You may have seen the term “Skinimalism” popping up everywhere. But have you looked into what it actually means?
For those of you who enjoy spending time and money on a 12-step skin ritual, skinimalism may not be a simple transition for you. But for many others, it could just be a new way of life.
In this article we will discuss what skinimalism means, and how you can become a skinimalist.
What is Skinimalism
Skinimalism was a term coined by influencers on social media, which means skin(care) minimalism, or minimalist beauty. Minimalist beauty means using a minimal amount of products—and ingredients—to achieve your skin’s needs. This includes skincare and makeup.
Before the pandemic we saw trends of excessive skincare steps, and full-faced, caked-on, and contoured makeup. But something so excessive has proven to be an expensive and unsustainable way of life.
Thanks to social media, one of the overarching trends right now is inclusion and diversity, and acceptance of each other's differences—a movement we absolutely love and support, by the way. But in truth, it was social media who gave us a complex about our appearances in the first place.
For years Instagram was a platform to show perfection. You could be anyone you wanted. Your life could be anything you desired. And everything looked perfect... on the surface.
With the rise of Instagram came more anxiety, depression, confidence, and self-esteem issues, as we all compared ourselves to the perfection we faced everyday on our handheld devices. Well, that bubble has finally burst—hallelujah!
We now want to see people’s lives unfiltered and un-curated. The current trends geared towards inclusivity, diversity, showing our true colors and imperfections means less makeup and no filters.
Skinimalism was also influenced by the pandemic. Most of us started working from home, so we didn't need to put a full face of makeup on everyday, and many of us have become comfortable with that.
Skinimalism is all about nurturing our skin, and embracing our natural beauty. Instead of suffocating our skin with extravagant skincare steps, over-treating our skin conditions with intensive ingredients, and covering our faces with a mask of synthetic makeup, skinimalism is all about using simple, clean, and minimal ingredients.
Benefits of Skinimalism
When we use an excess of ingredients on our skin to treat conditions, such as acne, fine lines, or pigmentation, we don’t give our skin a chance to breathe. We also risk damaging our skin’s acid mantle.
Our skin is made up of layers, and our acid mantle sits on the outermost layer (the epidermis). It protects our skin from things like free radicals—pollution, sun damage, etc.—entering the skin and wreaking havoc on our cells. When we use too many ingredients, it can cause our acid mantle to break down.
Damaging the integrity of our protective barrier leaves our skin open to all kinds of issues. The anti-aging sector is by far the largest in the beauty industry. However, using too many products or ingredients to treat this skin concern, as many of us become obsessed with chasing our youth, can ironically lead to premature aging of the cells.
This is because, as mentioned above, over-treating our skin can damage that outer protective layer. Ingredients like retinol are effective in preventing fine lines, acne, and pigmentation from appearing. However, retinol is also a synthetic ingredient, and is notorious for breaking down our skin’s acid mantle.
People with sensitive skin know all too well that retinol is not always a girl’s best friend when it comes to anti-aging skincare. They are better off using a natural alternative, like Earth Harbor’s Sea Retinol Digital Serum, made with samphire, a marine succulent known to mimic retinol without the harsh side effects.
Here are some of the signs that you’ve damaged your acid mantle:
- Skin feels dry
- Skin looks flaky
- Skin looks red and inflamed
- Skin feels more sensitive
- Fine lines become more prevalent
- Skin feels clogged
- Skin is prone to more breakouts
The Cost of Skinimalism
Another factor that makes skinimalism a favorable trend is the cost. Not only monetarily, but ethically.
Switching to a skinimalist beauty ritual will definitely save you money. You will no longer need to invest in a plethora of potions and lotions, and you’ll be able to save some of your hard-earned cash for something more important.
By becoming a skinimalist, you’ll also contribute to a more sustainable industry. You’ll no longer be buying extravagant products with long lists of ingredients that are often harmful to you and our planet. Ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, sulphates, microbeads, and oxybenzone are all commonly found in skincare, but do our environment a lot of damage.
There are also ingredients like fragrance, which sounds harmless enough, but can be laden with toxins that disrupt our hormones, and can also be carcinogenic. If you want to read more on this, check out our article here.
By becoming a skinimalist, you’ll also reduce your waste. The beauty industry is one of the worst for excessive and unnecessary packaging. Particularly plastics. When you switch to a more minimal ritual, especially one that supports a zero-waste lifestyle, you’ll be supporting an industry that puts the planet and our future first.
Best Skinimalism Products
As mentioned above, the ingredients you use, and the packaging your products come in are all an important factor in a skinimalist lifestyle. So we’ve found some of the best sustainable products out there to help you on your journey to becoming a skinimalist.
Follow this ritual every morning and night:
UpCircle Beauty are leaders in the circular beauty space. Their core ethos revolves around the idea of using ingredients that are already in circulation, and repurposing them into new products. In UpCircle Beauty’s case, they repurpose salvaged food and beverage ingredients, and use them to create gorgeous skincare products that are effective and affordable.
The thing I love the most about their Cinnamon and Ginger Chai Soap Bar, besides the delicious aroma of salvaged chai spices, is that you can use this bar on your face as well as your body. So it eliminates the need for two products in your regimen.
Apart from chai spices, the Cinnamon and Ginger Chai Soap Bar also contains pink clay, which helps with congestion and blocked pores, as well as soothing infected skin. Maple seed extract is high in phytochemicals, which means it facilitates a more toned and brighter complexion. While cinnamon and ginger brighten and calm inflammation.
