One-trick ponies? Old. Tired. So very yesterday. For anyone who identifies as an overachiever, meet the beauty industry’s newest cadre of skincare-make-up hybrids that just might be able to do it all.
Consider the case of the tinted lip balm. The calling of autumnal climes, especially here in the subtropical swelter of Hong Kong, has little to do with the changing colour of leaves – and even less to do with whatever the band The Neighbourhood has inscribed as “sweater weather”. But that slight prickle on the surface of the lips that, undoubtedly, leads to splits and fissures that exacerbate with every smile, every grimace, every exterior performance of the human experience by tedious way of emotion? As great an autumnal harbinger as any. As are the reappearance of teensy tubes of balmy emollients with their tendency to disappear after a single, satisfied use.
But back to the tinted part of the tinted lip balm.
A cherry-red smudge does little to enhance the lip balm’s soothing manifesto. In fact, a cherry-red smudge does nothing beyond depositing a soupçon of cherry-red pigment on to, now, cherry-red, slightly-less- inflamed lips. Herein lies a humble, age-old showcase of the beauty industry’s latest obsession: skincare solutions that aren’t so straightforwardly utilitarian. And, vice versa, make-up that doesn’t simply dwell in avenues purely cosmetic.
Make no mistake, though. This takeover of multitasking products isn’t a downwards regression into an apology tour for the horror of two-in-one shampoo-conditioner derivatives. Rather, it’s a clear indication of the ever-increasing knowhow of savvy beauty users who know exactly what they want – down to the last molecular bio-active ingredient.
“Lockdown gave us time to really focus on our skin and understand what’s needed to make it look its best,” says Newby Hands, global beauty director on online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter. “Now, an attitude of having great skin rather than using make-up to cover it up is definitely here to stay.”
A “no-make-up make-up” complexion has, in large part, become the de facto beauty ideal in recent years, aided most tangentially, but no less importantly, with Beyoncé’s “Flawless” single, in which the line “I woke up like this” has become adopted as Twitter- speak for this specific made-up face that feigns at an all-natural, skin-first disguise. It’s since morphed into an aesthetic entitled “Clean Girl” on TikTok, but the insistence on this my-skin-actually-looks-this-good stopgap stands. Which, conveniently, brings effective skincare to the forefront of beauty purchases and, interestingly, imports clinical terms like hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide into our collective, modern-day lexicon.
“In the last couple of years, we’ve seen customers shopping less by brands or products and more for specific star ingredients and ‘status skin’ is a trend we’ve identified as a direct result of the pandemic and lockdowns,” says Hands. “Skincare has now become the new self-care. In the last two years we’ve also seen a big increase in on-site search for retinol and, in general, for vitamin C, showing that key actives are now front-of-mind.
“[Combining make-up and skincare] is what so many of us have already been doing at home ourselves,” Hands continues, “and now the brands are doing it for us. I do expect to see this more with concealers as, again, we’re adding in a bit of eye cream to get that second-skin finish and this is something brands will certainly be picking up on.”
Fiona Co Chan, founder of viral Gen-Z make-up brand Youthforia, agrees. “I’ve always wanted make-up that acted like skincare, that I could sleep in, that would work for my skin even if I wore it in polluted cities,” the self-anointed “CEO of make-up you can sleep in” says. And if you’re anyone even remotely interested in beauty, you’d know to sleep in make-up is sacrilegious. At Youthforia, it’s how their products are meticulously, somnolently tested.
“I think it’s difficult to make true skincare-make-up hybrids,” Chan admits, “because with make-up, you really want to get the texture right. I’m really into this idea of ‘your make-up can make your skin better’ and it’s the approach I take with our product development. We’ll add in skincare actives at the functional level – and I like thinking of new ways to target concerns.”
Youthforia’s crown jewel, the BYO Blush, is a consummate example. Already innovative purely by its mood-ring, colour- changing, come-hither flush-inducing MO, the blush oil ups the ante with 20 skin- friendly plant-based ingredients said to visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines.
“I just remember the first time I slept in our BYO Blush,” Chan enthuses, revealing she has also coaxed her husband into the product-testing-by-way- of-sleeping process. “The next day, my cheek looked so radiant and so nice. It was performing better than any skincare product I had.
“It’s so important to me that Youthforia’s make-up products can be worn at all times of the day,” Chan says. “I’ve always questioned why we were told we couldn’t sleep in make-up at night, but we think it’s OK to wear it during the daytime. That being said, I do think it’s important to be good about cleansing your skin, mostly to wash off pollutants that can be stuck on your face.”
Despite Chan’s sleeping-in-makeup ethos, what’s implied by association is this: sleeping in make-up isn’t great, but sleeping in make-up infused with skincare? A different story all-together. Skincare is the difference. Ingredients tried, tested and true are the difference. “Customers are looking to streamline their daily routines while still achieving great skin, but they do know that targeted products deliver the best results,” says Hands. “While some can multitask, if you want to make real change in your skin, choosing a serum that does one job is best. I think it is a mix of the two: the multi-use hybrid and the single-active ingredient products that work well.”
So, if you’re currently cradling your rent-money flagon of facial serum genie- wishing it had some add-on properties, set it down. Keep it safe. Skincare-makeup hybrids, while innovative, are not set to replace existing skincare systems. It’s simply manifesting, very diligently, an entire universe of beauty products that works just a little harder – just a little better.
Skincare-Make-up Hybrids: Editor’s Picks
By Terry Hyaluronic Tinted Hydra-Powder
Founder Terry de Gunzburg’s approach to make-up has always been led by an insistence on healthy, radiant skin and By Terry follows this ethos entirely. Beyond being an award-winning loose setting powder, the brand’s Hyaluronic Tinted Hydra-Powder is laden with hyaluronic acid for that weightless, non-drying, meaningfully moisturised touch. Yes, a powder that moisturises!
Westman Atelier Vital Skincare Complexion Drops
Handpicked by Net-A-Porter’s Newby Hands as a product to watch, Westman Atelier’s Vital Skincare Complexion Drops are loaded with skincare actives at efficacy levels for a serum-based finish that’s as radiant as it’s deeply nourishing.
Ultra Violette Sheen Screen SPF50 Hydrating Lip Balm
It’s a tinted lip balm, which, as discussed, is already a skincare-make-up hybrid. But Ultra Violette’s is also thrust through with proper sun protection – and by proper, the Australian brand means SPF50, which is a hefty SPF numeration. Your lips need sunscreen, too!
Youthforia BYO Blush
The colour-changing, pH- attuned, universally flattering flush that follows an application of Youthforia’s best-selling BYO Blush is by design. So are its skincare additives. “I wanted something that could act as a face oil and hydrate the cheeks at the same time,” reveals founder Fiona Co Chan.
Supergoop! Shimmershade SPF 30
Chances are you’re probably not swiping sun protection over your eyelids as thoroughly as you should, considering how delicate the area is. Big mistake! Supergoop!’s Shimmershade SPF 30 – the “very first eyeshadow with SPF 30”, the brand alleges – contains a hybrid of mineral and clean chemical actives, which protect from UV rays, and a whole host of shimmer, which is just very pretty.