High Maintenance vs Low Maintenance: What’s Your Ideal Beauty Routine

Whatever her rituals, beauty rules and reasons for getting out of bed, a woman’s morning and daily skin care routines are sacrosanct. That time first thing in the morning (and last thing at night) is when we can pamper, preen and perfect to our heart’s content—whether that’s a five-minute no-fuss, no-muss cleanse and hydrate, or a comprehensive ritual that would give the classic Asian 12-step routines a run for their money. But forget the idea that the length of your morning beauty routine dictates how seriously you take your skin.

“The old ideas about a woman being either high- or low-maintenance are just that—old and outdated,” explains makeup artist Rebecca McMahon. “We all have days, weeks even, when it feels like we barely have time to wash our faces in the morning, let alone jump into a complicated multi-step ritual.”

Then there are those other days, a lazy Saturday morning or a stolen Friday evening when your plans fall through and, relieved, you vow to steam your face before applying a skin-soothing mask. For some of us, a “proper” skincare routine is ultimately less time-consuming than needing to apply a host of concealers and cover-ups to conceal what we’d rather reveal. “When it comes to your complexion, maximum polish with minimum effort is actually about taking care of your skin every day,” agrees former SHISEIDO UK National Makeup Artist Thalia Phamova.

Clean, dewy, touchable skin is the beauty holy grail and, with that goal in mind, we share two strategic beauty routines for those of us who like to mix and match the high and the low.

Low-Maintenance Loveliness

“A simple skincare routine is best,” says Phamova. “Cleanse, soften and moisturize. That’s it.” Minimalist skincare calls for products that have won their place in your beauty arsenal. Choose a gentle cleanser that will lift off the dirt and excess oil that can accumulate while you sleep. SHISEIDO WASO Quick Gentle Cleanser contains honey and Royal Jelly extracts to nurture and hydrate. Follow with a softener, then smooth on SHISEIDO Bio-Performance Glow Revival Cream to diminish any dullness or visible pores, and leave you with a healthy glow.

High-Maintenance Haute Beauty

“Once or twice a week, exfoliate properly to prevent the accumulation of dead skin, oil and makeup, which can clog pores and cause blemishes,” explains Phamova. Do this before you cleanse to buff the skin, and follow with a softener then a serum. “Softeners balance and brighten your complexion,” says Phamova, “while a serum or concentrate will provide intense nourishment and super-charge the skincare you layer on top, such as moisturizers or masks,” she explains. Try SHISEIDO WASO Fresh Jelly Lotion for a boost of hydration, followed by SHISEIDO Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, which defends against multiple signs of aging.

“Every three days, use a mask,” suggests Phamova. “Look for ingredients that target your concerns, be that enhancing radiance or infusing your skin with moisture.” SHISEIDO Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask is a concentrated treatment packed with amino acids. “I also recommend getting a facial once a month to help your facial muscles relax,” adds Phamova. “Plus, use a jade or rose quartz roller to lift and tone.”