Skincare as Self-Care, Beauty @ Home 2.0
Skincare has become a welcome ritual to enjoy and savor.
By Caitlin Brown
After a tumultuous year, the link between skin and mental health is something brands and experts will explore. There are many things that contribute to the health of your skin and one of them is stress and anxiety, which can affect your hormone levels, potentially leading to skin issues like breakouts, inflammation, redness, etc.
Although there is a silver lining (vaccine, vaccine… vaccine!) in the near distance, right now taking time for yourself is an essential.
Skincare for many, myself included, has become a welcome ritual to enjoy and savor.
When I rinse off my cleanser, I’ll pat my skin dry, use my serums, moisturizers, and oils…and it feels like an experience. I mean, for many of these COVID (Groundhog) Days, it is the highlight of the day, and the next, and the next. And, I’ve added some gadgets in the mix, such as a NuFace Micro current and a LightStim device (more on that later), which if for nothing else — if the micro current isn’t sculpting my jawline or the LightStim isn’t attacking my fine lines, as promised — it feels like a meditation “time out” to do something for myself.
The self-care pause many of us have incorporated into our daily lives will set the standard for what’s to come in skincare and beauty in 2021. Here are some trends to look out for and perhaps incorporate into your new year. The year is looking up, Beauties!
Advanced Blue Light Protection
Thanks to the pandemic, just about everything in our lives has turned digital. But while the damaging effects of blue light on skin are no secret, companies are discovering more innovative ingredients that can help combat these effects. With ingredients like rosa rubiginosa, licochalcone A, turmeric, and algae, available formulations are only becoming cooler and more effective.
Skinimilism: Subtle is the new skin buzzword
The “no makeup” makeup look is here to stay. Many of us got to see our naked faces on a regular basis during COVID, and a lot of us came to find that not wearing all the makeup brought surprising skin results and a new appreciation of natural beauty. The naked look is here to stay. There is going to be more of a marrying of skincare and makeup going forward, where healthy looking skin is the spotlight. Look for words like “glow” — moisturizing oils and active ingredients in cosmetic products. Gone are the days of cakey foundation and contoured cheekbones. Hallelujah! Opt for lighter and more breathable coverage, with cream-based concealers and balms that impart a healthy glow.
Using one product rather than multiple ones to achieve the same result cuts on waste and reduces the risk of irritation and sensitivity to the skin. Look for products with more than one active, standout ingredient: hyaluronic acid (plumping), azelaic acid (resurfacing), niacinamide (calming). I’m a big fan of Tatcha’s, The Dewey Resurfacing and Plumping Serum, available at Sephora, $88.
Gone are the days when skincare experts would recommend a simple routine to everyone. Everyone’s skin is different and so they require a regimen that is more fitting to their needs, rather than what used to be a general approach from over-the-counter products. Skincare experts are now recommending a personalized set of products to consumers and companies are now targeting consumers more personally. Companies like Proven are creating personal regimens for clients based on a comprehensive skin survey (as touted on their website: “Tailor Made by Award Winning Stanford Scientists), addressing ALL the steps in three simple products with all the standout ingredients for a reasonable price. Sold!
Medical Grade Skincare
For those wanting the same skin attention a dermatologist office would deliver without the office visit: Dermatica was founded in 2018 and offers prescription skincare via an easy process of uploading images and providing information about your skin concern. Meanwhile, Skin + Me is the new dermatologist-led website on the block, offering personalized skincare via a derm, delivered to your door each month. Both offer progress check-ups to help you achieve all your skin health goals.
Your gut isn’t the only body part with its own indigenous collection of bugs; your face is also home to trillions of good bacteria that act as guardians to your skin, which is why bacteria diversity is just as important for that clear, bouncy glow. You’ll find this buzzword (“probiotic/prebiotic/microbiome”) a lot in this new year. Laneige’s reformulated Water Sleeping Mask EX, for example, is now infused with a probiotics complex.
La Neige, The Water Sleep Mask, Sephora, $25
The New Rules of Skin Exfoliation
You don’t have to use them every single day — use two to three nights a week, maximum. Removing dead skin cells, so that your expensive serums and moisturizers can do their work, is important, otherwise they’re sitting there and not doing anything.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Hydroxy Extra Strength Peel Pads, Sephora, $88, a cult favorite…, and a holy grail product I can’t live without, Ren’s Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Toner, Sephora, $38.
The New Standout Ingredients
Spirulina, the “superfood” — a type of algae — some of us have added to our smoothies and green drinks, will be a new power ingredient in skincare. Ceramides or fats — not new to skincare — that hold the skin together, are getting new cult status, especially in the winter months where our skin barrier is most vulnerable. Without them, skin is dry, rough, and irritated. Ingredients derived from the ocean have been huge; lines like Osea have been built on algae, so has La Mer, and will continue to gain momentum. Expect to see new ingredients including sea plasma, marine collagen, algae, astaxanthin, microorganisms, and others, promising to hydrate, plump, and soothe skin.
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore Cream, Bluemercury, $128, and
Osea Undaria Algae Oil, Bluemercury, $48, are both staples in my vanity.
With the pandemic very much still firing on, medical-grade facial tools are there to bring the doctor’s office or facialist to you. LED light devices, LightStim Device, Bluemercury, $240, and the Microcurrent devices (NuFace Mini, Bluemercury, $160) promise improved circulation, lymphatic drainage, reduced inflammation, and wrinkle softening. Now, if the before-and-after result phots are real, I’m a believer. If not, I did get both for Christmas and I gotta say placebo effect or not, it’s kind of fun having something to look forward to in terms of results).
Happy New Year and You.