Hailing from London, where there is a ban on 1300 chemicals in the cosmetic industry (compared to the US where only 11 are banned), UpCircle Beauty’s formulations are made from a careful combination of natural and safe ingredients that are organic where possible.
Follow your cleanser with Earth Harbor’s Tidal Rose Crystal Hydration Toner. Earth Harbor are self-confessed beach beauty minimalists. They are known for their philanthropy, donating to 1% for the Planet, Waterkeeper Alliance, Water For People, and Wild Earth Allies, Inc..
They are also PETA®, Leaping Bunny®, Climate Neutral®, Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, and Think Dirty®, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics™, Truth in Labeling™, and Independent Beauty Association® certified, so you just know they’re a brand that really cares, and a brand you can really trust.
The Tidal Rose Crystal Hydration Toner contains only nine ingredients; two of them certified organic, six of them are non-GMO, and their hero ingredient Rose Crystal Quartz has been wildcrafted.
Wildcrafting is where ingredients are foraged for in a sustainable way in their natural habitat. Pesticides and fertilizers are not used to grow the plant, and the wildcrafters leave enough of the seed or plant behind to ensure over-harvesting doesn’t occur, which protects the future of that species.
The Tidal Rose Crystal Hydration Toner is a 3-in-1 product, as it tones skin after cleansing, preparing it for the next step in your ritual; it hydrates the skin, as an added boost to your moisturizer; and it can be used to set your makeup in place.
With ingredients like seaweed, known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties will sooth and calm any irritation. Rose quartz encourages unconditional love and positive energy. Rosewater is hydrating, high in antioxidants, pH balancing, and excellent for reducing redness and inflammation. And white tea extract is full of antioxidants, and has a detoxifying and barrier effect on the skin.
Arguably one of the most sustainable skincare products on the market is Dew Mighty’s Bloom Jelly Serum Bar. Dew Mighty is a skinimalist brand to their core. Their founder, Tiffany, with her biology, science, and beauty background, teamed with her philanthropic values, was able to formulate the world’s very first zero-waste serum bar.
It isn’t just a serum. This powerful little bar packs a mighty punch, and replaces face and hair serums, face oils, lotions, and moisturizers, and it can also be used as an after-shave balm.
With ingredients like jojoba, olive, squalene, and floral botanicals, it nourishes and calms dry and inflamed skin. It also contains active stabilized vitamin C, for brightening and evening-out skin tone; licorice extract and German blue chamomile, to calm and soothe; silica for collagen stimulation; and antioxidant-rich hibiscus seed oil for protection against free radical damage.
What I think is even more wonderful about this product is that it comes to you wrapped in compostable paper, so it is lightweight and zero-waste from the get-go. And they have also designed an aluminum case for it so you can take it anywhere for on-the-go hydration.
If this isn't innovation, then I’ll be a monkey’s aunty!
A ritual is not complete without an eye treatment. Using a face moisturizer on the eye area is not advised, even if it is as amazing as Dew Mighty’s Bloom Jelly Serum Bar. The reason being, the eye area’s skin is much thinner, and the follicles are much smaller than the rest of the face. So you really need a specific eye product for that area.
Earthwise Beauty are veterans in the green beauty space. They’ve had years to perfect their products, and to spread their environmental values across the globe. Their founder, Ava studied nutritional healing, herbal healing, homeopathy, and aromatherapy, as you’ll see in all of Earthwise Beauty’s formulations.
Earthwise Beauty curate their formulations using a combination of ingredients sourced sustainably from nature, and are organic and wildcrafted where possible. Many of their unique ingredients are sourced sustainably from farms in South America, predominantly near or within the Amazon rainforest.
Part of Earthwise Beauty’s philanthropy is to bring awareness to the threats these beautiful landscapes are under, by naming their products after these places. Like Yasuni Face Balm, named after Yasuni National Park. One of the world’s most diverse ecosystems in the world, now surrounded by oil drilling.
Earthwise Beauty’s Passion Eye Serum is a wonderful solution to reduce puffiness, prevent fine lines, and hydrate the heck out of our delicate eye area that can often get overlooked. It contains ingredients like amaranth oil, known for it's protein and linoleic acid properties; green coffee oil, known to help with puffiness and dark circles; and andiroba oil, rosehip oil, passionfruit oil, sea buckthorn berry CO2 extract, and murumuru butter.
The serum has a lighter texture to ensure quick absorption, and is perfect for all skin types.
Becoming a Skinimalist
It can be exciting to overhaul your lifestyle to become a more thoughtful human being, save some money, and give your skin a chance to be itself. But before you toss all of your existing beauty products into the trash, think about ways you can use those products to their fullest.
If a product has questionable ingredients, you may just be better off ditching the contents into the trash can, and rinsing out and recycling the packaging. But it’s best to use up what you already have before you go and purchase more products, even if the new products are less wasteful, or better for you and the environment.
If you don’t want to use the rest of your moisturizer on your face, for example, use it on your hands and feet instead. Give your unwanted makeup to your friends (if it is hygienic to do so). Find ways to use everything up, instead of throwing it away.
Being a skinimalist is about being thoughtful and sustainable, while also nurturing the skin you live in. It should be an enjoyable transition that makes you feel good. Your future self and the planet will thank you.
Emma Masotti is an Australian now living in Austin, TX, and has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn’t cost the earth.
Some of the products promoted in our blog are from our online store. Many others are brands we have researched and found to be great examples of sustainable, ethical, and innovative brands in their field, and we don't make any profit from mentioning them in our blog. #CollaborationOverCompetition