2020 taught me a lot about myself. For one, I learned how to cultivate the power of gratitude during difficult times. I also learned about doing less, especially when it comes to my skincare.
When we were forced to stay inside and do nothing, I definitely started to let some self-maintenance slide. I stopped washing my hair and wearing my makeup every day—and really caring all that much about my appearance. I did keep up with my hydrating day serum and exfoliating night serum, as well as adding in The Fresh Start Face Oil whenever I needed a bit of hydration. But I often skipped cleansing, opting instead for splashing water on my face. I skipped masks, unless it was a fun DIY, moisturizers, mascara and even my fave tinted lip balm.
What I found was that my skin loved it. I noticed fewer breakouts and a more balanced, hydrated and even complexion. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much this makes sense. The more we expose our skin to products, pollution and even water, the more harm we might do to our natural skin barrier.
Our skin already knows how to function, filter, exfoliate and moisturize—by doing less, I simply allowed my skin to do more on it’s own.
As you age (and depending on your skin type), there are a few tried-and-true skincare vitamins that boost the normal functioning of your skin:
- Vitamin C helps to even and balance pigmentation issues, while stimulating collagen production.
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) helps to decrease inflammation, calm redness and breakouts, balance sebum and promote the production of ceramides, which strengthens the skin barrier.
- Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant that helps keep skin hydrated and balanced, which can decrease over time as we age.
- Exfoliating fruit acids help to gently increase cell turnover, which can slow as we age. They’re also helpful for skin types prone to breakouts. Glycolic and salicylic acid also help with this, but are too harsh to use on a regular basis.
- Plant-based antioxidants such as aloe, bearberry leaf, kakadu plum, watermelon, ginseng, avocado, cucumber and licorice root extract help to fight free-radical damage from oxidative stress (think: pollution and excessive sun exposure).
All of these beneficial skincare ingredients do not change your skin, but help if function better—which should be the point of skincare.
As our social calendars start to steadily fill up again this year, I honestly believe I’ll go back to applying some basic makeup from time to time (and probably shower a little more frequently). That being said, I feel confident that my minimalistic ‘less, but better’ skincare routine is enough. More than enough. I promise it will be for you, too.
Here are a few tips to help you find skincare products that give your complexion everything it needs and nothing more:
Don’t overdo it on active ingredients.
I fully support active ingredients in skincare. Otherwise, why put anything on your skin? What I don’t like to see is overuse of active ingredients, placed carelessly in every product you use. Niacinamide is a great multipurpose skincare vitamin that has many benefits for topical use, but it doesnt need to be in your cleanser, eye cream, moisturizer, serum, lip balm *and* hand sanitizer. Let’s be concise when using these beneficial active ingredients. Find one product that you will use consistently, like a serum or moisturizer, with the vitamins your skin needs—and feel confident that is enough!
Cleansing is overrated.
While that squeaky clean feeling is addicting, it’s completely unnecessary (sorry to break it to you). Our skin thrives with natural oil (even dirt!) from our environment. Overcleansing and even double cleansing (don’t get me started) can be worse for your skin barrier. Instead of adding probiotics to your skincare routine, try skipping a cleanse instead. Yes, it *is* important to cleanse at the end of the day and wash away excess dirt, oil, sweat and makeup—but anything more than that can actually disrupt the natural skin environment that helps keep your skin balanced on its own. Just keep in mind that less is more when it comes to cleansing.
The best sustainable skincare routine is minimalism.
Doing less is better for the environment. The fewer products we use means less packaging to dispose and fewer ingredients to source and ship. Our impact on the environment goes way beyond the glass bottle our serum comes in. It starts with every ingredient we source, the packaging it comes in, plus the shipping materials and emissions for transportation of every ingredient. There are many things that go into a finished product, from sourcing to testing. Using fewer products with a more simple, concise ingredient list is better for the environment. Use what your skin needs and nothing more.
Do what brings you joy.
If you enjoy a quarterly facial or full face of makeup, by all means, bring it on. Doing the bare minimum just so happens to bring me joy. Instead of worrying about the societal perception of beauty, do what makes you feel most confident and happy with your appearance. Take the emotion out of buying skincare and be more pragmatic about choosing multipurpose skincare products. To be honest, I hate seeing the term ‘anti-aging’ on skincare, but the same could go for words like dewy, glass skin and poreless. Look past the unrealistic claims and choose skincare based on what matters most: ingredients.
Looking for a concise, thoughtfully formulated skincare routine with effective but simple ingredients? The Otto Skin Goods Routine is just that—a blend of hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and plant-based antioxidants The Go-Getter Day Serum helps to fight pollution and improve the effectiveness of sunscreen while hydrating and evening skin tone. Our Multitasker Night Serum, with its blend of gently exfoliating fruit acids and multitasking niacinamide, helps to calm, clarify and refresh your skin. And lastly, our simple, yet potent Fresh Start Face Oil hydrates and brightens skin daily. Discover the benefits of using less but achieving more with Otto Skin Goods.