A Minimal Skincare Routine
Skincare is such a widely debated topic. With new products hitting the shelves every day, finding a worthy purchase is an arduous task. Despite being blessed with decent skin for most of my life, marketing had me believe that skincare products possessed the power to improve my face in some way. As I grew older, I valued quality over cost and made sure to cleanse, tone and moisturise every day. Then after years of personal research, I cut out the bullshit and made my routine much simpler.
A word of warning: my 26-year-old skin leans toward the drier side, so what works for me might not work for you. Taking care of your skin is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour, so experiment and find what works best for you.
Most makeup removers are too drying for my skin, including micellar water. But the most impressive makeup remover I have used thus far is extra virgin coconut oil. It makes water-proof makeup melt off with ease and moisturises my face at the same time!
Fun fact about micellar water: I still laugh at the name as it’s just another word for “soap”. Soap is a surfactant, and micelles are surfactant molecules. Micelles trap the oils inside a phospholipid bilayer before washing away with water. Does “soap water” still sound impressive? It’s no surprise that the skincare industry loves to profit off reinventing the wheel.
Note: Coconut oil can exaggerate oily skin in some people.
Cleansing morning and evening, double cleansing, or once-a-day? I unexpectedly became a water-only washer after running out of face wash a few months ago. Turns out, my skin looks exactly the same after a simple daily rinse.
After some research, I discovered that a lot of people don’t use face wash. And according to them, their skin had never looked so good. Again, it depends on how your skin behaves, but it might be worth a try. About half of dermatologists treat face wash as the Holy Grail, yet the other half preach using less products.
I also like using coconut oil as a cleanser and a weekly coffee scrub, both of which leave my face feeling velvety.
I should also mention why I don’t use toner anymore. Toners don’t do anything useful and were invented to profit off a made-up problem. And you know that tingly feeling you get after using toner? That’s alcohol irritating your skin. If you prefer to stick with toner, however, please use one without alcohol.
As I mentioned earlier, coconut oil is my moisturiser of choice. It’s by far the best moisturiser I’ve used as it lasts much longer than others I’ve tried. I even use it as a body lotion and a leave-in conditioner for my dry hair. I also like to switch it up with another “nice” moisturiser to keep things interesting (at the moment I use the Sukin Purely Ageless Restorative Night Cream).
Once a week, I love chucking on a face mask while relaxing in the bath. I don’t believe that masks benefit the skin much, but I love the way my skin feels right after using them. I usually avoid peeling masks and some clay masks, as they feel too harsh on my face. But from now on, I plan on sticking with Lush or DIY masks since they are made with gentle ingredients and smell divine.
Fancy wrinkle creams can’t restore lost elasticity, no matter how many buzz words they use to rope you in. It’s pretty obvious that sunscreen protects the skin against damaging UV radiation, and prevention is the best treatment in this case. So make sure to regularly slather it on.
My skin always feels nourished and glowing after a sweaty gym session (or a hot bath). The glow comes from vasodilation — the expansion of blood vessels due to increased blood flow.
Some studies also suggest that regular sweating might help eliminate heavy metals and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) from the body. Don’t forget that exercise has a long list of benefits, most unrelated to weight loss. So grab those sneakers and go for a refreshing walk.
All in all, I’ve pared down my essentials to water and coconut oil, plus a night cream and an occasional face mask and scrub. So far, my skin is doing fine, especially since I decided to wear makeup less often. Minimising products might end up doing your skin some good, too.