Skincare Ingredients – Less or More?

Are less ingredients in a skincare product better or more? One train of thought is that more must be better because you’re getting multiple active ingredients in a single product and if formulated properly, it can be a gamechanger for a skincare routine. On the other hand, the phrase less is more definitely rings true for some beauty products for multiple reasons including skin irritation and filler ingredients which lead to non-effective products. When it comes to skincare, it’s not about how long the ingredient list is but instead, how it’s formulated and how those ingredients work together. 

The thoughtful formulation of a skincare product is about making sure that all the ingredients - whether it’s 5 ingredients or 50 - work together synergistically. It’s also important that the ingredients used are at clinically validated levels, so the products perform as they are intended and produce the results that the consumer is expecting.

More ingredients in a product are definitely a benefit when those ingredients have been thoughtfully put together in a formulation that includes the right active ingredients working together synergistically to create the best possible complex. By using the exact amounts that have been clinically proven to be effective and combining those with other ingredients that have been scientifically verified to work better together, the result is a superior product that lives up to its claims and provides the benefits promised. 

Some skincare products include fillers that provide little or no benefit. By limiting the number of ingredients in a product, you know exactly what you are getting and there is little or no filler. When the number of ingredients in a product increases, there is a risk that the active ingredient becomes less bioactive so the benefits of the most important ingredients become watered down. But if a company has a thoughtful formulation philosophy, they are carefully examining how the ingredients work together to ensure the ingredients that do go into a product are there for a reason and work better together.  

And as the focus shifts more on protecting the microbiome, the beauty industry is moving away from the multi-step routines that call for over-cleaning, over-exfoliating and over-treating the skin with too many active ingredients to simpler routines that don’t strip away the natural skin barrier. It’s that skin barrier that keeps moisture in and pollutants out so when it’s treated with thoughtful products, the skin stays calm, healthy and even takes on a youthful glow.

Overall, it’s not the number of ingredients in a product that make it better, it’s how those ingredients have been formulated to work together. The length of the ingredient list shouldn’t be used to determine the quality of a skincare product but instead, what are the active ingredients and are they ingredients that benefit each other. A skincare product is effective when it has been thoughtfully formulated with clinically effective levels of actives that work together harmoniously, no matter the number of ingredients.