2021 will be the end of Shelfie and the rise of “skinmalism”

“Less is more,” famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said in 1947. Obviously, Mies van der Rohe never set out to design the perfect shelf.

“Perfect” is subjective, of course, but even an average aesthetic looking shelf needs numbers on its side. To take a recent post from Into the Gloss – the platform that kicked off that Instagrammable-if-impractical arrangement of beauty products in the early 2010s with its Top Shelf series – with over 125 products stacked in one bathroom. To be human. Regular influencer shelves Matt woodcox, who notes he’s “not a minimalist” in his Instagram bio, boasts 52 to 75 to 81 bottles, cans and jars at a time. A display of beautician Despina Daniilidis distributes at least 67 hair and skin care products on a three-tier shelf.

All of the above include beauty brands that skincare enthusiasts are probably familiar with: Drunk Elephant, Tatcha, Glossier, Herbivore Botanicals, Biossance. You probably know them because of all of the above, in fact. “Companies are taking advantage of the craze for tablets to develop their activities”, Independent of beauty reported in 2018, calling stylized social media posts “word of mouth in the form of a photo”. At first, that’s exactly what they were.

But in 2021, after a year marked by the still raging coronavirus pandemic, the ever more serious effects of climate change, an economic crisis that widened the wealth gap, and the (less serious but still important!) battle of the beauty industry for save skin barriers– the shelves feel… dated. Wasteful. Seeing.

“Five years ago, that was me – with an overflowing beauty cabinet and extended routine,” Neada Deters, founder of the minimalist beauty brand Less, tell me. “I also had chronic acne and developed sensitized skin.”

His experience is not unique. As The New York Times announced in an article entitled “All of these products make your skin worse“, all of these products actually make your skin worse. Acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis are on the rise, along with the number of skin care offerings on the market. “When you overwork the skin like you do with a 12-step diet, it can be detrimental,” says Deters. (Dermatologists agree.) “We often just strip the skin’s natural oils and then replace them with layers of product.”

It may start with a cleanser that cleans the pores and dries your skin. You exfoliate dandruff with a daily application of acids, but since the dead skin cells retain more humidity than other skin cells, the underlying problem gets worse over time. With the moisture barrier effectively “damaged”, the following ingredients sink deeper into the skin – where they do not necessarily belong– and potentially cause inflammation. Maybe you add essences and serums and moisturizers and oils to calm and compensate; maybe they are clogging your pores; maybe you go for a zit-zapping spot treatment. “The skin undergoes a boost from products and assets and is never able to balance itself”, explains April Gargiulo, founder of Winegrower’s daughter, a brand built on the power of a single serum. The cycle begins again, but oh, the products are pretty. “It’s a build of the industry that wants you to buy more,” says Deters. “I finally worked it out by [simplifying] my skin care ritual. Now I have healthy, amazingly clear skin.

Dermatologists also often warn against a heavy product approach. “The [are] so many things people use on their skin that make it itchy, ”says Aimee Paik, MD, Certified Dermatologist with Personalized Dermatology Platform Apostrophe. “I focus on evidence-based skin care and skip ingredients or fad products that may be irritating or just plain unnecessary.”

So why isn’t everyone already stopping it with every skincare product?

It is complicated. Like the selfies before them, the shelves have come to represent something deeper than a decor: “communicating your perceived identity Writes psychologist Nneoma G. Onyedire. “My shelf is the first thing I see when I wake up and when I drift [off] at night, ”Daniilidis told me via email in early 2020.“ My shelf is more than all my safe space. Like, every product is my baby, you know? They all have a home with me. And they have protected me and have been there for me through many great moments in life. “

The influencer is one of many who feel emotionally connected to her skincare collection. Beauty is inherently emotional, after all; there is a whole field of dermatology dedicated to exploring the relationship between skin and spirit.

But one could also argue that this type of shelf identification distracts attention from really take care of the skin(giving him what he needs: less “skin care”, more support via to sleep , hydration, nutrition, exercise and stress reduction) to just seeming to take care of the skin (by amassing a mountain perfect products for the image and refrigerate unnecessarilythem).

“The skincare craze is not per se introspective: it is interested in oneself, but stops at the literal outermost layer,” Krithika Varagur wrote in The Outline viral article. “The skin care scam. “The craze for tablets stops there again: relatively few products go from photos to faces.

As one curious follower commented on an Instagram of about 107 products, many of them are “backups” – beauty blogger talks about multiples of the same post – “How do you get rid of it all before it expires? The answer, coming from someone who has already amassed a beauty wardrobe full of gifted items and influenced the purchases of mine, don’t you, at least not by yourself. Even a twice-daily application of a 10-step routine for two years in a row would not empty 107 bottles. The shelves are for the show.

“When I started, everyone was making shelves and I was like I want my product to be on someone’s shelf! »Says Abena Boamah, Founder of Shea Butter Beauty Brand Beauty Hanahana. At one point, she even hosted a faux-shelfie photoshoot. “We may have posted one,” but something’s wrong, she said. “I don’t know a lot of people who stand in front of their bathroom mirror and that’s where they get ready. Sometimes you just sit on the floor and put on shea.

For Boamah, a stylish shelf doesn’t reflect real life. “I’d rather you have Hanahana in your hand and take this photo instead, or right next to your bedside, where it doesn’t really look that good, than a shelf,” she shares. -she. As the industry moves towards more transparency in marketing – no to retouch , yes to the information on ingredient supply– Boamah predicts the tablet trend will end.

“It is increasingly rare that we are tagged on photos with dozens of products,” recognizes Deters. The result of the shame inflicted by the shelves?

In the midst of a long-standing climate crisis, it’s hard to walk past an overflowing shelf without pondering the waste involved in making, shipping, and unpacking each item, or ignoring the environmental impact of the consumerism it promotes. Nancy Schnoll, founder of Reflekt, a one-SKU skin care company, goes so far as to say that it makes her “really sad” to see Reflekt included on customer shelves. “How could he not? I just don’t buy into this whole concept more and more, ”she tells me. (The Reflekt 1 Daily Exfoliating Face Washcleanses, exfoliates and hydrates in one step.)

Lesse, Vintner’s Daughter, Hanahana Beauty and other ‘flagship’ brands –Augustin Bader, Supernal , C & The Moon– similarly, avoid typical tablet setups on Instagram. “Maybe it’s a little unconscious,” Deters reflects. “These images often project a need for a large collection of products, and that’s just not our message or our mission.”

But as the industry adapts to adapt environmentally conscious consumers, what is ‘subconscious’ for a sustainability-based skincare brand will undoubtedly become a deliberately assumed aesthetic for others. Just as Net-a-Porter has distanced itself from ostentatious boxesin the face of the 2008 recession, today’s content creators may possibly step away from the overdone shelves or risk appearing disconnected. Daniilidis admits, “As excited as my bookshelf is, the decline in excessive PR demands is increasingly common to me. “

“I think people are starting to realize that you have all of these things and are you really going to use them all?” Said Boamah. “And why, if I know one product works for me, should I use another product? “

The signs are there. The board is finished, or will be soonan outdated symbol of unnecessary products in unnecessary packaging, burden on the skin and burden on the planet, hence the beauty industry has gone wrong and, incidentally, what Mies van der Rohe has done right.

Skinimalism in 2021, are you interested?

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