A Minimalist Approach to Beauty

A Minimalist Approach to Beauty 1In my last post I wrote about how the ideas of minimalism can be used to transform a closet full of ill-fitting impulse buys into a well-curated wardrobe that perfectly reflects your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle. If you truly want to minimalist-ify your personal style you need to rethink not only your approach to fashion, but also the other aspects that shape your personal style: your hair, make up, skin care and nails. The beauty equivalent of a stuffed wardrobe full of imperfect bargains is a make up drawer brimming with half-used products, most of which you have already forgotten about. When I was younger I had A LOT of beauty stuff: bags full of make up, shelves stacked with hair products and other things that I had accumulated over the years. Of course, I was only using about one tenth of the products and still felt the need to buy more.

Fast forward a couple of years: I now have a small selection of make-up and beauty products that I know work for me, and a skin care and make up routine that takes me no longer than 10 minutes every morning. I don’t have the urge to buy more stuff, because I have everything I need. It’s not that I have lost interest in all things beauty, I still read lots of different beauty blogs and I follow new releases; but the difference is that nowadays, before adding anything to my collection, I will have done a ton of research, weighed up my options, and made sure that the product will definitely simplify or enrich my routine.

I will soon post a detailed step-by-step plan on how to streamline your beauty routine, but for now I just want to highlight the basic elements of the minimalist approach:

Simplicity. Adopting the classic minimalist concept of ‘less is more’, the idea is to own fewer products, but to ensure that these products are the perfect match for your skin, your look and your lifestyle.

Signature look. Rather than being influenced by current trends, the minimalist approach is about developing and perfecting a signature look that expresses your aesthetic ideas, complements your wardrobe and fits your lifestyle. My own signature look is relatively minimalist visually, but of course you can also adopt the minimalist approach if you prefer a bolder look, by aiming for a small, but perfectly curated set of products.

A simple, effective skin and hair care routine. Instead of testing two handfuls of new products every month, the minimalist approach is about establishing a fuss-free hair and skin care routine using high-quality products that match your hair and skin’s needs exactly.

Investments. Since I have started adopting the minimalist approach, a higher percentage of my products are from high-end brands, but I am still spending less money overall. One of the biggest benefits of the approach is that there is little risk involved in buying a more expensive product, because you know it works for you and you won’t replace it until it is used up. Ask yourself: Would you rather pay £25 for your favourite moisturizer once every 6 months or buy five mediocre £8 moisturizers that you won’t end up using? However, the approach is not about exclusively using high-end products; only invest if the higher price really does come with added benefits. For example, I am happy to invest in my beloved Bobbi Brown foundation because I have not found a drugstore foundation that performs nearly as well, but I will definitely not spend £15 on a high-end shower gel.

What approach do you use to shop for beauty products? Do you prefer quality over quantity, or maybe quality AND quantity? Do you use all of the products you own?


  1. Once I took the leap and allowed myself to splurge on my first REALLY high-end brand, I was hooked. And once I made the switch, I found I was actually saving money. With my new brand, the number of products “required” by their regime was greatly reduced. I went from typical regime of makeup remover, facial cleanser, toner, spot treatments for day/night, eye cream, face cream to just makeup remover, facial cleanser, eye cream and face cream. The significantly fewer products actually worked out to less money overall than the previous product line, so I was saving money, time, AND counter space. AND the products just worked better – with fewer irritations to my skin. Those are some pretty HUGE pluses IMO! And then when I added in one of those soft rotary brush facial exfoliators, used daily, my complexion has truthfully NEVER looked better.
    The better complexion allowed me to simplify my makeup next. I’ve invested to get this complexion – I’m going to show it off, not cover it up with “stuff”. My typical daytime makeup regime takes a very “less is more” attitude. Since my glasses tend to magnify anything around my eyes, I tend to emphasize my lips. And as with my facial products, I’ve minimized what I have & use, but I’ve invested in the “good stuff” here as well. My “regime”: SPF, a single pale eye shadow, mascara, and a medium bright lipstick or lip gloss.
    I save the heavy stuff for dates and special occasions! (And by doing so, the contrast between your usual day and a special occasion night look can be quite VA-VA-VOOM! for your significant other when you do dress-it-up for a night on the town ;-) )
    So, minimalism has definitely worked for me!

  2. I’ve tried to be minimalist in my beauty routine but maybe I’m still in the experimenting stage. I like to keep a stash of makeup/skincare under my sink so if I feel like changing something I don’t have to go shopping since I probably already have something…

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