I find complicated skincare routines way too overwhelming to keep up with.
It took me time to find a more minimalist, "lazy girl" routine that keeps my skin clear and soft.
I stick to 3-4 steps morning and night to keep things simple.
When it comes to mainstream beauty trends, I've always been a "lazy girl." I didn't have the patience to straighten my hair in high school, I still don't know how to do a smokey eye, and for most of my life, I had no skincare regimen.
What seemed to come naturally to other people — watching YouTube tutorials, researching products, spending more than five minutes on their face — felt overwhelming to me. When 12-step skincare routines were popular a few years back, I saw it as confirmation that I was just inept at doing the thing every other woman does without thinking and doomed to have dry, acne-prone skin forever.
Since then, I've learned I'm not the only one: Plenty of people are opting for more minimalist skin trends, either due to sensitive skin or just the fact that 12 steps are about six too many to reasonably remember every single day.
Eventually, through trial and error (and talking to many dermatologists), I was able to find a simple skincare routine that I could stick to without fail. Because I'm consistent, the products actually work — and have led to the smoothest, clearest skin I've ever had.
I go through three quick steps every morning and night
I follow the best basic skincare routine according to dermatologists, in which I use a few core products and complete almost the same steps every day and night. Some of my products are multi-functional, like my favorite sunscreen which combines skin-protecting SPF with moisturizing niacinamide. Here's my daily routine:
Cleanse my face with the Rice Wash from Tatcha, which also hydrates my skin
Apply Matter of Fact vitamin C serum, which has a cult following and is one of the most shelf-stable vitamin C serums
Put on EltaMD UV Clear sunscreen, which doesn't leave a white cast or make my skin greasy
Cleanse my face with Tatcha's The Rice Wash again
(Optional) Use Bioderma micellar water and a cotton pad to remove makeup because I find it more effective than makeup wipes
Apply Farmacy retinol serum every 3 days to avoid irritation
Put on Cetaphil moisturizer because it's cheap and I can use it on my face and body
These specific products are what I've found works for my skin, but the general principles of cleansing, vitamin C, sunscreen, retinol, and moisturizing can work for anyone.
Cleansing gets rid of dirt and clogged pores, vitamin C brightens my complexion, retinol reduces fine lines, moisturizer prevents dry skin, and sunscreen offers crucial protection and anti-aging benefits. Put together, all these steps help my skin stay smooth, firm, and breakout-free.
Sometimes I do swap out products to try new ones. For example, a dermatologist told me I could try a stronger retinoid for better results, so I switched to a different brand that I like more.
This simple routine also saves me money. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars on products I might only use a few times before throwing away, I only buy what I absolutely need.
I've learned not to obsess over rogue pimples or fine lines
Even though my skin looks the best it ever has, I know it's not perfect by everyone's standards. As a woman over 30, I have fine lines and dark circles. I also still get the occasional zit or two around my period.
But I've learned to accept these small blemishes, instead of stacking my natural face against a stranger's selfies that are most definitely filtered anyway. I'm sure hyaluronic acid could smooth my skin even more and the right eye cream might work wonders, but over the years I've found that the more I fixate on my "flaws," the more products I buy and the more discouraged I get. Eventually, my skincare routine once again becomes elusive and inaccessible.
So, I'm sticking to what works and trying to let go of the inner chatter that tells me I need another serum. Maybe I'm a lazy girl, or maybe I'm a tired woman who's lived through enough rapidly changing beauty standards to know good skin when I feel it.
Read the original article on Insider