Skincare Confession: My 30 Seconds Or Less Two-Step Routines


As some of you will have noticed from my recent inconsistent posting on Instagram (sorry about that), I am pretty busy at the moment. There has been no time to share my skincare routines with you all, but worse than that, there has barely been any time to actually do them! As shocking as that may seem, it hasn’t been all bad as on the days when I have been too tired for even just a “simple” cleanse, tone and moisturize, I have found some pretty impressive 2-step combos that have done a great job of taking care of my skin in 30 seconds or less, which has been so helpful.

This doesn’t happen often thankfully, but over the past few months I have needed to do it more than I’d like to admit and these have become my top duos for when I’m pretty much already fast asleep before I’ve even got in to bed. I know I’m not the only one who’s been in this position before (right?!!!), which is why I wanted to talk about how I get away with using just two products for my nighttime routine without my skin freaking out.

The Congestion Busting Duo: Hylamide Hydra-Density Mist £15 and Bravura London 2% Salicylic Acid Peel £9.59

Ingredients: Hylamide – Aqua (Water), Rosa damascena flower water, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Tasmannia Lanceolate Fruit/ Leaf Extract, Curculigo Orchioides Root Extract, Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides, Gallyl Glucoside, Propanediol, Glycerin, Sodium Salicylate, Citric Acid, Propyl Gallate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin. Bravura – Distilled Water, Salicylic acid, Propylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide.

I had to talk about this combination first because I did it over the weekend and I loved the results. On this night I soaked two cotton pads with the mist to “double cleanse” my skin (so bad I know, but it was 4am) and then slathered on about half a pipette full of the Bravura oil and jumped into bed. I used these two together because my skin was quite congested and in the morning it looked and felt amazing. My pores were teeny tiny, the texture was smooth as glass and there was zero excess dryness. The thing I like about this duo is that it purified my skin without turning it in to the Sahara and instead of freaking out, my skin sort of reset itself and became calm and balanced again.

Obviously, this is not something I would recommend doing often or without a proper cleanse first, but in this case it served it’s purpose perfectly and was much better than doing nothing at all, which I almost did. In an ideal situation I would have used NIOD’s SDSM as it’s super hydrating and works to calm inflammation too, but I’ve sadly used that all up. Luckily this was a great substitute with some similar key ingredients and it finally just launched yesterday here. I have a full review of the Bravura product here and will be doing one on this mist very soon because I love it!

The Overnight Mask Duo: De Mamiel Pure Calm Cleansing Dew £50/$88 and NIOD Voicemail Masque £30

Ingredients: De Mamiel – Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil*, Oryza sativa (rice) bran oil, Polyglyceryl-3 Caprate***, Camellia oleifera (camellia) seed oil*, Rosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil*, Rubus idaeus (raspberry) seed oil, Octyldodecanol***, Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) seed oil*, Ribes nigrum (black currant) seed oil*, Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) peel oil*, Boswellia papyrifera /sacra/serrata (frankincense) resin oil**, Cupressus sempervirens (cypress) leaf oil*, Aqua/water/eau, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, Agonis fragrans (fragonia) branch/leaf oil, Eriocephalus punctulatus (cape chamomile) oil, Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf oil, Tanacetum annuum (blue tansy) flower oil*, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Dalbergia sissoo (rosewood) wood oil, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower/ leaf/stem oil, Achillea millefolium (yarrow) flower extract*, Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root extract*, Arnica montana (arnica) flower extract*, Astragalus membranaceus (astragalus) root extract*, Calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract*, Centella asiatica (gotu kola) root extract*, Daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract*, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract*, Sambucus nigra (elder) flower extract*, Scutellaria baicalensis (baikal skullcap) extract*, Symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf extract*, Urtica dioica (nettle) leaf extract*, Trifolium pratense (red clover) extract*, Equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract*, Cardiospermum halicacabum (balloon vine) flower/leaf/ vine extract*, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, Citral ̊, Citronellol ̊, Geraniol ̊, Limonen ̊, Linalool ̊, Menyanthes trifoliate (bogbean), Aconitum napellus (monkshood), Parnassia palustris (grass-of-parnassus), Grand Quintile, Pinus sylvestris (grand- mother pine), Trientalis europaea (chick- weed wintergreen) and Helleborus foetidus (english bearsfoot), Linum bienne (pale flax).  *** ECOCERT Certified/Approved  *Certified organic *Natural essential oil constituents  **Wild harvested Flower and Environmental essences. NIOD – Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Dimethicone, Centaurea cyanus flower water, Glycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Propanediol, Aqua (Water), Pentylene Glycol, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Callus Culture Extract, Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract, Melanin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Sodium Chloride, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

