We live for our ritualistic cleanser-toner-serum-moisturizer-facial oil-sunscreen skincare routines, but sometimes we don’t have the extra minutes or mental space for seven to 10 products. Thankfully, “skip care” is for skin minimalists.
The latest K-beauty trend aims to maximize your skincare results with just a few steps so that you can cut out unnecessary products to simplify your routine and save money. The goal is to look for hybrid products or crafty tricks that will make your routine easier. “Skip care” also allows you to tailor your morning and evening steps based on your skin’s needs, instead of following a strict regimen just because you’re “supposed” to. After all, sometimes you might need to calm a breakout and other times you might want to brighten up your face. “Skip care” gives you the freedom to switch it up without spending big bucks on extra products.
“Skip care” sounds great, but where does one start? As with all skincare trends, it’s important to have all the facts first, so we asked four experts about how to correctly approach “skip care” without sacrificing results. Here’s where they say you can start combining, condensing, and cutting steps right now.
To start, think prevention in the morning; repair in the evening.
When in doubt, stick to just three products in the morning and three in the evening, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “The morning is for protection and prevention,” he says. “After washing your face, apply an antioxidant serum along with sunscreen. The evening is time for repairs. After washing, apply a moisturizer and a collagen-stimulating ingredient like retinol.”
Dr. Zeichner says that a basic routine is “effective for the overwhelming majority” of people. “For someone who has special skin care needs, an additional product or step can be added or replaced,” he adds. If you’re really dry, for instance, you may want to add a facial oil on top of your moisturizer.
Try an exfoliating cleanser for double the power.
Choose an exfoliating cleanser with acids to gently clean your skin and brighten. “I love the Ghost Democracy Transparent Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser with glycolic acid,” says Joshua Ross, celebrity aesthetician and founder of SkinLab. “A hack: If you have an exfoliating cleanser with a chemical exfoliant, you can apply it to cleansed skin without rubbing or adding water and leave it on for three to five minutes to get a little extra boost of exfoliation.” And suddenly, you have a face mask!
Look for products with multiple active ingredients.
Why stop at just one key ingredient? Don’t select products with just one appealing active, but rather multiple powerhouses like retinol, hydroquinone, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C. “Determine what your skincare concerns are—anti-aging, dehydration—and look for a product that has multiple active ingredients to address various concerns, allowing you to streamline your product regimen,” says Ross. For instance, MaeLove’s Glow Maker Serum has both vitamin C for brightening and hyaluronic acid for tons of hydration, whereas Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask (a 2020 Beauty Crush Award winner!) has retinol for anti-aging and PHA for softening.
Mix your serum and facial oil.
If you want the maximum bang for your buck on hydration, skip moisturizer and eye cream and simply opt for a serum and facial oil combination, says Susie Wang, founder and expert skincare chemist at 100% PURE. “You can combine one pump of serum and one pump of facial oil, and apply this mixture all over your entire face, neck, and eye area,” she says. “This combination offers a more potent version of your moisturizer because there’s no water [in it]; it’s pure active ingredients. Also, the fewer products you apply to your skin, the more of the mixture will get absorbed.”
Wang says water tends to absorb into the skin first, leaving minimal space for your other actives after. By skipping a water-based moisturizer, you’re allowing your active ingredients to really penetrate. Try a pump of 100% Pure Brightening Serum with fruit acids and vitamin C—along with Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil—to instantly glow.
If you’re slammed for time, opt for a single, strategic moisturizing agent.
You should definitely moisturize your skin daily, but you can boil it down to just one product that really works for your life instead of a plethora of products, says Ross. “The only difference here is the viscosity: Toners are the lightest hydrators, then serums, followed by lotions, moisturizers, creams, and lastly, oils,” he says. “These are all hydrators, so if you want to streamline, find a product that has all the beneficial ingredients that you’re looking for.” If you have very oily skin, Ross says you might just need a hydrating toner like Laneige Cream Skin Toner and Moisturizer, and if your skin is super dry, opt for a face oil like Rodin Lavender Absolute Face Oil.
Embrace hybrid skincare products and products with multiple uses.
Invest in products that have so many purposes you can hardly count all the ways you can use ‘em, suggests Colby Smith, a professional makeup artist. Smith loves the extremely multi-purpose Tatcha Serum Stick. “It’s a convenient serum in stick form,” he says. “It’s small and easy to pop in your bag and take on the go for extra hydration when needed.” He’s used this serum made of squalane and Japanese lemon on the face, lips, and even for a quick cheek highlight.
We love the idea of tackling 10 skincare issues with five products. Let’s all skip together.