My nightly skincare routine used to include an oil cleanser to remove makeup, an apricot scrub, witch hazel toner, peptide or green tea seed serum and a moisturizer or facial oil. My morning skincare routine was a little simpler, consisting of a gentle foaming cleanser, witch hazel toner, peptide serum and a moisturizer.
My daily routine was not always so long, but it lengthened as I supplemented it with more products. However, I was growing tired of the extensive process and wanted to go back to the days when I just used a cleanser and moisturizer, so I decided to try simplifying my routine for a week to see if the extra products were actually making a difference.
I settled on just a gentle foaming cleanser and moisturizer in the morning and micellar water on a cotton pad to remove makeup at night, despite feeling a little trepidation. I was scared of how such a drastic change would impact my temperamental skin. My skin is on the drier side and incredibly sensitive to harsh products. I have never had cystic acne, but I do get small, raised bumps all over if my skin is irritated. Nevertheless, I drew a deep breath and dove into the experiment.
I began with relatively clear skin, and I saw no real difference on the first day. Alas, I woke up to dry skin and tiny little bumps all over my cheeks on day two, causing me to wonder if I had shocked my skin with my new routine. I considered adding a cleanser and moisturizer to my nighttime routine but decided against it. I was used to going to bed with squeaky clean skin with sticky cream layered on, but by day four and five, I got used to the feeling of just micellar water on my skin.
Over the next few days, although my skin still felt dry, the bumps gradually transformed into a few pesky blemishes that quickly disappeared. In the end, my skin appeared just as it did when I began.
Overall, I would say that there was close to no difference in terms of appearance between the five-step routine and the simplified two-step routine. Honestly, the best aspect of this experiment was that I didn’t have to spend 30 minutes washing my face and layering on toner, serums and creams. I just needed two minutes at most to take out a cotton pad, wet it with micellar water and wipe. It made it a lot easier to motivate myself to complete my routine on nights when I was exhausted. I also saved lots of product — and money — with this simplified routine. Before, I used a total of eight products, including some that came with a noticeably high price tag like the Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer Stress Minimizing Daily Hydrator ($40). After reducing, I only needed three.
Really, the only drawback was a slight dryness of my skin. Previously, my skin felt dewy after my last cream. With micellar water, it just felt matte. It is not a deal-breaker; the convenience of the routine is well worth it. Still, I would recommend adding a moisturizer for anybody attempting to replicate this experiment.
I’m definitely going to keep the new two-step morning routine going forward. For the night, I plan to alternate between my usual five-step routine and the micellar water. The less time in the bathroom, the better.
Email Isla Na at [email protected]