rid of them. So why not get ahead of yourself and do it the easy way?

Whether you’re looking for something to help wrinkles, pore size, complexion, or dark spots, there’s a serum ready to tackle the job. They’re super lightweight and it doesn’t even feel like there’s anything on your skin.

While you’re at it, go ahead and tap on some eye cream, too. Depending on the eye cream you choose, it could help address dark circles, puffiness, or fine lines. Just remember, a little goes a long way.

Step 4: Moisturize

Hydration keeps your skin plump, radiant, and youthful. Unfortunately, your skin loses hydration all throughout the day. I know, what a bummer, right?

That’s why you should always apply moisturizer twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. It will help your skin stay healthier and looking young — regardless of your skin type.

Step 5: Always Wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen is non-negotiable! It doesn’t matter the season, or if it’s grey and cloudy outside. You need to protect your skin from UV damage, which will seriously age your skin.

Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher — though, 30 and above is much better, obviously. Make sure you apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading out the door.

If you’re hoping to cut some corners (I won’t tell anyone!) you can reach for a moisturizer formulated with broad-spectrum sunscreen built right in. That means that you can moisturize and apply sunscreen at the same time.