Your Korean skincare-obsessed friends have sworn by the classic 7-step or 10-step routine (12 steps, even, if they’re overzealous!) as their one-way ticket to smooth and flawless glass skin.
We don’t blame them, though. There are hordes of skincare addicts worldwide who swear by sticking to this regimen, and it doesn’t hurt that we’re always treated to images of K-Pop and K-drama stars with unbelievably clear and gorgeous, porcelain skin!
Still, skincare isn’t a one-size-fits-all scheme; what works for your friend’s dry skin might not be the case for your trickier combination type. There’s also the fact that there are some of us who just can’t be bothered to adopt an elaborate routine, mainly because some of us just don’t have the time these days. It’s not impossible to achieve smooth and healthy skin even when you’re paring down your regimen; it all boils down to securing a few key products in your rotation.
If the idea of applying layer after layer of toner and serum — or was it the other way around? — every night already has you feeling exhausted, we’ve got you covered. Here are some easy steps you can adopt to cop great skin with the least effort.
Wash your face every day with a gentle cleanser.
Your face might be used to the scrubbed, squeaky clean feeling you get from strong-acting facial foams and scrubs. Yet an integral part of maintaining a simple yet effective regimen is using a gentle, non-abrasive skin cleanser.
Stronger products, including your regular soap, are too harsh and could strip away too much of your skin’s natural moisture, making it dry, flaky, and prone to irritation. This could cause sebaceous glands to produce excess oil to overcompensate for the dryness — leading to the oiliness and breakouts you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Add micellar water and other multi-purpose products on your skincare counter.
French girls swear by micellar water as the holy grail of their skin routine: it’s a gentle yet multiple-duty product that removes makeup, cleanses, and tones your face — meaning you’re treated to all these benefits in just one product!
Lazy girls should also be on the lookout for other double-duty products for their arsenal, saving both time and money in the long run. This hydrating gel from Neutrogena, for example, is a fragrance-free and lightweight hydrator that’s perfect for quenching skin in the tropical weather. The hyaluronic acid found in this instantly boosts hydration, powerful enough to target fine lines under your eyes.
Get your hands on daily chemical exfoliants.
The word “chemical” may sound scary, but it shouldn’t be at all! Exfoliation means removing the buildup of dead skin cells on your face, and there are mainly two ways to do this: through physical exfoliation and through chemical exfoliation.
You’re probably more familiar with physical exfoliants, which include facial scrubs, brushes, and other mechanical means to literally scrub the debris of your face. But while you’re better off using your facial scrub one to two times a week, chemical exfoliants are actually gentler on the skin, with mild acids that work to “unglue” the bonds of dead skin cells that have accumulated on the surface, making skin feel suppler and brighter. They’re even gentle enough to use daily.
Chemical exfoliants will typically contain either AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) or BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, work with several skin types and treat concerns such as fine lines, acne spots, and hyperpigmentation. While aHAs make way for smoother and softer skin, it is important to use sunscreen after applying AHAs since the acids make your skin more photosensitive to the sun.
BHAs, meanwhile, are oil-soluble, which means they can penetrate beneath the skin’s surface unlike water-soluble AHAs. They’re to be best for those dealing with acne and blackheads, since they clean out the excess sebum and reduce oiliness, as well as those dealing with sun damage. Salicylic acid is the most common BHA on the market.
Don’t skip the sunscreen.
If there’s just one product you have to absolutely stick to, it’s sunscreen. Sunscreen is the one product most people tend to forget or overlook, yet is one of the most crucial parts of any skincare regimen. The best thing anyone, lazy or otherwise, can do for their skin especially in the long-run is to protect it from the sun. With the ozone layer constantly depleting, UVA and UVB rays are the ones responsible for several skin problems, such as wrinkles, premature aging, sunburn, and dark spots. Your skin will thank you, especially 20 years from now.
We get it, though — it can be a hassle to put on every morning dealing with the residue on your palms and fingers, and not everyone likes the distinctive smell on sunscreen. This Clear Stick UV Protector WetForce 50+ from Shiseido is a clear, sunscreen stick with SPF 50 that is as easy to apply as it sounds — just swipe it all over your face and neck, even under makeup, and you’re good to go. It doesn’t leave a cast nor does it feel sticky, and it has a pleasant, sweet orange smell that’s perfect for daily wear.