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Our Skin Care Obsession Explained

by Samantha Williams August 03, 2018

There’s been a huge wave of skin care interest culturally recently. From its therapeutic and health qualities to its ritualistic self-care role in women’s daily lives, among the subjects most discussed are issues like affordability and sustainability for customers in their everyday routines.

Our collective “skin care obsession” has been linked to a sense of control over one’s well-being, especially for women.

These trends have grown and evolved to include more thorough and thoughtful analyses of what skin care really means to individuals.

Wrapped in these more focused skin care trends are a clearer context of what it means in terms of health benefits, a ritualistic process of daily rejuvenation, and a part of self-care.

Affordable Routines

Skin care, depending on the cost or wider perceptions, is sometimes seen as a luxury. The advent of online skin care communities has blown up the way users share their customized routines and recommended products. This eliminates some weariness about committing time and money.

The way things have become more accessible has made skin care also more open and collaborative. Where before it was seen as perhaps an expensive, somewhat elusive luxury for only those in the know, the roles of gatekeepers into skin care has changed drastically. Anyone can be a skin care expert (both good and bad) given the right knowledge, experience, or voice.

Skin care consumers are savvier than ever with knowledge about ingredients, formulations, and layering. The barriers to entry and mystique around skin care has been broken down to more accessible elements.

Testimonials are easier than ever to find with trials and routine breakdowns more approachable in terms of reliable research or trust.


Skin care has also moved into more performative spaces thanks to social media and these sharing communities online.

Cultural interests leading to more knowledge and spaces into areas like layered Korean skin care routines introduced to western audiences, celebrity testimonials, and personal remedies.

Often custom routines from skin care evangelists, famous faces, or other media personalities involve carefully curated routines with various different products, some often involve inexpensive drugstore brands, and custom layering with detailed instructions. This kind of fanaticism, while not essential, speaks to the greater role of how skin care plays a place in our lives.

The internet and social have made skin care more accessible and also put it into a greater context of how people take care of themselves every day.

skin care obsession

Daily Rituals

Affordability is also linked to trust and consistency in products. Reliable or trusted products will make you more likely to stick with any routine.

Self-care and daily health is best when it’s done regularly every day, is relatively easily done, and affordable long-term.

Often skin care has to be a balancing of these different elements in a special combination. Done right, it has so many compounding benefits beyond soothing the soul.

Skin care as a ritual in the morning and before bedtime can highlight your personal spaces and extend your physical being. An element of control and being responsible for how your look and feel can no doubt be empowering.

The Power of Women

While skin care is, of course, important to everyone regardless of gender, the more substantive awareness and movements of female empowerment have highlighted how important its role is in the lives of women everywhere.

Furthermore, millennials who are currently the cultural driving generation are starting to age into middle-aged adulthood with shifting and evolving habits when it comes to beauty and health. They are getting older and their (sometimes disruptive) advanced buying habits are driving the skin care industry into new directions.

Like the rest of their lives, women want to take skin care on their own terms. Sometimes, this is performative with acts of sharing or purely superficial acknowledgments.

Skin Care Obsession & Trends

Part of the wave includes more knowledge and education about skin care products made easier through social sharing and public conversations online. With it, an endless string of trends, both substantive and fleeting, have emerged from organic/natural to Korean skin care, anti-pollution concerns, beauty masks, DIY solutions, and beyond.

Contemporary and current skin care philosophies are more than ever a reflection of our own feelings around general health, beauty/lifestyle, and self-care.

The industry is moving beyond just products and towards sharing personal experiences of growth through these routines.

Our obsession with skin care really a byproduct of showing how we take care of ourselves. Skin care is increasingly heading to areas of more relatable and approachable contexts that make devotion to routines easier.

Source: The Cut / Teen Vogue

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Samantha Williams

Senior Marketer at METRIN, travel hacker, and serial Netflix binger.

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