Bare Bones Skin Care

SONY DSC Establishing a simple, but effective skin care routine based on a few well-chosen products might be one of the more challenging aspects of the minimalist approach, but it is definitely also one of the most rewarding. Once you've found the perfect low-maintenance regime, your skin will be in tip-top shape with minimal effort on your part, you will save a considerable amount of money and be able to get away with wearing less make up.

Before you decide that your skin is too complicated for a ‘simple’ regime, make sure that you haven’t neglected the bare essentials of a good skin care routine; your skin might turn out to be less high-maintenance than you thought.

1. Lifestyle Don't try to fix your lifestyle vices with an expensive skin care routine. Although the overall condition of your skin is partially genetic, it is also a reflection of your general health, so try paying more attention to factors like nutrition, sleep and hygiene for a while. If you struggle with acne try consuming less dairy products. Since I've switched to soy/ almond milk, my skin has pretty much cleared up completely. Above all, keep your hands off your face; many people don't notice how often they touch their face during the day and distribute all kinds of bacteria, which lead to skin irritations and acne. Also, make sure you disinfect your phone at least once a week and regularly wash your towels, pillow cases and make up brushes.

2. Routine ‘Little and often’ is the key to a low-maintenance skin care routine. I know quite a few people who will use a multitude of treatments like masks, exfoliators, high-strength spot remover, yet won’t wash their face at night. Before you add anything else to your regime, get into a regular routine of washing and moisturizing your face twice a day and stick to it. If you cleanse your skin every morning and night, bacteria and oils will never sit on your skin for too long and the continuous hydration will protect your skin from external bad stuff that could irritate it or dry it out. You might be surprised how good your skin can look after a few weeks of a super-simple two-step routine.

3. Basics Most people don't need complicated treatments or high-tech ingredients, but a simple routine that they stick to religiously. However, even a low-maintenance routine needs to be tailored to your skin, so choose your products carefully. If you are not concerned with ageing yet, you might be totally fine with using drugstore products for cleansing and moisturizing, as long as you pick the right formula for your skin type. Dry skins need a gentler cleanser and a heavier moisturizer than oily skins; when in doubt, err on the side of adding/substracting less, i.e. pick the gentler cleanser but lighter moisturizer. Once you have found these two products, the next step is adding exfoliation and daily sun protection. Of course you don't have to limit yourself to only four products, but aim to to get these basics right first and then see if you need anything else.

4. Set priorities Before buying anything, basics or extras, really consider where your skin's weaknesses are and where you might need to splurge. If you have a normal, resilient skin type, you can get away with relatively basic products, but if your problems remain even after you have established a good routine, you need to set priorities. Ask yourself: Will this product make a big difference to my skin or is it just nice to have. Before you invest in any product, be it skin care or make up, do a ton of research and take your time to find the ingredients/brands that work for you.

Let’s do a fun poll. How many skin care products do you use on an average day? I use five: cleanser, toner, two types of moisturizer and make up remover wipes.