Recently on our Dear Pauline column, we got a couple of people asking how long they should be spending on their skincare routine. They have no time. They’re too busy. They’re too tired. They can’t be fussed! And I completely understand.
I’m the laziest out there, really, but have recently switched out of my typical three-step skincare routine: Wash, tone, moisturize in 3 minutes, tops.
And I am a convert.
And honestly? It really doesn’t take much. 10 minutes are all you need. And if you’re really in a rush, 5 can work as well. It’s about the time you take, the products used, and then how they are used. But skincare has now become a form of winding down for me. Precious, slow me time.
But okay, I get that some of you like to always be. On. The. Go. Get. Things. Done. Onwards, you time-starved!
STEP 1. DOUBLE CLEANSE (2 – 3 minutes)
Double cleansing with a pre-cleanser thoroughly removes environmental pollutants accumulated through the day, making the same job easier for your cleanser. More importantly, pre-cleansing softens your skin so that following products can be absorbed more effectively.
The only times I allow myself to skimp on double cleansing are some mornings when my skin isn’t that dirty. Then, I settle on just a pre-cleanser which chops my wash time down to 1 – 2 minutes.
What does it take? 20 seconds per cleanser in gentle circular movements – upwards and outwards. Spend more time on rougher areas if you have to. About 10 seconds longer for those with oilier skin + use a deeper cleansing gel to help remove excess sebum production while still topping skin up with hydration.
“The whole point to cleansing is to remove dirt, contaminants and surface oils from the skin. To make sure your cleanser is achieving this goal, massage it in for at least 20 seconds; for oily skin, make that closer to 30 seconds, which is about how long it takes for sebum to break up.”
– Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
STEP 2. TONE (30 seconds – 1 minute)
My skin is on the dehydrated side, with the tendency to have an uneven, dull tone. Toners are thus my best friend and I never skip on this step in my routine. Being the final evil for all remaining traces of dirt and impurities and usually loaded with antioxidants, it’s a bigger godsend if it comes with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, rose and jojoba seed oil extracts.
What does it take? 3 – 4 spritzes of my favourite Deep Hydrating Lotion onto a cotton pad. Swipe. Wait just a little for it to dry. Next.
STEP 3. HYDRATE (1.5 – 2 minutes)
Top it all off with some hydrating moisturizer! Find moisturizers that are lightweight, water-based, oil-free, non-comedogenic, and contain ingredients that hydrate and seal the hydration in.
What does it take? 3 – 5 pumps of your favourite gel moisturizer. Pat and massage into skin until dry. If your skin is in dire need of extra hydration, use a serum prior to your moisturizer. Same steps apply.
STEP 4. SUNSCREEN (1 minute)
If this is your daytime skincare routine, don’t leave home without sun protection of at least SPF 20. Got one with a slight tint but that doesn’t clog your pores? Perfect!
What does it take? Squeeze just enough sunscreen for your face onto your fingers. Pat on.
“Ask not what your skin can do for you, but what you can do for your skin. Then ask it what it can do for you.”
– Kelly Roxanne, Student of Porcelain teachings
Treat your skin well, and it’ll reward you later. Just a good 5 – 10 minutes on skincare every morning and evening is enough to give your skin new life within a few weeks. And it only gets better with time.
Imagine: Say you spend 20 minutes to an hour every day applying a full face of makeup to conceal the imperfections beneath. THEN 5 to 15 minutes stripping it every night.
But me? I now stay foundation- and concealer-free simply because of 10 minutes each day. When your skin is renewed, radiant, glowing — healthy from the inside — you can kiss (most) makeup goodbye. Brows are all I draw on (I have my own guilty secret pleasure).
How long do you spend on makeup each day? How long do you spend on skincare? What’s the trade-off?
The math has been done for you.
WAIT, WHAT’S #DEARPAULINE?
Think “Aunt Agony”, except “#DearPauline” is our personal beauty column! Like our #BareWithMe campaign, in collaboration with the amazing Wear Oh Where, we meet different women from all walks of life to talk skin. Our first instalment of #DearPauline (with Hanli Hoefer) is up now.