Best products for skin streaming: Streamline your skincare routine

Spring clean your beauty routine with TikTok’s #SkinStreaming. Ellie Davis discovers if less really is more

The Evening Standard's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Ellie Davis1 April 2024
ES Best

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter for hot deals, best buys and expert reviews

I would like to be emailed about offers, event and updates from Evening Standard. Read our privacy notice.

A double cleanse, a splash of toner, a wash of essence and vitamin C and retinol alternated from AM to PM. Hyaluronic acid when your skin is feeling dry, glycolic when it’s oily and ceramides when it all gets too much. Then it’s simply(!) a mask, a swipe of eye cream, moisturiser then SPF.

This intricately detailed 10-step skincare routine is a direct result of the skin-first Korean philosophy. K-beauty has translated into a global obsession with layering up products with convoluted lists of active ingredients. It requires consistency, dedication and a comprehensive ingredient vocabulary. Not to mention, the bank balance to suit.

As an antidote to this complexion overconsumption, #SkinStreaming is gaining popularity on TikTok (137.7 million views and counting) and off-screen. The idea is to strip back the number of products on your bathroom shelf to just the essentials to soothe stressed skin and be able to see which of the products are actually working.

Dr Sam Bunting, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Founder of her eponymous skincare collection says “I’m seeing increasing numbers of people in my clinic suffering the consequences of using skincare as entertainment or with a lack of consistency - too many products, and not enough results. In fact, the downside of this behaviour can be profound, leading to a weakened skin barrier or an outbreak of acne or perioral dermatitis”.

London-based Consultant Dermatologist Dr Derrick Phillips explains, “It is difficult to keep up with skincare trends but ‘skin streaming’ is one that I can really get behind. This process cuts out unnecessary steps to ensure your skin-care routine is as effective as possible”.

Curating a customised skincare routine that works for you is like playing Jenga – add just one too many and it can all go haywire in an instant. It’s a frustrating and often thankless game of trial and error – but could giving up be the solution?

“Overloading the skin with multiple competing actives, formulated at different pHs and containing a range of excipients can damage and weaken the skin barrier, resulting in dry, red and irritated skin”, says Dr Phillips. After you whittle it down, he says, just three steps should always remain.

“Most people can benefit from a daily skincare routine that includes a gentle cleanser to remove impurities, a moisturiser to hydrate the skin and repair the skin barrier, and SPF in the morning for UV protection”.

He reveals, “These fundamental steps help maintain skin health, prevent premature ageing, and establish a solid foundation for additional targeted products if needed. I would also recommend incorporating vitamin C into your morning routine to brighten the complexion, boost collagen production and protect against harmful free radicals”.

A routine that saves money, time and may just solve our skincare woes? Consider it done.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid for Normal to Dry Skin 236ml


Best for: Hydrating thirsty skin

Best suited to: Normal - dry skin

CeraVe’s hydrating cleanser is a nourishing and gentle formula which sweeps away dirt and grime without damaging the skin’s natural barrier - in fact, it reinforces it with essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

As a non-foaming formula, it will leave your face feeling soft and smooth, with no feeling of tightness or dryness. Great for restoring dry skin to its former moisturised state.

Buy now£11.25, lookfantastic

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser

Kate Somerville

This creamy milk cleanser is an ultra-gentle product that leaves skin soft and clean - but crucially without stripping natural oils or leaving that dreaded tight feel. The brand’s founder Kate Somerville recommends it as a first cleanse in the morning and evening, but in the PM, she suggests pairing it with another formula in order to fully ensure that each and every bit of dirt, makeup and grime is removed.

The Goat Milk Cleanser feels immediately soothing on redness and irritation, moisturising as it glides over your complexion. Goat milk is the main and named ingredient that is combined with the nourishing benefits of jojoba and avocado oil as well as manuka honey.

Buy now£58, Kate Somerville

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Wash


A gentler option for those with slightly more reactive skin, Cetaphil’s daily face and body cleanser removes dirt, makeup and impurities while defending against skin sensitivity. If you suffer with dry spots and painful eczema, this wash will be your saviour. It is soap and fragrance-free and formulated with micellar technology, meaning you can use it with or without water.

