The thing about living in a bubble is that you don’t always… see it. Working as a beauty editor at a place like Glossier, I’m constantly surrounded by people who eat, sleep, and breathe skincare. (I usually wouldn’t recommend eating skincare but, you know, certain exceptions must be made for manuka honey, whole milk, and ACV. Moving on!)
As soon as I leave that bubble, I realize that not only do most people not know as much about skincare as I think they do, but they don’t really want to. And I get that! I really do. When it comes to my own routine, I want to get in, get out, and leave with cheeks that shine like the light from the sun. Bubble check: my routine is probably more complicated than most. But I really do believe that even the most minimalist routine is better for your skin’s health in the long run than doing nothing at all.
Here’s how I know it’s true. When I was practicing to get my esthetician’s license, I gave a lot of first facials and, more often than not, facials to people who didn’t do much by way of skincare at home. When they asked what I thought they should be using at home, the dream routine was bare-boned yet hearty. I didn’t want to recommend anything too complicated, taking into account the unlikelihood they’d actually do it. I was also wary to suggest products from multiple stores, thinking the client might feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed and never go. Most importantly, I knew that in order to convince a skincare naysayer, the products needed to visibly work without too big a spend. Somewhere between super niche, Sephora, and the drugstore, I remembered Amazon existed. Did you know they sold so many great beauty brands?
If you have absolutely no idea where to start, or have a face in your life who has no idea where to start, start here. Pass ‘Go’ and collect $200—then while you’re at it, toilet paper, Oreo cookies, and that book everyone keeps saying you have to read. With one click, it’s all in your cart. What could be easier than that?
The Gentle Cleanser: CeraVe
If you’re used to foaming gel cleansers, the first time you use this might be shocking! But this tried-and-true derm-adored staple effectively cleans without that tight, stripped feeling after using something soapier.
The Exfoliating Liquid: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA
If you thought a skincare routine was all cleanser and moisturizer, think again. Most of the issues my clients wanted to address in their facials could have been minimized at home with regular use of salicylic acid. If your routine is missing it, just get this one—it’s the best. Blackheads? Flakiness? A general, lackluster dullness? This guy takes care of them all. (And use it with these.)
The Serums: Mad Hippie Vitamin C or The Ordinary Niacinamide
If you’re concerned with uneven pigmentation, go for the former. If you want to minimize the appearance of large pores, snag the latter. Skincare’s tiniest yet hardest working products can be as simple as that—and if you still can't be bothered, skip!
The Moisturizers: Cosrx Hydrium Gel Cream or Avène Skin Recovery Cream
Shoutout to people who think they’re too oily to use moisturizer—this Cosrx is for you! It feels like a burst of water on your skin, and will keep it hydrated without adding grease. On the other end of the spectrum, the Avène Recovery Cream is better suited for dry or sensitive skin. If you’re somewhere in the middle, you could use either depending on the season.
They’re both SPF, and they both blend in with no white cast. What’s the difference? The Purito blocks sun rays through a chemical process, while the Coola does it by leaving a physical barrier. They’re both great, but a physical SPF is better for sensitive skin.
The Spot Treatment: Rael Pimple Patches
Last but definitely not least! You need these for breakouts—just trust me. Add to cart, proceed to checkout, and in two days flat you’ll have a skincare routine.
Photo via ITG