The most important facet of skinimalism is transparency, says Geologie founder

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

“‘Skinimalism’ may currently be a buzzword, but the idea of following a ‘less-is-more’ approach to skincare, in which you only use the products that you need at that moment, is timeless,” said Xu. © Ivan Martynov Getty Images
“‘Skinimalism’ may currently be a buzzword, but the idea of following a ‘less-is-more’ approach to skincare, in which you only use the products that you need at that moment, is timeless,” said Xu. © Ivan Martynov Getty Images

Related tags trend spotting Skin care skinimalism trending Skin health

As consumers continue to become better educated about product ingredients and formulations, a commitment to transparency can be beneficial for cosmetics companies and consumers alike.

Skin care product trends wax and wane against the tides of consumer demand and popular opinion. It is the responsibility of cosmetics and personal beauty care companies to deliver products that meet consumer needs.

In Pinterest’s 2021 Trend Prediction report, the social media platform utilized internal analytics to provide insight into an emergent trend they coined "skinimalism". Since that time, as previously covered​ by CosmeticsDesign, this trend has touched multiple facets of the cosmetics and personal beauty care industries and has been reflected in marketing campaigns, branding efforts, and product offerings. However, the concept of a minimalized skin care routine does not capture consumer attention alone - companies looking to gain a more significant foothold with consumers searching for skinimalist products can benefit from practicing transparency to establish legitimacy and trust. 

To better understand the importance of transparency to the skinimalism trend and its impact on consumer purchasing behaviors in the cosmetics and skin care market spaces, CosmeticsDesign sat down to speak with Dr. Steve Xu, a founding dermatologist for the skin care brand Geologie. Dr. Xu developed the Geologie brand, a line of skin care products designed to fit precisely into the skinimalist niche, directly responding to consumers searching for a more straightforward, targeted solution to address their skin care concerns.

Transparency in skin care

In developing the Geologie line, Dr. Xu related that one of the most common concerns that their brand sought to address is that consumers “are overwhelmed by the number of skin care products and brands that are out there — especially those that claim various results without scientifically backing them up​.” To that end, he explained, transparency is one of the most important facets of skinimalism.

As consumers become increasingly conscious about the products they choose to put on their faces and bodies", ​he said, “companies should prioritize transparency across all of their marketing and packaging, specifically as it pertains to ingredients and their use-cases​.” For consumers looking to adopt and practice the principles of skinimalism in their routines, a high level of transparency could help determine the decision to complete a purchase. Further, those looking for a streamlined skin care routine can more easily search for targeted products that address specific concerns when companies practice transparency, as being well-informed is increasingly becoming a more critical part of the process. 

For Geologie and Dr. Xu, “transparency is a practice we take seriously— in addition to clearly printing our ingredients on the front of our product’s packaging, we also offer a 30-second quiz about particular skin concerns and goals to help create a personalized product regimen." ​These practices are just some of the options available to skin care brands that can and are already being implemented to incorporate principles of skinimalism to meet consumer needs better. 

Skinimalist principles can be applied to different purchasing decisions depending on the unique consumer’s needs, he further explained. For many, “skinimalism simply means identifying which products are the most important for their skin care goals, and only using those products in order to reduce time, effort, and money spent on unnecessary skin care products​.” For consumers, the motivation to embrace skinimalism can range from financial concerns to simply becoming overwhelmed by the endless number of different product formulations and bioactive ingredients promising different results.

Transparent branding helps manage consumer expectations and gives consumers confidence in their product selections. Companies can reach consumers with specific concerns more directly and emphasize more focused solutions with better-targeted results. Companies that share ingredient lists and offer clear guidelines to matching consumers with the best-fit product, like Geologie, are offering customers the opportunity to “prioritize ingredients that actually have clinical evidence of real world benefit and minimize the risk of skin irritants or allergens​,” said Xu. 

The longevity of the skinimalism trend

Dr. Xu acknowledged that not all companies in the skin care space might be as eager to jump on the skinimalism trend despite its growing popularity, particularly within the Millennial and Gen Z consumer demographics. Indeed, “some skin care brands may be intimidated by skinimalism",​ he explained, “as it may lead to less frivolous purchasing from skin care consumers​” and subsequently could impact profit margins.

Other companies may consider the trend a simple fad, much like the previous "maximalist" trend that gave rise to skinimalism in the first place. Still, companies with business models like Geologie that embrace the trend’s core principles can expect to remain competitive through transparent branding. 

Skinimalism may currently be a buzzword", ​Xu concluded, "but the idea of following a ‘less-is-more’ approach to skin care, in which you only use the products that you need at that moment, is timeless​.”

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