Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How Skintellectuals Have Changed the Skincare Game

Remember the days of using harsh astringents like witch hazel copiously on our face, squeezing out spots to within an inch of their life, and removing our makeup with rough wipes? It makes us shudder just thinking about it now.

In the past few years, brands have switched from slogans that promised instant results and perfect skin to more technical language that focuses on ingredients and realistic outcomes. Big players in the beauty industry have scrambled to adapt to this new brand of informed consumer: the skintellectual.

When we buy beauty products now, we want to know which ingredients will deliver what is promised on the label. And we’re revolutionizing the market.

The evolution of beauty

For years, brands have capitalized on common skin concerns including premature ageing, oiliness, and acne, promising the world more with their products. Labels boasted claims that the products were designed for oily skin, but the ingredients lists told a darker truth. Proven active ingredients like exfoliating acids and retinol were nowhere to be seen, but skin-damaging components and filler ingredients were plenty.

Beauty lovers were drawn in by these outlandish promises and pretty packaging, which is largely what drives up the price of a lot of premium – but ineffective – skincare. In the past five years, game-changing brands burst through the doors boasting minimalist packaging, powerful ingredients, and more affordable price points.

We then began to question everything we knew about skincare and our existing favourite products. Were they really effective and worth the money?

The pandemic creates more skintellectuals

One of the biggest shifts we’ve ever seen in the beauty industry came as a result of the pandemic. While interest in skincare grew a lot in the years leading up to 2020, it certainly ramped up during the pandemic. When state lockdowns confined most of us to our homes, we had less of a need to spend time on our makeup every day. So we got into our skincare.

TikTok became a key source of information, with qualified derms spilling the tea on the ingredients that really worked for our specific concerns and ones that weren’t worth investing in. Our fave influencer Hyram has been credited as kickstarting the skincare boom on TikTok, but we also have licensed derms including Dr Shah, Dr Tomassian, and Dr Mina to thank for our newfound love of skincare that works.

Thanks to our addiction to this digestible content, honesty in beauty and skincare products is now en vogue. With disruptive brands clearly displaying their ingredients – some even with explainers on what each one does – and making no false claims, we’re scrutinizing our skincare and makeup more than ever.

The average skincare consumer changes

Prior to this skincare boom, the main audience spending their income on skin products was older consumers who were looking to reverse signs of ageing. Now our newer, smarter, tech-savvy Gen Zers are getting into skincare at a younger age and using it to prevent future premature ageing instead of reversing it – which we know is a much more effective method.

Skincare is also viewed as an act of self-care by young beauty lovers instead of something purely aesthetic. As well as targeting our specific skin concerns, we’re using our routines to prioritize our well-being. The act of rhythmically applying our toners, serums, and moisturizers allows us to focus on ourselves and find a moment to breathe.

Our generation of ethical, diverse beauty lovers is also embracing traditional skin “flaws”. Influencers include Hyram, makeup artist Maritsa, and KT. Ling regularly posts content highlighting their supposed skin imperfections to remind us that “perfect” skin doesn’t exist and to love ourselves.

Beauty and skincare blend together

As the US began to reopen and we had more opportunities to glam up and go out, our love of effective skincare stayed strong. Now we’re seeing beauty and skincare come together in hybrid products, like creams that double up as primers and serums with highlighting effects.

Every step of our beauty routines can now incorporate skincare, meaning our favourite makeup, body care, and tanning water now comes with an extra boost for brightened, beautiful skin. The rise of the skintellectual has also given way to trends such as skinimalism, where people will incorporate a basic skincare routine coupled with minimal makeup for a dewy, fresh-faced look. Now that we’ve addressed our biggest skincare concerns, we’re more comfortable letting our natural beauty really shine through.

Our skincare knowledge has increased over time. Instead of buying into brands that use harsh ingredients but promise magic results, we’re more focused on how each ingredient will benefit our skin. The introduction of brands dedicated to making skincare simple has fueled a generation of skincare lovers who know what they want. Our love of skincare TikTok and willingness to research our products have revolutionized the beauty industry, with brands adapting to our ever-changing demands.