The Rise of SkinimalismSimplifying Your Skincare and Haircare Routines11 min read24 April 2023
In recent years, a new trend has emerged in the beauty industry that challenges everything we may have taken for granted for decades. It's called skinimalism. The term is a combination of “skin” and “minimalism” and refers to a simplified approach to skincare, haircare, and personal care overall. This trend is both a reaction against many decades of overconsumption, and a new philosophy for taking care of both ourselves and the planet. Rather than using a long list of products, skinimalism emphasises using fewer products that are high-quality and effective.
What Exactly Is Skinimalism?
Like many new trends, some people may be using the word to mean slightly different things. There are some practitioners who are fed up with the large mix of products in their bathrooms as a result of not exactly knowing which product is best for their skin and hair concerns. They want to reduce the amount of products they buy, as well as bring some sanity to their shopping habits. Others have arrived at a similar place by having experienced the pain of religiously following the popular 10-step routine more often than they wish. The latter group wants to reduce the time they spend in the bathroom, without sacrificing quality in their personal care.
Regardless of your route to skinimalism, all options are probably leading to the same end-point. On the one hand, skinimalism is the result of realising that simplicity is a good thing – a wonderful thing in fact. We all live busy lives, and there's nothing worse than feeling a sense of duty to do something without good reason. On the other hand, skinimalism is a new demand for smarter, more efficacious products. Skinimalists have had enough with overly diluted cosmetics that do little simply because brands want us to buy more and more, again and again.
In a nutshell, skinimalism is about using fewer products and, at the same time, streamlining your routine to still get the best results for your skin, hair, and body. The main goal is straightforward: being able to achieve healthy, glowing skin and nourished, silky hair without spending hours on your bathroom routine every day. The trick is to know how to pick those better products that can actual deliver.
The History of Skinimalism
The roots of skinimalism can be traced back to the early 2000s, when the Korean skincare routine gained popularity. The Korean skincare routine was known for its lengthy list of steps and numerous products. It is often called the K-routine, or the 10-step routine, although the internet is now full of all sorts of variations on the same principles. In essence, the K-routine popularised the idea that you need many different products for many different things. Even though it's called the “10-step” routine, it could just as easily been called the “10-product routine”, as each step has its own product. Allegedly, the latter name would reveal the overconsumption that this trend may be encouraging. Indeed, over time, people began to question the need for so many products and began to look for simpler alternatives. Skinimalism is in stark contrast to the typical 10-step Korean skincare routine, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
During this time the emphasis was partly on convenience, simplicity and being smart. Sure, it's much simpler to apply one product to my face than five different ones. But skinimalism was also born out of the realisation that using fewer products means fewer potential irritants and a lower risk of overloading your skin. In other words, at the beginning of the century, a new marriage between convenience and health just happened.
Skinimalism gained further momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people spent more time at home and began to focus on self-care. With fewer opportunities to wear makeup and go out, people began to prioritize their skincare routine and look for ways to simplify it.
After more than twenty years, the climate crisis is now playing a big part in pushing the skinimalist agenda forward. With the beauty industry being one of the largest contributors to plastic waste, simplifying your skincare and haircare routine means using fewer products and producing less waste. Not only that, it's also worth noting that many skincare products contain harmful chemicals that can harm the environment when they enter the water supply. Even though UK environmental regulatory framework has evolved in the past few years, there's still a lot to do and consumers are extremely confused as to what's inside the products they buy. If this is your case, by buying less, you'll be immediately reducing the chances of contributing to water streams pollution.
'How Come I've Never Heard of Skinimalism?'
At its core, skinimalism is about simplifying your skincare routine to only the essentials. This means using only the products that your skin and hair require, rather than following a lengthy routine or trying out the latest skincare fad. However, this may be easier said than done. After all, if it were that simple, how come not everybody is doing it?
One reason may be the power of marketing and the multi-million budgets of big corporations. When one walks into a department store, cosmetics, perfumes, and personal care stalls usually cover a big area on the ground floor. And what is the first thing we see? Numerous signs, electronic displays and sales representatives telling us that we may have problems we didn't know about, or that a new revolutionary product is out in the market, and we must buy it.
A second reason is rather related with the very products we're told we need to buy again and again. They are often so diluted, that their efficacy is dependent on using a lot each time we apply them on our skin or hair. Or maybe the formulas haven been thinned down so much, that they must be paired with yet another product from the same brand for them to do something.
Three Steps to Streamline Your Daily Routine
One of the key principles of skinimalism is using multi-functional products that can serve multiple purposes. For example, a moisturizer with SPF can provide both hydration and sun protection, eliminating the need for separate products. In order to get started with skinimalism, look for products that have been specifically formulated to serve more than one purpose.
1. Analyse Your Needs and Concerns
Start by identifying the key steps in your current routine and eliminating any unnecessary products. Pick each one of those bottles and jars in your shelf, and ask yourself:
- Is this product high-performance? How much water does it contain?
