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Is It Time You Took a Skincare Cleanse?

Skinimalism, the trend urging us to strip our routines back to the bare basics, is having a moment. But which are the skincare steps you really shouldn’t skip?
By: Verity Clark

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Is It Time You Took a Skincare Cleanse?

Is It Time You Took a Skincare Cleanse?

Skinimalism, the trend urging us to strip our routines back to the bare basics, is having a moment. But which are the skincare steps you really shouldn’t skip?

By: Verity Clark

Acids. Masks. Mists. Essences. Balms. Lotions. As indulgent as a super laborious skincare routine can feel, sometimes your skin could do with a rest and a reset. A moment to strip it back to the most basic skincare routine, providing skin with a welcome chance to repair, rebalance and recover.

In fact, many experts will warn against overly convoluted regimes. “A simple but effective skincare routine [is all you need],” says consultant dermatologist Dr Thivi Marauthappu. “You don’t need a ten step programme, you just need products that work for your particular skin concern.”

Many of us are guilty of overloading our faces every morning, using every dead-skin-nibbling acid and brightening serum our bathroom cabinets have to offer. But layering on too many separate formulas, mixing and matching the wrong ingredients and massively varying your routine day to day can wreak havoc, disrupting the skin barrier, triggering an onslaught of breakouts, inflammation and sensitised skin.

That’s not to say you want to go completely cold turkey, and cut the skincare entirely, either. Instead, you might just need a skin cleanse – a reprise from throwing everything at your face and seeing what sticks, and instead allowing yourself the chance to figure out what really works for you.

So, what is the most basic skincare routine that’ll give your skin a chance to ‘breathe’ while still meeting its very basic needs? Below, we unpack the four simple steps that make up the ideal basic skincare routine. Because sometimes, it pays to be basic.

Read More: Get professional skin advice in a bottle courtesy of these expert-led skincare brands

Your Back-to-Basics Skincare Routine


A skincare non-negotiable, cleansing removes makeup and pollution as well as dirt, grime and excess oil, plus it allows for better absorption (read: increased efficacy) of the rest of your skincare steps. “Double cleanse at night with a cleanser that suits your skin type,” says Dr Thivi, who recommends Kate Sommerville's Goat Milk Cleanser, £38 for most skin types. But should you have acne prone skin? She suggests using Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel, £93 for 30 a couple of nights a week to start with, before increasing to nightly use.

Read More: Make sure to follow the correct order of skincare products


If you have a particular skin concern, fine lines, uneven skin tone or breakouts, for example, then now is the time to introduce a treatment serum that contains ingredients targeted towards your particular skin goal. You can target fine lines with Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Ageing Serum, £280, address an uneven skin tone with Rose Inc’s Radiant Reveal Brightening Serum, £53 or if breakouts are bugging you choose something with pore-purging salicylic acid or exfoliating AHA’s such as REN's Daily Glow Tonic, £30.

Read More: AHA vs BHA: the battle of the skincare acids


Even oily skin can get dehydrated, which is why hydration is key for preventing moisture loss and keeping your skin barrier healthy and happy, no matter your skin type or concern. Choose a moisturiser with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin as a starting point, while formulas packed with ceramides and essential fatty acids will help to strengthen the skin barrier and lock in moisture. We love Dr Dennis Gross’s Moisture Cushion, £64 and Sunday Riley’s ICE Ceramide Moisturising Cream, £60.

Read More: The best moisturiser for every face


Daily SPF application is at the top of every dermatologist’s to-do list. It’s the best way to protect skin from the harmful UV rays, the root cause of many concerns like premature fine lines and hyperpigmentation, not to mention skin cancer. Be smart with your SPF and choose something with broad spectrum protection, that shields against both UVA and UVB rays, that offers at least SPF30 protection as a minimum. Always apply as the last layer in your skincare routine, and be sure to reapply throughout the day; every four hours is optimum. Sunscreen brand Ultra Violette’s Mattifying Skinscreen, £34 doubles up as primer, too, so won’t hinder your makeup.

Read More: Discover which SPF is best in our tell-all guide

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