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Stepping back from skin care overload : A look at the new skin care trend promoting a less-is-more approach

Darpan News Desk Darpan, 27 May, 2024 05:00 PM
  • Stepping back from skin care overload : A look at the new skin care trend promoting a less-is-more approach

When the K-beauty trend blew into western countries just over a decade ago, it brought a revolutionary approach to skin care. The Koreans and the Japanese historically have heavily invested in product R&D and, culturally, skin care has been central to their approach to beauty. Their fabulous skin is a testament to the success of this philosophy.

Western beauty afficionados enthusiastically embraced this approach which involved multi-step regimens—sometimes as many as 17 steps—in the quest for flawless complexions and fighting off the signs of aging. 

Inevitably with trends, after a fashion, the pendulum swings the other direction, and such is the case with skin care. Enter skin streaming, the recent viral beauty trend featured all over social and legacy media.

“Skin streaming is based on the concept of paring down your skin care regimen to focus on just the essentials that deliver maximum impact,” explains Desiree Stordahl, Paula's Choice Director of Applied Research & Education. “It’s the antidote to skin care overload we see on social media that has gone from entertaining to overwhelming.”

Kim Bubenko, National Education Executive for Shiseido Canada, says the real benefit of the minimizing of skin care routines is that it helps target skin issues. The key, she says, is focussing on active ingredients applied in that pared-back routine which will give you the best result. “So really, [it’s]  slimming it down but getting ingredients and products that are really effective and targeted solutions.”

So how to decide what steps can be discarded and what should remain? That depends on one’s unique concerns and needs, but there are a few steps that both experts insist should be retained for a healthy complexion.

“One thing that you absolutely cannot remove from you skin care routine, in my opinion as a Japanese skin care expert, is the double cleansing routine. It’s removing your makeup and then cleansing your skin,” Bubenko advises. “So you’re using an oil-based makeup remover and following with a water-based cleanser.”

Stordahl concurs that cleansing is essential but says to avoid any harsh face washes. Exfoliation with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) or Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA)  is something else that must be retained, Stordahl says. These gentle acids soften and clear the skin, producing noticeable results. “These non-abrasive chemical exfoliants provide the

most dramatically visible difference for overturning rough texture, uneven tone, clogged pores and a myriad of other issues caused by built up dead skin. Think of it as a shortcut to unveiling your skin’s best potential and healthy glow–even just a few times a week can make a huge difference.” Maintaining hydration is an essential part of a skin regimen but effective hydration can be achieved without multiple layers of product. Bubenko suggests finding a moisturizer you can use both for day and evening. Or if you have different ones for day or night, then perhaps find one that incorporates an eye cream. Admittedly, she says, that combination isn’t that common, but Clé de Peau Beauté does have one, but ultra-lightweight moisturizers can double as an eye cream too.

Both Bubenko and Stordahl  are adamant that sunscreen should not ever be left out from anyone’s skin care regimen.

“Above all else, sun protection [is] the No. 1 non-negotiable for healthy skin.,” Stordahl insists. “While you might be able to get away with streamlining other skin care steps, sunscreen is the one thing you cannot skip.”

One way to cut back on steps is the previously mentioned two- or three-in-one products. A daytime moisturizer with a sunscreen is an effortless way to reduce the number of  products.

“The one thing that you can definitely remove from your routine is the multi-serum steps,” says Bubenko. “You don’t need to have multiple serums in your morning or night routine. You can split them up. Get the best out of your Vitamin C by using it during the day because that’s when it’s most effective. It’s an antioxidant and it’s preventing oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress more often happens during the day.”

Take the same approach for other targeted ingredients. For retinol, it’s most effective at night when your skin is in its recuperation or regenerative mode.

Discarding products from a regimen depends on individual skin needs, Stordahl notes, but some people “may find that face masks, toners, essences, serums, etc. are less of a priority and can be omitted from a daily routine. Skip gadgets like ice rollers, jade rollers and Gua Sha.” Bubenko suggests that if you want to ensure that your skin is getting the attention it needs once you’ve condensed your regimen, apply masks during relaxation time on the weekend.

“Skin care is about pleasure.,” she says. “It’s about taking time for yourself. It can’t feel regretful or guilty that you didn’t put something on.”

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