- Am I confident this product combines well with the others?
- Do I need it?
It’s important to remember that while multitasking skin and hair care products can be convenient, they also have to serve a purpose. Whether it's dandruff or dry skin, hair loss or spots, each of us may have different needs and concerns. When looking for bathroom alternatives, you should consider products that suit your specific skin type, skin tone, and hair concerns. A regular skincare routine should cover cleansing, toning, and moisturising.
2. Choose Multi-Functional Products
The next step is to always bear in mind that not all multi-functional products are born equal. When I stay over at a budget hotel, they sometimes give me one those 2in1 body, shampoo, and conditioner products. They are as bad as they smell. They're free and convenient, but not necessarily that good. Furthermore, they are most certainly not the products that skinimalism aims to promote.
At the other end of the spectrum, Disruptor London multipurpose shampoo bars have been formulated as skinimalist products using carefully selected raw materials prized for their functional properties. After more than two years of R&D, we have come up with highly concentrated ph-balanced formulas that perform the same, if not better, than the wasteful alternatives they aim to replace.
Being pH-balanced is an excellent example of things to look for when distinguishing multi-functional products from the rest. When a product is pH balanced, it means that its pH level is similar to that of both skin and hair. This is important because the skin and hair have a natural pH level that is slightly acidic, which helps to maintain the integrity of the skin and hair barrier. By contrast, soaps are alkaline, and so you shouldn't be using them on your hair.
By using pH balanced products, you can help to maintain the natural pH balance of your skin and hair, which can have a number of benefits. For example, pH balanced products can help to:
- Cleanse: pH balanced cleansers are effective at removing dirt, oil, and impurities from the skin and hair without disrupting their natural balance.
- Hydrate: pH balanced moisturisers and conditioners can help to hydrate the skin and hair without causing irritation or dryness.
- Protect: pH balanced products can help to protect the skin and hair from environmental stressors, such as pollution and UV rays, which can cause damage and premature aging.
Overall, the multitasking benefits of pH balanced skin and hair care products make them a popular choice for those looking for a simple and effective way to care for their skin and hair.
Another key aspect of skininimalist formulas is their ingredients. Some examples of ingredients that are excellent at doing more than one thing are:
- Inulin, which is a natural prebiotic that can help to promote the growth of healthy bacteria on the skin and scalp. In skincare, inulin is often used as a humectant, which means that it helps to draw moisture to the skin and keep it hydrated. It can also help to improve the texture and tone of the skin, leaving it looking smoother and more radiant.
- Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter is a rich emollient that is highly moisturizing for both hair and skin. In skincare, cocoa butter is often used to help soothe dry, itchy, or irritated skin. It is also high in antioxidants, which can help to protect the skin from damage caused by environmental stressors. In hair care, cocoa butter helps to coat the hair shaft, reducing frizz and improving shine.
- Panthenol: Panthenol is a form of vitamin B5 that is highly moisturizing for both hair and skin. In skin care, panthenol can help to soothe and hydrate dry or irritated skin, while also improving the overall texture and tone. In hair care, panthenol helps to strengthen the hair shaft, reducing breakage and improving elasticity.
Overall, ingredients like these can work together to provide deep hydration and nourishment to both hair and skin, leaving them looking and feeling healthier, smoother, and more radiant.
3. Rinse and Repeat
After you manage to substitute two or three products with just one, you may be likely to go to the next level. Why not look at other parts of your body? Focus on using multi-functional products that can serve multiple purposes, such as a cleanser that also exfoliates or a serum that also hydrates. This not only saves time and money, but also reduces the risk of irritation and sensitivity from using too many products on your skin. Remember, less is often more when it comes to skincare and haircare.
Here are some ideas of multi-functional beauty products to pick for your next steps:
- Shampoo bars you can use as conditioners, face cleansers, shaving creams, beard washes, and makeup removers.
- Creams and lip balms for moisturising and sun protection.
- Facial oils you can use as a moisturiser, shaving oil, serum, or facial massage oil for smooth skin.
- Facial masks with multiple benefits, such as exfoliating dead skin cells, brightening dark spots, and hydrating the skin for a silky texture and a little shimmer.
- Other multitasking products include lip gloss or lip tint which can be used as a cheek tint in your beauty routine, and contour stick you can use as eyeshadow.
More With Less
In today’s world of over-the-top beauty routines and endless skincare product ranges, it can be hard to keep up. But, at Disruptor London, we want to empower our customers to buy less so that there will be more. Everyone wins with the right skinimalist approach: more time for you, more natural resources for future generations, and bigger impact in net-zero targets.
Skinimalism is a trend that's here to stay. By simplifying your skincare routine, you can prioritize your skin's health while doing your part to reduce waste and protect the planet. So why not give it a try and see the difference it can make for you and the environment?