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What do skincare experts think of "skinimalism"?

What do skincare experts think of "skinimalism"?

Skinimalism is a minimalist approach to caring for your skin, but is it really better than layering skincare? Experts weigh in on the two approaches

Finding the right skincare routine isn’t as easy as it used to be. There was a time when the search for the right products was simple—as long as you had a cleanser, toner and moisturiser on your bathroom shelf, you were good. Now, there’s so much to take into consideration—we’re talking skin type, skin condition, the environment you spend time in, the ingredients that work well and the ones it might be best to go without.

The beauty space is always evolving so we know how overwhelming the search for the right skincare products can be. If you’ve found yourself trying to figure out whether less is more or more is best when it comes to skincare, then you might be familiar with the skinimalism and layering trends. Keep reading to learn more about each trend and how to choose the right one for you. 

Skinimalism versus layering

What is skinimalism? Hands holding various skincare products on pink background

With so many products to choose from, where do you start?

Skinimalism is a blend of skincare and minimalism but what does this actually involve? According to skincare expert Fiona Brackenbury, skinimalism involves taking a less is more approach to skincare and makeup. “It’s all about letting the skin shine through instead of applying 11 layers of skin care, and focusing on the right products that can deliver targeted maximum results,” she explains. 

"Skinimalism involves taking a less is more approach to skincare and makeup"

Layering skincare is more time-intensive as it involves the use of multiple products. Unlike skinimalism, layering usually involves using more than one active ingredient as well as products that have different textures. “These may include cleansers, tonics, serums, oils, exfoliants, moisturisers and sunscreens,” says consultant dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite

Which should you pick?

Woman cleansing skin in mirror

Getting to know your skin type is a great starting point

Understanding your skin type can be helpful when deciding which approach is best. If you aren’t quite sure what your skin type is, Brackenbury recommends cleansing your skin and leaving it bare with no skincare or makeup for at least 30 minutes before checking it with a mirror. “You’ll be able to see your true skin type and what condition your skin is in before you start to set one or two realistic skincare goals,” she explains. 

If you know what your skin type is and like having a routine in place, then you might benefit from layering your skincare products. Although a layered approach is time consuming, it is something those with specific skincare concerns such as acne, pigmentation and anti-ageing should consider, according to Granite.

Those who have sensitive or eczema prone skin or aren’t very interested in skincare should simplify their routines. “Generally, results can be achieved with both approaches. Less is more so paring back your products can be a good thing,” Granite says. 

How to approach skinimilism

The foundation of a good skinimalist routine is cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. “These are the essential building blocks of any skincare routine,” Granite says. Overcomplicating skincare by applying too many products at once can damage the skin’s barrier (the outermost layer of the skin) and leave it dry, flaky, sensitive and irritated.

"The foundation of a good skinimalist routine is cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen"

If you are struggling with your skin, a stripped back routine may be just what you need but be cautious if you are using any acids. “If you want to use active products as part of a skinimalist routine, try combination products such as a serum that contains more than one ingredient,” Granite says.

How to layer skincare

To maximise absorption, products should be layered from thinnest to thickest when layering. Sunscreen should always be applied last. “Cleanse, water-based serum, followed by moisturiser then sunscreen is the best way to layer skincare,” Granite says. She adds that any exfoliating serums should always be applied first, followed by serums and moisturiser. 

Find what works for you

Skinimalism versus layering skincare. Diverse group of women on brown background.

The best approach will be different for everyone

The skinimalism trend challenges the longstanding belief that we need to use a multitude of skincare products to achieve perfect skin. Although there are a wide variety of products available to us, probably now more than ever before, the key to building the right skincare routine is to find what works for you. “Skinimalism is a great place to start if you are new to skincare while layering is a great way to achieve fantastic results if you are a confident skincare user,” Brackenbury says.

Millie Kendall, founder and CEO of the British Beauty Council, believes consistency is key, no matter which approach you choose. “I would like to see people making better choices and simplifying their routines to ensure we don’t over buy and cause waste. Whether you layer your skincare or take a minimalist approach, make sure you use what you buy,” she says.

"Consistency is key, no matter which approach you choose"

Before you decide which approach might be best for you, remember that nobody knows your skin better than you. While it’s great to have hope in a product’s potential to produce the results you desire, paying close attention to how your skin reacts to certain formulations is just as important. A simplified routine may be ideal once you’ve educated yourself and explored your options, or maybe layering your skincare may elevate your routine in ways you never imagined.

If you still aren’t sure, then you can rely on the trusted services of a skincare professional like a dermatologist or aesthetician to unveil your best skin yet in 2023 and beyond.

Find out recommendations and tips on skincare with, Skincare: The New Edit available on Amazon.

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