My minimal skincare routine for sensitive combination skin

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post all about my skincare routine with affordable drugstore products. Since then, I have learned a lot more about skincare, and a lot of new products became available in the Netherlands. So since that blog post, I have changed up my routine quite a bit. What hasn’t changed though it that it is still pretty simple and affordable. So here is my minimal, affordable skincare routine for sensitive combination skin.

Morning routine

When it comes to my morning routine, I haven’t changed anything at all. I wash my face with only water in the morning, and then I apply the same moisturizer as before: the Nivea Essentials 24H Moisture Boost for Sensitive Skin. It has SPF 15, so it even gives some sun protection. In the summer I follow up with an actual sunscreen. The past two summers I have been using one from the Dutch brand Biodermal, a 50+ SPF sun cream for sensitive skin that’s fragrance-free. This one seems a little too heavy for my skin though, so next summer I will probably be looking for a lighter one.

Tube of my daycream and sunscreen on a white background

Evening routine

While my morning routine has pretty much stayed the same, my evening routine has changed quite a lot. I stopped using make-up wipes, as they are quite bad for the skin and the environment. I now wash my face with the Neutral Face Wash. It is a mild foaming cleanser that doesn’t contain any harsh cleansers or fragrance, which makes it great for sensitive skin. Since I don’t wear a lot of make-up (or any at all really, since the pandemic started), this is usually my only cleanser. If you do wear a lot of make-up though, I would recommend using an oil-based cleanser or make-up remover before this.

After washing my face, I usually follow up with the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% by The Ordinary, which I have reviewed in a previous post. I apply three drops of it on my fingers first, and then apply it all over my face. I’m fairly sure this serum is what has made the most difference for my skin.

My cleanser, serum and exfoliators on a white background

Two times a week instead of using the niacinamide serum, I exfoliate my face with a chemical exfoliant. Once a week, I used to use The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% to exfoliate my entire face. I also used it as a spot treatment when necessary. However, since this product by The Ordinary is still sold out and I ran out of it, I recently purchased a travel size of the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. It’s a little on the pricier side, but I heard a lot of good things about it and a travel size will probably still last me several months. Although I haven’t used it a lot yet, so far it seems to work well.

Although salicylic acid is usually recommended for oilier skin types, I noticed that it didn’t really help with small bumps and uneven skin texture. So I read a bit more about the different types of chemical exfoliation and the difference between beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s) like salicylic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s), and decided to try out the AHA glycolic acid as well. Because this can be a bit too much for sensitive skin, I decided to try the Pixie Glow Tonic, as it has only 5% of glycolic acid which is the lowest percentage I could find. I use it only once a week, and it has really reduced the tiny spots and bumps I used to get around my jaw.

My two night creams on a white background

After applying either a serum or an exfoliant, I finish with a night cream. I am currently using the HEMA Let’s Glow Overnight Glow Mask, which I liked enough to purchase a second time. I am also still occasionally using the Kruidvat Natures Hydrating Day & Night Cream, which I used as well in my previous routine.

So these are the skincare products I use in my daily skincare routine. Although these are products that work for my skin, there is no guarantee they will work for you even if you have the same skin type as I do. For instance, I can use products with fragrance in them such as the Pixie Glow Tonic and not everyone with sensitive skin can. So I am definitely not saying everyone should use these products – I just want to show it is possible to have a simple but effective skincare routine on a budget.


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