Skin care trends...Which ones are the real deal?

Skin care trends...Which ones are the real deal?

One of my favorite pastimes is exploring the “New” tab on Sephora’s website. It’s like taking a stroll through the skin care laboratories of six months ago. You’ll notice that some clear trends start to emerge, some of them inspired by past faves.

Some trends are familiar to us now: Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, collagen. But what about the other ones? Retinol, niacinamide, CBD, fruit extracts? What is worth investing in and what’s a seasonal fad?

Let’s break down some of the most popular skincare trends of 2020…


Retinol: The Anti-Aging Potion

Retinol has taken the beauty world by storm. Once limited to prescription acne treatments, the retinol products of today are marketed as the secret to a smooth, wrinkle-free complexion. What is retinol and what does it do?

Retinol is the active form of Vitamin A. It’s vital for cell turnover and collagen production, as well as immune system and tissue health. Applied topically, it’s a powerful active that reduces wrinkles, blurs blemishes, and fades hyperpigmentation. Ingested in appropriate doses, it promotes collagen production, boosts immune function, and improves organ function. 

There have been dozens of studies to support the anti-aging benefits of retinol skin care. There have also been hundreds or horror stories of inflamed faces, contact dermatitis, and severe peeling. How do you balance the risks of irritation with the benefits of retinol? Slow and steady wins the retinol race! Start with a gentle formula like FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum 0.25% to build up your tolerance before moving on to a more heavy duty product like Murad Retinol Youth Renewal. Start by using your gentle retinol once or twice a week in the evening before working up to 2-3 applications per week.

New to retinol and worried about the potential irritation? You can go for an ingestible product (ehem, like the Retinol Gummy) or use an alternative like bakuchiol which produces similar results without the sensitization. 

Retinol: here to stay.


Personalized Beauty: Tailored Regimens, Tailored Experience

If you’ve been on Instagram lately, you’ve probably noticed some targeted ads featuring skincare made just for you! After filling out an extensive questionnaire, you’ll be presented with a skincare formula designed exactly for your skin. Cool, right?

It’s not just skincare. Anything you can think of to personalize is personalizable. While looking for a wedding gift for my husband I came across a bespoke cologne company that asked questions like, “What is your drink of choice?” to determine your ideal fragrance.

When I started getting these ads, I wondered how customized these products could really be. Knowing the time and cost of developing a product for the market, I figured that most of these brands had a library of pre-made products that they would choose based on your answers and slap your name on the bottle. Instant customization! Turns out that’s only partly true.

Some companies like Proven actually do formulate a completely custom blend of ingredients for you! With entirely bespoke products, you’re probably going to see a hefty price tag and a select variety of ingredients. Why? Well, it costs a lot for a brand to mix a product, and costs even more when they purchase the ingredients in small amounts. To make their business work, they need to use the same ingredients (albeit in different ratios) for most people. 

Other companies like Curology are not quite as customized. Sure, your treatment is chosen based on your quiz response, but you are getting a product selected for you from a premade list of options rather than hand blended. Is that bad? No! Would I call it customized? Also no.

One way or the other, personalized skin care is here to stay.  


CBD: Wonder Drug or Hoax

Sephora and your local grocery store have something in common: CBD products.

Lotions, tinctures, serums, and supplements. If it can be made with CBD, it has been. But does CBD really do anything for skin or is it just a marketing ploy?

CBD is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to skincare, those properties could theoretically be helpful in reducing acne, redness, and irritation. 

The experts are out on this one. Generally speaking the consensus is that it won’t do any harm to use CBD in your skincare routine but it’s probably not doing anything more special than any other ingredient.

Want the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD without the CBD price tag? Try products with hero ingredients like turmeric, green tea, and resveratrol.