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Skip-Care: Ditching the 10-Step Skincare Routine

Back in 2010 I moved to South Korea to teach English. I was 25, a recent grad school drop-out (whelp), and only cared about two things - traveling and paying off my debt so I could do more traveling. A friend told me teaching in Asia could help me achieve both goals, so I went for it. At the time, I didn't know anything about South Korea. I had no clue about k-pop, kimchi, or k-dramas, let alone the beast that is the Korean skincare industry. Needless to say, they had me at bee venom toner. I was hooked. The clever marketing and cute packaging made me really believe that in order to not look like a troll, I needed to apply 10+ different products to my face every day.

Yes we had "expat skincare parties". And yes those are placenta sheet masks.

To this day I'm convinced this little hobby of mine served no benefit. I had pretty nice skin to begin with (thank you birth control pills), and once I removed the majority of steps from my daily regimen, I didn't, in fact, turn into a troll. A good cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and the odd serum was enough to keep things in check. Plus, it meant I had more money to spend on other ventures. Like traveling.

I'm not the only one opting for a "less is more" approach to skincare. Skip-care is a growing beauty trend that promotes a trimmed down skincare routine by ditching the traditional 10 steps. Let's face it, 10 steps is excessive (and expensive). Don't believe the hype - using so many products at once can do more harm than good. 

According to dermatology experts:

  • We over-moisturize. Over-moisturizing exacerbates skin concerns and increases the production of sebum, leading to inflammation. According to some derms, unless you have a genetic predisposition to dry skin, moisturizer isn't even necessary.
  • Excess product isn't slowly absorbed. It just sits on the skin's surface and clogs pores.
  • Over-doing it can affect the skin's natural barrier.
  • Our skin becomes dependent on skincare products over time and loses its ability to protect and hydrate itself.
  • Over-exfoliation leads to irritation, inflammation, and can even increase your skin's sensitivity to other products you use.
  • If you're not a chemist, you shouldn't be playing chemistry with skincare. Especially avoid mixing products with active ingredients (glycolic/lactic acid, retinoids, vitamin C, niacinamides, etc.)

According to me:

  • POTENTIAL UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT - having a gajillion skincare products is incredibly wasteful. I know what you're thinking. "But Lisa, you run an e-commerce shop. Don't you want people to buy all your wares?" Well, yes, but within reason. We don't sell all the bells and whistles because we want to encourage people to adopt a more minimalist skincare routine. Even better if people apply this philosophy to other areas of their lives. Please only buy what you need and will actually use, whether it's here or somewhere else. But back to the skip-care...

cleanse, moisturize, SPF

(it's really that simple)

Or, depending on your individual skin needs, it may look more like: 

cleanse, exfoliate, serum

The rule is: You do you. No one else can tell you what your skin needs except you, the person who lives in and feels it every day. The truth is, skincare is a lot of trial and error. Your routine will change depending on your stress levels, your hormones, the weather, the climate, environmental factors, your diet, and the list goes on.

So what should your morning and night routine look like? First you should understand what these products do so you can make an informed decision. And remember, less truly is more. If you're experimenting with new products/ingredients, it's best to take it slow. Wait 5 days before adding a new product, that way if your skin has a bad reaction you can identify which product is to blame.

-to rinse away dirt, oil, make-up, dead skin, and pollutants. If you have oily skin, resist the urge to cleanse every time your face feels oily (guilty as charged). Doing so will exacerbate sebum production because your skin tries to replenish the lubrication it lost during the cleansing process.

-either in the form of a scrub or peel, exfoliators physically or chemically remove dead skin cells from the skin's surface. Those with excess oil should do this step twice a week. Those prone to dryness, redness or irritation should only do this step once a week.

-balances the pH level of the skin after cleansing and removes any remaining impurities.

-contains active ingredients that provide an extra layer of hydration for dehydrated skin and preps it for make-up application. Most sheet masks are simply high concentrations of this product.

-contains active ingredients that penetrate the the skin's layers. It absorbs quickly and enhances the effects of your moisturizer. Use this in combination with the next step if combatting sun damage, or if you have dry or mature skin.

-when used daily can combat against extreme dryness or oiliness. It also provides a layer of moisture to prevent water loss. For those with oily skin, a lightweight fluid is more effective than a cream.

Sun cream 
-highly recommended for daytime, all throughout the year. Wait for your moisturizer to fully absorb before doing this step.

Let's not forget that what we put into (or don't put into) our bodies can do damage that all the snail serums and peeling gels in the world can't correct. What we see on the surface of our skin is more than what we're applying topically. Let's make lifestyle choices that help our skin from the inside out, so we don't have to spend a fortune on cosmetics and unnecessary products.

And finally, a 10-step routine that everyone can follow and won't break the bank:

1. Cleanse

2. Moisturize

3. SPF

4. Sleep

5. Hydrate

6. Eat right

7. Stress less

8. Exercise

9. Take care of your hormonal health

10. Laugh more

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