Endless shelves of pillowy creams inside delicate curvilinear bottles, replete racks of elegantly packaged sheet masks, enticing colors, textures and aromas drawing in the impressionable consumer — navigating the arena of skincare can be confusing and tedious. With so many options, choice overload is expected.
Through trial and error, Skyline student Faith Valencia has found a skincare routine that works for them.
“Usually in the morning I start off with a face mask, either ‘Mask of Magnaminty’ by Lush or ‘Fresh’ products from Sephora,” said Valencia. “I wash off the mask after 10 or 15 minutes, and I start to use my cleanser, ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ by Lush.”
Valencia understands that the skin is the largest organ of the body, so keeping it soft, fresh and hydrated is an important step in their routine.
“After I do my cleansing, I moisturize my face since I just stripped it of a bunch of stuff. I’ll use a hyaluronic acid caffeine solution by the Ordinary for my under eye bags, and then I’ll apply a toner,” Valencia said. “From there, I apply my makeup routine.”
Alternatively, Joshua Landas likes to keep his routine simple yet consistent.
“My skincare routine just goes along with my daily showers,” said Landas. “When I go into the shower, I’ll probably use a facial soap, wash my face and all that. It’s a bit basic and simple, nothing too complex.”
Communications major Atara Ruderman aims to strike a balance between an elaborate and straightforward skincare routine.
“I usually just take my makeup off with this reusable pad,” said Ruderman. “Then, I wash my face with whatever cleanser I have and put on some moisturizer and sometimes Vaseline under my eyes. That’s about it.”
As the movement towards sustainability grows, consumers are increasingly vying for products that reduce their footprint, like Ruderman’s reusable makeup removing pad. Valencia has undergone this shift in priorities that is putting pressure on the skincare industry to evolve and go green.
“(Sustainability) has gotten more important the older I get,” Valencia said. “70% or 80% of my products are either from Lush, which is vegan or vegetarian or cruelty-free… I want to try to reduce my footprint and use products that don’t cause any more landfill.”
While some products do justice to both the skin and the environment, others do the opposite.
“I think most girls who do skincare would use the St. Ives Apricot Scrub that will just make you break out,” Ruderman said forebodingly. “Don’t even go near it. Don’t even look at it.”
Before the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, this scrub contained harsh microplastics that polluted the ocean and created harsh abrasions in the skin. St. Ives has since switched to a walnut-based formula, which dermatologists suggest also may cause microtears. A product that resulted in a similar effect was the Neutrogena grapefruit cleanser, which Valencia swears against.
“The second that I put it on, I was like ‘Oh! This feels great,’ and then it completely burned my skin” Valencia said. “I have no idea what was in there, but I started to stray away from skincare products that might not be good for people with acne skin.”
An ingredient that has been hailed by users as a great fit for acne-prone skin is witch hazel, which Landas recommends.
“When I apply it to my face, it wipes away all the dirt or whatever I had from the day,” Landas said. “I’d use those mostly at night with a cotton swab or something. After using it, my face would feel wet, but at the same time would feel lighter.”
However, he warns against the overuse of any product.
“My experience with overuse is that facial products can be kind of acidic and take away some of the layers of your skin,” Landas said. “Using them too frequently can damage your skin because it’s a constant application of a foreign substance.”
In moderation, skincare is a hygiene tool that should be accessible and normalized universally. Unfortunately, many skincare products are marketed towards women.
When asked why men are excluded from the skincare narrative, Ruderman responded matter-of-factly.
“Same reason makeup is, same reason tight-fitting clothes or revealing clothes are. It’s just because women are supposed to be this ideal version of themselves that doesn’t even exist,” Ruderman said. “But men just don’t have the same standards.”
As with Ruderman, Valencia combats the pervading idea that skincare is vain and solely feminine.
“It’s seen as really girly to take care of yourself, but it shouldn’t be,” Valencia said. “Even with my own boyfriend, I convinced him to start liking skincare because he believed (skincare) was hurting his masculinity in a way. It feels nice to treat yourself. It feels good to take care of yourself in simple ways.”