This Is the High-Maintenance Routine That Keeps Me Low-Maintenance

High Maintenance to Stay Low Maintenance Editor Experiment
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez
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If you've been on BeautyTok (the beauty side of TikTok) within the last few months, chances are you've seen at least one video referencing the "high-maintenance procedures for low-maintenance" trend, which originated from TikTok user Rahma Sheikh. The trend has gotten thousands of people talking about all of the high-maintenance beauty procedures and treatments they do in order to make their day-to-day routines easier. Although the maintenance is often expensive and time-consuming, the end result is being able to hop out of bed and say, "I woke up like this."

Although I never realized it until the trend was brought to my attention, I'm someone who revels in a high-maintenance-to-stay-low-maintenance routine. I'm not a huge fan of wearing a lot of makeup on a daily basis, and I like to be able to wash and go with my face and my hair. When I sat down to take stock of all of the things I did on a monthly — or even weekly — basis to keep myself "low maintenance," I realized there are quite a few items on the list.

Keep scrolling to learn more about all of the high-maintenance things I do to stay low-maintenance.

Hard Gel Russian Manicures

High Maintenance to Stay Low Maintenance Editor Experiment
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez

I started getting hard gel manicures last year when I realized my nails were brittle and damaged from improper gel removal. The hard gel has actually helped my hyponychium (the skin underneath my nails) recede, which has been a complete game-changer and made getting manicures in general much more comfortable.

I visit My Little Beautique to see Jontel, who gives me a dry Russian manicure with hard gel. I make sure to stick with a neutral color, like a nude, tan, milky white, or light pink, which allows me to go three to four weeks in between manicures because the grow-out isn't noticeable.


I got "preventative" Botox for the first time last year, and even though I don't feel like I really need it (I don't have any deep-set wrinkles when my face is relaxed), I still love getting it. It makes my forehead super smooth, which, in turn, makes applying makeup a breeze.

Eyebrow Tinting and Tweezing

I've said it once and I'll say it again: the eyes are not the windows to the soul, the eyebrows are. I've been growing my eyebrows out for years, and I'm still deep in the journey, but nothing makes me feel better than a fresh tint and tweeze. I try to visit Two of a Kind Brows whenever I can, because they are the best in LA for all things eyebrow-related. You won't regret going to see them, trust me. For the times when I'm doing it myself, there is no better eyebrow tint than the Brow Code At-Home Eyebrow Tint ($50).

Self Tanning

I don't self-tan my body very often anymore, but when I do, I always use the Lux Unfiltered No. 32 Gradual Tanning Lotion ($38). I have an olive skin tone with a neutral undertone, and it's one of the only products that I think looks natural on my skin, isn't streaky, and doesn't leave me a sticky, smelly mess.

While I've been forgoing the body tan as of late, I do self-tan my face with the Lux Unfiltered No. 12 Bronzing Drops ($44) once a week. I don't like to put my face in the sun, which means that even with sunscreen, my body looks a lot darker than my face. These bronzing drops even everything out, and they give my skin such a healthy glow I can completely skip wearing base makeup like foundation.


High Maintenance to Stay Low Maintenance Editor Experiment
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez

I tried microneedling for the first time last year, and it's the first minimally invasive procedure that my skin has actually enjoyed. (I tried lasers a while back, and my skin did not do well.) So far, I've done two different SkinPen treatments that have drastically improved my skin's texture, dark spots, and fine lines. It takes a full week for my skin to recover after my appointment and a full four weeks to see the results, but so far the treatments have been completely worth it. I have a lot of sun damage from too much time spent outside without SPF, and microneedling is one of the only things that has made a noticeable, long-lasting difference.

LED Light Therapy

High Maintenance to Stay Low Maintenance Editor Experiment
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez

I keep the Dr. Dennis Gross LED Face Mask ($455) next to my desk, and I pop it on every morning while I'm working. I run through all three of the available settings — red, blue, and purple — and I swear with consistent use, I see fewer breakouts, and my skin looks brighter on a daily basis.

I haven't noticed much in the way of fading fine lines or wrinkles, but using the mask for less than 10 minutes a day is worth it for the results I get.

Nutrafol Supplements

I recently started taking Nutrafol Supplements, and although it's a b*tch to remember to take them every day, I'm trying my best. One of my coworkers has noticed a lot of new hair growth since she started taking them, and when I was keeping up with them, I noticed a lot less shedding. I have fine hair, and I shed like I get paid to do it, so anything that will help combat that and give me fuller, thicker hair is a win in my book.

Brazilian Waxes

For me, Brazilian waxes don't hurt my body as much as they do my wallet. They're pricey AF, and although I learned to do them myself back when we were in lockdown in 2020, it's so much easier (and faster) to have a professional handle it. There's a European Wax Center close to my house, so I try to make an appointment every month or so. The hardest part is just getting off my ass and heading to the appointment. Once I'm there, it's a quick 15-minute session, and I can completely skip shaving for a month.

Plus, since I get waxed so frequently, I've noticed that my hair is growing back thinner and sparser, which is honestly a dream come true.

Oral Acne Medication

I started taking an oral acne medication called Spironolactone a few years ago, and it's been one of the biggest game-changers for my skin. Yes, it's annoying having to take a pill every day and having to refill and pick up the prescription every month, but nothing has made my skin look clearer. I'm honestly dreading the day I have to stop taking it because I was miserable when I was dealing with constant hormonal breakouts all over my face.

Hair Color and Cut

High Maintenance to Stay Low Maintenance Editor Experiment
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez

I'm not great about getting frequent haircuts, but I've realized that the more I do them, the better — and fuller — my hair looks. I try to get trims every couple of months if I can, and I try not to go longer than six months without a haircut.

I also have a lot of gray hair, so I darken my base every couple of months as well. As for the rest of my head, I do a gloss whenever I get my base worked on to get rid of any brassy tones and keep my hair looking shiny.

Skin Care

High Maintenance to Stay Low Maintenance Editor Experiment
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez

I could probably write ten paragraphs about my skin-care routine, but I'll try to keep it succinct. In addition to using high-quality skin-care products (I use a vitamin C serum, a retinol, a moisturizer, and an SPF), I also oil-plane my face once a month, do weekly face masks, and get monthly professional facials whenever possible.

I also try to keep my skin out of the sun, which means wearing sunscreen constantly and keeping a hat on whenever I'm outside.

Ultimately, this high-maintenance routine might sound like a lot, but it saves me time and effort every morning, which in turn makes me feel lower maintenance.

Renee Rodriguez is a staff writer and social producer for POPSUGAR. She writes across all verticals, but her main areas of expertise focus on fashion and beauty content with an emphasis on reviews and editor experiments. She also produces social content for POPSUGAR's TikTok and Instagram accounts.