With five minutes to spare on a recent Saturday afternoon, I popped into my local beauty store to stock up on a favourite foundation (Buy IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Illumination Cream SPF 50 | Sephora Australia, in case you were wondering).
But when I asked the assistant, she told me it’d been discontinued in favour of a soon-to-be-released fluid. She went on to confirm what I’d long suspected: that “the new weightless formulas are far outselling creams, stick and powders.”
Where once luxurious skincare was synonymous with rich creams and masks, now the best new products are ‘weightless’, designed to feel ultra-light and silky on the skin. You can see it in SPFs: we used to lather on thick, zinc-laden creams that gave our faces that flattering white sheen; today’s SPFs are formulated to sit lightly (and invisibly) on the skin while still providing next-level protection.
What’s more, these weightless products include everything from SPF to foundation, blush to gloss. So what’s driving the trend?
[subhead] Why weightless?
Rather than it being a trend, says Ultra Violette’s co-founder Ava Chandler-Matthews, weightless beauty has become an expectation, particularly for brands in the skincare category.
“Consumers are more educated and skincare regimens and technologies are becoming more sophisticated,” she explains. “People are layering more and wearing a cocktail of products on their skin.” These fluid-like formulas work well when layering because they feel so silky and lightweight.
Technologies are becoming more sophisticated
Another part of their appeal, explains Dermalogica Advanced Training Specialist Katelyn Boer, is that a greater number of complementary ingredients can be applied to enhance penetration. So you might layer a hydrating mist, with a serum for your targeted concern, followed by a gel moisturiser and weightless SPF.
That’s not to say you won’t be able to find more richly textured skincare, Chandler Matthews adds. “What people use on their skin is a really personal preference, and there will always be a range of textures and finishes available.”
When it comes to make-up, however, there’s been a definite reversal of the heavily contoured look. Instead, we’ve seen the ‘skinfication’ of make-up, which shifts the emphasis from covering up to showing off skin in its healthy, natural state.
Are we taking better care of our skin?
Laser, fraxel, microdermabrasion and collagen stimulators… the list of in-salon skin-perfecting treatments or ‘tweakments’ seems endless. (Australians’ spending on cosmetic or minimally invasive procedures topped $1 billion for the first time last year.)
But while it’s great so many of us are now really ‘investing’ in our skin, says Chandler-Matthews, we still need the basics, too, such as “hydration, antioxidant support and UV protection.”
We’ve seen the ‘skinfication’ of make-up
Boer agrees, adding that any successful skin journey always begins at home. She recommends a hyaluronic-loaded serum, followed by an ultra-calming moisturiser such as Dermalogica’s brand new stabilizing repair cream, your favourite eye cream and last but not least, a broad spectrum, lightweight SPF.
Will weightless formulas work on dry skin?
The right weightless formula will work for dehydrated or oily skins just as well as they will for sensitive or acne-prone types. These fluids are small yet mighty when it comes to skincare deliverables.
Take Ultra Violette’s newest team member Fave Fluid SPF 50+ Ultralight Fragrance Free SKINSCREEN™ 75ml (ultraviolette.com.au). Not only does it include a cocktail of the newest high-performance UV filters (like Tinosorb S Lite Aqua and Uvinul T150), but also a tonne of skincare actives such as antioxidants, amino acids, anti-inflammatories, and hydrators like niacinamide, and vitamins E and C.
Previously, fluid formulas were mostly recommended for humid, hot climates, but now they offer so much more: noncomedogenic benefits for those prone to congestion; an oil-free, grease-free finish for those with normal-combo-oily skin types; and fragrance-free formulas perfect for those with skin sensitivities. They’re also great for year-round wear.
Eight of the best fluids to try now
Ultra Violette’s Fave Fluid SPF50+ Ultralight SKINSCREEN: Its founder calls it a ‘powerhouse product’; ultra-light, fragrance free and offering the highest level of SPF 50+ protection.
Rationale’s Beautiful Skin Superfluid SPF30: Not only does it protect and add weightless radiance, but it also colour-corrects your skin to reduce redness. It imparts just enough coverage without looking like you have anything on at all.
Chanel’s Les Beiges Water-Fresh Complexion Touch: The micro droplets diffuse into a waterlike texture that feels cool on application and imparts a natural, healthy base.
Rare Beauty’s Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation: Available in 48 shades, Selema Gomez has you covered in the ‘barely there’ department. Also gives great coverage, and lasts.
Westman Atelier’s Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm: A mix of balm, gloss and oil, this light, easy to apply (even on-the-go) liquid lip tint is a new make-up must-have.
Cosmetics 27 Essence 27 Bio-Vitalising Cell Hydrating Fluid: It feels like splashing cold water on your face but hydrates, calms and gives a big antioxidant hit. Perfect for tired, stressed, sensitive skin.
Chantecaille’s Liquid Lumiere: I love applying this when I’m feeling a bit ‘blah’. It gives an instant ‘health kick’ glow without smearing any of your base underneath.