Unless you’re a qualified expert, shopping for skincare can spark confusion about which ingredients or jargon-packed range may deliver the best results – not to mention why our regime should apparently include a whopping 10 steps in a specific order.
The welcome news is that, in an oversaturated and overcomplicated market, brands are increasingly focusing on a pared-back approach. Saving customers both valuable time and money, minimalist skincare involves a clear ingredients list and simplified core products.
Also known as #skinimalism, the approach focuses on multi-tasking buys that often offer several benefits in one, cutting out most of those aforementioned steps. Featuring active ingredients such as niacinamide, vitamin C and retinol to target specific skincare concerns, their inclusion is refreshingly well outlined.
Freddy Furber, founder and director of minimalist skincare brand Q+A, says that skinimalism allows you to easily recognise the most beneficial ingredients for your skin type, as well as the culprits of potential allergy or irritation. “This style of regime appeals to a desire for simplicity and transparency within skincare and also minimises waste and spend, making it a more eco-conscious and purse-friendly choice too,” he says.
But how can you find the simplest routine for your skin concerns? We’ve selected 11 great minimalist skincare brands that put their overall customer experience and key products to the test.
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Showcasing sleek pink and black branding, as well as user-friendly information on the packaging, Lixirskin offers 11 facial skincare buys. Dual-purpose products include the all-in-one day moisturiser, night cream, serum and primer, universal emulsion, and the “electrogel” cleanser wash/mask hybrid. Mid-range prices are worthy of investment, as they reflect the saving being made on seriously streamlining your skincare routine.
Boxes detail different transparent info tailored to each product, whether that’s on which parts of your face to use it, or how included active ingredients such as vitamin C benefit the skin. For those seeking accessible retinol or acids, the online shop breaks down the best usage and suitable accompanying products.
As favourites go, we can’t fault the creamy, nourishing and smoothing multi-tasking universal emulsion, (£29, Lixirskin.co.uk ). It layers up well and avoids pilling, too. Meanwhile, for speedy skin TLC, the vitamin C paste, (£32, Lixirskin.co.uk ) is a brightening winner.
Visit Lixirskin.co.uk now
There are 13 products within the full CeraVe portfolio, spanning face and body. A brand developed by dermatologists, its fragrance-free hypoallergenic formulas all focus on repairing the skin barrier with a ceramide combination. These are gentle, budget buys, and you can pick up a generously sized 236ml cleanser for less than a tenner.
The recyclable packaging provides concise details for your area of skincare concern, such as for dry, rough, bumpy skin, or for normal to oily skin. Meanwhile, a one-sentence description explains its benefits and key actives while the back of the bottle or tube lists usage instructions.
The basic skincare range contains hydrating, foaming, or smoothing cleansers, moisturising cream and lotion, smoothing cream, and eye cream, as well as its most recent launch, a skin-plumping hyaluronic acid serum. For us, essentials include the skin-clearing and soothing hydrating cleanser (£9.49, Superdrug.com), plus the lightly nourishing facial moisturising lotion (£12.99, Superdrug.com) which is a day and night moisturiser, primer and dry-skin treatment in one.
Visit CeraVe at Superdrug.com now
Made in small batches in Norfolk, Q+A skincare uses product packaging that is 100 per cent recyclable. It’s focused on ingredients, and there’s an option to shop by skin type. If that’s something you’re unsure of, the website has a useful quiz. There are 24 products in total across cleanser, toner, mist, mask, exfoliator, moisturiser and oil options, or you can snap up “balancing” or “moisturising” bundles for specific skincare concerns. Nothing costs more than £12, and the bright bold branding covers self-explanatory product names.
You’ll find a skincare checklist on the box which includes “anti-inflammation”, “skin firmness” and “pore minimising”. How and when the product should be used is underlined, and for products including an active ingredient, their purpose is explained with further insightful information in a “tell me more” section.
The super-hydrating hyaluronic acid facial serum, (£6.50, Qandaskin.com) delivers optimum moisture, and the roll-on caffeine eye serum, (£6.50, Qandaskin.com) is a quick brightening dark circle pick-me-up.
Visit Qandaskin.com now
Slow Ageing Essentials
With a face collection of just five products presented in recyclable glass packaging, these luxe buys do come at premium prices. But the brand’s aromatherapist-created essential oil scent blends add a spa-style edge.
Featuring an essential moisturiser, facial essence, balm, wash, and face and body exfoliating polish, they contain antioxidant components such as Roman camomile, ylang-ylang and neroli. When shopping the website, the product’s overall benefits and active ingredients are helpfully laid out with straightforward wording, as well as how to use them effectively alongside each other. The branding details are appealingly basic: just the product name, simple instructions and complete ingredients list.
Our picks cover the cooling, decadently smoothing essential face moisturiser, (£45, Slowageing.co.uk) doubling up for day and night use, all while being a brilliant primer too, plus the calming and clarifying face wash, (£26, Slowageing.co.uk ) and buttery essential face balm, (£56 Slowageing.co.uk) which works as both a hydrating overnight mask and intensive skin treatment.
Visit Sloweageing.co.uk now
There’s no ambiguity within this complete routine of just four skincare products: resurfacing facial cleanser, transforming facial serum, replenishing facial cream and restorative facial mask. At a mid-range price point, they bring optimum hydration to help improve skin texture and overall condition.
The main active ingredient – usually an acid or ceramide – and extracts such as shea and cocoa butter are clearly marked. There’s also a skin solution explanation, ranging from “exfoliation” to “hydration” or “calming”. Plus, each item’s box details which specialist skincare concern it is for, whether that’s bumpy, dehydrated, rough or very dry skin. Benefits and results are broken down too, and this also includes directions for use, encompassing a sun sensitivity warning for those containing active alpha hydroxy acids.
