My Bare Minimum Skincare Routine That Anyone Can Do

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Skincare is hard, and complicated. Who has time for a 40 step routine - or even a ten step one? This is my bare-minimum skincare routine that will get your skin looking it's best, without a lot of time OR money.

It has been exactly three months since I started my first legitimate skincare routine.

Okay, to be fair, I’ve tried the whole skincare routine thing several times in the past. I’ve always had a really hard time sticking with it — and, well, consistency is kind of important when it comes to these kinds of things.

hands holding up skincare products

But when you’re busy trying to keep up with a career, a social life, and all the binge-worthy shows on Netflix, who has time for a skincare routine that involves a hundred steps? And I’m supposed to do it twice a day?

I don’t have time for super involved skincare routines, but — and I’m not trying to scare anyone here — your mid-thirties kind of sneak up on you fast. And yeah, 30 is the new 20 or whatever, but I don’t need my face showing its age.

I knew I had to do something.

I realized that the best way to stick with it was to come up with a bare minimum, feels-like-nothing skincare routine. Can I do it in less than five minutes before my head hits the pillow? Sold.

You can call it lazy, or you can call it efficient. Whatever you want to call it, it’s effective, and that’s pure gold. My kid’s dance teacher even told me how young I look, right before I dashed out the door to run some last minute errands.

So, here it is. This is my bare minimum skincare routine that I do daily. Anyone can do it, and I promise it’ll help keep your skin looking its best.

Step 1 – Daily Facial Cleanser

a woman washing her face
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Your skin takes a constant beating, from the time you get up in the morning until the time you finally go to sleep. That’s why the first step in your routine should always be a gentle cleansing. You need to ditch the dirt, excess oil, and impurities that have accumulated, plus any makeup or other products you’ve put on your face.

I often reach for micellar water over traditional cleansers. Surely you’ve heard of the French skincare staple by now. It’s got tiny micelles, aka molecules, that lift away dirt, oils, and makeup faster than you can snap your fingers. Just squirt some onto a cotton pad and swipe away the grime.

Why is this important? Well, remember we’re doing the bare minimum, here. Since some micellar formulas don’t even require rinsing at all, you can keep it on your nightstand for easy access on nights when you’re too tired to haul yourself into the bathroom. You literally don’t even have to put in the extra work to stand over the sink.

Step 2 – Don’t Exfoliate Everyday

Really want the bare minimum skincare routine? I’m telling you not to do something.

Sure, exfoliating is a great way to get rid of dead skin and other built-up gunk that can cause dullness and acne. However, you definitely shouldn’t be exfoliating every single day. It’s just too harsh for a daily routine, and can actually cause more problems. Instead, just give your face a good scrub a couple of times a week.

If possible, I suggest a chemical exfoliant. They speed up the removal of dead skin cells, and help the active ingredients in your other skincare products to penetrate better. Salicylic acid is often used to treat acne, but ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid tend to be a little more gentle.

Step 3 – Targeted Serums

three cosmetic pipettes of retinol serum against blue, pink, and green backgrounds
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If you wait until you have deep wrinkles and dark spots, it’s going to be a lot harder and a lot more expensive to get rid of them. Instead, start taking care of your skin now with targeted serums.

It doesn’t matter if you’re hoping to target wrinkles, pore size, complexion, or dark spots, there’s a serum or cream ready to tackle the job. They’re often lightweight enough to wear under makeup without feeling like there’s anything there.

Step 4 – Moisturize

Hydration is what keeps your skin plump, radiant, and youthful-looking, so clearly moisturizing is super important.

Unfortunately, our skin loses hydration all throughout the day, so it’s important to apply moisturizer twice a day: once in the morning and again at night. It helps keep your skin healthier and looking young, no matter your skin type.

Step 5 – Never Skip the Sunscreen


I don’t care if it’s grey and cloudy, or if it’s the dead of winter — sunscreen is non-negotiable. UV damage will seriously age your skin, and you can still get exposed to it on a cloudy day.

Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVB rays that cause burning and UVA rays that cause lasting damage. Pick up something with an SPF of 30 or higher, and apply it daily at least 15 minutes before heading out the door.

While we’re doing this bare minimum routine, though, you can cut some corners (I won’t tell anyone!) by picking up a moisturizer formulated with a broad-spectrum sunscreen built right in. That means that you can moisturize and apply sunscreen at the same time.

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