Buy now£16, Boots

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

John Lewis

An icon in the world of cleansers, if you’ve not yet tried Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, you’re in for a treat. The creamy texture is applied onto the skin with its delicious combination of cocoa butter, rosemary, chamomile and eucalyptus. Balancing out stress, it also leaves skin brighter. The product goes hand in hand with the cotton cloth provided that has a gentle exfoliating action.

Buy now£25.50, Boots

Dr Sam Bunting Flawless Moisturiser Intense

Dr Sam Bunting

While NAD+ products are typically expensive, Dr Sam Bunting has bucked the trend with her eponymous label. The Flawless Moisturiser Intense is a rich cream that harnesses Sunflower Shoot Extract (SSE) to boost levels of NAD+ and combines it with protective and supportive ingredients like ceramides, squalane and ectoin. This formula works to repair the skin’s barrier, calm redness and provide deep hydration – all without clogging your pores.

It has been clinically proven to repair your skin barrier after just one use and can be layered under makeup and SPF without balling. Consumer studies showed a reduction in skin cell damage in just 24 hours.

Buy now£32, Dr Sam Bunting

Byoma SPF 30 Gel Moisturiser 50ml


This is a daily moisturiser that provides a shielding layer for the skin barrier. First and foremost, there’s SPF30 with broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. While doing so, it is part of the new guard of sun creams that aren’t laborious to rub in, won’t dry out your skin and don’t leave a white cast in their wake.

Instead, your complexion glows and feels hydrated, the latter due to the combination of hyaluronic acid and beta glucan that are moisturising and plumping. These work in tandem with the brand’s proprietary Tri-Ceramide Complex which is the component responsible for barrier support. One to be worn on makeup-free days as you may find it pills.

Buy now£15, Boots

La Roche-Posay Effaclar MAT+ Moisturiser Oily Skin 40ml

La Roche-Posay

Restore moisture to oily skin types with this speciality beauty cabinet must-have from French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay. Protecting and nourishing your skin, it also reduces excessive shine and minimises the appearance of pores with up to eight hours of hydration and a matte finish. The lightweight formulation absorbs quickly for an ideal base for makeup and can be used for sensitive skin.

Buy now£16.72, Boots

Cetaphil Daily Defence Moisturiser SPF50+


For daily use, Cetaphil has you covered with its skin-soothing formula. The brand is designed specifically for sensitive and easily irritated skin and thus takes a simple approach to its formulas that could work wonders to avoid blemishes. It is non-comedogenic and fragrance free but forms an effective barrier to protect the skin all year round.

Buy now£14.50, lookfantastic

Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Moisturiser SPF 50

Paula’s Choice
  • Best for: A matte finish
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 60ml
  • Mineral or chemical: Chemical

The lightweight formula of Paula’s Choice SPF moisturiser is just what you’ve been looking for to prevent suncare-related breakouts. It helps to reduce the appearance of your pores while shielding your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.

Ideal for oily or acne-prone skin, it doesn’t feel greasy on application but instead has a mattifying effect. It is packed with plant extracts that are brimming with antioxidant benefits that will minimise the look of red marks, soothe irritation and fight against external aggressors.

Buy now£39, Space NK

Ultra Violette Clean Screen Fragrance Free Sensitive Facial Skinscreen SPF 30

Ultra Violette
  • Best for: skincare-SPF hybrid
  • SPF: 30
  • Size: 50ml
  • Mineral or chemical: Mineral

A suncream without the laborious thick texture, Ultra Violette is leading a revolution in the SPF space with formulas that are a dream to apply. The Clean Screen Fragrance Free Sensitive Facial Skinscreen is packed with kind-to-skin ingredients that nourish while shielding from the harmful sun’s rays.

It was created with sensitive skin types in mind as well as blemish-prone with a lightweight texture that shouldn’t cause breakouts. The product is free from artificial fragrance and alcohol and instead includes soothing broad-spectrum shielding titanium dioxide.

