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Smooth Talking: The Politics Of Skincare

Trust “expert” influencers but beware of brands. Invest in science, but support disruptors. Has skincare ever been more controversial?

Jennifer George

It used to be that people could get on with their daily cleanse, tone and moisturize without anyone batting an eyelid. But with improvements in research, the growth of social media and – let’s be honest – savvy marketing, skincare has become big business. Research by Cosmetics Europe shows that 74 percent of makeup users now consider skincare their main aesthetic focus, and 37 percent of women are shopping for dermatologist-recommended skincare. “Visits to the skincare section of our website are 60 percent higher than last year,” says Kate Morris, CEO, and founder of Australian e-tailer Adore Beauty. Data shows that customers are researching ingredients according to their individual skin type, with “retinol” and “vitamin C” now among Mecca’s top customer search terms. The hashtag #skincareaddiction – usually tagged against a snap of a product purchase – is up 55 percent on last year, according to Trending Talks, and the ever-debated #pmroutine (double cleansing vs 10 steps, among others) is up to a staggering 214 percent.

Not content with super serums and regimented routines, we’re also turning to gadgets and tools to up our game. The industry-leading micro needling tool GloPRO sold out at launch, making over $5 million in 24 hours, and its parent company reported sales pushing $140 million in 2018. According to Morris, Adore Beauty has also seen a significant upswing in the interest around micro needling tools, a skincare device that, until recently, was largely obscure to the average consumer. “Two years ago we were selling hardly any derma rollers and now we sell thousands every month,” she says. Its clear consumers are a lot savvier when it comes to skincare, which is a good thing. But with all of this information comes a lot of noise and strong opinions, often unqualified. So who to trust? And what to believe? Read on…


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June/July 2019