Updated: Feb 22
The good news is that they're all plant-based!
Every year, a beauty trend or several surfaces that skincare companies and consumers scramble to try as if their bottom lines and skin depend on it. Since late 2019, skinimalism has been the ultimate skincare trend for those of us who are gaga about skincare, budgeting, and the environment, too. Skinimalism dictates that we do the most with the least amount of skincare products. It asks us to invest in what we need to address the specific needs of our skin. Yes, that means no more random splurges at your local Sephora or Ulta. Yet, we will not judge you for splurging with Ailani.
To keep in line with consumer demand for skin care products that are eco-friendly, sustainable, and good for the body, many skincare companies introduced plant-based, organic products. Free Radical Beauty is a plant-based skincare and wellness company, so plant-based products aren’t a trend for us - it’s a lifestyle. When you shop with us, rest assured that our ingredients are nature’s best for unique skin issues.
However, it’s the start of 2022, and that pesky skin issue you had last year is still an issue this year. The struggle continues, but the end is near. Why? Because we are sharing three trending active ingredients that you should add to your skinimalist skincare routine this year. That is if the active ingredient will resolve your specific skin issues, of course.
Knowing your skin type helps
You cannot resolve any issue without getting to its root. Before trying a new active ingredient, it’s best to know your skin type. There are five recognized skin types, and they have nothing to do with ethnicity. These skin types are:
Normal skin - this is well-balanced skin. It’s neither too dry nor too oily and seldom has sensitivities and other skin issues. A few signs of a normal skin type are small, tight pores, even skin tone, and smooth texture.
Oily skin - this skin type is what it sounds like. Someone with this skin type struggles with oil overproduction. Their face is often shiny or greasy. Although overproduction often leads to acne outbreaks, this skin type is still manageable with a proper routine. Improper care for oily skin will result in a build-up of dead skin cells, clogged, enlarged pores, etc.
Dry skin - quite the opposite of oily skin, a dry skin type suffers from the underproduction of oil. This skin type does not produce enough lipids or fat cells to retain moisture and protect your skin against free radicals. People with dry skin have small, almost invisible pores. Other signs of dry skin are a dull appearance, rough skin texture, patchiness, flakiness, itchiness, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Combination skin - this skin type is the most common. It is identified by an oily t-zone, i.e., forehead, nose, and chin. With combination skin, you may experience enlarged pores as well as occasional acne outbreaks.
Sensitive skin - this skin type is prone to inflammation and irritation. People with sensitive skin must exercise caution when using different active ingredients and skin treatments. Different skin issues mark sensitive skin. Some of these skin issues include eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc. If you have sensitive skin, you are more likely to experience burning, itching, tingling, and rash outbreaks from different products and external stimuli.
Trending active ingredients in skincare products
Many of the active ingredients used in skincare products occur naturally in our bodies or in the plant-based foods that we eat. Generally, a healthy lifestyle should promote healthy skin! Retinol is one of the top active ingredients used in skincare products, and with good reason. This retinoid is derived from vitamin A and is an effective anti-aging skin treatment for women who struggle with fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone. Because retinol increases skin sensitivity, retinol skincare products are best used at night to prevent skin irritation and inflammation.
Due to its potency, many skincare companies offer a 0.01 - 0.05% concentration of retinol. You can purchase these types of retinol skincare products over the counter. The higher the concentration of retinol, the more inaccessible the product may be. In some instances, you may require a prescription to purchase these products. To make highly concentrated retinol products more accessible, some skincare companies have opted to dilute their products with complementary ingredients. The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion is the perfect example of this.
We recommend retinol for people with normal, oily, and combination skin types. People with dry and sensitive skin may use retinol skincare products. However, the concentration of retinol should be as low as possible, and the product used minimally. No matter your skin type, it is always best to use retinol slowly - 2-3 times per week - increasing use as your skin acclimates to the product. Because retinol speeds up the turnover of skin cells, you can expect your skin to slough off, become very dry, peel, and itch. Stay moisturized, hydrated, and protected when using it!
Three years ago, niacinamide gained exposure as an active ingredient that fortifies the skin against free radicals. This vitamin B3-derived active ingredient reduces the size of your pores and balances your skin’s oil production. A more balanced oil production decreases the chances of acne outbreaks. Fewer acne outbreaks mean fewer chances of roughened skin texture and hyperpigmentation. In other words, niacinamide is the gift that keeps on giving.
This skin brightener pairs well with another powerful skin brightening active ingredient, vitamin C. Some examples of plant-based sources that contain niacinamide include avocados, peanuts, whole grains, mushrooms, green peas, and potatoes (16 Foods that are High in Niacin [Vitamin B3], Healthline). Because niacinamide is a mild yet powerful ingredient, we recommend it for all skin types. As with any other active ingredient, if you have a more sensitive skin type, it is always best to ease your way into this skincare ingredient.
A discussion about trending active ingredients in skincare is incomplete when you fail to mention vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Here at Free Radical Beauty, we are gaga about vitamin C - it is one of the core active ingredients in many of our skincare products. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that free radical nightmares are made of. It is a natural skin brightener that:
Evens out skin tone
Fades dark spots and other superficial blemishes
Locks in hydration
Builds skin elasticity
Like niacinamide, vitamin C is an active ingredient suitable for most skin types. The more potent the concentration of vitamin C in a skincare product, the more caution you should exercise when using it. One of our top-selling products, Up the Ante, a 20% vitamin C and plant stem cell skin brightening serum, contains other active ingredients that ward off skin sensitivity that can be common with skin brightening active ingredients. These ingredients include hyaluronic acid, a hydrating natural humectant; jojoba oil, an antibacterial oil that decreases sebum-oil - production and prevents acne; and witch hazel, a natural anti-inflammatory that reduces acne, soothes skin, and tightens pores.
As you build your skinimalist skincare routine, be sure to consider these top active ingredients that are proven to work! Oh, and maybe add a few adaptogen supplements to the mix, too. Remember, when in doubt, plant-based is the best route to go for healthy skin and an even healthier lifestyle.