How Skincare Has Developed Over the Last 30 Years

The 1990s
In the 1990s, skincare started to become very popular. Most people had some form of a skincare routine, even if it was only limited to using a cleanser once a day. Although we now know that they are harmful for the skin, scrubs were a standout product during the 90s because of their instant brightening and smoothing effect on the skin. Another ultra-popular product was astringents – a liquid-based formula that is used to dry out oil, tighten pores, and cleanse the skin. In a similar nature to scrubs, astringents are now notorious for dehydrating the skin and actually worsening breakouts over time.

By the mid 1990s, enzymes and vitamins started to increase in popularity. Enzymes became popular for their ability to remove dead skill cells from the surface of the skin. Vitamins gained their good reputation from their antioxidant properties which protect the skin from free radicals, preventing fine lines and wrinkles. Do-it-yourself skincare was also a widespread craze in the 90s which involved blending ingredients such as chamomile tea, rose water, and green tea to create a calming and nourishing cleanser. The pages of well-known beauty magazines such as Vogue, ELLE, and Harper’s Bazaar would frequently rave about brands products like Neutrogena, Olay, Elizabeth Arden, and Bioré.

The 2000s
The 2000s decade was an important one for skin care as it saw the emergence of organic skincare. Manufacturers began to move away from using synthetic chemicals towards more natural and organic ingredients. As a result, natural skincare products became much more affordable, accessible, and widely used. The idea of re-energising using skincare products took off and recharging ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and antioxidants became a selling point. The standout brands of this decade included Proactiv, Neutrogena, and Clean & Clear.

The 2010s
During the 2010s, the skincare industry continued to grow. The movement towards natural and organic ingredients continued. Products that incorporated biochemistry into their formulations became extremely popular with brands like GERnétic changing the game for skincare. This decade emphasised the importance of being beautiful both inside and out, placing high value wellness and living a healthy lifestyle. Skincare routines became much more complex during this time, often consisting of a three-step regime of cleansing, toning, then moisturising. The ‘no makeup’ makeup look became a huge beauty trend meaning that achieving glowing, beautiful skin was more important than ever. Skincare brands such as Origins, Olay, and Clinique were stand-outs during this decade.

Skincare Today
Today, it is not unusual to hear about 10-step skincare routines that involve a variety of different serums which include AHAs, BHAs, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and more. Clean beauty is bigger than it’s ever been. Most leading skincare brands emphasise their shift towards exclusively using clean, natural, organic ingredients to create cruelty-free products. Some of the most popular brands today include Medik8, La Roche Posay, GERnétic, The Ordinary, CeraVe, and Aesop.

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A: Suite 12/120 Birkdale Road, Birkdale⁠


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