I used this combination a few weeks back when my skin was still in major recovery from the bad reaction I had (here) and even though I didn’t have time to do a full routine, I still wanted to make sure I was working on the hyperpigmentation. I chose to quickly double cleanse with the absolutely beautiful De Mamiel oil cleanser because it’s gentle yet purifying and the scent is one of my all time favourites. I next applied NIOD’s Voicemail Masque, which is meant to be left on overnight and I loved knowing that even though I only had one product on my face, it was something that would do a lot for my skin. The next morning my skin looked great and I was pleased that I didn’t miss a chance to continue healing my skin. I actually love this type of routine because it is a great way to really work on your skin without needing to use a bunch of products.

Sleeping Masks” have been popular in KBeauty and Asian skincare markets for a long time and they have now started to become more mainstream, with even Vogue writing about them earlier this year (here). You can get all kinds of overnight masks these days and they pretty much cover every single skin type/issue, so this is something anyone could do. Using a mask instead of a multiple step routine is the most efficient way to be “lazy” and I can see myself doing this again with something more hydrating to address my skin’s current seasonal dryness. You can read more about the brilliant Voicemail Masque here and I will be talking all things De Mamiel very soon.

The Glow Getting Duo: Aurelia Miracle Cleanser £38 and The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% £8

Ingredients: Aurelia – Aqua/Water (purified water), Dicapryly carbonate (coconut-derived cleanser & emollient), Cetearyl alcohol (vegetable based thickener), Glycerin (vegetable glycerine), Cocoglycerides (emollient from coconut oil), Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Glyceryl stearate (natural glycerides & thickener), Cetearyl glucoside (corn sugar emulsifier), Rhus verniciflua peel wax (berry wax), Theobroma cacoa (cocoa butter), Kigelia Africana fruit extract (Botanical Kigelia Africana ), Hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract (Hibiscus flower), Adansonia digitata fruit extract (Botanical Baobab),Lactose (probiotic bifidoculture milk extract), Lactis proteinum/Milk protein (probiotic protein), Bifida ferment lysate (probiotic culture), Schinziophyton Rautanenii kernel oil (Botanical Ubuntu Mongongo oil), Panthenol ( Pro-vitamin B5), Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C), Rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil (Rosemary essential oil), Citrus aurantium bergamia peel oil (Bergamot essential oil), Anthemis nobilis oil (Chamomile essential oil), Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil (Eucalyptus essential oil), Xanthan gum (natural based stabilizer), Sodium stearoyl glutamate (naturally derived emulsifier), Tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), Benzyl alcohol (preservative), Dehydroacetic acid (preservative), Citric acid (fruit derived pH regulator), Limonene*, Linalool*. The Ordinary – Aqua (Water), Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Retinol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Of all my time saving duos, this is probably my favourite. The Aurelia cleanser is such an incredible product and does a wonderful job of soothing, healing, purifying and hydrating my skin, leaving it soft, balanced and calm. I am pretty addicted to it right now and along with The Ordinary’s amazing retinoid serum, it has done wonders for my skin. I picked this cleanser on this particular night because my skin was pretty balanced with no real visible issues, so I did a lightening flash cleanse, applied a second layer that I left on as a mask while I brushed my teeth, rinsed and then applied almost a whole pipette full of the serum. I did this because I wanted to make sure I was nourishing my skin as much as possible and it worked very well.

