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The Minimalist's Guide to Skincare

By: Hannah Hartz

Hannah Hartz is a Chicago-based esthetician with 7 years experience. She currently works at CaTara Med Spa. Here, Hartz shares her top 3 skincare tips for low-maintenance beauty seekers.

Not everybody wants to plunge head-first into a multi-step skincare regimen. Most people don’t have the time. Some don’t have the budget. And some don’t want to dedicate whatever free time they have to skincare. Just because I happen to have an obscenely over-the-top multitude of steps in my own routine, I fully concede that a minimalist approach to your skincare is more than enough. You just have to pick the right products!

Your First Step: Always Wash Your Face

Let’s look at the necessities. Firstly, you are going to need a cleanser. You need to clean your face. If you don’t wash your face morning and night in some capacity, your skin will retain so much dirt, excess oils, dead cells, and pollutants from the day, which may lead to breakouts and other skin issues. I have many clients who tell me that they don’t wash their face because their mother never washed her face and only used cold cream every night and had the most perfect skin. I don’t care. You need to wash your face. Pick a cleanser that works for you. If you don’t like washing your face because it seems to dry you out, pick a very gentle cleanser or a lotion-based cleanser. If you have excess oil, comedones, and are prone to blemishes, pick a gel or foaming cleanser that has some deeper cleaning ingredients, such as salicylic acid to help clear out your pores on a regular basis.

I have clients tell me they don’t like washing their face because it can get messy and the water gets everywhere. While I strongly urge you to actually wash your face, if you are way too annoyed with splashing water and it is literally keeping you from ever washing your face, then use micellar water with some cotton rounds. The important takeaway is that cleansing the face every morning and night clears away build up that can and will lead to a variety of skin health issues. 

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The Second Step: Treat Your Skin

Once your skin is nice and clean and prepped from your first step, you’ll be fresh and ready to treat your skin with a nice blast of nutrients and active ingredients. Ideally, you would have both a morning treatment and a night treatment. For your morning treatment, look for a serum with key vitamins, namely vitamin C, to help protect you from harmful UV rays during the day. At night, you’ll want a resurfacing treatment. My favorite is retinol. If you are over 24 and/or concerned with excess clogging, blemishes, pigmentation, etc., retinol is for you. It helps to smooth out lines, rough texture, while also diminishing excessive oil. There are many different retinol options out there and it is very important that you consult with a skincare specialist (an esthetician or a dermatologist) to pick a retinol that’s best for you. 

The Third Step: Protect, Protect, Protect

Using an SPF during the day is absolutely imperative. There is no excuse not to wear one as there are SPFs for every single skin type out there. If you feel very dry during the day, pick an SPF that has nice hydrating benefits and a creamy consistency. If you stay oily all day, pick an SPF with a light or gel-like formulation. At night, you’ll still want to keep your skin hydrated, so pick a moisturizer similar to how you would pick your SPF. Are you dry? Go creamy and thick textured. Are you oily and don’t want to feel too greasy? Go lightweight and gel-textured. Either way, you want that hydrating protection for your skin to make sure you are sealing in hydration and keeping your skin strengthened.

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A Few Tips to Keep in Mind

Over time, you could very well decide that you are ready to add in a few extra steps into your routine. Always feel encouraged to tweak what you are using, as skincare is far from a one-size-fits-all formula. Need a little extra boost in the blemish department? Try adding in an exfoliator a few times a week to slough off excess build up or keep some salicylic medicated wipes on hand to keep the pores clear and reduce surface oil throughout the day. Noticing a little laxity in the eye area? Try adding in an eye cream. Feeling a little dull as the week goes on? Grab a hydrating mask once or twice a week. There are so many different ways to play with your skincare regimen to make it perfect for you. While these three key steps in your routine are the best places to start, I highly recommend popping into a spa you trust for a full skin analysis to point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the best products that will work for your skin!

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