Skincare
5
MIN READ

The Product Graveyard: Why We Should End the “Shelfie” Trend

And embrace “skinimalism”

Dylan Mustapich

Esthetician at Atolla

Dylan Mustapich

Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.

Summary

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Alongside the rise of social media platforms came an interest in celebrity “shelfies”, AKA shelf selfies, to try and gain insight into how the rich, famous, and well-connected care for their skin and seemingly “defy” an aging process that seems all but inevitable to us mere mortals. Thankfully, I believe that we are moving beyond the shelfie era and collectively embracing a more minimalist (or skinimalist) approach to skincare.

Alongside the rise of social media platforms came an interest in celebrity “shelfies”, AKA shelf selfies, to try and gain insight into how the rich, famous, and well-connected care for their skin and seemingly “defy” an aging process that seems all but inevitable to us mere mortals. We were surprised to find out that runway models use drugstore makeup remover. We learned about a certain hard to find French exfoliating toner (P50) seemingly responsible for every poreless complexion in Hollywood. Shelfies introduced us to brands we’d never heard of (Augustinus Bader, Barbara Sturm), and reintroduced us to classic products like Ponds Cold Cream and Vaseline. Then there was the presentation – a (heavily filtered) photo of skincare products meticulously organized and grouped by color/size/etc. It was the definition of aspirational content. Many wished they too could one day amass such an impressive collection of lotions and potions AND have the storage space to keep them all beautifully organized. Never mind that the true secret to these people’s eternally youthful complexions is often a combination of non/minimally invasive treatments and genetics.

What resulted was a culture of conspicuous skincare consumption fueled by shelfie-style content, social media and online communities (like Reddit). For a certain type of beauty junkie, it became chic to ornately display all their favorite products on their vanity or countertop, almost like a skincare shrine. Tiny refrigerators designed for skincare products started popping up all over social media. Skincare “haul” videos, which gives everyone a platform to show off their new purchases, became wildly popular on YouTube.

Paired with a personal confusion around what products work for your skin, the aspirational skincare collecting led to massive overconsumption and waste, as all those skincare products began to pass their “best by” dates. It turns out that no one really needs twelve different moisturizers, and the vast majority of people ultimately end up reaching for the one or two they absolutely love. Skincare products are not collectables, no matter how luxurious the packaging.

In addition to all the waste that results from hoarding skincare products, some people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars building out their collection. Buying every buzzy new serum and moisturizer adds up very quickly. Rather than emptying your bank account and filling your shelves, it’s best to gradually integrate each product into your routine. This way, if there is a reaction or textural issue, you can simply stop using it rather than trying to pinpoint the culprit from your latest haul. Everyone’s skin is different; just because all the beauty editors and influencers are raving about a new product doesn’t mean it’s right for you. By avoiding trends and taking a personalized approach to skincare, you can save a lot of time, money, and counter space.

Skincare, above all else, is about consistency. Active ingredients like Vitamin C and Retinol often take months of regular use to achieve noticeable results. When your cabinet contains more serums than days of the week, it's extremely difficult to achieve the level of consistency these ingredients require to work their best. Another problem with routine inconsistency is pinpointing what is and isn’t working. You may think that your moisturizer is awful because it pills up when you apply it, when actually it’s something applied underneath that’s causing the problem. On the other hand, you might think your skin is reacting to a certain product, only to find out using it in conjunction with another potent active is what’s irritating your skin.

Thankfully, I believe that we are moving beyond the shelfie era and collectively embracing a more minimalist (or skinimalist) approach to skincare. Many are finding that pairing down their skincare routine to 3-5 products can greatly benefit their complexion. It turns out that layering 10+ products may have been contributing to clogged pores and ingredient interactions for many. When your skin is no longer overloaded with product and being constantly bombarded with strong actives such as exfoliating acids and retinol, it rewards you with a healthy glowing complexion. The Atolla Ritual allows you to seamlessly transition into “skinimalism”. By custom formulating a core 3-step routine with products designed to work with your skin as well as each other, we’re able to combine the right actives in the right products for a streamlined yet effective skincare routine. 

This back-to-basics approach is more than just a trend; it’s an efficient, effective, common sense approach to taking good care of your skin (and the environment). I, for one, am embracing all the extra counter space.


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