Honestly, the Skincare Industry Is Starting to Overwhelm Me



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In 2022, I’m still not completely confident about what’s supposed to go on my face.

The personalized skincare routine I've created feels ever-changing, thanks to the infinite amount of choices and concepts constantly determining what is "best."

In many cases, the discourse around what gives you clear and hydrated skin always points back to water (whether drinking it or making sure it's a key ingredient), washing your face, eating well, and the occasional weekend self-care clay masks.

Then just when I think I've got it figured out, I’m left in an endless carousel of confusion.

I’m still getting a grasp on the right types of sunscreen, for example. Not to mention, navigating the lane of skincare conversations that feel like a blanket statement of, “You’re doing everything wrong.”

According to whoever has the mic, I’m not toning my face enough, or I’m not using the right kind of toner. I’m not applying enough vitamin C to my face in the morning, I’m using cheap products — or, I'm using expensive products that have too many "bad" chemicals. I’m also not on the wave of new Korean skincare products or the ones made specifically for Black women. The list goes on and on.

It’s not that I’m suffering from anything when it comes to my skin, it’s more so that I’m overwhelmed by choice, these widespread conversations, and an influx of celebrity skincare lines being added to the mix doesn't help.

In the last two years alone, Alicia Keys released Keys Soulcare, Jennifer Lopez produced J.Lo Beauty. And more recently, celebs Hailey Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Peyton List, Scarlett Johansson, Winnie Harlow, and even The Elbas followed.

Lopez says beauty has no expiration date, Keys created a collection that emphasizes her “no-makeup” regimen, and Harlow produced a collection for inclusivity and sun protection. All of these skincare lines are aiming to pitch a concept people can relate to. But I'm still not totally on-board.

Celebrities have a huge impact on beauty as a whole. Regardless of the nuanced notions of what this concept should look like (hint: an array of unique features), so we’re still impacted by what beauty is supposed to look like. Subconsciously, our own self-care regimens are being impacted by their routines and endorsed products. 

YouTube has become a sanctuary for beauty gurus and celebrities to share their day and night routines, the products they’re loving the most, and the hacks that have refreshed and maintained their dewy, flawless skin. The viewer watches these videos — keen on the choices and collections their favorite artists are adoring during that season — and unconsciously they reflect on what their own routines should look like. Then consumers purchase products from high-status figures, so that they can gain a fraction of their image. Whether or not these products are actually right for the individual is up for debate.

I would argue that it isn’t a bad thing to be influenced, the amount of content around us constantly creates consumption regardless of the intention. Nonetheless, with the plethora of options laid in front of me, I am personally a bit frazzled. 

Unlike the number of products on the market, my beauty journey seizes to evolve because of the pending thought about how I might feel after trying popular skincare brands. What if, after trying a certain cleanser that promises a boosted radiance, I still don’t feel convinced? What if the product doesn’t promise me the same glow as it has for the people who made them? Would I, or the product be the issue? It's hard to say these days.

It feels paralyzing to have a never-ending palette of brands advocating for the best results. When I was younger, the best my family could offer me was a spoonful of Vaseline and some chapstick. And during that time, I never questioned if a facial serum was missing from this routine. Now, as an adult, I’ve suddenly been bombarded with the fact that my morning routine shouldn’t just consist of soap and water. And as skincare has evolved so much over the years, especially with a commodity of brands that pertain to different aesthetics, it's more difficult to not see this as a capitalistic stunt. Were we really missing this many skincare products the whole time?

It's definitely going to take some time and research to garnish what I like. But instead of focusing on the constructs of how other versions of beauty will be personified on me, it's key to render why skincare products were made in the first place: to take care of my own unique needs.

So while there's a lot of clutter on the market right now, no matter how many skincare lines get created, and regardless of whether or not these celebrity lines work, it's a necessity to keep trying to figure out what works best for me. And so my journey continues.

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