I remember the good old days when Clinique’s three-step routine was as complicated as skincare got. Now we’re hooked on the idea that layering a gazillion products is the answer to a better complexion. Serums, oils, essences, AHAs, BHAs, retinols, vitamin C, peptides, hyaluronic acid… you name it, we pile it on hoping for supermodel skin – and, being a beauty editor, I am one of the worst offenders. Guilty as charged.
The aforementioned are all worthy ingredients, by the way, but it’s time to get real: we don’t need them all at once. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Rihanna. The singer turned founder of groundbreaking make-up line Fenty Beauty has recently stepped into the skincare arena with Fenty Skin, a super streamlined range of just one cleanser, a toner and a moisturiser.
In Riri’s own words, she wanted skincare that feels approachable, easy and takes the pressure out of choosing a routine – and the last thing we need in 2020 is more pressure. And let's face it, a more edited approach is a smart way to recession-proof our beauty routines.
As you would hope, all three are pleasant to use, but the toner is the real hero for me. Curiously named Fat Water, £25, it has the targeted benefits of a serum, as many toners do these days. Its viscous consistency means you can apply it without a cotton pad (SO clever) to hydrate and soften your skin ready for moisturiser.
As Riri points out, a toner is not there to merely mop up leftover dirt (if that’s happening, you’re not cleansing properly); it’s there to exfoliate, tighten pores and/or soften in preparation for your next step.
In fact, it occurred to me that if Rihanna hadn’t brought toner back into fashion, I wouldn’t be celebrating the re-emergence of my glow, which has resurfaced since using this in place of the multiple elixirs I was previously invested in.
Actually, I’m back down to just three products and it feels rather liberating. And though I’m a small way off Rihanna’s immaculate visage, she’s definitely on to something. Below are five more high-performers worth your time.