“Skinimalism"... is less really more?
Minimalism is currently dominating the beauty industry, with sheer manicures and mini makeovers among 2023’s hottest looks. Although trends from other sectors of the beauty industry don’t always make their way into the skincare realm, minimalist skincare routines are also seeing an uptick.
“Skinimalism” is a term that’s been floating around in the beauty world for a few years now as the antithesis of the 10-step skincare routine popularised by K-Beauty, but its current popularity is due in part to changes to clients’ willingness to invest money, rather than just time.
“Long gone are the days of needing 15 products in a routine, which is costly and time-consuming, but also confusing for the client as to what order they are applied,” says Joanne Corcoran, UK educator at Image Skincare UK.
“Skinimalism is set to continue as a trend in 2023; as the cost of living increases, we are all looking to make our money go further.”
Skinimalism emphasises a simple approach to skincare, with people using only the essential products and ingredients that are necessary to support healthy skin.
While there are upsides to this from the client’s perspective, there are also drawbacks, especially for those who aren’t well-versed in what their skin needs.
“The cons of a more basic skincare routine include potentially missing out on the benefits of certain ingredients or products, and not being able to address specific skin concerns,” explains Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, founder and medical director of Adonia Medical Clinic in London.
So, in order to be effective, a skinimalist routine needs to work smarter, not harder – products need to target specific skin concerns and issues.
If clients are using products that contain ingredients and actives specifically formulated to work together, it also reduces the risk of overprocessing and irritating the skin, which can occur if too many active products are used.
“Sometimes when we are trying to treat too many things with multiple products, our skin can become overwhelmed and respond negatively. If your skin is all over the place and you’re struggling to get it under control, stripping back to the basics can often be the best course of action,” comments Victoria Evans, education manager at Dermalogica UK.
Know your worth
While clients buying fewer products might sound like a bad thing for beauty businesses, the skinimalism trend actually provides therapists with the opportunity to let their skincare knowledge and customer service skills really shine.
“The skinimalism trend can be an advantage by highlighting therapists’ expertise in providing personalised and effective skincare solutions, rather than offering a wide range of products,” explains Dr Ejikeme.
Maria Naskos, national educator UK at Xpert Professional, which distributes skincare brand Dibi Milano, adds, “The key to a successful business is long-term client retention, and that is based on trust and rapport, not just selling. Beauty businesses that focus on building up a relationship with a client based on fulfilling their goals tend to be more successful.”
She continues, “If a customer has a cupboard full of skincare they don’t use or can’t fit into their routine, it’s never going to work, but therapists creating a plan that is easy and fits into their lifestyle will keep customers interested and ultimately lead to more sales because they have skin that they love thanks to their beauty professional.”
“Salons should be offering skin consultations to discuss the client’s main concerns and which products and treatments will be best for the individual,” Corcoran adds.
“Sometimes, we need to look at homecare foremost because this is what the client does each day, so this makes the biggest difference to the skin and its function before we start to look at treatments.”
Strip it back
If clients are keen to streamline their routines, it’s important they keep the most important elements that nourish and protect their skin.
Naskos explains, “In skincare there are five fundamental groups of ingredients. These are antioxidants, peptides, vitamins and minerals, hydrators and protectors. Using one ingredient from each category is enough for a complete skincare routine. However, most cosmeceutical skincare products contain two or more of these ingredients in each product.
“For instance, peptides and hydrators are often combined. It is not uncommon to use a hyaluronic acid alongside a peptide. Antioxidants such as vitamin C or ferulic acid are often combined with vitamins and minerals such as niacinamide or vitamin A,” she adds.
“The beauty of most of these ingredients is that the skin makes them naturally, to a certain degree, but it does not make enough; therefore, skincare should supplement the skin’s natural production mechanisms.
“The only exception to this rule is a protector – the skin does not have a sun protective factor to protect against UVA, UVB and blue light, so every skincare routine must have an SPF regardless of its minimalism.”
When it comes to which products are essential, the skin experts we asked all agreed that cleansers, gentle exfoliants, moisturisers and sunscreen were non-negotiables. Targeted serums were also considered to be essential, but what these serums are will differ from client to client.
“It depends on their skincare goal,” says Evans. “If ageing is their main concern, advise them to invest in an advanced retinol serum and keep the rest of the routine simple. If puffiness and dark circles around the eyes are the main concern, then include an eye cream at the serum step of the routine. Personalisation is always key.”
If clients are looking to minimise their skincare routine, it may be that their primary motivation is saving money, and the good news is that most essential products won’t break the bank, with skincare staples like cleansers and moisturisers typically being on the cheaper side.
Targeted serums will be more expensive because they contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, but this concentration means that a little often goes a long way, so clients don’t need to use as much. “It’s worth investing in the products that are going to target their key concern, so they get the results they want,” comments Evans.
Explaining where clients should spend their money and convincing them to invest in quality products may be uncomfortable for some beauty professionals, but our experts have some words of advice.
In terms of marketing skinimalism in your beauty business, Evans suggests: “Set up a skinimalism hotspot with key multi-tasking formulas. Use eye-catching taglines such as, ‘skincare doesn’t need to be complicated’ or ‘multitasking products to save you time and money’.”
She adds, “These can be great conversation starters, particularly with clients who don’t buy skincare from you. You could also create short, fun videos for Instagram and TikTok and include trending hashtags for this trend. Share your pro tips for stripping back your regimen and talk about your favourite multi-tasking products.”
Dr Ejikeme adds, “In the current economic climate, beauty professionals should approach retailing products to clients by focusing on the benefits of a minimal and targeted approach to skincare, and highlighting the value of investing in high-quality, targeted products.”
“Show empathy for budget constraints, give tips on how much to use and reassure clients with how long products will last,” Naskos adds. “Sometimes, breaking down product costs per day or week can help. Bring conversation around to reducing a regimen to the essentials and help guide them with tailored regimen suggestions that will help them achieve their skin goals on a budget.”
How have you adapted your retail strategy to the cost-of-living crisis? Let us know in the comments...