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One-Brand vs. Curated: Which Skincare Routine Is Best?

There are two types of skincare enthusiasts. On one side are the loyalists who rely on a single brand for their entire ritual. Everything, from cleanser to toner to moisturizer, is bought from a single line. On the other side are the curators who don’t care for one brand. Instead, each product in their regimen is carefully picked and tested.

Each side claims that their skin has been better since they followed their respective routines. The loyalists say that their products work together beautifully, while the curators say that their products have all the active ingredients needed by their skin.

So which between the two camps has a better regimen?

The Case for Multi-Brand Routines

The beauty of multi-brand routines is that you get to tailor your regimen to your specific concerns.

Each step of the classic routine serves a specific purpose.

  • The cleanser removes dirt and makeup.
  • The toner restores balance on the skin surface.
  • The serum delivers active ingredients, depending on your concern.
  • The moisturizer hydrates the skin.

However, different products have certain “add-on benefits.” For instance, some cleansers are mild enough to be put on multiple ear piercings at once, while others are designed for heavy-duty chemical cleansing. Some toners are designed to be very mild, while others have AHAs and BHAs that sink into the skin and cleanse stubborn gunk. The cleanser and toner that are right for you may not belong in the same line or brand.

Layering Serums and Actives

This issue is more apparent when serums are concerned. Serums are not part of a basic routine, but almost everyone agrees that they are the workhorses of the ritual because they deliver the highest concentration of active ingredients.

The serum that you need might not be produced by the brand that produces your toner and cleanser. In these cases, people deviate from the one-brand skincare routine, so they can incorporate items that truly solve their problems.

However, the caveat is that people may use different products — especially actives — that don’t work well together. Extra care should be given when layering products so that you won’t damage your skin barrier. Layering skincare products isn’t as simple as layering a 43mm Shinola Canfield Chronograph Watch with a pink-gold Cartier Love Bracelet. There’s hard science to be consulted, so curators should tread with caution.

The Case for One-Brand Routines

skincare product

Flawless, glowing skin requires effort, and brands know that some people don’t have the time or energy to pore through thousands of products to find ones that are good for their skin. So they formulate a complete line, which contains all the essentials.

No-Fuss Skincare

Take Kylie Skin, for example. In 2019, the brand launched its first set of products: face wash, face scrub, toner, serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. For the newbie (or for those who don’t have the time for intensive research), such a product launch simplifies choices. It offers the ultimate convenience because it’s a complete set. These brands have become the one-stop-shop for all complexion needs.

Another example is COSRX, one of the most famous brands in the Korean skincare wave. Many of its products have attained cult-favorite status, like the Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, which is why skincare enthusiasts fawn over its entire catalog. There’s a COSRX product for every step of the infamous Korean skincare routine.

In some cases, brands launch different lines for different skincare needs. Innisfree, another popular Korean brand, offers a set for different concerns. If your skin needs a heavy dose of hydration, it presents its Green Tea Seed line. If you have mature skin that shows signs of aging, it offers its Jeju Orchid line. Each product line has all the basic products.

Products Work Together

The big advantage of a one-brand routine is that the products are specially formulated to work well with one another. The products are designed to be used together, as the ingredients of one won’t interfere with the others’.

Most products that come in a line often have instructions on which order the products should be applied.

One-brand regimens also tend to be the safer choice. If you’re not careful about reading labels, especially on products with actives, you might as well buy an entire line that’s meant to work with each other.

So Which Is Better?

This will sound cliché, but the right type of regimen is whatever works for you—both the loyalist and the curator benefit from their respective routines.

If you’re a person who prefers to keep it simple or doesn’t have time to experiment with products, a one-brand routine will work just fine. But if you’re determined to solve complex skin issues, and you have the time to devote to research, curate your regimen. And don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Countless people will tell you that the skincare journey isn’t a glowy, flawless ride.

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