Return To Innocence?
Female Singapore|April 2020
Return To Innocence?
You’ve heard of the hemline index (its theory: the better the economy, the shorter the skirts). Now what about the beauty index? From a simplification of routines to a renewed focus on some of the most time-honoured ingredients (nothing fancy-schmancy here, guys), Moh Shuying looks at how some of the latest trends in makeup and skincare might reflect today’s state of the world.


More and more women are going on a skincare diet – a reminder that sometimes more can indeed be too much.

K-beauty swept the world about a decade ago and with it came the normalisation of the multi-step regime: toner, lotion, essence, ampoule, serum, moisturiser, facial oil… The list goes on. Over the past year though, experts have been noticing a rise in women streamlining their beauty routines. Aptly dubbed the skincare diet, the trend sees the return to a simpler tripartite approach: toner, serum, moisturiser, done (uhm, cleansing ought to be a given).

Socialists might attribute it to the resurgence of feminism – you know, modern, busy women have much better things to do than waste an hour or more on prettifying their faces. But as with how many are pushing back against today’s culture of oversaturation by stripping back, this beauty detox so to speak might have to do with the effects of application overload – actual physical ones.

Recent studies have shown an increase in the number of women seeking help for skin sensitivity, redness or inflammation. While our dedicated/extensive/time-consuming quest for Song Hye Kyo’s complexion might not be the only cause, it could certainly be a factor. “Putting excessive stuff on your face is not beneficial for skin,” says makeup artist Larry Yeo. “I find that it results in build-up and can cause some people to break out more, especially in our humid weather.”

It’s a point that Dr Calvin Chan, medical director of Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, agrees with. “More is not always better when it comes to skincare even if you are using good quality, expensive products,” he says. “Firstly, excessive active ingredients can counteract one another or trigger irritation. Secondly, if you apply too many layers of skincare, they may not absorb well and potentially clog pores.”

To say that this new decade’s skincare diet movement is the result of vanity and an unhealthy obsession with Descendants of the Sun, however, would not be fair. Improvements in technology, research and ingredients have made it easier for brands to pack more benefits into a product and reduce the time needed to see results. And as Yeo puts it: “A toner, serum and moisturiser are sufficient to give one good skin. The trick is to find well-formulated products.”

Take Cle de Peau Beaute’s Key Radiance collection, for example. Consisting of exactly a lotion, serum and moisturiser, it claims to brighten skin and treat all signs of ageing (yes, all – from lines to dehydration) with a complex that boosts skin’s natural ability to discern between and react to good and bad stimuli. Within a week of trial, we noticed a softer complexion; its full effect in approximately three.

Even South Korean favourite Sulwhasoo is giving the less-is-more approach a shot: Its Bloomstay Vitalizing line similarly boasts only a water, serum and cream. Enriched with plum blossom extract – known for its powerful antioxidant properties – it promises to reduce free radicals and in turn slow down skin’s ageing process all while restoring its firmness and vitality.

So is it time for everyone to cut back on their skincare consumption and ditch everything else besides that magic trio? It’s sure worth a shot. Think of it as Marie Kondo-ing your beauty regime. While perfect skin remains the main goal, the process of reflecting on and figuring out what will actually help achieve that – and eliminating the excess – will also offer something that everyone can do with more of today: mindfulness.


It seems obvious enough, what with hydration being the most essential element to skin health. Yet with rising temperatures (read: more water loss) and a mounting air pollution problem (moisture strengthens skin’s protective barrier against it), the need for reminders on the importance of moisturisers has become as good as urgent. How have brands been responding to this “crisis”? With power-packed, multitasking variations like these.

Chanel Sublimage La Creme Lumiere, $594


You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber


Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines


April 2020