5 Skin Care Items You Can Ditch Without the Guilt

Dispenser bottles in a row kept on rack in bathroom

Ever stare at your ever-growing collection of skincare items and wonder if you really do need all those skincare products? Same, sis.

There’s a vast ocean of skincare products and facial tools out there. Figuring out which ones are non-negotiables and which are purely optional can be as hard as trying to understand the Targaryen family tree.🐉 

Simplifying your skincare could be the answer. After all, less is more, right?

I’m not saying you should be using no products on your face, but the minimalist skincare movement has me rethinking some potentially redundant steps in my everyday regimen. 

But how do you decide which ones make the final cut? 

As your official skincare confidante and fellow lazy babe, I’ve put together my picks of ditchable products to help Marie Kondo your skincare routine and embrace a #SkincareMinimalista mindset.

So which skin care products are useless AF?

Okay, okay — maybe useless is too strong a word. You know I have a flair for the dramatic.

Real talk, though, not all skincare products are created equal. Some feel nice, but they aren’t necessarily essential for your skin’s health and appearance. And let’s be honest — they aren’t cheap either.

Adopting a minimal skincare approach (or skin minimalism) boasts several benefits. It cuts down steps saving you time, money, and precious countertop real estate. It’s also more sustainable! These perks are just bonuses, though. It just so happens that our skin thrives on a minimalistic skin care approach. 

Research shows that our complexion does best when we personalize our skincare to target our skin’s specific concerns, rather than layering our routine with products we were suckered into buying. Many derms swear by short and simple skincare routines — it’s time we try it for ourselves. 

Curious about which skincare items deserve the boot? Get ready for some hot takes! Read on for my list of potential surrenders.

1. Toners and Facial Mists

If you’re anything like me, you’ve gone your whole life believing that toners are necessary for keeping skin healthy, hydrated, and glowy AF. So imagine my surprise when I learned that most dermatologists claim the contrary

It turns out that although they feel lovely and luxurious, they’re not vital. You see, the whole point of a toner is to bring your skin’s pH levels back to balance post-cleanse. This is based on the notion that your cleanser is over-stripping your complexion, but a good cleanser isn’t going to do that. 

My holy grail face wash? The One & Done Oil Cleanser from embody deep cleans your skin without stripping it dry. Its milky finish pumps hydration back into your complexion, leaving you fresh-faced and dewy. 

Oh, and facial sprays? Most are just toners repackaged into a spray bottle, often with fewer actives. If you’re using the right cleanser and moisturizer, you can easily forego both of these nonessential skincare items.

2. Pore-Minimizing Products

Pores get a bad rap, but they don’t really deserve it. As a matter of fact, they play a vital role in our skin’s health. 

Pores connect to our hair follicles, containing sebaceous oil and sweat glands. They allow natural oil (sebum) to reach the skin’s surface and lubricate it. They also release sweat when we overheat. So even if we could eliminate them, it would wreak absolute havoc on our skin.  

Despite their importance, we love to hate on them. Many beauty brands capitalize on this insecurity by selling us skincare items promising to reduce or banish our pores for good. Spoiler alert: Research is lacking on the efficacy of such products, so why waste your time, money, and energy?

That said, you can improve how your pores appear. Just keep them clear of oil and grime. That means cleansing and moisturizing regularly, along with exfoliating once or twice a week.

3. Eye Cream

Eye creams are hella pricey, but concerns like puffiness, dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles make splurging on them an all too easy decision. 

But are they legit?

Renowned dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades claims that eye creams are usually formulated with the same ingredients you probably already get from your moisturizer. In other words, eye creams are just face creams in smaller, more expensive jars. 🤯 

So when it comes down to skincare items that belong in your final lineup, let's just say eye creams no longer spark joy.

4. “Cleansing” Wipes

I know face wipes come in clutch when you’re in a pinch (like after one too many espresso martinis after Friday happy hours)—but relying on them as your sole cleanser? That’s a whole other story. 

If you look at the ingredients in cleansing wipes and compare them to those in your cleanser, you’ll notice quite a few similarities. Both rely on surfactants for dissolving makeup, as well as solubilizers and emulsifiers for lifting makeup, oil, and dead skin cells. 

The key difference? Without rinsing with water, cleansing wipes just aren't as thorough, leaving behind some grime in their wake. To make matters worse, they’re not exactly Mother Nature’s BFF.

The kicker? Skincare expert and medical aesthetician Cassandra Bankson put face wipes to the ultimate showdown against cleansers. The results speak for themselves. 😬 

So, while we’re all about an easy skincare routine, limit the face wipes to emergencies and skip right over to washing your face. 

5. Gadgets and Gizmos

No, I’m not quoting our favorite redheaded mermaid with an undiagnosed hoarding disorder. I’m talking jade rollers, at-home lasers, LED masks, pore extractors, and scrub brushes that look like something you should be cleaning your shower grout with. 

Don’t get me wrong — not all facial tools are bad. And while many of these miracle-touting gadgets are straight-up scams, some are actually pretty awesome. 

In fact, many dermatologists and estheticians use these skincare items to improve skin health and appearance. When used by professionals, they have the potential to deliver incredible results. 

So what’s the problem?

Well, the majority of us aren’t pros. Even the most amazing facial tools still have the potential to do our skin more harm than good because of things like incorrect usage and improper sterilization. In the end, they’re purely supplemental — so why risk it? 

Do more with less with embody.

One of my little-known skin care tips for doing less with more? Ingestible skincare lets you reap the benefits of multiple skin care vitamins and products in a single dose. 

The Retinol Gummy from embody is so much more than a beauty supplement. This tasty, skin-boosting gummy is a yummy AF way of getting a healthy dose of vitamin A retinyl acetate without the usual retinol burn that comes with topical application.

Candy that replaces expensive serums, keeps my bathroom shelf free, AND gives my skin a glow-up? Yes, please! Just don’t forget to check with your doc first. 

A skinimalistic approach to your complexion saves you money, your skin, and you from being overwhelmed by a plethora of products — all without sacrificing an equally indulgent skincare routine. When you try it, you’ll be glad you said sayonara to your nonessential skincare items and fall even more in love with the skin you’re in. 🥰