As an all-natural eco-friendly skincare maker, I hate waste. It’s bad for the environment, it’s bad financially and it’s an unnecessary use of our precious time. Your beauty routine should be relaxing and calming but there’s no sense in laying up products on your skin when you simply don’t need them. Some of these extra products can even dry out or irritate your skin.
I’m keen to dispel some myths and settle some mistruths and perhaps we’ll lighten your cosmetic bag and save you some pennies. Let's begin with five totally unnecessary beauty products in your cosmetic bag:
- Eye Cream
- Coconut Oil
- Gendered Skin cream
- Lip Balm
Perhaps you’re not using any of these items, or maybe these products have been residents of your cosmetics bag for decades. Let me explain a little more about them, what makes them unnecessary beauty products in your cosmetic bag and what you might use instead (if anything).
Is Eye Cream Unnecessary?
Want to know a secret? The skin around your eyes is the same as the skin on the other parts of your face. Yes, it tends to be a little thinner but that doesn't mean we need to treat it differently. It still needs the oils and moisture provided by your face cream.
The myth associated with eye creams is that they need to be lighter because the tissue is more delicate. Still, this doesn't mean we need to use a different product. We simply need to apply a little less around the eyes area, moving slowly in small circles using our fingertips to encourage, not run, the moisturiser in.
So what is eye cream? Well, some brands claim to add active ingredients that tackle the crow's feet and wrinkles that are likely to accumulate around the eyes as we age. But there's no miracle solution to wrinkles and anyone who claims their product can eliminate them should be treated with scepticism. The truth is that most eye cream is actually just watered down moisturiser - with a considerable price point.
One more thought - A highly fragranced face moisturiser, particularly one that contains chemicals, may irritate your eyes. This is another reason why some brands offer an alternative product for use around the delicate eye area. However, I would advise reconsidering your moisturiser altogether because if it’s too heavy for use near your eyes then I'd venture those chemicals shouldn't be used on your skin at all.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin?
I know you’re expecting me to say yes because I’m a lover of oils and foodie ingredients and natural products. So I’m going to shock you here and let you know that coconut oil doesn’t do much for your skin. Except make it smell great of course. The oil from coconut is creamy, beautifully exotic in scent and silky in texture but it is not absorbed well by the skin. If you use it you might notice that it sits on top of your skin and that means it's not feeding your tissues as a natural oil ideally would. Whilst it probably won’t do you any harm, added moisture should sink into the lower layer of your skin where it can nourish and bind those tissue compounds together to enhance firmness and suppleness. In addition, coconut oil is highly comedogenic so it can actually clog pores, trapping toxins and stopping your skin from properly breathing.
I’m afraid, whilst I love coconut in my curries, it's one of those unnecessary beauty products in your cosmetic bag.
One more thought - Since coconut oil sits on top of the skin and does not get absorbed, it is a great way of making glitter stick to your skin! So, if you’re getting festival-ready and bejewelling your face, consider using coconut oil as a natural chemical-free glitter base.
Do We Need Gendered Skin Care?
This is such a bugbear for me. I mean, most of what we ‘gender’ is so old-dated and when it comes to beauty products, I have an eye-opener for you - gender-targeted skincare is more about branding than content.
Ok, so there are some differences in male and female skin due to women’s higher levels of estrogen. However, this doesn't necessarily mean we need different products. After all, everyone’s skin is different and that’s why we tend to experiment with different brands to find the product that works for us. Bringing gender into it is an unnecessary complication, and I’ll tell you why.
First, I should point out that men’s skincare and women’s skincare is not usually different at all. Check out the ingredients in a moisturiser for a female and one, preferably of the same brand, for men, and you’ll see they contain pretty much the same things. And that’s because our skin needs the same things.
Men and women need nourishment and hydration. We need a product that complements our skin's natural oils. So, the fact that men’s skin tends to be 25% thicker than women’s skin doesn’t mean they need a different moisturiser - they just need to use it more because thicker skin needs more regular hydration. And the massaging in of a good cream does wonders too.
