It’s easy to get caught up in the influencer-fueled hype of buying more and more skincare products. After all, skin care is self-care — and who doesn’t want flawless skin? But sometimes, less really is more, as evidenced by the latest skincare trend taking over social media: skinimalism. A portmanteau of “skin” and “minimalism,” skinimalism is all about using multi-use products (think moisturizers with multiple active ingredients and natural lip balms that double as a treatment for dry cuticles) and only the bare essentials.
While the idea of culling your list of skincare products may seem daunting, the many benefits of skinimalism make it worth a try. Still skeptical? Here are six ways a minimalist skincare routine can change your life for the better.
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1. You’ll save tons of money
One of the more tangible benefits of paring down your skincare routine is keeping more money in your bank account. As you’re probably aware, everything is crazy expensive right now, and skincare products are no exception. Many skincare companies have sent apologetic emails to consumers explaining their reasons for the recent price hikes (shortages, high demand, inflation, etc.). But let’s face it — that doesn’t help soften the pain when it’s time to swipe your credit card.
By taking a minimalist approach to skincare, you can drop unnecessary products from your routine and use that extra dough for things that actually improve your complexion. For example, instead of buying eye cream (a product that essentially does the same thing as a regular moisturizer), you can use that money to stock up on healthy foods that protect and brighten the skin. As a bonus, your hair will also reap the benefits of a nutrient-dense diet!
2. You’ll never skip your routine again
We’ve all been there — it’s late, and you’re exhausted. Tired, you take off your shoes and crawl into bed, deciding right then and there that you’re going to skip your nightly skincare routine and deal with the potential consequences (pimples and dull skin) in the morning.
We’re not saying the above scenario won’t happen if you adopt a minimalist skincare routine. Nobody is perfect all of the time. What we are saying is that you’re more likely to find the motivation to take care of your skin when your routine is only three to four steps long.
3. You’ll reduce your environmental impact
When we slather on our favorite serums and lotions, we don’t tend to consider how they will impact the environment. Every extra product we add to our routine comes with problematic side effects. Not only do beauty products require energy and resources to make, but they often come swathed in layers of plastic packaging that is difficult (if not impossible) to recycle.
By limiting your consumption and sticking with only the essentials, you can avoid the excess plastic packaging that many brands use to pack their products and reduce your environmental footprint. Indeed, you may even be inspired to swap out other products in your beauty routine with more sustainable options. For instance, instead of using bottled shampoo and conditioner, you might be inspired to try a plastic-free shampoo bar and a conditioner bar. (They work great on all hair types!)
4. Your skin will be happier
When your skin is red, dry and flaky, it’s tempting to buy more skincare products to get your complexion back to normal. But the reality is that adding layer upon layer of products can make the problem even worse. Overloading your skin with products — particularly ones with multiple active ingredients — can disrupt skin barrier function, exacerbating acne, eczema and rosacea symptoms.
Using anti-wrinkle treatment will give you younger-looking skin and also have a wide variety of medical benefits like treating excessive sweating.
So, if your skin has been acting up lately and you don’t know why, it may be worth going back to the basics. Your essentials should include a gentle cleanser, a moisturizer and a non-irritating SPF.
5. Packing for vacations will be much simpler
Gearing up for a trip? Whether you’re going on a week-long vacation, a weekend getaway or staying the night at your partner’s house, packing your toiletry bag will be much simpler with a minimalist skincare routine. Instead of cramming 15 or more products in your bag (and panicking when you inevitably forget to pack one), you can pack the essentials and have room in your toiletry bag to spare.
Besides, traveling itself will be easier and less stressful. Traveling with fewer skincare products often means traveling with fewer liquids that can leak into your bag and create a mess upon arrival.
6. You’ll get out the door faster in the morning
If you’re one of those people who values their sleep over pretty much everything else (seriously, good for you), then this one is a no-brainer. Rather than wake up early to complete your 10-step skincare routine, you can set your alarm clock for 10 to 15 minutes later and reap those extra Zzzs.
While an extra 10 to 15 minutes of snooze may not seem like a lot, it adds up quickly and makes a big difference to your health and mood. In a study published in Sleep Health, researchers found that college students who increased their sleep duration by more than 15 minutes per night reported less daytime sleepiness and a decrease in their blood pressure and heart rate.
Now that you understand the many benefits of a minimalist skincare regimen, it’s time to pare down your routine. Start by identifying your core lineup of skincare products and figuring out which ones you can probably do without (toners, neck creams, exfoliators, etc.). Use these products until the last drop (don’t forget to recycle them!) and resist the urge to buy more. Try to hold out for at least three weeks. You might be pleasantly surprised to realize that you don’t need a particular skincare product as much as you thought!