Slowvember: Taking it Slow with Skincare

I know this is a good time of year to stock up on skincare favourites. There are also good deals on expensive skincare products we’ve been wanting to try. But I’d like to share something different this year with those of you in pursuit to healthier skin: taking it slow with skincare.

What is Slow Skincare?

Slow skincare is exactly like how it sounds – being slow with skincare 😀 Just chill and take it easy with your skincare routine and spending. Start off with the basics and stick to it. Don’t complicate it by including things for the sake of “results”. There’s no need for the latest and greatest trendy ingredients. Start with a 3-step routine rather than a 10-step one. You do not need a skincare collection of 50+ products *points to self* to feel like you’re doing something right.

Why I’m Taking it Slow

In October, I recovered my skin using multiple hydrating, soothing and barrier repairing products. It seemed like an excessive skincare routine. However I was familiar with all the products applied and knew none would compromise my skin. For the sake of this Low Buy Year, I was also trying to use up my products since we are now in the last stretch of 2022.

A before and after collage. Left panel is Michelle's skin showing an allergic reaction. Left panel is Michelle's skin with soothing products applied and less redness.
*Sorry about the right side being slightly blurry but I think this before and after still get’s the point across.
Left side: allergic reaction after doing what I thought was a “gentle” skincare routine. Right side: Reapplied soothing skincare hours after the first skincare routine.

The 2 days before writing this post, my skin had an allergic reaction. It was caused by my skincare routine which consisted of what I thought were gentle products. To further explain, I use them at times when my skin has breakouts or feels sensitive. I even used them in my post-laser skincare routine when my skin could not handle actives like tretinoin. The skincare products I used had a good repetoire. I was shocked that my skin had such a negative reaction to what I thought was a gentle skincare routine. To recover my skin, I had to wash my face, apply moisturizer and a barrier repair cream. Thankfully, that same day my skin eventually calmed down and was no longer red.

Now today, I again thought I did a gentle skincare routine. Cleanse, tone, moisturize mixed with a bit of a soothing ointment. My skin has been just red from heat and I have red marks on my face. I again had to recleanse my face, misted with thermal water, and applied a repairing balm.

We’re in the second last month of 2022, and my skin has been showing nothing but discontent towards me. I decided for the rest of November, I’m going to make it a Slowvember when it comes to my skincare.

Fast Skincare, Falling into the Beauty Trap

The skincare market has grown substantially since I was a preteen. When I was first trying to tackle my acne, my knowledge of skincare was non-existent and gentle drugstore products were limited. I did not cleanse my face well, I overused actives, I did not respect my skin’s barrier. As my knowledge grew, I was also no longer a broke student, so skincare became more accessible. You bet I did (and still do) my best to get my acne under control. It’s the reason I started content creating in the first place – to share my trials and tribulations with beauty as well as my clear skin journey.

I definitely lost myself in the beauty trap along my pursuit to clear skin. In my Low Buy Year post, I spoke of what caused me to steer off the path for a bit and how I’m doing a Low Buy challenge to try to get myself back on track. Please check it out if you haven’t already!

My Low Buy Rules for 2022 | Journey to Minimalism

Examples of the Power of Slow Skincare

Below are examples of how taking it slow in skincare can really transform and maintain your skin’s health. They remind me of what I want to strive for in skincare (and life): less is more. Revisiting some of this content, plus the effects a simple skincare routine had on me, inspired me to make November a Slovember month.

Redditor’s Skincare Routine

This is the Reddit post that prompted me to write about slow skincare and truly turn November into Slowvember. After a course of accutane and an allergic reaction to tretinoin, the Redditor decided to take the Asian Beauty route. He used (and still uses) hydrating and soothing skincare to rid his skin of acne and take back his skin’s health. As you can see in the photos, his skin looks (literally) picture perfect. I’m so happy that he achieved skin clarity, at such a young age at that! It took me 15+ years… It’s worth pointing out that he also brings up the use of actives and how an abundant amount can destroy the integrity of our skin. It really puts into perspective that sometimes you don’t need an active to get the skin you want.

SimpleSkincareScience and Malezia

Malezia, a brand created by F.C. from SimpleSkincareScience, is another inspiration for slow skincare. I remember when he released his two step skincare routine and I was floored. What a dramatic improvement from just TWO products! When I discovered they were his own concoction and would be releasing a skincare line, I most definitely signed up on the pre-order list.

Last year I tried Malezia skincare products based on their skincare regimen. The regimen consists of a cleanser, Malezia’s 5% Urea Moisturizer and 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel. My skin looked so calm and clear, I was amazed how little product gave me such results. During this experiment, it seriously questioned what the products I was using were doing and what I truly wanted out of skincare.

From that point on, I tried to figure out what I did and did not need in my skincare routine. I was going through quite a plateau with skincare in 2021 so the Malezia skincare regimen helped me break out of that. I actually put myself to the test and decided to do a Low Buy Year for 2022.

Jennifer Myers

Jennifer Myers is a youtuber that has stuck with the same skincare routine – and products – for well over a decade.

What I like about Jennifer is that she advocates for health and wellness. Sure, tretinoin is great even in my experience and we both have Korean genetics to give us an advantage with well-aging. But to me, Jennifer’s skin is also a reflection of how she feels internally. If you check out her channel, she shares more on how she eats, exercises, as well as mindset. I’ve also learned how all of this plays a part in healthy skin, but more on that in a future post! The takeaway here is to take care of yourself on the inside, and the outside will reflect that.

My Slow Skincare Routine

Last week I shared in my instagram story what my skin looked like after doing a simple skincare routine. Cleanser, hydrating toner, moisturizer mixed with a barrier repair ointment. I was both ecstatic and upset with the results. Ecstatic because my skin looked great – clear, calm, even tone, and smooth. Upset because I have so many products that I do the same thing!

I have been doing this skincare routine almost every night after that allergic reaction. The couple of times I did this skincare routine in the day, I felt way more comfortable with my skin and didn’t find the need to reach for complexion makeup.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I know how it feels.

I know having a skin disease is hard both on a physicial and mental level. We just want to try anything to make it better. But sometimes the best thing is less.

5 Mindsets for Mental AND Skin Clarity!

This year is a Low Buy Year for me. I have been going through my skincare stash as much as possible to reduce the clutter. All of my empties for 2022 so far has been from my stash save one moisturizer I purchased this year. After seeing how great my skin has been looking with minimal skincare, I feel even more desperate to use up what I have. Truthfully, I’m really feeling a skincare burnout after having to empty so many products I own. But hopefully the Low Buy challenge I issued to myself this year will give me more peace in the future.

With that, I hope this post serves as a friendly reminder to take it slow. There are a lot of great deals out right now and I totally get how this month is an opportunity to pick up things you need and want to try. But for times when you feel overwhelmed by skincare, when you’re aiming to tackle your skin concern and don’t know where to start – start slow and simple.

xo, M

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