How to Create a Minimalist Beauty Routine (Skincare + Makeup Essentials)

Are you looking for tips on creating a minimalist beauty routine? Here’s some advice from an esthetician that specialises in helping women keep makeup and skincare simple.

I embraced a minimalist lifestyle over a decade ago and have simplified everything from my closet to my to-do list—and even my beauty routines. I wear less makeup and use fewer products, but I feel better than ever. Isn’t that what we all want? 

If you agree, then this post is for you. I reached out to my friend JoEllen, an expert in helping women simplify life without sacrificing style and beauty. I asked her to share a few tips because even though I’ve simplified my beauty routines, I know I’m not qualified as she is to give advice! 

So if you’re ready to simplify skincare and create a minimalist makeup routine, keep reading for everything you need to know.

"How to Create a Minimalist Beauty Routine" in a white box with an image of a woman wearing a white t-shirt and pants looking in the mirror

The following was written by JoEllen Woods, an esthetician that specializes in helping women keep their beauty routine simple. It contains affiliate links to products that come used and recommended by her.

Every day, we’re bombarded with all the creams, cleansers, masks, foundations, blushes, and beauty products—all the “absolute must-haves” we’re supposed to be using to look prettier, younger and more put together. It’s hard to know what to buy, what we need, and how to use it all! 

Because of this complete beauty overwhelm, most of us either get paralyzed and don’t bother doing anything, or we buy All. The. Things. Am I right?!

But there has to be a better way! I believe that you can live a simple life, and still look and feel beautiful. You can follow a simple routine to look more put together without breaking the bank or feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips on how to simplify your beauty routine.

How to Simplify Your Skincare Routine

When it comes to skincare, keep it simple. Yes, there are tons of serums, masks, face products, and systems to choose from. But keep it to a simple routine, and your skin will be happy and healthy! 

No matter what type of skin you have (dry, normal, combo, or oily), it’s so important to stick to three daily basics: cleanse, tone, moisturize. That’s it! Sure, you can add more beauty products—but if you want to simplify your skincare routine, then stick to these essential items. 

Some women wash their face both morning and night, some just in the morning, some just at night, and some not at all! If you only had time to do your daily skincare routine once a day, then DEFINITELY do it at night! 

Just think of the dirt, grime, sweat, oil, dust, and makeup buildup you have on your face after a long day of work. Your face is like a windshield on a car…it collects that film over time and needs a good cleaning. 

DO NOT go to bed with a dirty face! Your skin renews itself while you sleep, so help the process out by going to bed with a clean face. Commit to making it a habit to cleanse, tone, and moisturize each night. It only takes a few minutes, but you’ll notice a big difference!

Tips on How to Cleanse Your Face

Why is it important to cleanse, tone, and moisturize daily? These are the three simple steps that will keep your skin healthy. They’re the basics of happy skin!

Cleansing helps clean your skin and rid it of the product buildup (remember the windshield comparison?). To cleanse your face properly, use warm water, a microfiber cloth, and a good cleanser to wash it well. The skin on your face is gentle, so use light circular motions to rub in your cleanser and scrub off the grime. 

Wipe off the makeup and dirt with a damp and clean microfiber cloth. You’ll be amazed at how much a microfiber cloth can pick up! It will gently grab the dirt, the makeup, and the cleanser leaving your skin nice and clean. Use a new one each day, so you’re not spreading bacteria on your clean face.

Why Should You Tone Your Skin?

You may have heard about toner but have no idea what it’s for and how to use it! Let’s keep it simple. Toner is used to help restore your skin’s natural pH level. After you’ve cleaned your face, you have stripped your natural oils, and toner will help get it to a point where it’s balanced again.

After you cleanse your face, you can either spritz toner directly onto your face and let it air dry or spritz a small amount on a cotton pad and then gently wipe your face with it. Either way, it will help get your skin balanced and happy. It’s a simple step!

Do You Really Need Moisturizer?

Whether you have dry to oily skin, you need to moisturize. (Yes, even if you have oily skin!) Moisturizing your skin is like giving your body water to drink. It helps hydrate it and keep it supple, whatever your skin type. 

After you cleanse and tone, it’s time to moisturize. Let me be clear, DO NOT use normal body lotion to moisturize your face! Use a moisturizer that is specifically made for the face. There is a big difference.

Dab a few spots onto your face and gently rub them into your skin, and don’t forget your neck.

