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Is less really more? Part 4: Minimalist skincare routine

Posted by Lara Schimweg on
Ist weniger wirklich mehr? Teil 4: Minimalistische Hautpflegeroutine

Less is more: minimalist skincare routine

This is the fourth and last part of our small series of articles on the question: Is Wenger really more? You should rather omit many products if you want to do something good for your skin. These include fragrances , drying alcohols, harsh surfactants or PEGs. Also, your skin doesn't necessarily need potent active ingredients like niacinamide , vitamin C , BHA, or retinol. Here you should weigh the benefits and risks for you beforehand. Fruit acids and mechanical peelings are particularly problematic for the skin. Some products are simply unnecessary. Here less really is more. (You can read parts 1 , 2 and 3 here)

It can feel like the beauty industry is selling us products that make us buy new products to fix the problems the products created in the first place. And even if you might think that natural cosmetics are more tolerable for the skin: In natural cosmetics , the products are unfortunately often irritating.

However, some substances also care for your skin and ensure that it is well protected. But not much is necessary. Your skin can benefit greatly from a pared-back, minimalist skincare routine. This will soothe your skin and prevent inflammation.

However, less is not always better: a product can also consist of a few irritating ingredients . Sometimes, with mild products, two ingredients are needed to get a similar effect that would be achieved with an irritating ingredient. For example, mild cosmetic products often need two or more substances to be adequately preserved.

So what does a mild minimalist skincare routine look like?

Ideally, you start with a simple, minimalist and above all mild skin care routine. It can consist of just a few products and just a few ingredients. Basically you only need one cleaner , one cream and sunscreen . Anything beyond that doesn't have to be. Of course you can see what makes sense for you individually.

Mild cleansing + moisturizing cream

Start with a mild cleanser that gently cleanses your skin and doesn't remove too much oil from it. Then you apply a simple moisturizer to your skin. This gives your skin the moisture it needs. The cream locks in the moisture in your skin so that it won't be lost again so quickly.

At the beginning, cleansers and creams should preferably neither contain potent active ingredients nor too many different ingredients. You can then add potent active ingredients to your routine. This gives you a much better overview and doesn't overwhelm your skin. Because a cocktail of too many different (active) substances can overwhelm, irritate and inflame sensitive skin. Especially if you have no experience with active ingredients. Many cleaners contain powerful active ingredients. A closer look is always useful here.
read in Part 2 and 3 all about active ingredients. Only a few well-tolerated plant extracts can be included in your skin care to reduce inflammation.

In washable products, like cleaners, fragrances aren't quite as irritating. Of course, cleaners without fragrances are always better. However, if you can't find a cleanser that is mild and that suits your skin, you could also use a scented cleanser here. Unfortunately, there are hardly any mild cleaners without fragrances. It is more important that the cleaner contains mild surfactants and no potent active ingredients.
Mild cleaners usually do not foam as much because the mild surfactants cannot create such a strong foam. Don't worry: you will still clean sufficiently.
We've handpicked a few products that might fit into your minimalist skincare routine. (Note: the suggestion only applies to the specific product: some of the brands also use irritating substances in other products)


Xeno Game Changer - Mild gel to milk cleaner (natural cosmetics) Suitable for very sensitive skin, with mild sugar surfactants. Without fragrances, without essential oils with a pH value of 5.5.

Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Oil (Clean Beauty)
Very mild, only 8 ingredients, unfortunately contains essential oils. Since this is a washable product, you could make an exception here.

Cattier cleansing milk (natural cosmetics) Rather mild, unfortunately contains corn flower water, allergy sufferers, rosacea, sensitive skin should be careful here. Since this is a washable product, it can work. A cleanser without flower hydrosols is more suitable for sensitive skin. Since the cleansing milk also contains a lot of oils, it is particularly suitable for dry skin that is not prone to pimples. If you don't tolerate oils very well, try one of the other cleansers without unprocessed vegetable oils. (Xeno's Mild Reinger is coming soon too)

Mild surfactants, without fragrances, without vegetable oils. A mild liquid cleanser, although it is a micellar water, it is not ideal for removing make-up. Heavier makeup can't solve it. Actually, this is a baby product.

Urtekram No Perfume Baby All Over Wash (natural cosmetics)
Mild surfactants. However, it contains lauryl glucoside, which is one of the contact allergens. Be careful with existing allergies, it does not contain any fragrances or vegetable oils. Actually, this is a baby shampoo that you can also use as a shower gel. The concentration of surfactants in a shampoo can be higher than in a mild facial cleanser. Keep that in mind and listen to your skin's feedback. The product contains few care ingredients. For example, the shampoo may not give back enough to dehydrated skin after cleansing. When used daily, the product can have a slightly drying effect on sensitive skin, especially dry skin, dry oily skin and sensitive combination skin. Baby shampoo cannot remove heavy make-up. Nevertheless, a nice simple cleansing gel for the morning is for rather oily to combination skin that does not lose moisture too quickly.

