As the old adage goes, ‘Variety is the spice of life.’ It’s human nature to want to try new things, and the allure of something unknown is undeniably exciting. But at a certain point, those thrills become cheap, or even dangerous.
So today I am here to advocate for ethical skincare non-monogamy. Much like in a polyamorous relationship where you have to behave ethically and safely, we need to take real precautions with what we put on our body’s largest organ - our skin.
What do non-monogamy and skincare have in common?
I used to subscribe to a skincare box that would deliver to my doorstep every other month. I looked forward to receiving this box and trying the new products. Soon, my shelf was overflowing with a plethora of products; so many that I didn’t even know what to do with them all! Some were great and I would definitely purchase again, but in truth, it was challenging to tell what was actually working and what was nonsense.
And did I really need to be layering so many different things on my skin? Probably not.
Then, a friend introduced me to Protocol. The research and science behind the brand immediately captured my attention.
Protocol found a way to not only correctly formulate their products to be optimally bioavailable, but also how to package two of the most powerful, proven ingredients for long-term skin health - vitamin C and retinal. And by discovering the brand, I was able to actually learn why these ingredients are so vital and why so many other products fall short.
The streamlined, four-step skincare routine was unfussy and made me feel a little foolish about the six or more different products I was layering on my face. The simplicity had a huge appeal since, as it turned out, I'd rather spend my time living my life than overthinking my skincare.
Suddenly, I realized all of my natural curiosity and excitement to try new things had more to do with ignorance and boredom. I didn’t know what would actually work for my skin, and my brain constantly craved the dopamine release of 'trying something new.’
It’s a lot like how I get bored after a few months of dating someone and want a nice, shiny new man to taste test. But in all honesty, how many of us have bounced from one guy to the next only to be disappointed?
While I obviously don’t want encounters with shady characters who don’t value their own health, I also don’t want to share my most intimate moments with someone who doesn’t care for me as a person. Polyamory, after all, isn’t about messing around willy-nilly. It’s about loving openly and having relationships with meaning.
In the same way, I clearly don’t want to use dangerous skincare products formulated in someone’s unsanitary bathroom, but I also don’t want to waste my time on expensive creams that’ll only empty my bank account without bringing results.
All too often, we end up flushing money down the drain when bouncing from product to product, only to find once again there was no substance to back a company’s fountain-of-youth claims.
Finding something real
At the end of the day, both in our relationships and our skincare, all we really want and crave is something real. We want truth, support, to be understood, and to feel safe.
Once we’re educated on what actually works for us and what isn’t harmful, we can be much more selective about what we let into our inner circle, whether it’s skincare products or new romantic partners.
Today, I read ingredient lists and I’m more thoughtful about what I buy. When I decide to play the field, I know to look for moisturizers with occlusive ingredients (for my desert dry skin) and to stay away from scrubby exfoliants that wreak havoc. I also know how to read labels for derivative ingredients that basically have zero effect, and that those fancy stem cell serums are just a gimmick (learning that one hurt the most).
A few months after trying Protocol, I got the opportunity to work with the brand, and the journey has been amazing. Not only do I feel like the products I’m using are actually making a real difference, but I’ve learned so much about why they work. I no longer believe the gimmicks and hype that other brands claim.
When the inevitable itch to try something new arises, I know that I can make better decisions for my body. In all honesty, I’ll always be a bit of a skincare F* girl, but at least now I’ve found my main squeeze.