So can you and your partner share a moisturiser? Absolutely - if you have a similar skin type, of course.
Do You Need Lip Balm?
The skin on your lips is different to the skin on the other parts of your body. It does not contain the same oil glands and, as a result, it's easier for lips to become dry and damaged. Chapped lips are caused by air that steals moisture from around our mouths. Lip balms claim to restore this moisture and they can. By creating a barrier, they protect lips from drying out, replacing our natural oils with the oil in the balm. However, regular use of lip balm means our skin doesn’t have to work as hard. This results in our lips lowering the moisture they produce, leading us to rely on lip balm.
Some lip balms also contain allergens and this can cause a reaction. What is misleading, in this case, is that the rash caused by the allergen appears as chapping. Therefore, again, many will continue or even increase their use of the balm.
There has been much talk about lip balm being addictive and there is certainly some truth in this. In essence, the balm both solves and perpetuates a problem. A good beauty product should stimulate your skin’s natural protection and oils, not take over.
So, what is the solution? Again, moisturiser is enough here. The face cream you use should help the skin on your lips repair and stimulate natural oil production. It might not taste as good as some lip balms but spreading your moisturiser over your lips will nourish and rehydrate the skin without irritating it.
What Is Primer Really Doing?
Primer absolutely works! And it is absolutely necessary - IF your moisturiser is no good.
Essentially, what you’re looking for a primer to do, is what your moisturiser should already have done. Moisturiser should delve into your pores, nourish, restore moisture and then sink lower into your skin, leaving an invisible barrier. Good face cream should close pores back up and leave your skin with an even base. This provides a smooth surface for make-up to sit on top of.
A common mistake made, and one reason why so many people swear by primer is that we’re not allowing our moisturiser to do its work before we apply make-up. Hey, I get it! Mornings are busy and for women who wear make-up, there’s even more to do. Many of us believe that our face is make-up ready when we can no longer see or even feel moisturiser but I would recommend giving it a few extra minutes because a truly nourishing moisturiser will take longer to fully sink into the skin. Once your moisturiser has completely dried you should not need to apply anything else before your foundation or powder.
Primer, like many products, is not harmful but it’s one of those products that’s likely making up for bad quality moisturiser or bad quality foundation. Ideally, your face cream should leave you with a smooth base and no open pores for make-up to get into. Your foundation should glide over and sit on top of this base. If that’s not happening it’s not time to add another product, it’s time to look at why what you have is not giving the finish it should be.
What Are The Necessary Products You Need In Your Cosmetic Bag?
Well, firstly, ditch the bag because nothing you need is going to fill it up. In too many instances, we are paying for branding, not product or we're adding products because our existing products are not doing what they claim on the bottle. Yet, we continue to use these existing products as well. There is no sense in having 5 unnecessary beauty products in your cosmetic bag when one good product will do. It is wasteful and, to be frank, it feels like a con. One which preys on our desire to appear as flawless as the airbrushed models in the magazines that contain these product advertisements.
I make moisturisers and oils because this is all your skin needs. Apart from lots of water and a healthy balanced diet. A good moisturiser and a good oil will serve the skin all over your body. A lighter moisturiser can be used for your body because it tends to be less sensitive and a thicker moisturiser can be used for hands and feet because, well, we put them through a lot, don’t we?
What we are often led to believe is that slight differences in the makeup of our skin mean different products are required. However, just because your skin may be slightly thinner or thicker in places doesn’t mean that it needs different nutrients. A good face cream will stimulate your skin’s natural oils, barriers and defences. I’m very well known for saying that skincare should be food for the skin and I stand by this. The gut though is much more complex than the skin and, whilst our gut needs variety, our skin needs simplicity and consistency. That means more than a couple of different products overcomplicate the routine. Save yourself some time and money by investing in one good face cream and use it around your eyes and on your lips as well. Just make sure the product you choose doesn't contain harsh chemicals or allergens.
My attitude to skincare is similar to my attitude to life - find what works for you and don’t overcomplicate it.