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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

The Simplest & Shortest Skincare Routine For (Almost) Anyone

Updated: Mar 20

… 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.

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.

Drugstore option: 

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.

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.

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.

Drugstore options: Differin Night 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.

Drugstore options: The Inkey List PHA Toner



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