While skin streaming is a recent trend, experts say it’s a long-term practice that patients have been implementing for years. Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill describes skin streaming as “cleaning out the fluff from the regimen,” thereby creating a simpler, more effective routine. “Over the past few years, so many of my clients have been inundated with product recommendations via the internet and especially social media,” says celebrity facialist Gina Mari. She tells her clients that often less is actually more when it comes to skin care.
Skin streaming can help you hone in on what will actually help you reach your skin-care goals. “Think of it as the minimalist’s approach. We don’t need 1,000 steps with overpriced products to see great results in our skin,” says aesthetician and shop educator at Heyday 19th Street Emily Genzer. “We can find products that target specific concerns and have multiple benefits within a single product,” she says. Basically, you should only be buying what your skin needs and nothing that it doesn’t, she adds. Skin streaming involves narrowing down your regimen to the essential products, says Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD. If you’re not an expert, you may not understand which products to weed out, but don’t worry because we have the answers.
The benefits of skin streaming
Obvious benefits include cutting down the time you spend on daily skin care and the money you put into your routine. Genzer notes that it’s also easier on the planet when we use fewer products and cause less waste. You can save on storage space and limit buying products you just don’t need, she adds. Additionally, “Skin streaming can limit the combinations of individual products that can be irritating when used together. By simplifying you are reinforcing your skin’s protective barrier and preventing over-striping.”
Not only that, “Sometimes our skin just needs a break and thrives when we’re not applying too many products,” says Mari. “You can actually dilute the efficacy of a product when used improperly or in the incorrect order,” she warns. The best skin-care routine for you is the one you’re consistent with. If someone is overwhelmed with too many steps in their routine, they’re likely not motivated to use all of the products and then they skip skin care altogether, says Mari. “If you have three to four steps as opposed to 12, you’re more likely to use your products and keep consistent with your routine.”
How to skin stream
Experts say the best way to skin stream is to buy effective multi-benefit products rather than having a single product for brightening, firming, smoothing and beyond. Dr. Behr recommends using medical-grade products that contain a combination of active ingredients. Some basic products are essentials in any routine, but Mari recommends identifying what else your skin needs in addition. “If you’re feeling dry, focus on hydration. If you’re breaking out, focus on clearing it up,” she says.
Figure out your skin type, conditions and goals before doing an audit of your routine. “Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to achieve with my skin?’ Continue to take care of your skin but think about how you can get to the best place with fewer steps,” says Genzer. “Take a look at your skin-care collection, get rid of what seems like filler. Keep products that are ingredient-focused with actives that mimic serums and masks.”
Genzer says the best skin-care routines have what she calls “the core four:” cleanser, exfoliant, moisturizer and SPF. Cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF should be used daily, but exfoliation should be limited to a couple of times a week, depending on your skin type, says Genzer. Depending on your goals, you can add a serum, retinol or other steps, but these four essentials are a good place to start.
Expert-recommended products for skin streaming
Before diving into recommendations, remember that the intent here is to streamline your routine. Don’t blindly toss all of these items in your cart. Carefully review them and decide which ones are right for you. Dr. Behr likes to begin her streamlined routine with an AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser that improves tone and texture, followed by SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum ($295). This serum features medical-grade ingredients like growth factors, peptides, botanicals and marine extracts to improve fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin in as soon as two weeks.
Mari looks “for multi-tasking products that release their actives in a symbiotic manner,” like Goldfaden MD Vital Boost ($75), which combines vitamin D, hyaluronic acid and gooseberry to promote hydration and brightening with a boost of antioxidants all in one step. Dr. Longwill says she swears by Doctor’s Daughter Stem Cell Serum ($108). It can be used morning and night as your base layer for hydration, anti-aging and skin tightening.
Genzer recommends targeted moisturizers that go beyond simply hydrating skin. She says retinol moisturizers like Dr. Loretta Concentrated Firming Moisturizer ($70) or Goldfaden MD Wake Up Call ($88) can replace other exfoliants. “Both contain small enough doses of retinol that can be used regularly for most skin types to help improve the signs of aging, scarring, acne and congestion.” Using moisturizers with ingredients that are often found in serums is also a great way to combine a step, she adds. She recommends Image Skincare Ormedic Balancing Bio-Peptide Creme ($82), The Outset Restorative Niacinamide Night Balm ($54), or Pai Skincare The Pioneer ($54).
For multitasking cleansers, Genzer recommends Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser ($38). It helps keep the skin clear, bright and hydrated. Genzer also suggests Alchimie Forever Purifying Gel Cleanser ($43) with hydrating glycerin, anti-inflammatory cucumber and gently purifying enzymes. If you can’t stand skipping your under-eye steps, at least combine three into one. Dr. Behr’s favorite combination product for under eyes is Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35 ($79). It hydrates, improves texture, decreases dark circles and acts as a concealer and SPF 35, she says. As for SPF for the rest of the face, Dr. Behr recommends Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF 50 ($49). It provides sun and free radical protection and nourishes skin while providing coverage.