By the way, it doesn't make sense for sensitive skin to only cleanse with fat (a facial oil), especially if your skin is prone to inflammation. Because you cannot completely wash pure vegetable oil or vegetable butter off your face with water. There would always be a residual film on the skin. This puts the rest of the oil that remains on your skin at risk of clogging pores and causing inflammation.

A detailed article on mild facial cleansing is already in the works.


Xeno Root and Grow Basis Cream (natural cosmetics)
For sensitive combination skin to slightly dry skin. Very light, fluffy texture, absorbs quickly. Contains anti-inflammatory mild active ingredients.
For sensitive dry to very dry skin. Contains mild anti-inflammatory and long-lasting moisturizing active ingredients.
The Xeno moisturizing creams both rely on the skin's own squalane and are otherwise very minimalistic. This makes them very well tolerated, especially for people who do not tolerate vegetable oils well.
i+m freistil intensive cream (natural cosmetics) or i+m Freistil sensitive moisturizing cream (natural cosmetics)
Both creams contain vanilla extract and very small amounts of alcohol. The creams from i+m may be an option for very dry skin. The creams are less suitable for oily skin or the care of rosacea , partly because of the vegetable oils they contain.

Your daily sun protection

Sunscreen completes your minimalist skincare routine. You should really wear these every day for the sake of your skin to protect it from harmful UVA and UVB radiation. The radiation is also present in winter, even if the sky is overcast.

Did you know that wearing sunscreen every day actually prevents breakouts?

In our free and very detailed sun protection guide you will find helpful tips for choosing the right sun protection for you and some suggestions for sun creams to try.

And how does it continue?

As you can see, it doesn't take much to begin with Reduce inflammation in the skin and prevent it in the long term. Since your skin renews itself every 4 weeks, give your skin time to adjust to a minimalist routine. It is best to use the cleanser and cream for at least 3 months, as long as you tolerate them well. With sunscreen, you can see which one suits you and how well you tolerate it.

If you have previously used a large number of different skin care products with irritating substances or a large number of active ingredients, it needs the time in particular. Only then can you really decide whether your skin needs an additional, more specific product.

It may be that after a short time your skin actually asks for more moisture or for a little more oil on colder days. If you notice this very early on, you can simply add moisture and fat to your routine. Because it's so uncomplicated, because moisturizers and vegetable oils, for example, can be wonderfully combined with your calm cream.

If your skin still needs a special ingredient to address a specific problem: take it slow. The special care is a very individual topic. And here you should not do everything at once. So only add one new product to your routine at a time. Then you can see more easily whether it is really good for your skin.

By the way, having a small pimple or reddening is perfectly okay. You don't have to bring out the heavy artillery immediately: calmness and self-love are much more suitable. Because where one skin has a few more pimples or larger pores, the other skin is more prone to redness and others to dryness. Every skin has its little problems. And if you're honest with yourself, a little redness or a pimple isn't the end of the world when your skin is soothed with a mild, minimalist skincare routine.

And the best thing to do here is to listen carefully to your skin. And one thing is really wonderful once you've incorporated minimalist healthy skincare: you can throw in an extra product like a serum if you feel your skin needs it. And if you no longer need it, you can be sure that your previous routine worked very well. Because you can always go back there.

Summarized for you

  • A mild minimalist skincare routine consists only of mild cleanser, a mild cream and a mild sunscreen
  • Let your skin rest for now and stick with your mild products for a while
  • If your skin craves more moisture or oil, you can safely incorporate this into your skin care routine
  • If your skin needs additional active ingredients beyond a minimalist routine, do your research beforehand and take it slow
  • Don't be so harsh on yourself: every skin has a pimple or a reddening. Once your skin has calmed down, you can get over a pimple
  • Self-love and composure and a bit of patience along with a minimalist, mild skincare routine will help you prevent inflammation in the long run
The skin is such a wonderful living organ that you just need to give it a little help if your skin is sensitive. With a mild, minimalist skin care routine, you reduce inflammation and ensure that less inflammation can develop in your skin in the long term.
If you know people who have sensitive skin and don't know what to do, share this series of articles with them. And help them with that.
Lara Schimweg

about the author

Lara Schimweg is the founder of Xeno . She studied sports science and health research and is a trained health worker. Lara has rosacea and very sensitive skin.

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1 comment

  • Nani on

    Hallo liebes Xeno Team,

    Vielen Dank für die tollen Artikel! Die lesen sich sehr gut und sind sehr informativ.
    Mir haben viele Tipps bei der Pflege schon geholfen.
    Eine Frage zu eurer Empfehlung habe ich noch, bezüglich der Sonnencreme von Avene, die ihr oben erwähnt.
    Ein UV Filter ist mit “nano” gekennzeichnet. Da wollte ich fragen, wie eure Sicht darüber ist und wieso ihr die Sonnencreme trotz Nanopartikel empfehlen würdet.

    Vielen Dank und liebe Grüße

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