After years and years of 12-step skincare regimes, complicated single-use products, and packed Instagram ‘shelfies’, some of the beauty industry has hit oversaturation. It’s all just become too much—both in cost and effort. But we all still want great skin, right? But do we have to put in all that effort? Well, no, we don’t, according to a new way of thinking. Welcome to the age of less complicated routines, with a pared down set of daily products making it simpler for you and your wallet (and your shelf).
At a wellness panel earlier this year, beauty experts hinted at this movement, predicting that one of the biggest trend in the next five years would be “getting rid of everything”—according to Yana Sheptovetskaya, the founder of beauty site GelCream, anyway. “The less I use, the better I feel… When you see those shelfies with 25,000 products on it, and you think ‘I need all of them,’ and you buy them, you get really confused. And when you buy them, you want to use them because you spent money on them. And that’s where the problem starts. I ruined my skin this year because I used so much, and I didn’t know what I was doing. I used just too many products at one time on my face, and it was horrible.”
“The less I use, the better I feel…”
Famed beauty expert Jane Larkworthy moderated that same wellness panel, and she agrees. “I think there is a big swing from using 12 things in your routine to using, like, two,” she adds.
In the theme of paring down, here are a few products making it easier to look great with ease and simplicity.
Instead of a multi-step makeup removal and cleansing regime (first makeup remover, then cleansing oil, then cleansing balm, then foaming cleanser—or is that just me?), there is a swing to an easier, one-step cleansing process.
There are face washes that work harder, both removing makeup and oils from the face while still gently cleansing the skin. The clever girl’s esthetician, Renee Rouleau, has a Purifying Face Wash ($35.50) that effectively cleanses oily and sensitive skin, but doesn’t strip it. Or who can argue with the classic? Clinique’s Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser ($21) is beloved for its simplicity (and its ability to wash away sunscreen and oils effectively while still being gentle enough for daily use).
Push comes to shove? Olive oil (albeit a good quality one). Jules Miller, founder of The Nue Co., says, “I clean my face with olive oil, and then I’ll use a Tata Harper moisturizer, and that’s it.” If you’d like to go down the Miller route, we suggest a super beautiful, high quality evoo, like Brightland ($37), whose packaging is as gorgeous as the oil inside it. Just put a teaspoon or so of oil into the palm of your hand, massage into the skin, and then either wash off with water or with a damp cotton pad.
Speaking of Rouleau, she’s a big fan of toners—specifically, toners that work harder (and are free of alcohols, which strip the skin of its natural oils). Her toners are basically a cross between a hydrating essence and a cleansing toner. I personally love her Elderberry Soothing Toner ($35.50) to gently remove all water crud and boost hydration.
Another toner I use daily is clean beauty brand Indie Lee’s COQ-10 Toner ($32), which has hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to re-balance irritated skin.
This might even be a step you can do without, though; test how it feels with and without toners, and then assess.
Perhaps one of the greatest inventions in skincare in the last decade is a face cream by German scientist and professor, Dr. Augustinus Bader. It is unlike anything we’ve seen before—for a couple of really significant reasons.
First, Dr. Bader likes skincare, but he loves helping (and healing) people. With over 30 years of research, he has discovered a way for our bodies to basically ‘heal’ themselves, reactivating dormant stem cells. Why this will matter to you is what it can do for your skin. I’m not exaggerating when I say it can perform miracles. Independent studies have found that the cream can heal acne, reverse fine lines, lighten dark spots, reduce redness… pretty much solve any skin woes.
“I’ve never heard or seen more beauty editors talk about a single product so enthusiastically than this cream.”
How is this possible? To understand why this is a revolution in a bottle, we have to first look at Dr. Bader. He doesn’t come from a marketing or skincare background. He has specifically focused on stem cell research for repairing third-degree burns in children—hoping to eliminate long-term suffering and provide scar-free healing to any and all in need. His first major medical breakthrough came with his invention of the trademarked Hydrogel, Momentum Bionics, which eliminates the need for skin grafts in young burn victims.
In clinical applications, the pain-free gel had unprecedented results in healing and repairing burnt skin. But without funding from any major pharmaceutical company, this gel was unavailable to the mass market. So, empowered by the want to truly help those in need on a larger scale, Dr. Bader got creative. Using the same healing technology as in the hydrogel, he created The Cream. The morning and night cream is comprised of amino acids, high-grade vitamins, and synthesized molecules naturally found in skin. It actually guides key nutrients and powerful ingredients into the skin cells, creating an environment for the body’s innate natural processes of repair and renewal.
The Cream ($160 for 30ml) does major good not just for you, though: 10 percent of profits from every purchase go directly to the Augustinus Bader Foundation, which funds medical treatments for those who need it most, no matter their income. (The brand says it’s not about giving back, it’s about giving from the start.) This isn’t just a show; Dr. Bader is truly focused on disrupting the medical field and advancing humanity’s healing potential. I’ve never met a doctor more impassioned about a cause than Bader. He just so happens to also have invented the closest thing we have to The Fountain of Youth, too.
Yes, it’s expensive, but it will save you money in the long run. The cream is best used on freshly cleansed skin, and you don’t need any other serums or creams, as they will interrupt the healing process of the cream. You won’t even need eye cream—really. I’ve never heard or seen more beauty editors talk about a single product so enthusiastically than I have about this cream.
Ever since I learned the amazing and simple trick of adding toner or aerated water to my face oil, it’s totally changed the game. When in need of an added boost of hydration on top of my face cream, I add a multi-tasking face oil.
I’m partial to Monastery’s oils; I love the Gold Botanical Healing Oil ($136) for its hydration and repair properties. Founder and aesthetician Athena Hewett has studied skin for practically her entire life, and has been practicing for over 10 years in San Francisco. All products are handmade with the highest of quality and care, and every single ingredient has a specific purpose for your skin.
Another favorite is Odiele Rose Serum Oil ($125), an oil handmade by celebrity makeup artist Marie-Josée, which nourishes and calms, while also hydrating and adding some serious glow to skin.
Or give beloved Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil ($72) a go, which actually visually brightens (thanks, Vitamin C!) and imparts a lovely, natural radiance (thanks, rose oil!) onto your skin.
This again might be a step you can skip, or use as needed—see how your skin is feeling.
Guys, don’t get me wrong, I love to try as many masks, exfoliants, and balms as the next person. But for my day to day, I’ve majorly pared down. Which, in turn, saves me time, money, and effort every single damn day. Oh, and don’t forget sunscreen—that’s very important for every type of skin.
We’re big fans of EltaMD Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 ($33) because it’s perfect for even acne-prone and sensitive skin; plus, it’s clear, so it blends in immediately.
More importantly than anything, start paying attention to your skin to begin to understand how it feels and what it needs.
“Your skin is not the same everyday.”
On that note, we’ll leave you with the words of the incredible Cindy DiPrima, co-founder of CAP Beauty: “Your skin is not the same everyday. Your skin is not the same as it is in the spring in the summer, and it’s not the same on Monday as it on Friday, as it is during different times of the month. Our facialists can tell what time of the month it is based on how thick your skin is; your skin changes and evolves. Sometimes you wake up and you don’t need to wash your face—other days you do. So it’s just a matter of reading yourself, and not feeling like, ‘this is my protocol, I have to do it morning and night.'”
This story was originally published April 28, 2018, and updated on October 2, 2018 with new information.
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