Minimalism in Beauty

Picture the scene: it’s 8am and you’re in a rush to leave the house. You’ve got ten minutes to get yourself from in the shower with dripping hair to out the door with glossy skin. The bathroom cabinet (not to mention your makeup bag) is bulging with products, each claiming to do individual things and each slowing down your getting ready routine bit by bit. Wouldn’t it be easier if what you put on your hair, skin and body was less fussy and much more pared-down?

Enter multi-purpose beauty. Hardly a new phenomenon, the idea of one product serving multiple purposes has been around forever. Whether it’s the two-in-one shampoo and conditioner you used as a child or your all-in-one foundation, concealer and sunscreen you can’t live without. However, the industry has seen an influx of multi-taskers hit the market recently and there seems to be a fresh new buzz surrounding the reasons why these type of products are becoming such an integral part of our beauty bag. In the salon, we’ve noticed an increased interest in multi-use - our clients are regularly telling us how they’re trying to keep their bathroom cabinets more condensed and are on the look out for products with combined uses.

Minimalism is a movement that we’re all familiar with - whether that’s through our carefully-chosen wardrobe basics or the way we decorate our home. In design, keeping things minimal has become the decision du jour for modern living, giving us a low-clutter, high-style lifestyle that’s fresh, modern and timeless. Why can’t the same rules apply to our hair and beauty routines?

According to the Environmental Working Group, the average woman uses 9 products containing 126 unique ingredients every day. More than a quarter of all women use at least 15 products daily. To make things even more complicated, the message from the beauty industry seems to be a conflicting one too - either citing ten-step Korean skincare regimes as the next big thing or singing the praises of “less is more”, often with a focus on natural and organic products that tend to use fewer, more potent ingredients.

Image: Studio Testo
Image: Studio Testo

When it comes to multi-purpose in hair and beauty, the question is always the same. How will one product doing multiple things perform better than several products, each focusing on doing one thing really well? At Glasshouse, this is where we’ve seen the biggest change. Advances in formulas and brands focusing their attention on developing their own multi-taskers has meant that it is possible for one product to look as good on your lips as it does on your cheeks, or to nourish your skin as well as keeping hair soft. Nowadays, there needn’t be a compromise in a multi-purpose promise.

There is one huge benefit of this trend that has the power to impact not just us, but the environment that surrounds us. With conscious consumerism on the rise, the days of excessive waste in the beauty market are numbered. During Zero Waste Week last September, it was reported that the cosmetics industry produces 120 billion units of packaging per year. 18 million acres of forest annually are lost part-due to the cardboard used in our beauty products. Put simply, having 5 products in our bathroom instead of 15 is a positive move we can all take towards softening our environmental footprint.

It’s an approach in line with the fashion industry, for example, where the concept of ’quality over quantity’ has become as much a lifestyle statement as it has a statement about over-consumerism as a whole. ‘Buying better and buying less’ isn’t just something magazines encourage their readers to do anymore, it’s a practical, economical and ecological way of life that’s become a bit of a no-brainer. Apply the same concept to your makeup bag and hopefully you’ll end up saving time, money and space, as well as minimising your environmental output that little bit further.

Image: Charlie McKay for Glasshouse Shop
Image: Charlie McKay for Glasshouse Shop

If you’re looking to invest in some double-duty beauty, we’ve got a few favourites. Cult New Zealand brand Sans [Ceuticals] are game-changers in the field, with the majority of their hair, skin and body products serving multiple purposes. The Activator 7 Oil is a vitamin A based formula that’s a prime example of this, acting as a body oil, eye makeup remover, hair and face serum and a shave oil. Sans believe that there’s ‘no hierarchy when it comes to the skin on your face versus the skin on your body’ and their pharmaceutical-grade ingredients are chosen carefully to cater to both.

Natural makeup brand RMS Beauty have also designed their range to condense your routine and keep things simple. Their Lip2Cheeks are exactly what they say on the (biodegradable) pot: creamy formulas with plenty of pigment to add colour to either cheeks or lips. We also love the brand’s healing, lightweight “Un” Cover-Ups - either use as regular foundation or target specific areas as a concealer. Their Raw Coconut Cream is cold-pressed and can remove makeup gently, moisturise pretty much every area of the body and even work as a deodorant.

New-school multi-tasking is about no compromise beauty that cuts through the industry claims and condenses your routine. It’s forward-thinking, ecologically-minded and frankly, pretty straightforward to get right. Minimalism has never felt so good.

Words: Lucy Vincent
Cover image: Pinterest

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