Forget 12-Step Skin Care: A Dermatologist Says These 3 Products Are All You Need

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Well+Good senior beauty editor and host Zoë Weiner never turns down an opportunity to ask top dermatologists, hair stylists, or celebs about their beauty routines—down to the exact eyebrow brush they swear by. And on Well+Good’s all-new podcast, 'Routine Rundown,' she’s inviting you to join the conversation. Read More

It doesn't matter how many fancy skin-care formulas you've got sitting in your bathroom cabinet—if you can't commit to using them regularly, you simply aren't going to see results. The fact of the matter is, the "best" routine is the one that you're actually going to do every day... and most of us don't have time to layer on 12 different serums before rushing out the door in the morning.

It was this idea that inspired the creation of Pharell's skin-care line, Humanrace, which he launched three years ago in partnership with his long-time dermatologist, Elena Jones, MD. "Overcomplication has definitely become an issue [in skin care]—I’ve never been a fan of using multiple multiple steps," Dr. Jones told me on the latest episode of Well+Good's new beauty Podcast, Routine Rundown. "We really just wanted to create a skin-care line that was focused on skin health and daily routines that simplifies your skin-care journey."

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The regimen they came up with consists of three products. That's it. There are no superfluous serums or harsh, skin-stripping ingredients—just a gentle cleanser, exfoliant, and moisturizer that come together to give skin everything that it needs and nothing that it doesn't. "I really think it’s important to have a simple routine that you can follow...we want people to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize from their faces down to their toes," says Dr. Jones in the episode.

Humanrace's debut back in November 2020 couldn't have come at a better time. During the early days of the pandemic, many people began playing at-home esthetician with their complexions—and wound up overdoing it to the point of screwing up their skin barriers (too much exfoliation and not enough moisturization will do that to you, folks). It was a collective lesson in the fact that when it comes to skin care, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. As Dr. Jones puts it, "Everything in moderation."

Humanrace's products are designed to work for all skin types and tones (inclusivity is at the forefront of the brand's mission), and the gentle ingredients they hero ensure you can use them twice a day without effing up your complexion. The powder-to-foam cleanser uses rice particles, fruit AHAs, and snow mushroom to brighten the skin; the triple-acting exfoliator employs lotus enzymes and AHAs to melt away dead skin cells; and the humidifying face cream is a hyaluronic acid-packed moisture surge for your skin. Top it off with an SPF (Humanrace also offers one of those), and you're good to go.

Because the line is simple enough for anyone to work into their routines (this is the first line of products I've been able to get my beauty-resistant boyfriend to commit to using every day), it allows you to stop overthinking what you're doing to your skin so you can sit back and enjoy the process instead. "We want the Humanrace routine [to be] something you notice the benefits of both inside and out—take those moments for yourself so that you can feel the benefits of nourishing your physical and mental spirit," says Dr. Elena. "Take time for your face, for your body, and for yourself."

Shop Humanrace's three-minute facial routine below, then check out the episode (on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts) to learn more about why three steps are more than enough for an effective routine.

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