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“I’m a Dermatologist and This is Why The Viral Unsexy Beauty Trend Can Benefit Women Over 50!”

Plus, 15 unsexy products you'll want to add to your arsenal

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We all have that one product that we cannot live without. And sometimes, that product is the $5 drugstore item you grew up watching your mom use, or the kitchen staple you swear works wonders for your skin (hello, olive oil). They may not be the most glamorous or “sexy” of products, but they do the job, and they do it well. And the good new is these, “unsexy” beauty products are going viral on TikTok and social media, with thousands of creators sharing the unsexy heroes that they swear by — and that you’re sure to love too. Here, a top dermatologist explains the benefit of the trend, plus, we rounded up some favorites and even tapped experts for their go-tos.

What is the unsexy beauty products trend?

We all love affordable products that actually work, and that’s what this trend is all about. In today’s age of hyper-consumerism, it seems there is a new “it” product on the market that you’re being told you need to try, and there is a heavy emphasis on aesthetic packaging, buzzy words on the label and how it’s being talked about on social media.

“It’s so important to prioritize quality, efficacy and safety of products that are well-researched and backed in science, such that they can deliver results to meet specific skincare concerns,” says Pooja Rambhia, MD, board-certified dermatologist. “Branding and elegant/aesthetic packaging is often used to entice consumers and provide a luxury skincare experience, though it’s truly the quality of ingredients, product formulation and science behind a product that determines its efficacy.”

This TikTok from @dermguru explains it well:

You don’t need 15 different moisturizers just because they have trendy ingredients or beautiful packaging, especially ones that are costing you $50+ a pop. The older we get the more we are concerned with just finding a product that performs well. And many times, those are found right at the drugstore for a fraction of the cost. And while you’ve probably been using “unsexy” beauty products and hacks for years, it’s always great to learn that others have caught on and that you can learn from them too!

Related: Best Drugstore Makeup Finds for Women Over 45 — 7 Picks Pros Swear By

The unsexy beauty products trend also has to do with the concern you’re using a product for. For example, no one wants to talk about bad breath; but incorporating a tongue scraper into your routine can be a game changer for your oral health! Although it’s not the sexiest topic, it’s nonetheless important!

See TikTok user @tatiwestbrook‘s list of unsexy beauty products.

@tatiwestbrook

UnSexy Beauty Products!!! Let me know if you want more! I love this trend! #productsyouneed #unsexyproducts #TatiWestbrook #10outof10recommend 💋

♬ original sound – Tati

Ingredients to look for in unsexy beauty products

skincare product swatches
Kseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty

There are thousands of ingredients out there that can be put into products, many of which you probably have no clue about. It can be overwhelming when looking at the ingredients label, trying to determine if the product is right for you and has solid efficacy. But at the end of the day, it really depends on your specific concerns that will determine which ingredients you should look for.

Green flag unsexy ingredients

“Green flag skincare ingredients are dictated by one’s skin type and skin concerns. For example, for those who are dealing with acne, green flag ingredients to choose include products with salicylic acid which can help to unclog pores,” Dr. Rambhia affirms. “For those who are dealing with eczema, it’s best to choose fragrance-free moisturizers that contain green flag ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin and petrolatum.”

Red flag “sexy” ingredients to avoid

There are some ingredients that add “sexiness” to products, but that you might want to steer clear of, especially with more mature skin.

“Skincare red flag ingredients are really dictated by the type of skin you have and your specific skin concerns. What may be a skincare red flag for one, may not be for someone else,” says Dr. Rambhia.

It’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all, says Dr. Rambhia. “An example of this is fragrance – fragrance can be a huge red flag for those with sensitive skin as it can be a major irritant. For those with existing eczema flares, the skin is already inflamed and cracked, so irritants like fragrance, harsh soaps or detergents can further worsen the existing inflammation in the skin.”

Higher cost “sexy” products do not equal higher quality

If there’s anything we’ve seen come from the “unsexy” beauty products trend, it’s that cost absolutely does not dictate efficacy. Luxury brands often invest heavily into marketing and packaging, while drugstore/lower-cost brands may direct more of their finances/attention towards the actual formulation of the product. Plus, adds Dr. Rambhia, “Nowadays, there are so many affordable and accessible brands that are prioritizing product efficacy that is well-researched and rooted in science, over luxury.”

Related: 10 Viral Beauty Products for Women Over 50 To Help You Look Youthful Instantly

The best unsexy beauty products to try

Below, our favorite unsexy beauty products that may not be pretty, but will keep you coming back because of their low-cost and how well they work.

Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer
Vanicream/Amazon

Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

As TikToker @abbeyyung says in her video below, “Vanicream might just be the least sexy skincare brand to ever exist, but I couldn’t care less because this is one of the best moisturizers I’ve ever tried at any price point.” It’s probably not going to immediately grab your attention in the beauty aisle, but it should. It costs just $13 a bottle, and is made with ceramides and hyaluronic acid for extra hydration and nourishment.

Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam
Rogaine

Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam

As we age, many of us experience hair loss and thinning. Minoxidil is a powerful ingredient meant to regrow hair in just 3-6 months.

“This is an unsexy product because it does not come in beautiful, fancy packaging, and is typically marketed only towards men despite it being completely safe for women and more effective than the 2% strength that is marketed towards women only,” says Dr. Rambhia. “Minoxidil has been shown in studies to increase blood flow to hair follicles, promoting the growth (anagen phase) of the hair cycle, thereby reducing hair shedding and improving hair density. It’s FDA-approved for androgenetic alopecia but can also be used off-label for alopecia areata and telogen effluvium. It can also be used to thicken up eyebrows!”

