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It is a common experience for almost anyone: we buy skincare products that look appealing either for their packaging, price, or reviews and then discover it’s just not good for us. It might be a fragrance we don’t like – or the fact that they have a fragrance at all – the harshness on our skin, or that we’ve opened the product and left it there on the shelf long enough for it to be considered part of the furniture. Or maybe we simply didn’t get the right product for our skin type; dermatologists say that gender-marketed products can be a bit misleading. For example, typically, cisgender men’s skin would be oilier but, obviously, that does not apply to all cisgender men; women-targeted skincare often smells like a bouquet of flowers, but that can irritate the most sensitive skin types, and so on.
So, if you want to ditch the binary and shop for your skin type rather than your assigned-at-birth gender, you should check out these queer skincare brands.
But what can we do with those products we’ve mentioned, the ones we’ve bought and tried and discovered are simply not for us? A few ideas can help avoid wasting them while still getting some of the benefits.
Use Face Creams on Your Body
Use face creams on your bodyPhoto by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash
Moisturizing your body with face cream is an effective way to ensure that the product won’t sit on the shelf for too long. The quantity in the small package will be gone in maximum two days! Moreover, the skin on our body is tougher than the one on our face, so if your most sensitive parts didn’t like the product, it’s unlikely your legs will suffer from it.
Use Exfoliating Scrubs in the Shower
Jar of exfoliating scrubPhoto by Nana Lapushkina on Unsplash
As it goes for face creams, sometimes face scrubs can be too harsh and overall, not good. They work perfectly as body exfoliators, especially for the chest area, which is a very sensitive skin part of the body, and they’ll leave no irritation, as they are initially created with the face in mind. They can be used on knees, elbows, butt, feet, and sometimes do a more effective job than scrubs particularly designed for the body, as those can be quite tough as well.
Use Harsh Face Cleansers as Body Wash
Using face cleanser as body washPhoto by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash
If your facial acne is suffering from the harshness of the cleansing products you use, then it’s time to move their place into the shower. You can use them as body wash, or simply target your acne body spots, like maybe your back or butt.
Add Unused Serum or Toner to Your Body Moisturizer
Adding serum to moisturizerPhoto by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Add a few drops of unused face serum or toner to your body moisturizer for extra hydration. This helps you get rid of the product fast, and enjoy the last benefits from the serum or toner, as they tend to lose their fragrance and effectiveness with time. And even though sometimes it’s better to have no fragrance at all, if the scent has faded it does not mean it’s good for you now.
Use Leftover SPF During Your All Year-Round Routine
Using SPF year roundPhoto by Antonio Gabola on Unsplash
The shelf life of SPF is normally twelve months, and since it’s important to use it daily, the best way to avoid waste is to wear a layer of that summer leftover sunscreen on your face before heading out the house, even in winter.
It's important to remember that we should switch up our skincare products regularly, as our skin can become tolerant to products over time and we need a different level of moisture depending on the season. Generally, we would need to increase our moisturizer usage during winter, and switch to a lighter consistency during summer.
If you have struggled with finding a skincare routine that works for you, visiting a specialist would probably be a good investment; that way you can verify what type of skin you have and research the best products and treatments for you. It should be noted that wrinkles and sun damage will probably not go away with cosmetics; if you are looking for a specific treatment, you should use medical-grade products prescribed by a specialist.
When choosing our skincare routine, we aim for it to be perfect. To make our face feel and look flawless, to be lightweight, to protect us. These brands promise to do just that – and they come with a plus: they are all either LGBTQ+ owned, socially and environmentally conscious and/or target people of all genders.
Selfless by Hyram
Skincare products from Selfless by Hyram
Photo courtesy of Selfless by Hyram.
If you ever googled skincare-related questions, you might have watched in response some videos by queer YouTuber Hyram; he is known for exposing the truth behind the brands and teaching the viewers how to break down an ingredient list, other than for his crusade against scented products. The skincare guru has launched his own line in 2021, explaining that he “wants to connect the beauty industry with social change”, in collaboration with the brand The INKEY List. They haven’t used any fragrance, essential oils, alcohol, and palm products, creating a minimalist yet effective ingredient list that is also vegan. Every purchase contributes to raising funds to build wells in the Kingdom of eSwatini and to protect the Bolivian rainforest from deforestation; additional information can be found on their website.
Moon Glow Milky Toning Lotion
Photo courtesy of Good Light.
Good Light does Very Good Light ring any bell? The website is meant to redefine masculine beauty for the younger generations, and co-founder David Yi developed this line of beauty products that target all genders. Its mission is explicitly “beyond the binary”, focusing on moving culture forward by promoting a more inclusive definition of beauty through product and purpose. Their skincare products are vegan, cruelty-free, sustainably produced, and clean to EU standards, which means they do not include any of the 1.300 banned ingredients and have been tested and approved for sensitive skin.
Alder New York
Skincare products by Alder New York
Photo courtesy of Alder New York.
Alder New York is “a queer and woman-owned independent skincare brand that makes products designed to work for all skin types, no matter your age, gender, or ethnicity”. Founders Nina Zilka and David Krause combined their eye for design with high performative essential care products when creating the line in 2016; their skincare products are vegan and dermatologist-approved and they also follow clean EU standards.
Noto Botanics THE SKIN EDIT SET.
Photo courtesy of Noto Botanics.
