The rise of ‘skinimalism’ and how it might benefit your skin

In 2024, less is more when it comes to beauty. Here is why heavy make-up and elaborate skincare routines are out — and ‘skinimalism’ is in.

The proliferation of online beauty trends in recent years has seen us swapping full-beat make-up looks and elaborate skincare regimens for simplified alternatives.

While “no-makeup make-up” is not a new concept, the “less is more” approach to beauty is becoming increasingly popular — the 12-step skincare routines and heavy make-up trends of the late 2010s are out (think ombré-dip brows, thick winged eyeliner and powder baking), while trends such as TikTok’s “clean girl” aesthetic are in.

Enter “skinimalism”: Another clean-girl-adjacent trend popularised on the internet, skinimalism is quite literal in its definition.

It focuses on simplifying your skincare and make-up by paring back products to the bare essentials.

But does it actually hold any dermatological merit?

What are the benefits of skinimalism?

Dermatologist and ODE Transformative Dermatology founder Dr Shammi Theesan explains that embracing a minimalistic approach to beauty will allow your skin to breathe and maintain its natural balance.

“The benefits are manifold, including reduced risk of irritation, enhanced skin barrier function, and a heightened focus on skincare ingredients that truly benefit the skin,” Dr Theesan says.

Ironically, it might feel unnatural to leave the house with little to no make-up.

But the beauty of skinimalism is that it forces us to try to feel comfortable with our natural skin — just channel your inner Pamela Anderson on a red carpet.


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What skin types would benefit from skinimalism?

Dr Theesan says skinimalism is particularly advantageous for those with sensitive skin, as this approach minimises exposure to potentially irritating ingredients found in complex skincare and make-up formulations.

“Additionally, those prone to acne or other dermatological conditions such as dermatitis may find relief through the simplified approach of skin minimalism, as it reduces the likelihood of congestion and exacerbation of existing concerns,” she says.

Similarly, in a recent episode of The House of Wellness TV, dermatologist Dr Ryan De Cruz emphasises the importance of understanding your skin type and skin needs when establishing your routine.

“You don’t need to copy your favourite influencer,” Dr De Cruz says.

“A really big piece of advice is to use one product at a time and introduce it into your daily regimen very slowly or gradually so if you do develop irritation, you know exactly which product has caused it.”


What key products do you need in a minimalist beauty routine?


In a minimalistic skincare routine, essential products include a cream-based cleanser tailored to your skin type, plus a hydrating moisturiser or emollient, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen for daytime protection, Dr Theesan says.

If you have sensitive skin, she advises to opt for a zinc-based sunscreen.

“These foundational products are aimed at maintaining skin health without unnecessary complexity,” she adds.

This is also why Dr De Cruz says it’s one of the most common misconceptions that you need to spend thousands of dollars on skincare.

“We really recommend keeping things simple,” he says.

“I see a huge number of patients with really upset, angry, irritated skin from having used too many products.”


Dr Theesan says the focus of a minimalistic make-up routine should be on multipurpose products such as tinted moisturisers or BB creams, cream blushes or mineral bronzers, and a versatile lip product containing SPF.

“It’s important to incorporate one key active ingredient, depending on your skin type and concerns,” she says.

“For those prioritising rosacea and acne, vitamin B3 may be worth considering; alternatively, for concerns regarding pigmentation and sun damage, vitamin C or retinol should be the key active ingredients.”

Dr Theesan says the objective is to achieve a natural, effortless look while also supporting skin health.

More on skin minimalism and “clean” beauty:

Written by Emily Holgate