Beauty inside and out

My Skin Story + Minimalist Summer Skincare Routine

July 1, 2019

Here’s a little story of how I went from an expensive routine with unnecessary steps to a #skipcare routine that has left me with the best skin of my life.

I know skincare is having a huge moment but personally, as a lover of beauty, I got serious about my skincare right after college.

Becoming a skincare enthusiast 

At this time, my skin suffered so much from hormonal stuff that I had going on and I really didn’t know what to do. This was 2009 and natural products were on the rise. The clean beauty craze really kicked off around 2008/2009. So, I decided to try Kiss My Face products from Whole Foods and they actually helped A LOT but then my skin started to become dull. It was time to go back to science. Enter professional skincare brand here. For me, this was a very trusted brand because my aunt swore by this stuff as an aesthetician herself. And my skin got a lot better with consistent use. I almost exclusively used this brand until seven months ago. I almost never tried anything else because I was scared my skin would react badly. 

On the road to minimalism 

But it was finally time to get out of my skincare comfort zone. I still struggled with my skin a bit (pimples on my cheeks and sometimes chin and a general lack of glow) and never really took the time to examine my products as well as the amount of money I was spending to re-up on these products. So, I decided to do some research. And headed straight to YouTube and Reddit’s #SkincareAddition. As much as I love beauty with my heart and soul, I was rejecting the notion of “let me collect all of these beautiful and expensive products for my #shelfie”. My skincare is not a trend. My products need to do the damn thing, not just sit there looking pretty, leaving me wondering if it’s actually all worth it. I had a strong desire for the opposite. And I yearned for a minimal routine with all the right ingredients that worked for me, and wouldn’t get me kicked out of Pre-check at the airport (yes, this happened to me in Paris.) 

After watching many videos from my now favorite derms (Yaaaas Dr. Dray and Dr. Sam!) and cross-referencing on Reddit, here’s my ridiculously simple yet effective summer skincare routine. To paint my skin’s picture, I’m 30+ and used to get a few hormonal breakouts every month and was always left with scarring. Now, I can leave the house with just sunscreen and call it a day. And no I’m not talking about a tinted moisturizer. Just plain old sunscreen. It’s a beautiful thing.  


  1. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($14.99) – I had no idea what I was missing until I tried this. I use this creamy gelly cleanser every morning. It cleanses really well and melts light makeup easily and is non-stripping. 
  2. CeraVe PM Moisturizer ($14.99) – This might be the best drugstore find out there. It’s a great lightweight gel-cream formula that’s occlusive and is perfect for the warmer months. And has all the ingredients you need. I use a little of this underneath my SPF because I use Retinoid cream and need a little more moisture. It has niacinamide, ceramides and hyaluronic acid, all ingredients that are backed by science. 
  3. bioClarity Acne Treatment Gel ($19.95) – I like to apply this around that time of the month for prevention over my moisturizer. It’s the most effective salicylic acid treatment I’ve used.
  4. EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 ($35) – One of the only facial sunscreens outside of Dermalogica that doesn’t break me out. Plus it also has niacinamide, which is my personal favorite antioxidant.


  1. If I’m wearing little to no makeup or it’s winter time I use CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($14.99). And if I’ve been wearing a bit more makeup and it’s a hot day, I grab bioClarity Cleanse ($9.95) or Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel ($39).
  2. CeraVe PM Moisturizer
  3. Differin Gel ($13.99) or Tretinoin (using Differin because I don’t feel like making an appointment with a derm). Both are great and help with anti-aging, plus an amazing smooth glow to the skin. No breakouts, dark marks or texture. Using a retinoid has been one of the main contributors to how awesome my skin looks. I apply this after my moisturizer. 

Using 10 plus steps is for the birds and causing most of us more harm than good. I’m so in love with my minimal routine and it’s no longer costing me hundreds of dollars.  

Let me know if this was helpful in the comments!

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