In December 2020, Pinterest claimed that the new year would end the obsession over the caked-on makeup look. According to its annual prediction report, Pinners would likely embrace slow beauty and let their natural skin shine through. In Canada, searches for how to get natural glowing skin quadrupled. No surprise considering the popularity of Korean beauty-inspired regimens. As early as 2012, Korean beauty exports totalled $59 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2019, Business of Fashion reported that number topped $511 million.
Over time K-beauty brands that once promoted the 10-step routine began to take a simpler approach similar to Then I Met You, the skincare line by Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho. Popular beauty publications, such as Byrdie and Popsugar, are already claiming that skinimalism is going to be the biggest beauty trend in 2021 as well, and the market shift has everything to do with COVID-19.
As Harper’s Bazaar puts it, some people are attracted to skinimalism out of interest in slow beauty — the countertrend to excessive consumption of products — out of concern for sustainability. For others, a “skin detox” was more appealing. Now that the pandemic has cancelled full-face beats on the weekends and reprioritized where money is being spent on beauty routines, statistics forecast that the global skincare market would reach $145.2 billion this year.
Today, the need to wear a face mask out in public has also eliminated the need to wear makeup below the nose, and maskne has required some people to pay even more attention to their skincare routines.
The millennial way
Mintel’s 2019 beauty and personal care report showed that 28 percent of women in the UK have reduced the number of products in their skincare routine. Millennials, aged 20 to 29, are found to have most likely simplified their daily regimen.
In addition to the environmental and health factors young women listed why they’re going skinimalist, time was also a cause for concern, according to beauty and body care brand Alleyoop CEO Leila Kashani Manshoory.
“Our lives have become way busier because of technology. And all companies aim to provide one thing in common, called efficiency,” Leila told me over the phone from L.A. “I was never the person to watch two-hour videos on how to bake and contour. I was kind of tired of the fact that brands were only building brands instead of thinking about what consumers actually need.”
Efficiency was a buzzword since achieving a glowy, natural look faster with fewer products became possible. Young women are also more interested in reinvesting their time in relationships and reaching goals than in applying full-face makeup.
These market trends led Leila to make her brand “category-less” and solution-based. Her criteria for creating new products consider the following: First, is it going to simplify your life? Second, is it going to add value? Finally, is it going to give your time back?
Since its launch in 2019, Alleyoop claims to have saved its customers a total of 2.3 million hours. In May, Los Angeles Business Journal reported that the brand saw a 400 percent growth in its e-commerce business between January and April, as well as a 15 percent week-over-week revenue growth following the mid-March COVID-19 shutdown.
In the past year the skincare brand sold over 200,000 units (priced between $8 and $34, respectively). Its Multi-Tasker 4-in-1 Makeup Brush even had an 8,000-person waiting list, according to Beauty Independent. Overall, it seems skinimalism is on Leila’s side.
The brands paving the way forward
Another thing to love about the skinimalism trend is the impact it can have on your wallet. Leila understands that quality products don’t need to come at prices that break the bank, especially in times like these.
Take for example, Gen Z-founded skincare brand Topicals. The brand consists of two products: a multi-tasking gel serum for marks, scars, and dark spots; and a mask that calms eczema flare-ups and dry skin. Together, the medicated botanical Duo bundle rings in at $56.
For founder Olamide Olowe, growing up “sucked” as a woman of colour. Immediately she recognized that she did not have skin like people in her favourite commercials and magazines. On top of experiencing severe post-barbae folliculitis and eczema, Olamide grew up thinking there’s such a thing as perfect skin.
Now, her mission is to transform the way consumers feel about theirs. People with chronic skin conditions are two to six times more likely to experience anxiety and depression. With this in mind, Topicals donates one percent of its profits to The JED Foundation — a non-profit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults in the U.S.
Up until now, beauty was for beauty connoisseurs. That is until game changers, like Olamide and Leila, stepped into the scene. If there’s one aesthetics lesson 2020 taught us, it’s that life isn’t perfect, so why should your skin be? Nevertheless, if your complexion is reflecting the stress ball that your mind has been lately, Topicals always comes to the rescue. This year will be all about skinimalism and embracing your bare face. It’s time to start feeling good in your skin!”
(Story by Anastasia Barbuzzi)