Extra points are also awarded for the instructions as to which components can be recycled. We really rate the richly comforting resurfacing facial cleanser, (£20, Ameliorate.com) and the glow-giving creamy restorative facial mask, (£22, Ameliorate.com).
Visit Ameliorate.com now
A cult brand in the beauty industry, Glossier is renowned for effective results and prices from £8 upwards. The skincare range spans 18 descriptively named products, including the milky jelly cleanser (£8, Glossier.com), priming moisturiser (£18, Glossier.com) and super glow serum (£24, Glossier.com). When ordering, each features a “what it is”, “why it’s special” and “good to know” breakdown, plus a steer on which other products pair well. Everything from texture and formula to benefits are covered, making for a failsafe user guide.
The recyclable packaging is distinctively simple yet colourfully finished, with uncluttered wording outlining key ingredients and user instructions. Because of this, your best bet for working out the full product purpose is their online info. For example, when looking at super glow, we quickly learned its vitamin C derivative evens skin tone and the fragrance-free serum contains magnesium to boost hydration, too.
We are loving the silky veil invisible shield daily sunscreen, (£20, Glossier.com ), thirsty skin-quenching soothing face mist, (£13, Glossier.com) and the watery light, complexion-balancing super-pure niacinamide and zinc serum, (£24, Glossier.com).
Visit Glossier.com now
Face products are a recent addition to Australian brand Frank Body’s offer – its affordably priced line-up embraces straight-to-the-point names such as brightening vitamin C mask, rewind retinol serum and extra clean face mask. There are currently 11 key vegan-friendly skincare buys, with additional lip and make-up options, too.
On the website three main benefits are listed for each product – with factors such as “hydrates”, “cleanses”, “plumps”, “brightens”, and “fights acne” – as well as whether the formula is lightweight, gentle or buildable. You’ll also find a succinct summary, reasons for inclusion across key actives like niacinamide and retinol, how to use each product for which skin type, whether there’s a scent, and what results you should expect.
The recyclable faff-free packaging is fun, fresh, and likeable thanks to its no-nonsense branding. Plus, on the reverse of some products is a “get to know me” section with instructions, how regularly to use them and their skin benefits. Meanwhile, on others you will find the ingredients list and storage pointers. Stand-outs for us are the skin-plumping hydrating hyaluronic acid serum, (£16.95, Frankbody.com) and the nourishingly smoothing glow mask, (£15.95, Frankbody.com).
Visit Frankbody.com now
Youth To The People
US-born vegan brand Youth To The People’s range includes superfood extracts and sustainably sourced ingredients. The range of 11 products has names that vary from describing the purpose, such as the superberry hydrate + glow mask, to outlining key ingredients, such as the 15 per cent vitamin C + clean caffeine energy serum.
Probably Youth To The People’s most famous product, our hero buy is the gentle build-up minimising superfood cleanser, (£31, Cultbeauty.co.uk) which is crisply scented and packed with skin-boosting vitamins C, E and K from kale, spinach, and green tea.
We like the informative short summary on the packaging, explaining why components are included, as well as user instructions. For example, we read that omega fatty acids will target fine lines. Similarly, when shopping this collection, fragrances, consistency, and finish are all laid out in simple language.
Visit Youth To The People at Cultbeauty.co.uk now
A range designed for consumers of all ages, Scientia offers 11 targeted products across skin tonics, serum and cleansers as well as an oil, a mask, a blemish paste and an eye serum. The brand claims to be science led and puts ingredients at the centre, but you won’t find any misleading jargon when it comes to these vegan-friendly formulas. Where ingredients are referenced that may be unknown, a simplified description follows in brackets. For example, the succinic acid in its pure clarity deep clean PHA cleanser is outlined as a gentle, naturally occurring acid.
The benefits and purpose of ingredients are clearly explained across all packaging too, so crucially, you know what to expect or look for. Additionally, products have a three-word summary, such as the peach and glow hydra skin tonic, which promises to hydrate, brighten and revive skin.
Top of our list to buy is the weightless deep clean PHA cleanser, (£24, Cultbeauty.co.uk), and lilac-coloured calamine and white bark pure clarity targeted blemish paste, which is presented in a compact tub format (£16, Cultbeauty.co.uk).
Visit Scientia at Cultbeauty.co.uk now
With a condensed collection of just eight products across both face and body, Hello Sunday stands out as SPF-centred minimalist skincare brand. Prices start at £5, and the vegan-friendly range makes it very easy to spot key ingredients, fragrances, intended results and full recycling info. Offerings include a moisturiser, serum, balm, lotion and primer.
Listed on the product itself is key information, such as an ability to protect against blue light or whether it may be moisturising. For products including key ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, their inclusion is also explained.
The take-out one invisible sun stick, (£14, Hellosundayspf.com) is an on-the-go SPF staple, and the SPF50 lip balm, (£5, Hellosundayspf.com) drenches your pout in a moisturising, long-lasting coating.
Visit Hellosundayspf.com now
You’ll notice 15 options within this range, encompassing an entire routine from tonic and moisturiser to a cleanser, face mist and night mask. All economically priced under £15, the cute pink coloured branding and simplified product names are a consistent theme. There is not a vast amount of information about each product listed when shopping online, but their key ingredients, such as retinol percentage or vitamin types, are clear and so is the accompanying skin concern purpose.
We were really impressed by bright boost, (£8.63, Boots.com), a 2 per cent vitamin C serum that tightened and brightened our tester’s skin tone. Meanwhile, the icicle cooling eye serum, (£9.97, Boots.com) immediately refreshed and soothed.
Visit Skin Proud at Boots.com now
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