Ask a Beauty Editor: How to Simplify Your Quarantine Skin-Care Routine to 4 Steps

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Have a burning beauty question? You've come to the right place. Every Monday, one of our beauty editors will answer readers' biggest skin-care, hair, and makeup questions in our new series, Ask a Beauty Editor.

Reader Question: What's a good nighttime skin-care routine to do when in quarantine?

In our current reality, staying motivated to keep a skin-care routine is really hard. As a beauty editor and skin-care nerd, even I struggle to keep up with my twice-daily routine, which can include up to a dozen different products. Quarantining myself has forced me to re-assess my priorities and schedule, so I've streamlined my nighttime skin-care routine. With my adjusted product lineup, my skin gets all the essentials it needs, and the routine still leaves me time to take of myself in other ways such as cooking myself dinner, watching a lighthearted movie to keep my spirits up, or even getting an extra few minutes of sleep.

According to dermatologist Rita Linker, your skin-care routine doesn't require a whole lot of bells and whistles to get the job done. "Cleanser first, retinol, eye cream, then moisturizer... that's my go-to nighttime routine," she says. So you can rest assured that a long and complex skin-care routine isn't always a necessity.

If you're looking for a pared-down night routine to get the job done quickly, here are the essentials I've been sticking to.

A gentle cleanser containing squalene, hyaluronic acid, and/or glycerine is always a must in my skin-care routine because I want to get rid of excess makeup and dirt without drying myself out. My current favorite, It Cosmetics's Confidence In a Cleanser, adds extra plumpness with collagen and ceramides.

Using a toner with exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids is the no. 1 way I keep my skin free of excess oil that can pimples acne and dead skin cells that cause dullness — my two biggest quarantine-related skin issues. There's a permanent spot on my bathroom shelf for my all-time favorite, Ole Henriksen's Glow 2OH Dark Spot Toner, which contains glycolic and lactic acid for a consistent glow.

Products with retinol are a huge help when you're trying to prevent fine lines, so it's remained a key step in my nighttime skin-care routine. Perricone MD's High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum contains a hefty dose of retinol plus niacinamide for brightness.

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