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Minimialist vs. Maximalist Skincare Routines: and everything in-between!

Minimialist vs. Maximalist Skincare Routines: and everything in-between!

Skincare has come a long way over the years, from medical-grade to organic, from cheap over-the-counter to luxury expensive. There’s your DIY-made-from-home products, there’s doctor-prescribed creams. You’ve got acne lines, anti-aging lines, masks, devices, celebrity lines and beyond! It can be pretty overwhelming even for the well-versed individual. But it doesn’t always need to be excessive and complicated to achieve results. What is most important is that you are consistent with your routine. So keeping it simple ensures that you will abide by that routine and form a habit that may hopefully become second nature down the road. Once you nail down the basics, then you can start adding the bells and whistles if you choose to do so.

As an aesthetician, I often get asked about what order to do everything in, how often to use everything, what part of the day to use them, and “are all these products necessary???” The answer is yes and no. It depends on the individual, the time you have, and the things you’re addressing. But no matter what, it’s possible to keep it simple. I will display three tiers of skincare routine approaches starting with the most simple to the most extensive. Whether you start with minimal and stay there, or branch out and do it all once you’re comfortable, you do YOU. Again, the most important thing to focus on is consistency and what works for you so you’ll stick with it.

Before we get to our three routine tiers I want to make sure we’re clear on how to layer our products. This will help make sense of the routine going forward. One way I like to look at products is in three separate categories. If you can narrow it down and think of it in three main steps, it’s actually a lot simpler.

  • ONES: (the cleaners) ie. cleansers, exfoliants, toners
  • TWOS: (the bells & whistles) ie. masks, serums, spot treatments, eye creams, devices.
  • THREES: (the hydrators/protectors that lock in the 2’s) ie. moisturizers, oils, balms and sunscreen.

Pick Your Perfect Routine


1) The Mild Minimalist:

If you are new to skincare, limited on time, or feel the need to scale back on your routine then the minimalist approach is super easy. 3-4 steps and you’re done.

    • AM: 1,2) toner, 3) moisturizer and SPF
    • PM:  1) cleanser, 2) toner, 3) moisturizer
    • Weekly:  2) exfoliate approx. 2 times a week
  • Monthly: a facial treatment that does a routine clearing of dead skin and blackheads, nothing crazy. Our quick and sweet Clean Sweep Hydrafacial for routine clean-up and maintenance.

  • 2) Minimalist With Flare:

    Perhaps you’ve nailed down the minimalist approach and now you want to add just a sprinkle of targeted factors for more results. This still doesn’t have to be complicated. Maybe a serum or retinol to target fine lines or pigmentation, maybe a moisture mask for dry weeks or an eye cream to target dark circles and crows feet. You can customize this approach the way you want and if you need guidance, talk to your trusted aesthetician (yours truly) to be steered in the right direction. This routine is about 4-5 steps. Still not too bad.


  • AM: 1) toner, 2) vit C antioxidant serum such as Super Serum, 3) moisturizer, SPF
  • PM: 1) cleanser, toner, 2) hydrating/repairative serum such as Pro Heal Serum, eye cream, 3) moisturizer
  • Weekly: 2) exfoliate approx. 2 times a week, use a specialty mask (hydrating or purifying) or a retinol a couple times weekly like the Line Refine.
  • Monthly: a mid-tier facial treatment that is a little more targeted towards concerns, a more thorough clearing of impurities, resurfacing and replenishing of boosters, hydrators and nutrients such as The Glazed Donut Hydrafacial.

  • 3) The Mindful Maximalist

    This approach is obviously for the person who wants to do it ALL. I’ll admit, as an aesthetician, I fall into this category but by no means do I expect others to do the same or to this extent. This is my job and my passion and I love the results so that is what drives me to go the extra mile. Whether you’re skincare-obsessed like me or you have a skin condition you’re trying to eradicate, this routine may just be what floats your boat! This routine boasts about 5-6 steps and up!


  • AM: 1) toner, 2) vit C antioxidant such as Super Serum, eye cream, 3) moisturizer, SPF
  • PM: 1) double cleanse with oil and/or gel/foam, toner, 2) hydrating/reparative or anti aging serum such as Pro Heal Serum, spot treatment, eye cream, 3) anti-aging moisture cream such as Dream Cream, facial oil balm.
  • Weekly: 2) exfoliate approx. 2 times a week, use a retinol such as Line Refine 2-4 times nightly, use a hydrating or purifying mask, specialty devices such as Light Stim LED or lifting and firming tools such as microcurrent or Gua Sha for lymphatic de-puffing purposes.
  • Monthly: a thoroughly extensive facial that covers all the bases and leaves no stone unturned is suitable for the Maximalist or even the Minimalist who does the basics but goes for it with professional treatments. Our The Works Hydrafacial would be the one for you. It resurfaces, retexturizes, reduces acne, brightens, softens, and hydrates. From dermaplaning to lymphatic drainage to exfoliation and extractions to targeted boosters and LED Light Stim…this one does everything! 
  • Still not enough?? For an even deeper targeted treatment for stubborn conditions due to acne, pigmentation or wrinkles, a chemical peel can be essential to break through deeper and faster through those dead skin cell layers. A fully Customized Chemical Peel in a series or as a reset button quarterly can give you that extra magic your Maximalist heart desires.

    Product Layering Order Cheat Sheet

    • Oil cleansers
    • Gel/foaming cleansers
    • Exfoliants
    • Toners
    • Masks
    • Spot Treatments
    • Serums
    • Eye creams
    • Moisturizers
    • Oils & balms
    • SPF

    For some, this universe of skincare can be a confusing one. The best favor you can do for your skin is to seek guidance from a skincare professional to make sure you’re using products and ingredients that are appropriate and safe for your specific skin type and condition. Our Vitality Aestheticians are here to answer any of your questions, suggest products and perform a perfect facial treatment for you!

    Written by Katie Verboom, LE

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