Buy now£25.60, Cult Beauty

The Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid Dewy Sunscreen SPF30

The Inkey List

Speaking of SPF, using one is key to defending against photo-ageing and this one is both affordable and excellent as it hydrates as well as protects. It lives up to its dewy name so great to use alone if you’re going makeup free but also acts as a good primer.

Buy now£11.24, lookfantastic

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Protection Invisible SPF50+ Face Mist 75ml

La Roche-Posay

You know you are in safe hands with La Roche-Posay. The French pharmacy label excels in its SPF offering which is designed for all, especially those with sensitive skin. This is thanks to the brand’s signature infusion of thermal spring water that plays a crucial role in each and every one of its skincare products and provides a soothing, hydrating effect.

It is set along high broad-spectrum SPF protection in this face mist, applying clear and cooling onto the face for an easy sun shielding pick-me-up that is mattifying and layers beautifully over makeup. To create this grease-fighting formula, La Roche-Posay has harnessed the expertise of NASA by including Airlicium, an ingredient used by aeronautic experts to absorb three times its weight in oil.

Buy now£14.32, Cult Beauty

Avène Very High Protection SPF50+ Tinted Fluid for Sensitive Skin


Avene is constantly updating its products to ensure they come with the latest state-of-the-art sun protecting ingredients. The new iteration for Tinted Fluid harnesses the power of what is known as a TriAsorB filter to cover the spectrum of UV rays, including High Energy Visible (HEV) Blue Light.

While it may sound hi-tech, those among us with sensitive skin can be content in the knowledge that the brand has not strayed far from its roots and the tinted product can be used by those prone to irritation. Breaking away from the association of traditional SPFs, it is lightweight, almost undetectable and non-sticky so it sits well under makeup and that’s helpful too as it’s a very gradual, natural colour. Leaves a healthy glow.

Buy now£16.13, lookfantastic

Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract


Best for: a beautifully scented, lightweight cream

From the herbaceous aroma to the lightweight texture, this high-factor suncream from Supergoop! turns traditional formulations on its head. Never has the creaming up process been so easy with the quickly-absorbed, seemingly invisible nature of this product. It’s almost gel-like in its consistency but much thinner and yet still boasts a hard-working shielding effect from UVA, UVB and infrared rays. The scent comes from the infusion of rosemary, while there’s also sunflower and rice antioxidants to reinforce the protection against pollution and the sun’s rays.

Buy now£17.68, Cult Beauty

Naturium Vitamin C Complex Serum


Naturium’s popularity comes down to a simple fact: the brand offers affordable yet premium products that do what they say on the tin. The label has followed suit from the likes of The INKEY List and The Ordinary in spotlighting specific ingredients, cutting out the filler and fuss to create targeted products.

The Vitamin C Complex keeps it simple in terms of formulation, setting a stable form of l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) alongside hydrating hyaluronic acid and nourishing vitamin E. It has been dermatologist-tested to improve radiance and shield against environmental aggressors.

Buy now£22, Space NK

Tula Skincare Brightening Treatment Drops Triple Vitamin C Serum

Tula Skincare

Tula Skincare harnesses the power of probiotics and prebiotics in its skincare line-up. These components are chosen to balance the skin’s microbiome. But for brighter skin, they’re paired with mango, lychee and Japanese mandarin for a fruity cocktail that sounds ready for a spirit to be added. When combined in this product, they give your complexion a glowy boost and even out tone. The serum has a lovely feel on the skin without being sticky and you’ll notice a visible difference in just one use.

Buy now£44, Tula Skincare

Sunday Riley CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Sunday Riley

Sitting proudly on the shelfies of beauty experts the world over, Sunday Riley has earned its status as a cult brand from hard-working heroes like this brightening serum. The CEO collection also includes a moisturiser and whether you use it in tandem with the serum, or opt solely for the serum, you’re bringing luminosity into your routine in just a few squeezes. The antioxidant-powered formula has a potent form of vitamin C (THD Ascorbate to be precise) that leaves a healthy sheen, while also combatting signs of ageing including dehyration, wrinkles, uneven skin tones, fine lines and dullness. It’s a creamy texture and shouldn’t causes irritation or sensitivity.

Buy now£70, Space NK