When designing a skincare regimen for yourself, or for a client, it’s important to take several factors into consideration, such as skin type, skin goals, budget…but most importantly, will the regimen actually be used? Some people love elaborate morning and nighttime skincare rituals consisting of multiple products intended for different areas of the face, or to all work together as a synergistic system. On the other hand, other people derive more pleasure out of a simpler skincare regimen, consisting of one or two easy, quick, and multitasking products. While some products in a manufacturer’s suggested regimen might seem nonessential, there are others that often get left out of more streamlined regimens, which might actually have a legitimate place there.
Here are four of the most common underappreciated skincare products:
Ah eye cream. Of all the products designed to be part of a daily regimen, eye cream’s probably the most polarizing. Some people swear by them and will happily pay top dollar for them, and others claim they’re extraneous, overpriced, and over-marketed. Why the debate? Is eye cream really necessary? It depends on who you ask. It’s true that skin around the eye area is thinner, and the pores are finer than the skin in other areas of the face. One theory states that because of these differences, using products containing ingredients with molecular structures too large to penetrate into the deeper layers of the epidermis via the pores might cause milia to form from clogged pores, or might simply result in wasted product. Therefore, companies that make eye creams claim to formulate them using ingredients with smaller molecular structures or special delivery systems designed to penetrate into the deeper layers of the epidermis in the eye area. These formulations often contain lightly astringent ingredients intended to reduce puffiness, brightening ingredients intended to brighten dark circles, or nourishing ingredients intended to smooth out the look of fine lines and wrinkles in the eye area. Another school of thought cautions against the use of eye creams because the presence of active ingredients–even natural or organic ones–on the more sensitive skin in the eye area overstimulates the skin. Additionally, it is known that products applied in the eye area often wick into the eyes via the eyelashes, which may cause irritation. So should you use or recommend eye creams? We believe there are merits to all these perspectives, so we encourage you to recommend what makes the most sense to your philosophy or practice. We do, however, believe that when it comes to ingredients in products intended for use in the eye area, less is more.
If there’s one product (trend) that needs to make a huge comeback, it’s masking–this powerful and simple treatment has been kicked to the curb for far too long. Gone are the days of thick green clay turning an ashen gray that only a chisel can remove. Clay is still a favorite ingredient for drawing out impurities, but today we’re seeing a wonderful resurgence of natural ingredients like aloe vera and herbal tea used to reconstitute and add therapeutic benefits to the clay. Additionally, items from your kitchen like yogurt, honey, and avocado have been effective masking staples for centuries. A visit to your favorite aesthetician will guarantee that at least one mask will be applied–maybe even two–so remember to ask for suggestions for appropriate at-home use. Besides pampering the skin, masking can serve all skin types and provide benefits such as hydration, tightening, reduction of excess oils, exfoliation, pore refinement, and detoxification by expelling impurities. If choosing the right mask for weekly application at home is a challenge, try a mixing up DIY mask with ingredients as close to nature as possible, like avocados, manuka honey, and full fat yogurt. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, avocados moisturize without clogging pores, and also contain natural skin brightening Vitamin C. Yogurt contains lactic acid for gentle exfoliation, and honey contains enzymes and naturally antimicrobial properties.
Similar to the fickleness of fashion, the use of oil as an integral part of the skincare routine has fallen out of vogue only to be exalted once again. There’s certainly a case for face oil to be a steady player on one’s skin health team. Benefits of high quality, non-comedogenic facial oils include:
- Essential fatty acids that help nourish the skin
- Oils form a lipid barrier on the skin and help ensure that the skin’s self-healing process goes uninterrupted by external stressors
- Oils help seal in moisture to prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and protect it from damaging extreme temperatures and environmental aggressors.
- Straightforward anhydrous ingredients often require less preservation.
- There is an oil for everyone – experiment to find the one that works magic for you. Even those with oily skin benefit from the right oil.
Look for minimally processed, high-quality cosmetic-grade plant oils to reap the best of their restorative properties. Avoid those that have additives, manufacturing byproducts and contaminants, or questionable preservation. Store them correctly, in dark glass jars or bottles, in a cool, dark, dry place–not in the steamy, bright bathroom cabinet. Top quality oils may come with a higher price tag, but the good news is you only need a few drops to deliver maximum benefit. Some beauty-nutritious facial oils to experiment with are argan, jojoba, and rosehip seed oil.
Cleansing and moisturizing, sure—but toning? This vague word doesn’t seem to convey just how essential toner application can be for radiant skin. Beyond the name, another issue with toner is that it still conjures up visions of skin-tingling, alcohol-based astringents that promised to zap zits and shrink pores, but just left us looking irritated. Today’s toners do more, and are far gentler, so there are more reasons than ever to add them back into your skincare routine. One key role of a toner is to restore the naturally acidic pH of the skin’s barrier, in case it was disrupted by alkaline cleanser. Today you’re less likely to find oil-stripping, pH-altering alkaline cleansers, but the overall pH-restoring ability of toner is still important. Toners also draw moisture to the skin, rather than stripping oil, as long as you choose a non-drying formula. Spritzing on toner before applying serum or oil also helps in to ensure even application and improved penetration of the active ingredients in your products. Try using one for a few weeks and you could be amazed at how much a little extra moisture helps your skin glow.
Ultimately what goes into your (or your client’s) skincare regimen is a personalized decision that should be made based on individual skin and lifestyle needs. That being said, if you’re leaving out one of the above ingredients due to past preconceived notions, we encourage you to take another look and experiment to see if one or more of the above belongs in your regimen.
Which skincare product do you feel is most underappreciated? Or if you already swear by one or more of the products mentioned above, state your case for that product in the comments below!
*Images 3 and 4 from Canva