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Expert Advice on How to Streamline Your Skin Care Routine

Keep it simple.
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When it comes to our skin care routines, we often look for what we can add rather than subtract. Which can lead to numerous sheet mask sessions or applying essences several times a day. But it can actually be beneficial to strip down our routines.

"Just like going on a food cleanse or detox, a pared-back routine can help reset your skin," says celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon. "I love all of my serums, oils, acids and potions, but sometimes it can get to be too much and I start to experience irritation and redness."

Dr. Tina Alster, celebrity dermatologist and co-founder of The A Method, points out that going minimal can even prevent breakouts and delay aging. A stripped down skin care routine can also save time and cash. Not to mention you're less likely to overwhelm skin with too many harsh or drying products, according to Nina Zilka, co-founder of Alder New York.

If you're looking to go minimal, you may be wondering where to begin. That's simple. Scroll through the gallery to see how to establish a minimalist skin care routine without sacrificing results.

Image via Imaxtree

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Consider Your Skin Type

It's important to tailor your routine to your skin type. For example, those with dry or sensitive skin should watch out for harsh ingredients, particularly in high concentrations. Aharon says that sensitive folks should banish all fragrances, including those naturally derived from essential oils and botanicals.

If your complexion is oily or acne-prone, make sure your skin is getting enough hydration. "Sometimes people with acne don't think they should hydrate their skin, which is a big mistake," explains Zilka. "Use products with hyaluronic acid that will add hydration and bounce to skin without adding oil."

Alster says that most products, particularly those that are too oily or drying, can be stopped immediately. But it's best to avoid changing too many products at once in order to avoid altering your skin's pH level. The good news? Your skin can usually adapt quickly to a new regimen as long as it's not too harsh or extreme.

That's why Zilka suggests a more moderate approach. Try slowly weaning off products so your skin doesn't get shocked. Start by introducing one new product at a time as you let another one go.

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Keep Key Steps

Skin types and concerns are important factors in coming up with a great minimalist skin care routine. Alster often tells her patients to "protect during the day and repair at night."

"Everyone should incorporate a daily cleanser, a topical antioxidant and a mineral sunscreen for protection during the day," says Alster. "At night, it's best to apply a retinol product to repair skin while one sleeps." Like The A Method C Antioxidant Gel 20%, $118, which helps prevent free radical damage.

Aharon suggests using a cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen and lip balm with a few bonus things a couple of times a week. "I do still like to exfoliate once or twice per week, whether with a scrub or an acid. And normally incorporate a vitamin C serum into my routine."

Aharon points out that eye creams can be musts for some. But a general facial moisturizer isn't suitable for the eye area. She uses a light serum to prevent irritation and milia (tiny hardened pockets of sebum).

Image via Imaxtree

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Use the Right Products

Make sure the few products you're using are synergistic and that each one is targeting a different problem. That way you get the most bang for your buck.

Zilka says that all skin types benefit from a gentle glycolic acid cleanser, a niacinamide serum and a vitamin C moisturizer. Jenny Frankel, president and founder of Nudestix, likes using enzymatic exfoliants as well as acid as part of a regular routine. Although exfoliating every day may not be necessary. When it comes to moisturizers, look for ones rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, such as Nudestix's Nudeskin Citrus-C Mask & Daily Moisturizer, $38.

Cleansers are a must for everyone. Aharon recommends gel, cream or micellar water cleansers. Lighter formulas are generally better for oilier skin, while creams and balms are more suited to drier complexions. If you wash your face at night, it may not be necessary to give it a proper cleanse in the morning. Aharon says that a splash of water could be enough.

Image via Imaxtree

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Shop for Systems

A lot of brands have complete systems featuring products designed to work together. Thereby taking the guesswork out of coming up with a good routine. "When you use a routine from the same brand, it's a simpler routine," says Frankel. "When used together it actually elevates efficacy because it's been created specifically to work together."

We recommend Nudestix's Nudeskin 4-Step: Citrus Renew Set for Sensitive Skin, $82.

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