KISS is the acronym for Keep It Short and Simple (or Keep It Simple Stupid, or Keep It Short and Sweet, you get the idea!). This series is be about the routines and practices I managed to simplify or that I’m trying to simplify. The first installment is about my facial care routine.

From my teenage years to my late twenties, I was a marketer’s wet dream. I bought tons of cosmetics, creams, washes, masks, special treatments… You name it, I tried it. I avidly read glossy magazines in search of the new miracle treatment that would give me perfect skin and shiny hair (yes, I was young and stupid). I loved reading up on celebrities’ beauty routines, hearing about my girlfriends’ tricks and methods, and I knew more about the products I bought than the salespeople I spoke to. I spent HOURS at Sephora and in the beauty aisles of my local Monoprix (not to mention money, ahem). Since I had already caught the DIY bug, I also made my own masks and scrubs, and regularly clogged the bathroom sink with my mixtures!

My routines involved loads of steps with various potions and lotions that had very specific uses (elbow moisturizer, neck gel and forehead scrub, lip plumper and lower eyelid mask…) and took hours. It was all very enjoyable, and it was an exercise in self-care in a way, but over the years, I found other things that were quite interesting to do with my time. I still used traditional cosmetics, but I started using less.

The real shift happened about 6 years ago. I started reading lots of scary things about all the different chemicals in my products, and being a grown-up with a full-time job, I just didn’t feel like spending 3 hours in the bathroom daily. I also spoke with several dermatologists who explained that it really is best to use mild products no matter what your skin type, and that scrubs and exfoliation are a bad idea, because they irritate the skin and make it more sensitive and paradoxically more prone to breakouts. Two sentences stuck with me: “Skin will eat but it doesn’t digest.” “Excessive exfoliation irritates the skin and makes it dull and lifeless.”

I decided to drastically simplify my routines, phase out the regular cosmetics I used and replace them with organic or DIY substitutes, or do without whenever possible. It took time, a lot of trial and error, and even though I use considerably less chemicals, I’m still far from perfect. One thing I realized in the process of simplifying is that less is definitely more. My skin looks way better than it did when I was using loads of products. For the record, my skin type is combination, sensitive, dehydrated and prone to breakouts (to put it mildly, it’s annoying).

My routine is as follows:

Morning:

  • Spray face with floral water (usually rosewater when my skin tends to be on the greasier side, orange blossom water when it feels drier and sensitive)
  • Moisturize (including neck and eye contour) and gently massage my face using circular and upward motions, with a DIY lotion (the ingredients list: aloe vera gel, calendula oil, emulsifying wax, rose essential oil and organic preservative).

And that’s it.

Simple evening routine:

  • Remove eye make-up with organic micellar water.
  • Clean face using the infamous oil cleansing method, (or OCM): massage oil into face and neck using circular motions for a good minute, wet a washcloth with the hottest possible water, wring it, drape it on face to steam it for about a minute and then wipe the oil gently. I use virgin coconut oil or a mix of almond oil and grapeseed oil. Note that you can remove eye make-up with the oil, it works pretty well for some, but I noticed that no matter how carefully I wiped the oil from my eyelids, I always woke up with puffy eyes. That is why I now use a micellar water for my eyes.
  • Spray face with floral water (optional, I just really like the sensation and the scent).
  • Moisturize with DIY face oil. At the moment, I’m using a mix of blackcurrant seed oil and plum seed oil, it smells delicious, like sweet almonds, and it’s very nourishing).

Simplest evening routine when I'm in a hurry or really tired:

  • Remove make-up (face and eyes) with organic micellar water.
  • Spray with floral water.
  • Moisturize and massage face with a couple of drops my oil blend. And that’s it.

As you can see, I’m yet another French girl who doesn’t use soap or foaming cleansers on her face.

Here are the benefits of my daily routine:

  • It saves time.
  • It uses very little to no chemicals.
  • My cosmetics bag take very little space in my bag when I travel.
  • My skin has less breakouts, it is much more even in tone and it requires way less products to look good.
  • It saves money in the long run.

However, there are aspects of it that may be considered as downsides:

  • The OCM involves stocking up on washcloths, and these will need to be thoroughly washed after each use.
  • You may need a few tries before you get it right.
  • If you want to DIY your products, there will be a learning curve, so be prepared to end up with batches of moisturizers that smell horrible, that don’t work, or to realize that an ingredient that you so wanted to like does nothing for your skin (I’m looking at you, cocoa butter!! You smell so good but damn did you clog my pores! And that goes for shea butter too…).

In conclusion, the KISS approach to daily skincare may need a bit of practice and adjustment but it’s completely worth it.