If you have oily skin and fail to moisturize, your sebaceous glands will overproduce, causing more oil on your face. And that’s not good! You want less oil, not more. So, make sure to add this crucial step.

Go the Extra Mile in Your Skincare Routine

If you want to take your skincare routine a little further but still not complicate things, add an exfoliator and a mask into your weekly routine. 

Exfoliating is my very favorite step in the skincare process! It helps keep your skin nice and smooth! Using an exfoliator helps slough off the dead skin cells and product build-up, increases blood flow, and gets it feeling nice and smooth. Yes, please! Use an exfoliator after cleaning your face and then follow up with toning and moisturizing.

In addition to using an exfoliator, you can use a mask once a week for a little extra TLC. Masks help promote healthy cell turnover, remove excess oil on your skin, and help hydrate your face. All great things!

How to Simplify Your Makeup Routine

Skincare is the foundation of a good beauty routine, and makeup is like the icing on the cake! But it doesn’t have to be complicated, and you only need a handful of products. Stick to a few minimalist makeup essentials that highlight your natural beauty so that you can show up for the world as your best self.

An assortment of cosmetics in an open makeup bag on a wooden background

Minimalist Makeup Essentials

Do you have an overflowing makeup drawer? It takes so much time to find what you need, and it also takes up a lot of space! Keep the process simple by sticking to your favorites. A minimalist makeup collection with fewer products is the way to go.

A minimal makeup collection generally consists of:

  • foundation (to help even out your skin tone)
  • contour (to create shadows and dimension)
  • blush (to add a pretty flush)
  • eyeshadow (to fancy up your eyes)
  • mascara (to lengthen your lashes)
  • lipstick (to top the look off)

Anything else is extra and great! Additional makeup products would include eyeliner, brows, bronzer, and illuminator.

If you want to simplify your beauty routine, you have to stop buying all the products the beauty industry throws at you. Instead, find your favorites and stick to them! Or better yet, build a custom compact with a capsule makeup collection and say goodbye to the rest!

I used to have a collection of clutter … I had all the bottles, colors, and new products. It took up a lot of space in my drawers, and I wasted so much money! But once I made the switch to a simpler makeup routine, it was so liberating! Being a beauty minimalist saves time, space, and money.

One on One Help

If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and don’t buy anything because you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone! Many women are confused and overwhelmed with knowing what colors will look great on them and what products will help them look and feel beautiful. 

This is where it’s important to have someone to help you! You can’t email Amazon or walk into Target and ask someone what shade of lipstick will complement your coloring. That would be great though, right? But what you can do is work one on one with someone that specializes in beauty and color. You can take a complimentary makeup survey to share your makeup needs and preferences, and I can recommend exactly what you need…no fluff added. Let’s keep it simple!

Feeling beautiful shouldn’t be complicated or require tons of products. If you want to simplify your beauty routine, stick to a simple skincare and makeup routine that will help you look and feel great without the clutter and overwhelm.

JoEllen Woods is a minimalist mom on a mission to prove you can embrace simple living without sacrificing beauty & style! You can learn more on her blog or on Instagram.

A Final Note On Minimalism, Makeup and Beauty

Thank you to my friend Jo-Ellen for sharing her tips on creating a minimalist beauty routine. I enjoyed her advice (and I LOVE the idea of creating a custom makeup compact—what a great way to reduce waste!).

But before ending this post, I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that minimalism is not one size fits all. There are no “rules” you have to follow. Instead, it’s about alignment and finding that sweet spot where the things you own and do support the lifestyle you want most.

There are a million different ways to be a minimalist. For some, it’s a full face of makeup, and for others, it’s a bit of coconut oil, bb cream and lip gloss. (That’s what I use on a daily basis because it works well for me, but don’t take this as advice because I’m not an expert!)

But the point I’m making (and I think JoEllen will agree) is that it’s not the number of products you use or how much makeup you wear. Instead, a minimal makeup routine is about wearing what makes you feel good! 

Don’t worry what social media tells you about the “best minimalist makeup brands” or what social media thinks is the “must-have” lip color for the summer months.

Just have fun and experiment with a little color or a little makeup. Or go the other different, and try wearing a little bit less. Remember that the best minimalist makeup look is the one that feels just right for you.

Want to Learn More About Minimalism

If you want more minimalist lifestyle tips, here are a few blog posts I think you’ll enjoy:

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