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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

The Simplest & Shortest Skincare Routine For (Almost) Anyone

… It’s easier than baking an apple pie

Skincare is fun, and the routine shouldn’t feel like rocket science. Yes, some of us, like me, love the famous Korean 10-step skincare routine and have the time (and energy) to do the basics and more, but many people prefer to keep it simple, short, and sweet.

Here’s a quick and effective skincare routine that anyone can do. Remember that you might need to see a dermatologist and specific products if you have skin issues and/or irritations.

AM Routine


The first step of any skincare routine should be a cleanser because you need to start with a clean face, and cleansers get rid of dirt, makeup, sweat, dead skin cells, grime, and pollutants. It preps your skin so the products you put on can do their work on a clean slate, literally.

Recommendations: Youth To The People Superfood Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

Drugstore options: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

Antioxidant Serum

Aging, pollution, sun’s rays, and lifestyle habits like drinking alcohol and smoking can affect your skin, so the job of antioxidant serums is to help protect and repair some of the damage. Vitamin C and Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) are great antioxidant ingredients.

Recommendation: La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum

SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3

D'Alba Piedmont White Truffle Intensive Volufiline Ampoule

Drugstore option: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow 10% Active Vitamin C Serum

Klairs Vitamin C Serum

Moisturizer with Sunscreen

Dry skin looks dull, and fine lines and wrinkles are more visible. Many moisturizers have humectants (e.g., hyaluronic acid) to hydrate, emollient (e.g., ceramides) to heal, soothe and hydrate, and occlusives (e.g., shea butter ) forms a physical barrier between the skin and the environment to prevent the skin from losing moisture so skin stays hydrated.

Sunscreen is necessary to protect you from skin cancer, and it also protects you from premature signs of aging. Choosing a good quality moisturizer with sunscreen can do it all. However, if you’re spending the day out for longer, wear sunscreen on top.

Recommendation: EltaMD UV Daily Face Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+

Wander Beauty Pack Up & Glow Priming Mineral SPF 40

Drugstore option: CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen

Naturium UV Reflect Antioxidant SPF 50

PM Routine


If you’ve been out and about, your skin is exposed to pollution, or if you wear makeup- you don’t want to go to bed with all that. You can use the same cleanser in the AM and PM, and you want to go to bed with clean skin for the nighttime products as your skin regenerates and repairs itself at night when you’re sleeping.

Recommendations: Banila Co Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm

Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm

Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cleansing Foam

Regenerative Night Cream

Your skin repairs and rejuvenates itself at night, so using a night cream with ingredients like retinol (skip it if you are pregnant or nursing), bakuchiol, or peptide can help fade fine lines, firm and soften your skin while you sleep. Night creams are thicker than daytime lotions to provide extra hydration. If you don’t mind adding an extra step, pick a serum (e.g., retinol) and add a rich night cream.

Recommendations: Paula’s Choice RESIST Intensive Repair Cream

Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream Face Moisturizer

Iope Super Vital Essential Cream Rich 

Drugstore options: Differin Night Cream

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

Some By Mi Beta Panthenol Repair Cream 

Bonus step: Exfoliant

It’s great if you want to use an exfoliant 1–2 times a week at night, as it will remove dead skin and help fade dark spots, minimize the appearance of fine lines, and make your skin feel smoother and look more radiant.

Recommendation: Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

Paulas Choice — SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

Then I Met You Rosé Resurfacing Facial Mask

Drugstore options: The Inkey List PHA Toner

Isntree Chestnut 8% AHA Clear Essence

Hanskin Red Complexion Hyaluron Exfoliating AHA Treatment 


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