Related: 11 Best Hair Growth Products for Women Over 50 to Treat Thinning, According to Hair Loss Experts

Neutrogena Medicated Itchy Scalp Shampoo
Neutrogena

Neutrogena Medicated Itchy Scalp Shampoo

If you suffer from dry, itchy scalp or dandruff, this shampoo from Neutrogena may not look sexy or pretty in your shower, but it is made with 2.5% salicylic acid, which helps control oil build up and rids scalp of dead skin.

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with 1% Ketoconazole
Nizoral/Amazon

Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with 1% Ketoconazole

Another great shampoo for dandruff is this one made with ketoconazole, which is anti-fungal medication. Bonus: People rave about this product’s ability to get rid of fungal acne (which often occurs in the T-Zone) and as dermatologist and TikToker @aamndaadel explains in the video below, it can even help with dry patches around the brows and nose.

“This shampoo works very well for scalp dandruff and can work to reduce flaking and itch with consistent use. It also has anti-androgen properties and reduces the production of DHT, so there may be some benefit to using it if you have androgenetic hair loss,” says Dr. Rambhia. “This shampoo can also be used as a face or body wash to help treat fungal acne and various types of fungal rashes.”

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Oil Mist
Aveeno/Target

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Oil Mist

A good body oil is a must, especially for those with dry skin. This one by Aveeno made with oat oil and jojoba oil not only smells divine, but has a spray pump which makes application a breeze. Simply spritz on your entire body after your shower while skin is still damp, rub in and then for extra hydration, apply your favorite body lotion.

SkinSmart Facial Cleanser for Acne
SkinSmart/Amazon

SkinSmart Facial Cleanser for Acne

This definitely doesn’t have aesthetic packaging, but trust us when we say it will instantly refresh your skin. Its star ingredient is hypochlorous acid which zaps bacteria off the face instantly. No need for drying; Just spray onto face throughout the day and go. This will help prevent and treat any acne that may pop up, and it’s even been said to be a dupe for the viral Tower 28 Spray for a fraction of the cost. TikTok user @sarah.kidwai swears by it — among other great unsexy products.

Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly
Vaseline/Target

Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly

There’s nothing better than good ‘ol Vaseline, the tried-and-true staple many of us already have in our bathroom closet. It’s backed by Dr. Rambhia as well: “This is the most versatile, inexpensive and widely used skincare staple out there. Plain white petrolatum functions as an effective protective barrier that can be used to seal in moisture and prevent water loss – thus it can be a great moisturizer for those with rough, chapped skin, or have eczema.”

It’s truly a multi-functional product! “It is also great on traumatic wounds or surgical scars to facilitate wound-healing. Vaseline can also be used on dry chapped lips and chaffing skin. Petroleum jelly also has mild anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin,” says Dr. Rambhia. Best of all, there are so many other household uses for it!

Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick
Megababe/Target

Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick

Chafing: I think we can all agree it’s not the sexiest of topics, but it’s extremely common. Especially in the summer with shorts weather coming up, you’re going to want to keep an anti-chafe stick on hand at all times. Simply rub on where friction happens whenever needed throughout the day.

Thayer's Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner
Thayer’s

Thayer’s Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner

While some like to use witch hazel on our face to tone skin and prevent acne, TikToker @sarah.kidwai explains in the video below that she likes to apply it to her underarms before putting on deodorant to combat odor and sweat.

Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Differin

Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with Sunscreen

To get your daily fix of SPF, we highly recommend this oil-absorbing moisturizer by Differin. It has SPF 30, which is perfect for hot, summer days, and doesn’t make skin feel greasy or oily.

First Aid Beauty ingrown hair pads
First Aid Beauty

First Aid Beauty Ingrown Hair Pads

There’s nothing pleasant or sexy about ingrown hairs. They are such a pain to deal with and can feel so uncomfortable. If you tend to get ingrown hair when shaving, these easy-to-use pads are here to the rescue. They are made with AHA and BHA acids to help exfoliate skin to prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps.

Related: At-Home Laser Hair Removal: How to Get Smooth Skin for $100s Less Than Salon Treatments

Differin Acne Retinoid Treatment Gel Adapalene 0.1%
Differin/Target

Differin Acne Retinoid Treatment Gel Adapalene 0.1%

Dermatologists swear by this adapalene gel for not just acne, but fine lines as well. Adapalene is a very powerful anti-aging ingredient — so powerful that it used to be prescription-only. This treatment by Differin is now available over-the-counter and is a vitamin A derivative, aka a retinol.

Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Body Wash
Lubriderm

Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Body Wash

This body wash by Lubriderm may not look the “sexiest” but it’s a shower routine game-changer for dry, itchy skin. Made with pro-ceramide, vitamin E and pro-vitamin B5, your skin will feel truly nourished and hydrated after using.

MasterMedi Tongue Scraper
MasterMedi/Amazon

MasterMedi Tongue Scraper

As already mentioned, no one likes to talk about bad breath, and certainly, no one wants to have bad breath. By simply adding a quick extra step in your oral hygiene routine, you can take that worry off your mind! A tongue scraper helps remove bacteria and build up that can contribute to unpleasant odors.

Pretty Feet & Hands Rough Skin Remover & Exfoliant
Pretty Feet & Hands/Amazon

Pretty Feet & Hands Rough Skin Remover & Exfoliant

Need to get your feet in tip-top shape for summer? Slough all any dead, rough skin with this exfoliant. People swear by it, saying it leaves feet incredibly soft and smooth.


For more of our favorite beauty trends, click through these stories:

Chemical Peel Before and After Photos + Why the Treatment Is Great for Women Over 50

Retinol for Body: How to Ensure All of Your Skin Looks Younger

“I Tried Skin Cycling and Was Amazed at How Smooth and Glowing My Skin Looks Now”

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