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Can Makeup Double Up as Skincare?

woman posing with serum bottle

There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. Along with the heightened awareness of personal hygiene, and the rapid expansion of online entertainment, and digital services, the realm of beauty has felt its impact too. After years of masking up and hunkering down at home, the landscape of beauty has shifted its focus from makeup to skincare. Being out less and staying home more meant less focus on wearing a full face of makeup and a growing community of those who use skincare as self-care, especially since the rise of “maskne”.

As a result, we have seen beauty trends mimic the shift in consumers’ lifestyles. Makeup companies have been scrambling to keep up with consumers’ demands. More and more companies are infusing skincare ingredients into their products. There has been a growing demand for simple and convenient products for streamlined beauty routines, leading to the rise of cosmeceuticals or hybrid beauty products. A few examples of the most popular ingredients we see infused into makeup are hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.

But can makeup truly serve as an effective skincare solution? In this article, we will explore the concept of makeup as skincare and examine whether these products can deliver on their promises.

The Rise of Cosmeceuticals

Cosmeceuticals are a category of cosmetic products that bridge the gap between traditional cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Typically containing active ingredients that have been scientifically proven to provide skincare benefits, cosmeceutical makeup products often contain antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, and other ingredients that claim to protect and nourish the skin while providing coverage and enhancing the complexion. Now that’s a trend we’re tempted to hop on. After all, who doesn’t love a two-in-one product that beautifies while treating specific skincare issues?

Here are some popular makeup products with skincare benefits:

Skincare-infused base products

Image by elf cosmetics

This product needs no introduction. The Elf Power Grip Primer that has been making waves across social media comes in two different variations for different skin needs. Originally formulated with hyaluronic acid, the Elf power grip primer was marketed towards drier skin types or those simply wishing to add a boost of hydration into their everyday makeup routine. The pink version, Elf Power Grip Primer + 4% niacinamide was then introduced to help even out skin tone and brighten skin while gripping makeup for all day wear.

Image by Clinique, Ilia, Kosas

Skincare heavyweight Clinique has also introduced base products that are designed to treat acne-prone skin with their Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup. The star ingredient in this product is salicylic acid – derived from willowbark, known to help combat breakouts.

Illa, one of the up and coming clean beauty brands have incorporated SPF as well as a blend of hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane and niacinamide to help you skip a couple of steps in your everyday morning skincare routine! This lightweight skin tint can be applied directly onto your skin and blended out with your fingers, making it perfect for those effortless, no-makeup makeup days. 

Kosas, another clean beauty brand, has gone viral with its Revealer Concealer after Hailey Bieber gave her Tiktok followers an insight to her everyday dewy makeup routine using the product. Marketed as a concealer meets eye cream, the Kosas Revealer Concealer is a super creamy, medium coverage concealer, eye cream and spot treatment all in one. Promising to visibly brighten and reveal better skin over time, the product includes ingredients such as caffeine to brighten, provitamin B5 to soothe and peptides and hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate the skin. 

Serum Mascaras

Image by Twenty/Twenty

Designed to support eye health, Twenty/Twenty Clean Sweep Mascara is a mascara with benefits. Created by an ophthalmologist, this mascara not only gives you defined, lengthened lashes immediately upon application, but also helps your natural lashes grow healthier and stronger over time. It is formulated with biotin, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E.

Hydrating Lip Products

Image by Charlotte Tilbury
Image by Merit

While hydration was typically reserved for lip balms in the past, makeup brands have been innovating lip products that not only add colour but nourishes them while doing so. One such product is the Charlotte Tilbury Hyaluronic Happikiss Lipstick Balm, another hyaluronic acid infused product that provides the hydrating power of a balm with the colour payoff of a lipstick for a pigmented, juicy pout. 

Merit, the clean, vegan, cruelty-free, minimalist makeup brand, also has a lip oil that is packed with shea butter, fatty acids, and botanical oils such grapeseed, roseship and jojoba oils to condition and soften your lips while giving it a tint of colour.

The Real Deal?

Achieving flawless makeup begins with a solid foundation of skincare. Makeup and skincare work symbiotically, collaborating to deliver enviable results — luminous skin, radiant cheeks, and luscious lashes. This synergy is precisely what makes the idea of makeup skincare hybrid so enticing. These products seamlessly blend the art of makeup with the science of skincare so they are accessible and beneficial to nearly everyone. However, do these products actually deliver on their promises? Before you spend the extra dollar splurging on a product with a few additional skincare ingredients, it is important to ensure you are investing your hard-earned money where it counts. 

Image by Freepik
So, do they work?

The verdict on the efficacy of cosmeceuticals remains somewhat ambiguous. Overall, there are not enough in-depth studies and research done to prove their efficacy. While certain hybrid products featuring skincare ingredients applied superficially may yield positive results, others may prove ineffectual or even cause skin irritation, particularly when integrated into a broader skincare regimen.

It’s crucial to recognise that each hybrid product is unique, and its outcomes depends on the specific combination of makeup and skincare ingredients used. Generally, a product can deliver both cosmetic and skincare benefits if it contains appropriate levels of high-quality ingredients.

To determine how well any specific type of skincare makeup might work for you, it is always best to research the brand and their commitment to formulating hybrid products before purchasing. Some brands may include information about tests and clinical trials conducted on their products via their website. Look at customer reviews, and learn to evaluate skincare ingredients to keep yourself informed. 

Quality hybrid products can boost the effectiveness of your regular skincare when used properly. However, they cannot entirely replace dedicated skincare products. For example, relying solely on makeup with SPF will not provide adequate sun protection and using a hydrating foundation will not replace your moisturiser. Also, remember to always exercise caution when combining different potent ingredients in high concentrations, as this could potentially lead to skin irritation.

Makeup with skincare benefits can be a convenient addition to your beauty routine, offering time-saving and protective advantages. However, it’s important to remember that makeup is not a substitute for a dedicated skincare regimen. For optimal results, consider using makeup with skincare benefits in conjunction with high-quality skincare products tailored to your skin’s specific needs. Ultimately, the key to healthy and beautiful skin is a balanced approach that combines makeup and skincare effectively.


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