These days, I can best describe my skincare routine as a product of beauty editor backlash. While I can't exactly complain about my access to dozens of new serums, moisturizers, and treatments on an all-too-regular basis, at a certain point, the pressure to try it all started to feel incredibly overwhelming. That's not to mention that both my complexion and my vanity began to protest at the sheer volume of it all. So when I moved apartments a few months ago, I took the opportunity to drastically pare down my beauty routine.
Given my obsessive approach to my complexion—as well as my longstanding itch to try just about anything—I expected this decluttering attempt to be just that: an attempt. But thanks to that ever-growing product fatigue, I surprised myself by quickly zoning in on the formulas I consistently adore. I took a small bin of these selects with me to my new place and tossed the rest.
In the weeks since, I've fallen easily into a gloriously minimal routine. Only five skincare products touch my face every single day, and my complexion is all the better for it. A full layer of foundation has become a rarity, and I'm dealing less and less with the pesky dry patches and clogged pores that used to plague me on the regular—my skin is consistently bright, dewy, and clear. And above all else, after years of trying all the best products on the market, I seriously stand by this personal curation.
For me and my skin, it's the best of the best. Below, find the five skincare products I use every single day.
The morning "cleanser"
Because my skin is hopelessly prone to dehydration, I save the thorough cleansing for nighttime and just do a gentle wipe-down in the morning with a toning solution and a cotton pad. Historically, I've just grabbed whatever toner or face mist I have on hand, but right now I'm very committed to this micellar water after picking it up at a Parisian drugstore this past winter.
Formulated with gentle, beautifully scented neroli oil, it never makes my complexion feel dry or tight, which is something that has made me steer clear of micellar waters in the past. (And for what it's worth, I'm barely halfway through the bottle—after three months of daily use.)
The do-it-all serum
I actually credit this incredible face oil (as well as my go-to night cream, which I'll get to in a minute) for inspiring me to minimize my routine in the first place. Once I was introduced to it last summer, a whole fleet of niche serums and oils suddenly began collecting dust on my vanity. That's because it's the full package, at least for my complexion. The vitamin C–rich blend of botanical oils never fails to visibly brighten my skin and has virtually ridden me of any dark spots and discoloration.
The genius addition of caffeine crystals also helps firm things up, especially when paired with the aggressive facial massage I give myself every morning directly after cleansing.
The day cream
Directly after massaging in my serum, I smooth on a layer of this lovely moisturizer from one of my all-time favorite brands, Australia-based Grown Alchemist. My struggle with "daytime" moisturizers is that they tend to be too lightweight on my skin, to the point that I'm dry and patchy by my second cup of coffee. I tried switching to nighttime moisturizers, but they just made my makeup slide around—which is why I had all but given up when I was introduced to this specimen a couple of years ago.
It's very light but very hydrating, and I love that the demi-matte finish essentially acts as a makeup primer. And like the Noto serum, it's free of any sketchy ingredients.
The "real deal" cleanser
This product is quite literally my number one. Prior to trying it out for the first time four years ago, my "skincare routine" consisted of half-assed makeup wipes and the occasional SPF. Needless to say, it was love at first cleanse. The luscious, ultra-hydrating formula and delightfully calming muslin cloth ritual inspired me to actually start taking care of my complexion. To this day, it's by far my favorite cleanser I've ever tried—and Team Byrdie would tend to agree.
The night cream
True story: I was convinced that my skin was beyond help in the hydration department until I met this moisturizer, which is actually a leave-on mask. It's now my lifeline. When I slather it on every evening, I can quite literally sleep easy knowing that I'll wake up to a thoroughly moisturized complexion. It's also great for locking in any treatments I happen to be using, which brings me to my next point…
Bonus: the outliers
I wasn't lying when I said that the aforementioned products are the only ones I use every single day. But I'd be remiss not to mention some of the heavy-hitters that make it into my weekly rotation.
Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Peel ($87) and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($62), for example, are my go-to exfoliants: I use one of them three times a week. Kypris's Instagram-friendly Moonlight Catalyst ($77) is a brilliant herbal alternative to a traditional retinol. I'm also really loving the new Shani Darden Texture Reform ($95), which does a number on any fine lines or rough patches.
And if this additional lineup seems to contradict my newfound minimalism, my rebuttal is this: The grand total listed here still comes out to less than a dozen products, and I can now open my bathroom cabinet without bracing myself for inevitable impact. That is all.