10 Beauty Trends for 2021

We asked five of the beauty industry’s leading experts to predict the biggest hair, makeup, and skincare trends of 2021. Hint: It’s going to include a lot of ‘jeck’ masks, LED devices, and scalp products.

There are few sayings we detest more in this world than the annual clarion call for a “new year, new you.” (Seriously, what does that even mean?) But honestly, after making it through the tumultuous year that was 2020, we’ve found ourselves getting behind at least some aspect of the tired cliche. It is a new year, and while that doesn’t mean you should feel the need to change anything about yourself—internally or externally—it does signify the opportunity for something far more meaningful: a fresh start.

While this represents just a small fraction of the work that still needs to be done to ensure a more inclusive beauty industry for all, it is a sign that things are moving—albeit slowly—in the right direction. In the meantime, be sure to check out our guide to some of our favorite Black-owned beauty brands to support now and always.

1. At-Home Peels and Masks

After having little or no access to our go-to dermatologists and facialists, it comes as little surprise to learn that at-home treatments skyrocketed this past year—a trend that Sephora‘s Beauty Director, David Razzano, says isn’t going anywhere in 2021. “This past year saw most of us stuck at home, without access to salons and spas, and combating things like ‘maskne’ breakouts,” Razzano tells us. “As such, we saw a large number of people turn to products that allowed them to create a spa-like experience at home with the same professional-level results.” 

Digital LED masks, which have surged in popularity during the pandemic, will also continue to evolve in 2021. “We have seen a huge increase in performance skincare and high-tech tools, specifically with LED and microcurrent devices,” Net-A-Porter‘s Global Beauty Director Newby Hands tells us. “At-home treatments have been our customer’s go-to solution for their skincare needs with more time being spent at home this year.” Violet Grey‘s Executive Director of Content and Curation, Maureen Choi, agrees, adding, “Smart beauty products and devices are going to continue to revolutionize our collective beauty routines, producing results quicker, faster, easier, and with fewer side effects than ever before.” 

Interested in learning more about LED masks? Check out our guide to everything you need to know about red light therapy, including the best at-home devices to shop, here

RELATEDWe Tried Opte’s New 3D Printing Makeup Device—And We Have Thoughts 

Beauty Trends 2021

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2. Scalp Care is the New Skin Care

Will 2021 finally be the year that we start giving our scalps the same level of care and attention that we do our skin? Looks like it. According to Hands, the “idea of skincare for the scalp” will continue to push into the mainstream this year, with even more advancements in LED hair masks and scalp-specific product offerings (think scalp scrubs and serums). And it’s not just all about new technologies either. As terms like “wellness” and “self-care” continue to become a growing part of our daily routines, experts predict that hair care aisles are likely the next frontier to see a rise in more holistic approaches. 

Ready to treat your scalp to a little TLC? Check out our favorite luxury scalp scrubs here

3. Elevated Bath and Body Products

If there was a silver lining to experiencing all of the stress and anxiety that came with 2020, it was that it finally taught us all the importance of self-care. And for many, that meant investing in one’s beauty routine as a way to relax and boost health and wellbeing. “As a reaction to the turbulent times we are all enduring, we’re finding that consumers are increasingly turning to skincare as self-care ‘therapy’ as they begin to rate how products make them feel, over how they make them look,” says Inge. “This focus on beauty for the emotional benefits (a trend I call, ‘Emo-beauty’), such as mood-boosting, energy-inducing, and stress-relieving masks, oils, home fragrances, and bathing products, has driven both a substantial rise in sales across our wellbeing category (117 percent) during the first lockdown versus the previous year, as well as a staggering 315 percent rise in Cult Beauty’s bath and body category. We believe it will continue to inspire behavior well into next year and beyond.”

To help recreate your own luxury spa experience at home, be sure to check out our guide to the best self-care gifts, including some of our favorite body scrubs, candles, and face maskshere.

RELATEDThese 14 Tightening Creams Are Like Bootcamp For Your Skin

Beauty Trends 2021

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4. The New Hero Ingredients

One of the first questions every beauty editor hears at the beginning of each year is, “what will be this year’s new hyaluronic acid?” In previous years, the answer to this question has included everything from mushrooms to bakuchiol, but for 2021 Middleton says it’s going to be all about polyglutamic acid: a powerhouse humectant capable of holding and trapping in four times as much moisture as hyaluronic acid. 

