Many of us have a go-to skincare routine or at least dream of having one. Almost every magazine boasts about a new way to get your skin on track. YouTube is filled with skincare routine tutorials and celebrities love to share tips and tricks – many recommending more products than ever. It’s time for all of us to rethink our skin care routine and get back to basics. Why? It is what Mother Earth needs us to do and perhaps what may be best for your skin’s future as well.
The Multi-Step Skin Care Routine Has Made Beauty Companies Rich
A good skin care routine should be able to gently cleanse and treat your skin, allowing renewal of skin cells so that your natural complexion glows. Yet, in the last decade the 10-step Korean skin care routine has been heralded as a form of self-care and became an aspirational goal for many desiring a flawless complexion. Larissa Jensen, the executive director and beauty industry analyst at the NPD Group market research consultancy, was interviewed by the New York Times and commented, “We saw an uptick in the number of skin-care products consumers used at the height of the Korean skin-care trend, with many adding an additional mask or product.” The skincare industry knows this and, in an effort to sell more products and make more money, they often create products with just one main active ingredient. It is not surprising that from 2014-2018, Estee Lauder’s revenue has grown from $10.97 billion to $13.69 billion, a 24.8% increase.
Minimizing Products Saves the Environment and Is Better For Your skin
When it comes to skin care, less can be better. Using more products often causes more problems than it solves, because loading up product combinations can make your skin more susceptible to reactions, according to Dr. Arielle Kauvar of New York Laser & Skin Care. Besides helping your skin get better, the Earth needs you to simplify your skin care routine. According to Euromonitor, which tracks global data on plastic packaging in the beauty industry, studies show that in 2010, the industry produced 65.62 billion plastic packaging units. By 2017 that number was 76.8 billion, a 17% increase in thrash to landfills. That’s right, stocking your counter with unnecessary skin products is damaging the Earth as much as it’s irritating your skin, bringing the health of both to a standstill. You can reduce your beauty waste by over 50% depending on how many products you currently use in your routine. If you can achieve great skin with fewer products and save the environment would you do it? We certainly would!
Take the 3-Step Skin Care Routine Challenge and Reduce Waste by 50%
Many skin routines will include a laundry list of steps that require you to use and mix various products to achieve different results: a toner to even your complexion, an anti-oxidant serum to prevent sun damage, a moisturizer for hydration, and an eye serum to target the lines. Of course, we still need the basics: makeup removers, cleansers and sunscreen. The truth is you don’t need all of these steps at all. Even if there are several different skin concerns that you want to address on your face, you can hit all the necessary points with just a few items.
Step 1: Face Wash – You’ll want a cleanser that is mild and doesn't strip natural oils from your face. This item doesn’t need to be expensive to be a great performer. There are two key areas to beware aware of when it comes to cleansers. First, facial cleansers that have acids or that exfoliate may be too aggressive. Constant stripping of moisture and exfoliation can disrupt your skin’s surface, causing sebum to overreact and produce more oils. Second, be careful of cleansers that leave your face feeling soft, which is really a residue left behind to give you a soft touch feeling. Also void cleansers with ingredients like silicone or mineral oil that form a barrier for your skin, thereby trapping dirt and oils in your pores while blocking your other skin care products from penetrating the skin.
Allure Magazine interviewed a few top aestheticians about mineral oils in 2015. According to Beverly Hills aesthetician Sonya Dakar, "I highly recommend staying away from mineral oil." The goal of face wash is always to clean and remove – not add a coat over your skin. If you apply a lot of makeup, double cleansing is the way to go to ensure you’ve erased every trace of cosmetics. Simply use a wet, warm cloth to wipe off your cleanser. A great cleanser is Renee Rouleau’s Moisture Protecting Cleanser to gently remove makeup and dirt while leaving the skin’s moisture barrier intact.
Step 2: Hydrate and Treat – After cleansing, you need a product will hydrate your skin, meaning help fill your skin cells with water. Ingredients great for hydration are hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Even better, choose a product that contains one of the following complementary ingredients: Vitamin E (tocopherol) is a great anti-oxidant that soaks up free-radicals to prevent sun damage in the skin. It also improves the skin’s barrier. Niacinamide improves epidermal barrier function and reduces trans epidermal water loss. It increases the skin’s moisture content surface structure and smooths out wrinkles. According to research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, “Niacinamide would be a suitable component in cosmetic products for use in disorders of epidermal barrier function, for ageing skin, for improving pigmentary disorders and for use on skin prone to acne.” A great multi-functional product that has become a cult favorite is LeCerre's Rapid Brightening Serum and LeCerre’s Intensive Repair Cream . This serum does a great job to fade dark spots due to sun damage and acne using five naturally derived ingredients and works harder to improve skin texture by minimizing pores and hydrating the skin. Every ingredient in the serum has a specific function to improve the skin in some way such as azelaic acid, niacinamide, acetyl glucosamine and rose oil. This serum gives results and is a great natural alternative to hydroquinone which many health advocates believe is carcinogenic and may cause ochronosis .
Step 3: Sunblock and Moisturize – You can have fun here! Find your favorite physical sunscreen – make sure it contains zinc oxide and titanium oxide to protect against broad spectrum UVA and UVB rays. Since physical sunscreens stay on top of your skin, this step is the perfect time to combine occlusive moisturizers such as shea butter. Avoid sunscreens that have chemical blockers like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or octinoxate. Although chemical filters give the sunscreen a luxurious, clear finish, it really isn't good for your body or the environment. Recently, the FDA recognized studies that show chemical sunscreen are absorbed into the bloodstream and no studies exist to understand the long-term effects.
Overall, by lessening the number of products you use on your face and keeping your routine simple, you increase your ability to follow it consistently and give your products more time to actually work on your face without competing against each other. Applying more products can actually cause more reactions to your skin and make it more difficult for certain things to actually work.
Simplifying Your Skincare Routine Improves Quality of Life
You may not realize it but if your skincare routine involves twelve different bottles, you might not have the most environmentally-friendly bathroom counter. Choosing a simple skincare routine helps you to give back to the environment, and in the era of climate change and excess waste, what’s not to love about cutting back on your consumption.
A simple skincare routine effectively reduces the clutter in your home, making it easier to navigate your counters and enjoy your day. Eliminating clutter is proven to improve your mood and combat stress, which itself is an enemy to great skin. Simplifying your routine also saves you time, which is much needed for busy moms, working women and those returning home after a long night out looking for a direct path to catch some shut-eye. With a simple skincare routine, you can spend less time on your face and more time doing what’s important to you.