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'Quiet quitting' is the beauty trend all skincare lovers should know about

It's fair to say that during the pandemic our skincare regimes ballooned to excess. Since then there have been multiple riffs on minimalist routines, but ‘quiet quitting’ is shaping up to have the biggest pay off for your skin. All importantly, it's also the one you're most likely to stick to – and, as we know, consistency is key for lit skin.

Quiet quitting has, up until now, referred to politics in the work place and the move to avoid hustle culture mentality. The term, popularised by Zaid Khan in a TikTok video, refers to only doing the bare minimum in the office and sticking within the job description, then leaving work on time. Now it seems there's a movement to apply the same approach to skincare.

Over the past 18 months, there has been a seismic shift towards streamlining skincare routines that are groaning at the seams. Instead of endless layers of essences and serums, and indulging a bottomless appetite for the latest in-vogue actives, quiet quitting is a more 2.0 approach to skinimalism. Simply put, it involves paring back routines to the bare essentials that will make skin behave more efficiently. But it's also about making a conscious decision to step away from the pressures of fast beauty – and bring joy back to our skincare regimes.

For many, plump skin that is as smooth as icing remains the proverbial white whale. Anyone who has experienced the particular type of frustration that comes with unexpected bouts of acne and angry red patches, we don't need to tell you that it's possible to have too much of a good thing. For this reason, quiet quitting is an approach championed by Marc Elrick, founder of Byoma.

“Overuse of skincare and over-exfoliation mean we’ve been seeing more and more self-reported skin issues than ever before,” Marc explains. “People have been overloading on products, searching for short-term, quick fixes, with complicated routines that cause more harm than good. We chose to break this trend with skincare that is less about instant gratification, and more about the barrier-nurturing, gentle hydration that your skin actually needs."

Part of the appeal of quiet quitting our skincare is that, as our social lives return to normal, we no longer have the time to slather on a 10-step routine. It's also an expert-backed reason to cut back on non-essential beauty purchases. For many dermatologists, including Dr Emma Wedgeworth, cleanser, serum, moisturiser and SPF are the backbone of a solid skincare routine – nothing more. These pillars can be tweaked at night (for example, you may want to swap out the vitamin C serum you wear by day for retinol) or to address the needs of different skin types. "But you only need to incorporate one or two actives into your regime to tackle your main concerns," Dr Wedgeworth says.

Just because there aren't as many bottles jostling for space on your bathroom shelf, doesn't mean that your skin is missing out, either. A core tenet of quiet quitting is being smarter about what you apply and leaning on multi-tasking ingredients. Aesthetic doctor Dr Barbara Sturm is a big fan of niacinamide because of the myriad effects this unassuming ingredient can have on your skin.

“Niacinamide not only helps to control excess oil on the skin and visibly reduce the look of enlarged pores, but it also helps to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improves uneven skin tone, restores radiance, strengthens the natural skin barrier and renews the skin’s surface, reducing the effects of environmental damage,” Dr Sturm explains, noting that all these benefits inspired her to create The Better B Niacinamide Serum.

The good news is that a number of skincare brands are making quiet quitting easy. If breakouts are an issue, Byoma Clarifying Serum takes down spots with PHA and zinc while ensuring skin barriers stay intact. As the name implies, Chanel La Solution 10 De Chanel Sensitive Skin only contains 10 ingredients, including silver needle tea to help calm redness. While Skin + Me is a subscription skincare brand where dermatologists and pharmacists offer customised prescriptions based on your skin's specific needs.

Likewise, 'simple yet effective’ is the ethos behind the newly launched Soho Skin. Aalish Yorke-Long, managing retail director at Soho House, is quick to point out the “fatigue” a lot of people feel after using “overdosed actives" that are too abrasive and leave skin making a shaky comeback for weeks afterwards. Hence, each product in the range is hyper-functional and contains a multi-tasking base to improve skin structure, help the microbiome adapt to changing environments and restore energy within cells so they continue to produce collagen. “It was important that we streamlined our formulas and delivered products that support, nourish and de-stress skin,” adds Aalish.

Quiet quitting as a beauty trend may only just have popped up on our radar, but the slow skincare movement has been gaining steam for some time now. “This emphasis on slower, simpler skincare, combined with barrier-care will continue to grow in popularity and become a major element of many people’s regimes going forward,” Marc predicts. “I really see this as the next evolution in skincare and not just a trend.”

This article was originally published on Glamour UK.

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