Over the past few years the rise of K-beauty might have opened our eyes to feather-light formulas, jelly textures and 14-step beauty routines, but some of us are craving a move back in the direction of straightforward skincare. Streamlined beauty, aka the latest skincare movement offers just that and several brands are leading the way.
It could be said that the Marie Kondo effect has finally reached our bathroom cabinets and our beauty regimens are set to be de-cluttered. While the traditional three-step cleanse, tone and moisturise might have been upgraded with the help of a serum or derma-roller, you can still count the number of steps on one hand.
Global beauty industry trend analysts, Pretty Analytics summed up the approach: ‘A minimal landscape is settling into skincare routines encompassing the “less is more” approach as consumers aspire to incorporate aesthetics such as Swedish “lagom” and Japanese “wabi sabi” and “Kanso” into their lifestyles.’
It’s not restricted to aesthetics though, the interest in streamlined beauty is being driven by the rise in wellness and the demand for time-saving solutions to suit our increasingly hectic lifestyles. “Consumer focus on health and wellness is inspiring a burgeoning trend in beauty with innovative, on-the-go formats,” says Alison Gaither, beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel.
So, how can you streamline your skincare and join the movement?
Simple but effective ingredients
Sometimes using too many products in your routine can confuse your skin and cause irritation. It can then be tricky to pinpoint the product or ingredient that has caused this irritation. Stripping back your skincare to a few choice ingredients is key. Lixirskin launched in 2017 with just six products and a very strong message from brand founder and dermo-pharmacist Colette Haydon: “Lixirskin was born of my skincare and formulating experience,” explains Haydon. “It is a mix of hard-working, everyday products and targeted molecules, an advanced yet relaxed approach to skincare.”
Together the Electrogel Cleanser, £25, and Universal Emulsion, £29, provide a solid base for your routine, which can be upgraded with the acid-based Night Switches, from £20, and Vitamin C Paste, £32, as and when you need to tackle a particular concern.
Of course, you can mix and match your brands. GoW has a wide range of acids, including Azelaic Acid 10% Serum, £9, to help target rosacea-prone skin and pigmentation or Mandelic Acid 10% Serum, £9, which particularly good for darker skin tones as it doesn’t have the skin lightening side effect that some acids do.
Likewise, QRxLabs has a brilliant, supercharged hyaluronic acid based formula, Hydrolific Serum, £12, and equally as effective niacinamide product, NiacinaMax Serum, £12, which can be slotted into most skincare routines. The trick is to know what your skin needs. For example, if you’re currently battling with breakouts use salicylic acid or if you want to boost your hydration opt for a hyaluronic acid and niacinamide combination, alongside your cleanser and moisturiser. It’s worth noting that very few people, if any, need to use every single product I’ve mentioned above.
As Gaither mentioned, more of us are hitting the gym regularly and need this streamlined approach to be portable. Enter, We Are Wild. The Portland-based brand offers a trio of stick formulas, which blend probiotics and fermented ingredients to help cleanse, hydrate and nourish your skin. At first glance, it might look different to Lixirskin, but the ethos is similar. “A simple, good cleanser and moisturiser are key to healthy skin and we wanted to create an essential system that didn’t involve messy liquids, contained advanced ingredients like probiotics, and was innovative in delivery,” says Sally Kim, co-founder of We Are Wild.
While Solid Clean, £22, provides a three-in-one cleansing experience (balm to oil to light foam), the Solid Water, £22, is a clear favourite for us as the cocktail of probiotics and fermented antioxidants cool, tone and hydrate your skin. Plus, it can be used on its own or together with your moisturiser, and if you use it over make-up it gives you a fresh, dewy glow across your cheeks. The sticks are incredibly lightweight too, making them travel-friendly and perfect for carrying around in your gym bag or hand-luggage.
The new Netflix and chill
In an age where wellness is king and self-care has become the antidote to our increasingly switched-on lifestyles, even the streamlined movement has an effective treatment that you can slip into your routine effortlessly. The Light Salon’s Boost LED Light Treatment Mask, £395, gives your skin a 15-minute blitz of anti-inflammatory red light to help strengthen and heal while you stream Netflix or potter about the house.
If you’re looking for less of an investment, look to Nannette de Gaspe’s Roller Noir, £35, which creates smalls punctures in your skin to help boost your collagen production. Use it directly after cleanser and follow with a hyaluronic acid serum. Like Boost, you can roll alongside Netflix too.