I would do this when my skin is looking a bit dull or lacklustre and needs a bit of an overall boost. I did it after I came back from Scotland and I was pleasantly surprised by how good my skin looked the next day. Usually you would not be able to get away with using a retiniod/retinol serum on it’s own because they can be so drying, but this one is completely different. It’s light but hydrating and leaves my skin visibly plump and glow-y. I cannot recommend both products enough and have a review of the Aurelia cleanser here and will be sharing my full thoughts on my picks from The Ordinary this weekend. Until then you can read my introduction to the brand here and if you haven’t tried anything from them yet, start with this.

The Go-To Duo: Suki Concentrated Clarifying Toner £36/$32.95 and La Belle Lune Organic Skin £46

Ingredients: Suki – high-potency (aqua, organic rosa centifolia) rose concentrate™, organic alcohol denat (sugar cane extracted with lavender oil) with lavandula, phospholipids (liposomal delivery system), salix alba (TLC salicylic acid™ from white willow), ascorbyl palmitate (TLC vitamin C™), calming complexion complex™ (chamomilla recutita (matricaria chamomile) flower extract, organic rosa canina (rose hip) seed extract, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract), vegetable glycerin, organic aloe barbedensis (aloe) leaf powder, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, organic ascophyllum nodosum (seaweed) extract, 100% pure (fragrance) essential oils, linalool*. * components of 100% pure steam-distilled essential oils 22.5% certified organic ingredients. La Belle Lune – Rosa Rubiginosa (Rosehip Seed Oil) Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle Seed Oil) Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil) Salvia Hispanica (Chia Seed Oil) Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn Oil) Persea Gratissima (Avocado Oil) Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender Essential Oil) Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil) Rosa Damascena (Rose Otto Essential Oil) Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense Essential Oil) Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot Seed Essential Oil) Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Leaf Extract) *d-Limonene, *Geraniol, *Linalol, *Farnesol *Naturally occurring in Essential Oils.   Cautions: For external use only. Keep out of reach of children. We thoroughly recommend a skin patch test 24 hours before use in case of sensitivity. If pregnant consult with your Doctor before use. We also advice caution in case of nut allergies due to the use of Sweet Almond oil.

This is the duo that inspired this post because I have done it about 4 or 5 times now and each time I am so impressed by how great my skin looks. It has been my to-go recently because it provides my skin with exactly what it needs to stay balanced and helps to prevent any breakouts. I actually did this routine just last night (oops) after an incredibly long work day and I was again so pleased at how much better my skin looked this morning, even though I had only used two products. I used this toner in the same way as the Hylamide mist and soak two cotton pads with it, which serve as my very naughty but better than nothing double cleanse. Next I apply about 2-3 pumps of Organic Skin while my skin was still damp and that is it. This probably took about 20 seconds and when you’re so tired you’re seeing double, every second counts.

I use these two when I am time poor and my skin is pretty normal and I want to make sure it stays that way. The toner is excellent because it is purifying without creating any excess dryness and of course Organic Skin is just like magic for the skin doing everything from healing, soothing, renewing, purifying, hydrating and more. On the mornings after I have used this duo my skin has looked bright, calm and balanced and the texture has been soft and smooth. This is such a great combo and I feel comfortable using these together without anything else because they are the standout products in my bigger routines. I have a full review of Organic Skin here and you can read more about the toner here.

In an ideal world these 2-step combos would not be needed, but the reality is that not every night can be a #spanight or even just a “normal” routine night. In our wonderful little skincare loving community it can sometimes feel like unless you have at least five products in your routine that you’re not doing enough, but everyone’s skin is different and sometimes there just isn’t the time. I thought it was important to share this side of my skincare “life” with you because if you choose the right products, you can get away with doing less every once in awhile without having to feel too guilty. The key is to pick products that are the standouts in your full routine and make sure you’re paying attention to what your skin needs.

Of course, this is not something I would recommend doing often, but if it’s a choice between doing your usual routine or nothing, then this can be a happy medium where you are still doing something without taking up precious time you don’t have. Not only that, the truth is sometimes less can be more and not overloading your skin with products can be a good thing – it’s all about balance. If you have ever been in this position or do something similar when you don’t have time for your usual routine I would love to hear it, even if it’s just to let me know that I’m not the only one!