Gloria Noto started the company after a “mini-life crisis vacation in Thailand” wanting to celebrate the identities she didn’t see represented in the clean beauty industry at the time: queer, non-binary, trans, BI-POC bodies. With a background in fashion and beauty, she was well aware of what she didn’t want to find in her own products: pollutants, cocktails of chemicals and fillers. The key to Noto products is that they are multi-use, made with uncomplicated yet high-performing ingredients that are vegan and cruelty-free and sustainably sourced. A percentage of their sales is donated to Planned Parenthood, The Okra Project, The Transgender Freedom Fund, Black Mama's Matter, The Love Land Foundation, The Trevor Project, and others.
Skincare products by Jecca Blac
Photo courtesy of Jecca Blac.
This brand is mainly known for its makeup products, but it is worth mentioning due to the support and tools they have given to the transgender community. Founded in 2018 by Jessica Blackler, the Jecca Blac studio in London, UK, offered a safe space for trans women to learn and experiment with makeup. All of their products provide effective coverage, from skin imperfection to beard shadow; they target all genders, offer tutorials and free makeup help, either via chat or video call and ship in discreet packaging. Their foundation and concealers offer a great option also to people who don’t normally wear makeup but want to include a covering product in their routine.
Volition Beauty Spring/Summer Survival Kit.
Photo courtesy of Volition Beauty.
Volition Beauty is basically a queer and woman-led crowdfunding beauty brand. Anyone can submit or pitch an idea for a product, and if it is loved and accepted by the community, you work with their experts to make it real. They say only the best ideas are made, and you won’t find any nasties in their ingredient list: no parabens, no sulfates, and no animal cruelty.
W3ll People Plant Power Skincare Starter Mini Set.
Photo courtesy of W3ll People.
Founded by lesbian make-up artist Shirley Pinkson, this brand offers skincare and makeup completely plant-powered and ethically sourced. They guarantee clean, multi-tasking, and cruelty-free ingredients, offering a wide range of skincare products as well as essential workers discount after lockdown, showing they really care.
Roots and Crowns
Roots and Crowns Daily Face Care Bundle.
Photo courtesy of Roots and Crowns.
Roots and Crowns is “a queer-owned small-batch apothecary based in Portland, Oregon” offering skincare products as well as essential oil rollers, blends, herbal teas, tinctures, and witchy vibes. They harvest the ingredients themselves when possible, and when it’s not, they purchase them from “places that focus on organic, ethical harvesting practices”.
Pure for Men
Pure For Men Face Care Kit.
Photo courtesy of Pure For Men.
Targeting mainly cisgender gay men, this company is based in Austin, Texas, and was born out of a group of friends in college. They started out with a line of fiber supplements, which they now sell with a vegan formula (and in smaller sizes targeting cisgender women with the line Pure for Her), then moved on to offer skincare products as well. Although they are mainly a sexual wellness brand, they promise their face products are botanical-extracted, cruelty-free, non-toxic, and non-comedogenic.
Non Gender Specific
Non Gender Specific Everything kit.
Photo courtesy of Non gender specific.
Born in 2018, this company was founded by Andrew Glass, aiming to create products that didn’t target either women or men, but people in general, as they say, “for all humans”. They wanted to simplify the beauty routine, while cutting down on consumer waste, creating products that target different concerns in one formula. Their products are vegan and cruelty-free, bottled in recyclable glass containers, and they use eco-friendly sourcing methods.
We are excited about this product, perfect for holiday gift giving or a winter at-home spa solution! Think of it not just as a beauty product, but as an investment that really does pay off. And even better, it was locally developed in Nashville.
Olura is founded by celebrity esthetician and former founding partner of Kate Somerville, Kyoko Getz, award-winning beauty tool designer, Shannon Britt, and NYC celebrity plastic surgeon, Dr. Shirley Madhere.
A Nashville-born "clean beauty" tech brand, Olura, raised a Series A investment round of $1 million in August 2021, which it will use for its to build brand awareness. And here's what's different about this skincare solution. Olura is a novel, subscription-based skincare system that addresses the issue that most beauty tools are abandoned after just a few tries.
Co-founder, Dr. Shirley Madhere, an Ivy League trained plastic surgeon, says, “During the global shutdown it became woefully clear to me that as an advocate for microcurrent, ultrasonic, and infusion technologies, it was important to figure out how to offer something that would help people benefit from these therapies via DIY.”
We're still feeling a little shy about venturing out to a salon to get a facial or noninvasive beauty procedure. To invest in Olura means to do it yourself with similar results in the comfort of your own home. Olura has created an easy to use system with a three-part approach: a skincare specialist consultation; customized skin products for you; an easy-to-use, gentle, high-tech ultrasonic device. All neastly packaged and shipped to your door!
The Glow + Sculpt Skincare System works as a subscription membership that includes the trademarked Eno, an ultrasonic device that gently exfoliates your face with one end, and with the other end massages your customized boosters, serums and moisturizers into your skin. To get the right mix of products you can consult with an Olura skincare specialist depending on your skin type, your skin's needs such as firming, brightening, hydrating or calming, or all of those for an effective anti-aging strategy.
So if you don't feel like stepping into a beautician's office, this whole system can be delivered to your door for a fraction of the cost. We noticed a difference from our very first use, and the regimen is gentle enough to do every day.
Check out your personalized skincare system here.