Your 20s are supposed to be your most fresh-faced, carefree years, but anyone who’s made it through the decade unscathed (congratulations!) knows it can be anything but. We work hard, stay out late, and indulge our worst FOMO by never declining an invitation. The acne we suffered in our teenage years hasn’t resolved itself just because it heard we graduated from college, and at the same time we’re starting to see the first tiny creases around our eyes. Not cool.
This condition is pretty much universal—and that’s exactly why a handful of our favorite skin care brands have responded by developing lines targeted toward the “quarter-life crisis” situation. “The lifestyle of [women in their 20s] is often characterized by unpredictable bouts of unbalanced diets, late nights at the office, lack of sleep, and fervent nightlife, all of which lead to new, unique skin concerns,” says Gisela Ballard, executive director of marketing at Shiseido, whose Ibuki collection claims to resolve several of the most common skin complaints made by Millennials.
There’s also the fact that our generation’s attitude toward skin care has changed dramatically, thanks to the newfound crop of social media stars and “influencers.” It’s made younger consumers far more aware of—and more knowledgable about—products and how they should be taking care of their skin as they grow older, explains Wendy Brooks, director of global product development at Origins, who worked on the brand’s new Original Skin offerings.
Should we just chalk it all up to a marketing gimmick that’s filling a gap in the market by claiming to cater to women who’ve graduated from Clean & Clear but aren’t quite ready for the antiaging big guns? Not so fast. There really is something to be said for products that are formulated specifically to treat the skin care concerns we face in our 20s. “Visible pores, breakouts, and dry, rough skin directly result from the demanding and fast-paced lifestyles of Millennials,” Ballard adds. This means we have vastly different needs than, say, someone who’s struggling with oil overproduction at 18 or someone who’s proactively fighting future signs of aging at 32.
That said, it is a pretty brilliant marketing move. Given how many women deal with this set of complaints—many!—we’re that much more likely to walk into a Sephora and feel like these products are meant for us to purchase, more so than more generic antiaging formulas … or, rather, formulas that are more generic in their approach to marketing. Just saying a product is meant for women in their 20s makes women in their 20s exponentially more likely to purchase it.
But a marketing ploy alone it is not. So if you’re among the consumers “starting to notice that their skin doesn’t have that natural glow anymore, [or is] now looking duller and drier than it has in the past,” as celebrity aesthetician Ole Henriksen puts it, then reach for products like his Empower line. If you find your skin complementing your breakouts with dehydration, enlarged pores, rough texture, and a complexion that simply looks and feels stressed, these new products have got you covered. You, and everyone else born in the past 30 years.