A few years ago when Korean skincare and k-beauty took the world by storm, the 14-step routine suddenly became popular and the gold standard. Lotions! Essence! Creams! Layer them on! The more the merrier!
A few years later, someone decided that putting lotion or essence on their skin 7 times was a good thing. And everyone was doing it!
Is it surprising therefore that, as with all demonstrations of excess, people would then turn torwards the minimal?
I was prompted to think about this, when a friend sent me an article about what is known as “the Skincare Diet”. And truth be told, I had a good laugh over it :P
If you ask me, this concept of a “Skincare Diet” is just another beauty fad, and like all fads, you will follow it at your own peril. While the pursuit of a clear complexion and glowy, healthy skin is universal, the means to achieve it is not.
I have always maintained that the biggest mistake we all make is to blindly follow trends, without first thinking about our own skin condition. No one product will suit us all. By the same reckoning, no one routine will suit us all. This is also true of a food diet. I operate off a “See food diet” – I see food, I eat it :P I just don’t gorge myself stupid, and I translate that into my skincare too.
Don’t believe everything you see online
This is of paramount importance. It is so easy to want to copy the whole skincare routine favoured by your favourite blogger or YouTuber. It is so easy to be swayed, when everyone shares their beautiful, smooth, glowy skin online.
First, remember this key tenet. Do not believe everything you see online. Also consider these 5 reasons why it may not work for you.
I came across a picture on Instagram recently, of someone who seemed quite popular. She had posted a closeup photo of her face, and captioned it something along the lines of having no makeup on, to promote some skincare product. No problem with that. The problem however, was this.
Not only was the skin smoothened artificially (you can tell because there is no texture at all. All skin, even the most healthy, will have some texture in a close up photo), she had on brow colour, eyeliner and mascara and some tinted lip colour. To some, who may not be so critical, that picture might have been taken at face value and believed that she had no makeup on.
Unfortunately, I am cynical and so that picture to me, was a gross misrepresentation of her, and of the product. While I concur that there are beauty “gurus” out there with beautiful skin that anyone would covet, it is also worth noting that there are many others who attain that level of flawless perfection by way of undisclosed treatments, filters, makeup and lighting. So don’t believe everything you see online.
Study your skin before delving into a skincare routine
The next thing to remember is we are all individuals, with different skin types. At one time, in the far mists of time, there were only 3 categories of skin types – Normal, Oily and Dry. Later, people realised that you could have combination type skin – dry in some parts and oily in others.
Even later still, people agreed that you could have oily skin…. but be dehydrated underneath.
If you don’t understand your skin type and condition, you will never achieve a skin care routine that brings you the most benefit.
I will tell you that I used to be like this. I started out with the basic – Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise – school of skincare routines. Did I have oily skin? Was it dehydrated? Was it ever normal? Heaven knows. I cannot remember LOL! :D I had very bad acne in my late teens all the way to my mid-20s. Did I do anything about it? To be honest, not very much. If I had the knowledge then, that I have today, I might have prevented a lot of grief, and scarring :P
But in hindsight, I don’t think I was using the right products for my skin. I didn’t quite bother back in those days. I did not understand if a product was too rich, or if it was not rich enough. Was my skin getting enough moisture and hydration? I don’t know.
Later, when I got a little more involved, and started playing around with serums and masks and treatments, I went to town. Breakouts from products were normal. I bought and tossed so many lotions and potions, because I simply bought and used what was popular, without thinking of what my skin condition was like.
When I started blogging, I started paying a little more attention to little changes to my skin (for better or worse) and it is then that I truly began to understand what my skin liked, the textures I prefer, the formula I gravitated towards, and the benefits they gave me.
A skincare routine need not be complicated… nor too simple
You can see my skincare routine up to 5 years ago. Compare it to my routine just last year. You may notice that my skincare routine in 2017 is a little less involved than it was 5 years ago. I don’t use 2 serums anymore, and my choice of products have changed a little, incorporating more niche brands and different textures.
This year, it has been a little different as well. My morning routines now incorporate a Vitamin C serum and is very strong on hyaluronic acid based products and serums. My evening routines have been simplified a lot, but includes more intensive type products. I hope to remember to share an example of what my current routine is like soon. Hope being the operative word :P
At this point of time, with my current lifestyle, this has been good for me. I just make sure I abide by my 6 pillars of skincare and go strong with my moisture sandwich technique, and my skin seems to be happy.
But when I feel that something is insufficient, I pay a little attention, and swap things around a little, or introduce something new. You see, I’m in tune with my skin, and I know what works (and what doesn’t) but someone who isn’t may not.
The “Skincare Diet” skincare routine may not be enough
The idea behind the “Skincare Diet” is that too many products on your skin may be causing it to become sensitive, or develop problems like clogging or breakouts. I do tend to agree to an extent. However, I also will have to consider what sort of products are being used.
If you have just discovered acids and suddenly go crazy with your acid toners and serums, you could experience problems of over-exfoliation (here’s how you can treat it). If you layer many different products, without thinking of how they play together, or maybe many highly fragranced products, it might cause you to breakout, or cause your skin to feel sensitive.
When this happens, it is important to strip back and go back to basics. This much, I will agree as I have done so myself.
However, once your skin gets back to normal, that is when you should repair and strengthen its natural skin barrier functions. For this reason, I take the view that the “Skincare Diet” is a stopgap “healing” measure, but is not a proper skincare routine to follow slavishly.
An example of a “Skincare Diet” routine comprises of a cleanser (foaming, apparently), a lotion and a moisturiser. In the day, sometimes, it is a cleanser, lotion and sunscreen.
Perhaps this might work for those with oily skin, who may feel that too much product makes their skin feel worse. But speaking as someone with dry skin, I can safely say that my face will likely fall off if I tried this :P
The most basic routine I do is on my cheat nights, when a thick layer of facial oil operates as a mask, or I go with a sleeping mask or my Alpha-H Liquid Gold. The next day, I go back to a normal routine.
The “Skincare Diet” is not supposed to be used long-term
From what I read, the concept behind the skincare diet is rather like a “detox”. It is something you embark upon for a month or so, and then go back to your regular routine. It is not license to toss out all your lotions, serums, masks and treatments, and just pride yourself on using just a cleanser and a moisturiser.
You could, if you wanted to. It is your skin after all, and you should know best. But for most of us, I think you can comfortably agree that while less can be more and better for your skin, too little might result in you withering away.
So instead of jumping on yet another diet fad – we have enough food diet fads already thank you very much! – first, figure out what your skin is like, think about what it needs, use everything in moderation (just like you’d eat in moderation) and you won’t have to go on any diet at all :P
Have you heard about the “Skincare Diet”?
I think the problem is with people not taking the trouble to educate themselves or paying attention to themselves. I have always held the view that the Korean 14-step routine, with was just too much, and I couldn’t get on it. I guess my misgivings are justified now, but I cannot get on board the minimalist train either :P How about you?