A Beauty Expert Swears By This 4-Step Skincare Routine

Lazy? More like skinimalism.

By Langa Chinyoka

There’s a time and a place for everything. An elaborate skincare routine, a complex (and sometimes intimidating) facial tool, and of course, a do-it-all face mask. But as much as we love diving deep into all the skincare goodness, this summer we’re leaning in to a minimalism approach. 12-step programs are a thing of the past, and thankfully, minimalist skincare routines are in—and they’re here for good.

That’s right. We’ve entered the era of skinimalism. No longer are pared-down routines reserved for late nights or lazy mornings. And in even better news: A minimalist skincare routine might just be better for your skin.

When it comes down to it, skinimalism pairs results with efficiency—saving you time and saving your skin. By selecting high-quality products that nourish your skin and meet your specific needs, your routine will take less time and yield better results. That, dear readers, is the essence of this minimalist approach—and it’s exactly what we’re exploring today.

Every product is curated with care by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Featured image by Riley Reed.

minimalist skincare routine_megan roup skincare
Image by Michelle Nash

When it comes to productivity and healthy habits, multitasking might do more harm than good. But, in the realm of beauty, multi-use products that can do it all are your answer to a streamlined skincare routine.

This is the mindset that prompted April Gargiulo, Founder and CEO of the cult-favorite brand Vintner’s Daughter, to create a minimalist line of products that promote a “luxuriously simple yet powerful routine.” With that ethos in mind, it makes sense that she doesn’t believe in an abundance of products cluttering our medicine cabinets (not to mention clogging our skin). “We want to drive skin health, confidence, and joy. To that end, we only produce game-changing products that offer extraordinary results in fewer steps.”

Less time and effort for glowier, healthier skin? Chalk it up to skinimalism. Keep reading to learn more about this new era in skincare—and why practicing a minimalist skincare routine is the (expert-approvec) way to go.

April Gargiulo

Founder Vintner’s Daughter April Gargiulo—a third-generation vintner—set out to bring those standards of exceptional quality and craftsmanship to the world of skincare.

Samantha Wennerstrom_minimalist skincare routine
Image by Sara Prince

What are the benefits of a minimalist skincare routine?

Thankfully, our culture is coming around to the idea that “less is more” rings true in all areas of life—skincare included. Little by little, we’re stepping away from the belief that if you aren’t spending an hour on your skin (or spending on products that leave little room for else in your bathroom), then you aren’t investing in yourself as you should be. Well, as Gargiulo notes—it’s time to release the concept of should from our self-talk vocabulary. In her words, “We all need to wean ourselves off the idea that more is better.”

 “Ultimately using fewer and higher quality products that offer multi-beneficial performance are not only better for the skin, but for the environment too, since you are creating less waste. Win/Win.”

Instead of constantly chasing the next new product—which might not even work on your skin—a minimal routine focuses on what’s best for you. The less is better approach prioritizes targeted ingredients in synergistic combinations. 

What are the dangers of overdoing it with too many products?

Short answer: According to Gargiulo, the consequences abound. Skin can become irritated and imbalanced, she notes. And with more products, of course, the environment suffers, too.

Be wary of compromising your skin barrier, especially by layering actives. It’s time to give your skin a much-needed break.

Camille Styles guest bedroom vanity_minimalist skincare routine
Image by Michelle Nash

A Few (Skincare) Affirmations To Live By

Start by stripping your routine down to the essentials, and ensure that the products you’re left with are targeted for your skin concerns. If it doesn’t serve your skin, ditch it. Last but not least, you should always listen to your skin, and curate a routine accordingly.

A minimalist skincare routine includes:

  • An effecient, non-stripping cleanser
  • A targeted serum for your specific skin needs
  • A moisturizer for day and night
  • Sunscreen to apply (and reapply) every day
Megan O'Neill skincare
Image by Belathée Photography

Everything a Minimalist Skincare Routine Needs

A cleanser that actually works

Double-cleansing might have its benefits, but after a long night or if you have an early morning, the last thing you want to do is wash your face… let alone twice! Take the dread out of your cleansing routine and pick a cleanser that removes makeup and residue effectively, while brightening and clarifying for a fresh-faced visage. 

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

Leave this antioxidant-rich cleanser, makeup remover, and mask on for five minutes before rinsing for the freshest face of your life. It exfoliates, polishes, and hydrates in one easy step.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

Flush out the debris from your pores with this gently exfoliating cleansing complex. This cleanser doesn’t strip your skin. Instead, it bathes it with antioxidants while resurfacing to promote cell turnover for overall healthier skin.

One serum that does it all

While it’s fun to try out new serums, piling on product after product might reduce their efficacy. A good serum balances all the right ingredients to achieve results on its own.

Pai Carbon Star Face Oil

This overnight serum is all you need to clarify your skin. Made with detoxifying charcoal and black cumin seed, it’s all you need to wake up with clearer, more radiant skin.

The Ordinary Buffet Serum

The Ordinary boasts plenty of top-shelf staples, but none are as versatile as the Buffet Serum. This one-and-done cocktail is a feast of peptides and nutrients to repair and protect your skin. In just a few drops, it targets multiple signs of aging while protecting skin from further damage.

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

This holy grail serum is liquid gold in a bottle. No wonder it does the job of a whole skincare routine, supporting your skin barrier with antioxidants and nutrients. To boost efficacy, pair it with the Active Treatment Essence.

A moisturizer you can wear from day to night

Remember the early-aughts magazines that used to talk about taking your look from day to night? Nowadays, I’m on the hunt for a moisturizer to do the same. All skin types need a moisturizer—yes, even oily skin. But finding the right one that’s light enough for daytime wear and nourishing enough for nighttime can be a challenge.

COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

Don’t be fooled by the name—this isn’t your average mask. It’s light enough to use as a daytime moisturizer, leaving a mattifying finish to your skincare routine, but also a transformative nighttime mask. Hydrate without clogging your pores and wake up with glowing skin. It also promotes an even skin tone by fading dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Goop Genes All In One Nourishing Face Cream

Rich creams can sometimes be a little too thick for most skin types. This versatile cream breaks the mold. Its all-in-one capabilities nourish the skin with plant-based ceramides, squalane, and highly active botanicals. Plus, its whipped, oh-so-smooth texture makes for a luxurious routine.

SPF Of Course!

Anything you do in your skincare routine will be rendered useless if you skip SPF. Sunscreen is the last and most important step, and choosing one you’ll actually wear is crucial to staying consistent in your minimalist routine.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

When in doubt, EltaMD sunscreen is a classic pick. It’s downright effective. This oil-free formula is hydrating, sheer, and suitable for all skin types— including breakout-prone and sensitive skin.

ILIA Beauty C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40

The benefit of multi-use skincare is how it effectively combines ingredients that make each other more effective. One of those combos? Sunscreen and Vitamin C. This SPF is the ultimate summer trifecta, combining serum with Vitamin C, SPF 40, niacinamide, and a skin-perfecting tint. It’s skincare, sunscreen, and makeup all in one.