The Return of the Bathroom Altar
On any given day in 2018, chances are you were either drooling over the latest Into the Gloss Top Shelf interview, scouring YouTube for "What's in My Beauty Bag" videos from your favorite celebrities, or trying to re-create that magic yourself with your own flat lay. Wherever you landed on the spectrum, the message at that time was crystal clear: your beauty products were like their own form of social currency.
If you can relate, then you probably also had your own ITG-esque shelf with all of your favorite products lined up for easy access back in the mid-to-late 2010s. Over the last few years, it feels like the beauty community moved away from the hyper-curation of visually pleasing beauty products, but there does seem to be one place that this aesthetic still thrives: TikTok — particularly when it comes to the body-care space. In fact, now people are tailoring their bathroom altars to address the skin below the neck.
"Glowing skin is always in, and it's something that my patients are consistently striving for all year round," dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology, Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD, tells POPSUGAR. "When it comes to achieving that radiant glow all over your body, lotions, creams, and other moisturizers are essential because they can help add hydration and restore balance to the largest organ on our body."
From layering fragranced washes and lotions to make a scent last all day to products that can help you achieve dolphin skin on your entire body, this sector of beauty does not seem to be slowing down any time soon, and in turn, people are clamoring to show off their holy grail, top-shelf products via "elevated showers," "hygiene routines," and product collection tours on TikTok.
Why Are Body-Care Products Trending?
Even with this background, we still have to wonder: why the sudden boom in body-care products today? It could be because an age-old adage may have finally gotten through to the masses. The phrase "skin care doesn't stop at your face" has been touted by dermatologists and aestheticians for years, but it's become easier for consumers to adopt this practice thanks to developments in the ingredients incorporated into body products.
"Body-care products are now evolving to have the same level of care and active ingredients that we see in our facial products," Dr. Robinson says. "Products like Vaseline's Radiant X Even Tone Nourishing Body Lotion ($14) include 1 percent niacinamide – an ingredient that's typically found in facial care and is lauded for its ability to hydrate skin and improve dark spots when used regularly."
It's true. More body-care products launching today have almost been mimicking formulas that we've grown familiar with for use on areas strictly above the shoulders, leading to products that can be multipurpose, like Deon Libra's Smoove Body Wash ($38), which has actives like AHAs and PHAs, as well as Olay's Cleansing & Renewing Nighttime Body Wash ($9), which has Vitamin B3 and Retinol on its ingredient list. Because of this, we will continue to see the resurgence of the bathroom altar, a collection of products that people use routinely and that are within easy reach when they take showers, or do their morning and evening routines.
While we likely can't fully relive the glory days of the Top Shelf, this renaissance will likely have some lasting effects. "Just like in facial care where there may be multiple steps in your routine to treat specific concerns, I predict the same will follow for the body," Dr. Robinson says. "We will move toward more innovative and targeted products, and we will see the development of more advanced routines that layer as a host of products for a more holistic body-care routine that addresses all skin concerns."