This article is part of a brand partnership.
It’s official: long, arduous, 13-step skincare routines are out and skinimalism is in.
What’s skinimalism, you ask? It’s skin minimalism and it’s exactly what the name suggests. You ditch all those extra products that are unnecessary and get your routine down to the essentials. Because as much as we all love our serums and our essences and our toners, sometimes less really is more.
But as you start rooting through your vanity, it’s important that you don’t throw out too much. Because, even though you might want to scale back, you don’t want to get rid of products that may really be helping to keep your skin healthy and supple.
So, how can you tell the difference between excess and essential? If you’ve been using a whole lineup of products for a while, it may be difficult to tell which is which. And it can definitely be daunting to ditch a product you’ve used day in and day out.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and you’re not quite sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Below is a list of five must-haves that you should always have in your collection.
1. Oil Cleanser
I know, I know — we’ve all been convinced to avoid oil-based skin products like the plague. But it turns out, oil isn’t the enemy that it’s been made out to be.
Oil cleansing can be a really great, gentle way to remove dirt, excess sebum, and impurities. And there’s pretty much nothing that can wipe away makeup better (yes, it’s even better for your skin than those horrible makeup wipes you desperately need to ditch). Just make sure that you always use a water-based cleanser afterward to make sure you don’t leave any extra oil behind (because that would obviously defeat the purpose).
If you’re not sure what product might work with your skin, look for a cleansing oil that’s specifically labeled as “light,” just like this fan-favorite from The Face Shop.
2. Facial Steamer
We’re constantly being sold the latest and greatest skin gadgets to add to our skincare routine. But one time-honored classic that you shouldn’t forget about is a facial steamer. After all, there’s a reason that the esthetician always has one on hand.
Facial steaming is a critical part of your routine because it can help soften your skin as well as soften the dirty and sebum clogging it, making it easier to clean out all the debris trapped in your pores. On top of that, a facial steamer can make your skin more receptive to all those expensive, fancy products you’re spending your money on.
Just make sure you do a little research as to the best type of water for a facial steamer so you make the most out of your rotuine.
3. Mineral Sunscreen
You’ve already heard it a billion times so let this be a billion and one: you need to be wearing a sunscreen every day.
But here’s one thing you might not have heard: while most of us grew up using a chemical sunscreen, it might be time to trade it in for a mineral one (aka one with zinc oxide) instead.
Recently, medical professionals have started questioning whether or not it’s safe for people to use chemical sunscreens on a long-term basis. A recent study published in May 2019 found that some of the chemicals used in common sunscreens were “systemically absorbed” into the skin. One chemical was even found in breast milk, urine, and blood plasma.
This may all sound pretty scary, but it’s important to remember that these studies are still young and we’ll need to do a lot more research before we make any firm conclusions.
In the meantime, it might be a good idea to make the switch to mineral sunscreens just in case.
And although you may feel squeamish at the idea of slathering a bunch of sunscreen all over your face, there are plenty of reliable brands that make mineral SPF products like these by Neutrogena, La Roche Posay, and CereVe.
4. Hydrocoilloidal Patches
Hydrocoilloidal patches, aka acne patches, are one of the best things you can have on-hand for those pesky zits that pop up at the worst possible moment.
There are currently a ton of acne patches on the market, especially since they’ve been deemed “trendy,” but most brands are completely overpriced and not any better than the old-school hydrocolloid patches you can buy at the pharmacy.
In fact, the best acne patches also happen to be the most affordable. Nexcare makes a pack of 36 for less than $5 that will literally soak up all the sebum in your pimple. They may not be attractive, but they work just as well, if not better, than the fancy, name-brand patches you can find at Sephora.
Trust me, next time you’re struggling to manage your stress and you find yourself breaking out all over your jawline, you’ll be happy you had these on-hand.
5. Snail Mucin
It-ingredients have come and gone but snail mucin is here to stay.
Snail mucin — aka snail slime — first went mainstream a few years ago and has lived up to all of its expectations and more.
According to The Klog, snail mucin contains hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and antimicrobial peptides. Because of all these amazing ingredients, snail mucin can be used to hydrate, exfoliate, and fight wrinkles. Yeah, it’s pretty much an all-star product.
If you like to stick to cruelty-free products, you can still actually use snail mucin. It turns out many companies treat their snails extremely well since happy, stress-free snails produce the best slime. On top of this, animal testing is illegal in Korea, so if you stick with K-beauty products, you’re more likely to have cruelty-free snail mucin.
While there are a lot of options on the market, Korean brand Cosrx makes a universally-beloved snail mucin essence that is pretty much considered to be the holy grail.