Bare Bones Skin Care


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. 


  1. I use three products: make up remover, acne toner and moisturizer. Despite not even using a face wash, my skin has never been better before. All I had to do is quit dairy and stop stripping my skin with soaps.

  2. I do a make up remover/cleanser and moisturizer at night, moisturizer and SPF in the morning (after washing my face with just water…discovered that works best for my skin) and then once a week an exfoliator. for make up I do concealer and powder, eye shadow and blush during the winter, and during the summer I switch the shadow for some high-wear gel shadow and liner for more staying power. I feel like I’m missing a good overall color corrector and probably some night cream/serum. but overall, pretty minimal.

  3. All very good advice! I always think I have my skincare sorted out but then from time to time i get bored and try hyped up products which always leave me shamefaced – they’re usually not worth their hype. At the end of the day I use two to three: cleanser (which is very important to me), an scrub about 3 times a week, and moisturiser. At the start of the day I skip the cleanser and just splash my face with water, followed by a combination suncreen/moisturiser product which I think is meant as a primer of sorts, although I don’t wear any make-up over it. Twice a week I use a deep cleansing mud mask: I’ve tried going without it for a new months, only to see my skin clog into a mess.

    (Thanks for your comment on my blog by the way!)

  4. i’ve actually started performing an oil cleansing routine and washing my face with just honey. i think my skin looks better than ever! (especially from the oil cleansing). otherwise, i occasionally use a makeup remove and i use olay sensitive skin face lotion almost everyday; some days, i just use a tiny bit of the castor oil for moisture.

  5. On an everyday basis I use six products (make up remover wipes, cleansing milk, toner, an am moisturiser, a pm moisturiser) :) i also use a scrub every second day if i remember

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