This Plumping ‘Facial in a Bottle’ Helped Me Turn a 3-Step Skin-Care Routine Into a Spa-Worthy Experience

Photo: Stocksy / Marc Tran
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Any dermatologist will tell you that the key to healthy, glowing skin is a simple and consistent skin-care regimen—all you really need is a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen in the morning, and a cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer at night. But at a time when11-step routines have become the norm on social media, it's easy to lose sight of what constitutes a "necessity."

As someone who has spent a decade working in beauty, I switch up and expand my routine on a near-daily basis. While I always swatch test products first, I still only incorporate one or two new ones on my face at a time, all while maintaining the other skin-care steps that have been staples for years. Overall, this method has worked for me. But recently, I tried a new serum and sunscreen on my face at once, which sent me sprinting to my dermatologist with a sudden, inflamed rosacea flare (which was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before) paired with seborrheic dermatitis around my nostrils. And, as expected, the derm told me I needed to simplify my routine, STAT.

Here’s the thing though: When you're using fewer products, a skin-care regimen can lose some of its luxurious luster, and can start to feel more like a chore than a spa-worthy experience. So to ensure that my nightly routine maintained its ritualistic nature, I set out to make a simple skin-care routine the ultimate form of self care, and the Motif Abundance Plumping Phytoceramide Cleanser ($65) helped me do it.

It's a gentle cleanser made with botanicals like pineapple ceramides, white orchids, licorice root, monkey fruit wood, and fermented rice—all of which are ingredients that you'd typically find in pricey serums. It smells like it belongs in a spa and has a host of benefits beyond cleansing alone, so it felt like the perfect multitasking yet restorative product to add to my new paired-down routine.

My new simplified self-care skin-care ritual

After navigating my skin scare, I stripped down my nighttime routine to cleansing, treating, and moisturizing, per doctor’s orders. This meant cutting out my post-makeup double cleanse, limiting aggressive or superfluous treatments, and keeping things as basic as possible.

After two weeks of using a prescription sulfacetamide cleanser from my derm, careful consideration, and a desire to make my simple skin-care routine feel like more of a ritual, I was ready to try the new Motif Phytoceramide Cleanser. Along with it, I added steam, aromatherapy, lighting, and music to the agenda.

As someone who normally relies on micellar at the end of the day, transitioning my nighttime skincare routine into a steamy in-shower facial and full-body experience was nothing short of delightful. I set the mood by turning my shower on to a very toasty temp to let it steam up. I then turned off the lights, triggering my GE Color-Changing LED Night Light ($6) to go into effect, lit my Anecdote Candle Meditation Candle ($26), and turned on some soothing Bon Iver. After stepping into the shower, I sprayed five spritzes of the J.R. Watkins Sleep Aromatherapy In-Shower Mist ($15) and massaged the Motif Abundance Plumping Phytoceramide Cleanser, letting it act as a mask for a couple of minutes before washing it off.

That’s the beauty of this cleanser: It can be used like a classic face wash or left on a little longer, mask-style, to enhance its softening and brightening effects... and to help make your routine more mindful.

The texture of the formula is reminscent of a clay mask (but without the same sort of drying properties), and is infused with microscopic physically-exfoliating granules derived from dried luffa fruit. These, along with fermented rice and bromelaine (a pineapple enzyme which is "proven to soothe, reduce redness and brighten"), gently detoxify the skin without stripping it. While this is happening, phytoceramides plump skin and strengthen the barrier, while antioxidant-rich plants like white orchid and monkey fruit wood protect, brigthen, and fade hyperpigmentation

Despite being botanical-powered (something tha typically sends me running for the hills thanks to my irritation-prone skin) and exfoliating, this cleanser is dermatologist-developed and tested, so I had faith in incorporating it into my routine—even so soon after experiencing a skin scare like no other. And I’m so glad I did! This cleanser is one of a kind. It cleanses, hydrates, plumps, brightens, and smoothes, all while smelling faintly like a pro-grade facial, making it a great fit for my self-care nighttime routine goals. All in all, it’s a luxurious cleanser and one that I plan to pair with my new cozy nighttime routine for months to come.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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