How do you know if you are a minimalist when it comes to your personal beauty routine?
I see that the term “minimalist” is bantered about in beauty and wellness advertising and marketing material. And I don’t see many attempts to define it. I find the term interesting and I want to look at it a little deeper.
First, what is the definition of ‘minimalism’?
Minimalism involves achieving a goal with moderation, sparseness and simplicity. It is often used to characterize art or music. Today, the term is used to describe much more, such as design and architecture, lifestyle, and now beauty.
For beauty, there are no strict or well-established criteria for using the terms related to minimalism, such as minimalist. In my opinion, minimalist beauty would be achieving one’s goal with a minimum of simple tools and a spare approach to both the process and the final result of enhancing one’s natural beauty, not overwriting it.
As a skin care and skin wellness expert, I would say that using a minimum of multipurpose and clean products would be at the heart of minimalist beauty. Simplicity would characterize the process. Moderation would characterize the final appearance, which would be restrained and natural.
How many ingredients should be in a particular product in order for it to be considered “minimal”?
In makeup, just enough to create color and a final look that is minimal. Mineral makeup is a perfect example of a minimalist beauty product. Mineral powders can be applied with a brush or sponge. Loose powder or a compact should contain not much beyond the powder. Fragrance and filler would be omitted. It can be applied dry or with a wet brush, such as an angle or fine brush, to create eyeliner. I personally do this each day using my Baked Mineral Trio Eye Shadow and two eco-friendly brushes. I can define my brows, eyes and lash line with one or two trios. They have minimal ingredients that are clean.
BB Creams are another excellent minimalist beauty solution. In one product you have tinting as a replacement to foundation, hydration and sunscreen for sun protection. The simplicity of using a BB cream necessitates a more complex product formulation; more ingredients will be necessary to achieve 3 goals in one product. Again, fragrance, fillers and extraneous ingredients should be excluded. Formulations should be as simple as possible and well thought out so that the ‘solution’ to achieving the final goals is elegant. I personally achieve the three goals every day with this Suntegrity 5-1 Facial Sunscreen.
Lip products should provide color, hydration and sun protection. I personally achieve these 3 goals with this Suntegrity Lip C.P.R. SPF Sunscreen Lipstick. I usually also line and fill in my faded 60 year old lips first with a longer wearing product such as Dr. Hauschka Lip Liner. Neither product contains heavy metals or toxic ingredients. These two products necessarily have a list of ingredients that sound long. They create the simplicity of function. Both could be sold without the boxes so I would not say they are entirely minimalist in terms of packaging.
What kinds of ingredients should be included in a product, and what kinds would need to be omitted for it to be considered a Minimalist Beauty Product?
Minimalist beauty would exclude the superfluous ingredients ubiquitous in most beauty products. Those are fragrances (both natural and synthetic), fillers, fairy dusted “actives” added only to enhance marketing appeal, and excessive packaging done for the same purpose. The exact product formulation would vary depending on the product. For example, makeup can be simple mineral powder. Sunscreen BB creams are necessarily much more complex and have to pass FDA requirements for product performance and stability.
My Naturally Best Bar Soap is minimalist – it effectively and gently cleans the skin, and is naturally made, with minimal packaging.
Skin hydration with either my Natural Lotion or Butter is also minimalist – every ingredient is purpose driven and there is nothing more added – deep skin hydration, hypoallergenic without fillers or fluff, minimal packaging.
My Facial Booster Oils are a beautiful example of minimalist beauty products too.
My Sheer Strength Pure Mineral Tinted Matte sunscreen provides oily or acne prone complexions tinting and broad spectrum SPF for daily wear. Suntegrity does the same for dry to normal complexions. Both are formulations without fluff, filler or allergens and have minimalist packaging.
All my mineral makeup powders do the same. Pick from Baked (if you like to apply with a brush), Pressed (for those who like to apply with a sponge) or Loose (contains kaolin clay to help absorb oil through the day). My loose blush highlights cheeks.
My Eco Friendly Brush Set has all the brushes one needs, stored in a cotton wrap. The set is also cruelty free.
Lip care options include your favorite lip liner topped with Vanicream Lip Protectant SPF for gloss, and Suntegrity Lip CPR for both color and SPF.
Final thought on Minimalist Beauty from the point of view of a doctor and dermatologist
I would describe my personal approach to beauty as minimalist. It developed in part out of necessity, as a working mom who has had to get ready for work quickly over the past 35 years. Also it follows my values and priorities based on my career as a dermatologist; the more superfluous ingredients in a product, the more likely I am to see a patient come in for an allergic reaction to it. These extra ingredients are added for marketing appeal to increase sales. The same is true for excess packaging. I’m glad to see a movement away from excessive beauty products and towards simplicity.
As a dermatologist who is also a lifelong student of science, I’ve always appreciated that minimalist beauty is akin to the term ‘an elegant solution’ in mathematics. It means achieving the desired outcome with the smallest and simplest effort. As a woman interested in style and design, I know it means creating beauty with restraint, refinement and simplicity. Minimalist beauty is an elegant solution.
Check out Dr. Bailey's recent comments in this Nylon.com article about Minimalist Beauty