The world of skincare is one that is constantly shifting, but over the past few months, there have been fundamental shifts away from a lot of the fundamentals of natural skincare and closer towards their diametric opposites.
Instead of a focus on natural ingredients and low ingredient counts, some products instead promise “patented” and state-of-the-art ingredients that its manufacturers proudly tout as coming directly from a laboratory.
Instead of being affordable, they are often obscenely expensive, with some products costing as much as £500 for a month’s supply, with lengthy waiting lists for people wanting to buy into their promises.
Finally, instead of building a routine based on skin types, there is a return to “super skincare” products that are one-size-fits-all solutions designed to “reverse ageing” and use somewhat questionable marketing language not seen since Dove’s “Pro Age” campaign in 2007.
This new wave of “super skincare” appears to be philosophically incorrect for the same reasons anti-ageing has always seemed to try to answer the wrong questions about taking care of skin.
Returning To Complexity
One of the great ironies about skincare is that the more complex people make it, the less effective a given skincare routine will end up becoming.
Part of it is the simple fact that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up any routine with more than a few products, particularly if you have a busy life, but also because your skin can become fatigued and more sensitive the more intense your routine is.
In 2020 there was an inadvertent collective experiment that highlighted this issue, which led to the rise in skinimalism and extreme moisturising routines such as slugging to try and counteract the damage, redness and irritation.
Whilst a super skincare product at least does not involve an elaborate routine, they often do have quite lengthy ingredient lists, which is typically the point when one needs to start looking closely at what is in it, especially given the often extreme prices.
Rather than pay a month’s rent for skincare, choose four or five products suitable for your skin type and try those instead for a tiny fraction of the cost.
Ageing Does Not Destroy, It Enhances
Super skincare products are typically focused on promises of “reversing the ageing process”, following a playbook that has been widely criticised since 1972 and the works of Susan Sontag.
Part of the reason for this is that there is often a conflation, either deliberately or accidentally, between anti-ageing as a marketing gimmick and social and philosophical movements that want to end people dying of old age.
This philosophy, which is part of the marketing of some super skincare products, is somewhat antiquated, as the ultimate goal is not to reverse the ageing process but instead to take the best possible care of ourselves in order to be the healthiest and happiest version of ourselves.
This often comes with experience and many people gain a far better understanding of their skin as they get older than when they did when they were younger, and can find products that suit their skin, feel good to use and will help keep themselves nourished for years to come.