14 thoughts on “Skincare Confession: My 30 Seconds Or Less Two-Step Routines

  1. I have a few of the Ordinary products, and so far I like them. Now I want the Retinol. I am curious if the long term results will be? It just feels way too good to be true at these price points.


    1. Oooh, which Ordinary products do you have? The Retinoid is amazing and so far I have seen great results that have noticeably increased with continued use. I have used a few retinoid products over the years and this one is definitely up there. It is light, hydrating and gentle but pretty potent and leaves my skin looking and feeling great. I think the Retinol they will be releasing either later this month or in November will be amazing and I would look out for that one.


      1. I got the Niacinamide, Alpha Arbutin, Lactic, and Rose Hip Oil. Still trying to figure out the best way to incorporate them into my routine. The Niacinamide definitely dried things up a bit, so I am using that a bit less. It seems to have helped with breakouts so far. I feel like the Alpha Arbutin has helped with fading spot marks. I can’t wait to hear what you think about the products.


  2. Hello Arly! I discovered your blog whilst doing a search for reviews on Niod a few months ago. You led me to discovering Caroline Hirons and the rest is history – I did a total re-haul of my skincare routine and I now adore doing my daily routines 🙂 I fell asleep the other day after a hectic work day and woke up at 2am feeling terrible that I hadn’t washed off my make-up. So I cleansed with my Pixi balm, followed by the Emma Hardie cleansing balm, sandwiched in the Oskia Renaissance mask, followed with the Omorovicza Ultramoor mask, then massaged in the De Mamiel Cleansing Dew which I left on and covered with my Mahalo Balm. My guilt-driven spa session lasted 2 hours before I had to get ready for work again at 4am! My skin has been so great since discovering products from both your blog and Caroline’s, so even on my most tiring days, I end up doing a full routine, even at 2am 🙂 What I did do the one tiring evening was a quick double cleanse with Pixi and EH balms then applied the MV Organic 9 oil cleansing tonic layered with the Mahalo Balm (that was a short routine for me). Skin felt divine in the morning! Thanks for posting your shortcuts. I’ve ordered the Niod MM and the Myrrh Clay but may consider getting the VM and FM masks 🙂


    1. Hello Sam! Wowwww!!! I am so happy to hear that you found the legend that is Caroline Hirons through me and she has been able to help you too. That makes me so happy! 🙂 Oh my gosh!!! I can’t believe you did such an involved routine at 2am! You must have been so tired. You definitely don’t have to do that every night, sometimes less is more for the skin and you can get great results with some key products. I love all the Niod masks and just used Myrrh Clay tonight and I loved it! You could easily do a 2-step routine with a quick double cleanse and then either an active serum or oil and you can happily be in been in under a minute and not feel guilty! Balms are great too and I think now that the weather has gotten colder, that’s the type of 2-step routine I would do – cleanse or tone then a balm and that’s it! ❤


  3. Great post!! I know all too well about not having the time or energy to do a full routine so this info has come at the perfect time. Thank you for sharing it. 😘


  4. What a brilliant post Arly! I too am a big fan of the two-step,and not even when l’m tired,l agree with you that some days skin just needs a holiday from the lovely but extended night time ritual we usually feel compelled to perform.I have had great results from the combo of May Lindstroms Honey Mud followed by Vintners Daughter,or the Alpha H Liquid Laser cleansing oil with the under rated Black Chicken Remedies Love Your Face Serum which is so soothing and nourishing that l always feel like l’m giving my skin a hug when l put it on ☺️
    I’d just like to say how much l appreciate all your hard work on this blog too 💐👏 l have enjoyed so many new products thanks to your thorough,well balanced reviews,so thank you Arly.
    Cannot wait for your DeMamiel post!!


    1. Thank you so much Anna! You comment is so lovely and I really appreciate the support AND that you like the blog! 🙂

      Yep, while I love my in depth and long routines, they don’t work for every day and having that type of pressure at the end of the day is not helpful. I love the sound of your combos and will have to try something like that. I’ve never tried Black Chicken Remedies so I will add that brand to my list for checking out.

      I hope you are having a lovely weekend and the De Mamiel post will be coming soon! ❤ ❤ ❤


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