NIACINAMIDE, MANDELIC ACID, MARULA OIL, RETINOL, SQUALANE: in my view, a number of words for the bin. But according to Vogue, they are 2019’s trendy “skincare” buzzwords. It seems that with the new year, some sort of highly authoritative beauty expert has concluded that these magic ingredients are “essential” -another buzzword- for your face to remain fresh, “lackluster”, “smooth”, “healthy”.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It is the one we most often think about, as it is a major determinant of our external appearance. That being said, it is still an organ. It certainly has needs that should be taken care of, just like the rest of our body. However, it has fallen victim to the beauty industry’s marketing monster. The issue with the term “skincare” is word care. It implies that owning five different serums, two vibrant face creams, a number of magic moon masks and basic makeup items like primer and foundation, is required if you want to have healthy and presentable skin. It makes it hard for the target audience to think twice about whether these products are actually skin essentials. In fact, the dermatologist I visit once a year only insists on sunscreen and a cleanser to keep acne at bay. At 20 years old all I supposedly need to do is eat well, sleep eight hours, drink water and wear sunscreen. Then why have I always felt uneasy at the thought of leaving the house without my sacred morning ritual of product application?
Apart from the uncertain benefits of said products for the skin’s “health”, what I find most problematic is the psychological effect the term skincare often produces on women -men seem more immune to the necessity of moon masks-: they more or less make you think that you are less fresh and ready to face the day without your product layers on; and it’s not true. The only thing you absolutely need is your confidence, and it comes free of charge.