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The skincare world can be viewed in two ways: incredibly exciting or incredibly overwhelming. If you fall into the latter category and like to keep your routine simple and streamlined, then you'll want to look to the skincare brands created for minimalists in mind. Even if you fall into the former category, sometimes a 12-step routine laced with acids and gadgets isn't what your complexion needs. Overloaded complexions can become sensitized, which means they turn red and irritated at even the simplest of formulas (that's when you know it's time to give your skin a rest).
Maybe you're just looking for a simpler lineup of products that you can customize with your tried-and-true favorites without worrying about irritation or side effects. Or to indulge your minimalist, Everlane-loving self, maybe you're curious about skincare brands that build a lineup around one hero ingredient (think Shan Darden and her signature Retinol Reform).
Whatever your reasons for editing your skincare routine, the following seven brands are curated, effective, and leave you with a glowing, happy complexion. Marie Kondo who?
Formulated by dermatologist and skin whisperer Dr. Sam Bunting, this namesake brand is a concise lineup of products your complexion needs and nothing it doesn't. Especially made to acne-prone skin types, there's a functional cleanser, retinol night serum, daily SPF and moisturizer (it comes in a light formula for oilier skin types, too). Simple.
Natural, sustainable and botanically-rich, this sleek skincare line uses the power of plants to feed and support your complexion. All packaging is recyclable, the paper comes from sustainably-farmed wood, and the ink is soy-based. As for the formulas housed inside, they're designed to soothe, clear and boost your skin's radiance. The streamlined collection includes a serum, toner, oil and two masks: one to detox and another to hydrate. (Also: the In-Depth Hydration Mask is the winner of Byrdie's Eco Award for best hydrating mask)
Jessica Alba and Rose Huntington-Whiteley are just two of the A-listers who look to esthetician Shani arden to keep their skin gleaming. Her concise range of products includes her cult Retinol Reform, alongside a gentler version for sensitive skin called Texture Reform, an oil-free moisturizer, essence (a Byrdie editor favorite) and gentle cleanser. Start with the cult hero and go from there.
Vanderohe is a potent natural skincare brand built around the research that sourcing ingredients grown in their native soil and farmed organically leads to a higher potency of active extracts. These actives have been funnelled into just four products to choose from: a serum, cleansing oil, exfoliating powder and body serum. There's only one type of each product in the collection and they're all named No.1 because the founder, Olivia Thorpe, believes each is the best it can be.
Lesse is more, according to this skincare brand that has distilled its philosophy down to potent products packed with antioxidants so you can enjoy a simple, easy, daily ritual. There's a serum and mask, and if you buy the Elevated Essentials Kit ($160) there is a cleanser, too. The potent mask floods the skin with much-needed vitamins and minerals, while the charcoal works hard to draw out impurities.
Plenaire is like the white T-shirt of the beauty world—it's not fussy or frilly, but it's super reliable and can be accessorized. In other words, make Plenaire skincare the backbone of your routine and expect the products to support your skin, but also amplify any other more active products you may want to layer on top. From the glorious Rose Jelly Makeup Remover ($39) to Droplet ($44) a lightweight gel moisturizer, the brand makes products that are simple, but oh-so-smart.
Bursting with wild-harvested and organic oils including coconut, argan, jojoba and castor, Everyday Oil is one product with endless uses. You can use it in your hair, to cleanse your face, to shave and to moisturize...the possibilities are endless. Choose from the Mainstay Blend, which is scented with essential oils of Palo Santo, lavender, geranium and clary sage for an uplifting, yet soothing scent—or go unscented to keep things simple.