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The ultimate skincare routine for minimalists (or lazy girls)


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Photo: Stocksy/Julien L Balmer
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Maybe you’re a die-hard Marie Kondo type, who has an enviable, uncluttered home, an uber-minimalist wardrobe stacked with leggings, and a diet of only things that bring you joy. Ah, the simple life.

Your beauty routine, on the other hand? It’s likely lacking in the organization department. One recent Skin Store survey found that the average American woman applies at least 16 products to her face every day. It’s hard to say no to one more serum or lipstick, yet at the same time, the thought of shaving precious steps out of your beauty regimen sounds divine, no?

That’s where a minimalist beauty routine could come in handy. “It’s not about compromising any level of performance, but saving an incredible amount of time and mindshare—not to mention wallet share,” says April Gargiulo, founder of Vintner’s Daughter, a company that was created in the name of minimalism (they make only one product). “A ritual in skin care is important, but you can become a slave to it.”

“It’s not about compromising any level of performance, but saving an incredible amount of time and mindshare.”

And the downsides to using a plethora of different formulas go beyond the cost. “We’re using so many products that none can even work,” says Gargiulo. “There are so many different layers going on that whatever active ingredients are in them are going to have a hard time doing anything.” In other words: There can be too much of a good thing.

Instead, Gargiulo recommends using a trio of key products to build a solid foundation of healthy skin before adding in things like retinol and vitamin C. It’s like a food pyramid, but for skin care.

Keep reading for the three steps for a truly minimalist beauty regimen.

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1. Cleanse

First things first: cleanser. At night, Gargiulo suggests double cleansing, particularly if you live in a city. “With cleansers, you don’t have to be too fancy,” she says. “It just has to do its job. You can either use an oil and a regular cleanser or just use a regular cleanser twice.”

Wondering how washing your face twice will save you time? Gargiulo says there’s no need to repeat in the a.m. “Just splash cool water on your face,” she says. According to Gargiulo, cleansing again would just strip your skin of the healthy bacteria and dew it collected overnight.

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2. Tone

Toners are for neutralizing your skin’s pH before applying your serum or moisturizer, but they can also multitask as exfoliators. “Your toner should have some level of daily exfoliation,” Gargiulo says. “So it should contain some kind of acid—I recommend lactic, and maybe even glycolic.” It doesn’t have to be both, but she’s adamant that this gentle yet daily exfoliation sets your skin up for glowy success—and it’s more effective than a once- or twice-a-week “giant” exfoliation (using more harsh scrubs).

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3. Apply serum

To round out your routine, you’ll need to feed your skin essential nutrients. Think a vitamin-rich serum, a rich moisturizer full of botanicals, or a luxe facial oil full of fatty acids, which will act as a multivitamin for your face. “The third step is applying your active serum or whatever you’re using for an antioxidant boost,” says Gargiulo. “Get everything all in one—moisture, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.” So if there’s one category to splurge on, it’s this one.

Whether a minimalist or not, this is what every woman should know about her skin-care routine. And this is the facial treatment you should do once a week, according to the pros