You may have already settled on a holy grail product for hiding pesky, unexpected blemishes, but there’s a new trend in beauty that could shake up your traditional, go-to routine.

Solid skin care cosmetics have arrived — and its biggest selling point is the ease it provides for traveling with your trusty beauty items. After all, a breakout mid-vacay isn’t the experience you’re looking for.

But how does this brand-new beauty trend stack up to years and years of liquid holy grails?

Why is solid skin care taking off?

Unlike traditional liquid skin care, solid skin care — which can include sunscreen, shampoo, and some makeup — comes in unspillable, TSA-friendly form.

Previously, only items like deodorant and bars of soap were created in a solid variation, but as cosmetic scientist Perry Romanowski of The Beauty Brains explains, it’s only recently that the beauty industry has had the technology available to begin offering new solid skin care items.

Solid skin care might still be finding its footing in the beauty world, but testing out a product (or five) for yourself only requires a trip to your fave beauty retailer. Take a run to Target and stock up on affordable solid options or visit your local cosmetic store — Sephora or Ulta will do — and try out high-end alternatives.

How does it stack up compared to liquid skin care?

Formulation and effectiveness

According to Romanowski, the formulation and packaging of solid skin care items could possibly reduce the amount of plastic waste. But, when it comes to usability, not everyone will find solid products to be as effective as their standard liquid skin care favorites.

Solid skin care contains some form of wax — including sodium stearate, beeswax, shea butter, or carnauba wax — to create its shape.

Romanowski warns that this can cause certain solid products to appear heavier or shinier on the skin. “These types of products might be harder to spread on the skin, and harder to clean off,” he adds.

Along with potentially impacting how your makeup appears when applied, solid items — just like liquid skin care items — may contain ingredients that some people might be allergic to.

As always, it’s best to do a patch test to see how your skin reacts, Romanowski notes.

Absorbency

For those who prefer a makeup product that lasts throughout the day, solid skin care might be a better option than liquid skin care.

Romanowski says that depending on your method of makeup application and how much product you use, solid skin care’s consistency can last longer on the skin. The extra waxes found in solid skin care also make the product waterproof. This makes it a perfect option for days that include a trip to the gym or an unexpected downpour.

Don’t worry about the wax reducing the effectiveness of solid skin care. According to Romanowski, it has the same absorbency as liquid skin care.

caution against wax With antiperspirant skin care, you may want to double-check the ingredient list for potentially unhealthy ingredients like phthalates. As this 2012 study mentioned, phthalates may be associated with chronic illnesses. While induced sweating can help purge these compounds, the waxy texture of solid skin care may prevent you from sweating it out.

“Some people may find it easier to use since you apply the product directly to the skin from the package,” Romanowski says. “Liquid products need special tools or cloths for application, which is an extra step. Of course, most people don’t find this to be difficult.”

There’s also less of a wait time for drying and layering products, which minimalists who aim for five-minute and under routines will love.

Quality

Aside from a variation in form, solid skin care provides the same quality product as its liquid counterpart.

Both solid and liquid skin care will likely contain the same amount of product, Romanowski says. In some cases, it might be easier to get that last drop of liquid skin care out of the bottle, but both liquid and solid skin care items are a reliable item to include in any beauty routine.

Ultimately, is it right for you?

If you’re looking for a new beauty product to try or you find yourself struggling with travel restrictions on liquids, solid skin care is worth a go.

However, “there really aren’t any notable benefits to using solid products over liquid ones,” Romanowski reminds us.

“In fact, they probably are a bit less effective in that [manufacturers] can’t as easily include some skin-beneficial ingredients,” he says. “This is a bit of a fad. If you enjoy the aesthetics of solid products, it’s worth trying.”


Lauren Rearick is a freelance writer and fan of coffee. You can find her tweeting at @laurenelizrrr or on her website.