RELATEDMeet Polyglutamic Acid: The Buzzy New Ingredient That’s Taking Over Our Skincare Routines

As the concern over blue light damage continues to grow among consumers who remain stuck working from home, many retailers have also noted an influx of innovative new products designed to combat its harmful effects. According to Inge, the demand for these products has become so great in recent months that Cult Beauty has since unveiled a dedicated category on its site called Blue Light Radiation Protection. Some of the blue light protection products that she’s most excited about are those that harness the power of marine ingredients—a trend that she’s calling “oceanic beauty.” 

Should cannabis-infused products not be your thing, don’t worry. As evidenced by Google’s annual report of the most-searched beauty trends of 2020, staple ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid aren’t going anywhere. If anything, they’re only getting better. “I will always put my money on proven, researched ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid,” says Choi, who anticipates seeing high-tech upgrades to these ingredients in the form of new encapsulation methods and innovative freeze-dried formats, such as Saro de Rúe’s Freeze-Dried Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Aging System—one of our favorite new K-beauty launches. 

Beauty Trends 2021

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5. Microbiome-Friendly Skincare

Microbiome health has been a buzzword in the beauty industry for some time now, but after years of overindulging in an ever-growing list of products, ingredients, and harsh exfoliants, experts agree that they expect to see a “less is more” approach to skincare take hold in 2021. “We’ve spent way too long overzealously exfoliating our skin, and it’s taking its toll,” says Choi.

In addition to the rise of more minimalist skincare routines—Pinterest recently coined the phrase “skinimalism” to describe this growing trend—experts believe that we’ll also start to see a move towards products intended to soothe and rehydrate stressed, sensitive skin. In that case, prepare to see a spike in skincare products touting things like probiotics and fermented ingredients, all of which are said to help restore and maintain the balance of our skin’s delicate microbiome.

6. ‘Cult of Personality’ Brands

However you feel about celebrity and influencer-driven beauty brands, there’s no denying the hold they continue to have on the industry. From Rihanna’s Fenty Skin to Jennifer Lopez’s recently launched JLo Beauty line, celebrity brands hit peak saturation in 2020, and by the looks of it, they’re just getting started. 

At Sephora, one of the celebrity brands Razzano says they’re most excited about for 2021 is Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty line. “I think Rare Beauty is going to be very big in 2021,” he notes. “The stylish yet effortless approach to makeup that Rare Beauty is offering appeals to a huge span of beauty lovers. Plus, they are offering a lot of new, innovative formulas that are gaining attention. For instance, the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush has opened up a whole new generation to the world of liquid blushes. This formula is so easy to apply, and it melts into the skin, creating a hyper-realistic effect that can be worn by anyone, at any age. The whole brand consists of this type of ‘makeup for everyone.’ I’m genuinely excited to see what Rare Beauty offers us this year, and I don’t think I am alone in that sentiment.”

RELATED: 12 Liquid Blushes to Perk Up Your Complexion

7. Biotech Beauty

If you haven’t yet heard of biotech beauty, get ready, because according to experts, you’re going to see it everywhere in 2021. Falling under the same sustainability umbrella as “waterless” and “refillable beauty,” biotech beauty is the term used to describe lab-made ingredients that either fuse natural ingredients with synthetic chemicals or create synthetic alternatives to natural ingredients. As sustainability and waste issues continue to loom over the beauty industry, many brands are now tapping into the biotech industry to help innovate, enhance sustainability, and create better, safer ingredients at scale.

“Innovation in biotech beauty will advance beyond our imaginations this year,” Choi tells us. “We’ve already seen beauty brands tap into the biotech space with breakthroughs like Augustinus Bader’s TFC8 ComplexU Beauty’s Siren Capsule technology, and 111SKIN’s patented NAC Y2 formula, which was first developed to help astronauts combat the many skin-sagging and cell-damaging effects of space. This trend will only continue as we move into 2021.” 

Interested in learning more about the rise of biotech beauty? See our article about the buzzy green beauty trend here

Beauty Trends 2021

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8. All About The Eyes

If there was one segment of the makeup industry that thrived in 2020, it was the eye category, and according to Razzano, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. “With most people wearing masks while out and about, we are seeing a strong focus on eyes when it comes to makeup,” he says. “This has allowed brands to push the envelope in terms of innovation, resulting in some extraordinary new formulas and shades. Eyeshadows that shift between multiple colors is one way we’ll see this, and more creamy formulas that deliver unique results. The Natasha Denona -Triochrome Eyeshadow Palette has definitely captured a lot of attention [at Sephora] for that reason. The palette boasts 15 shades in a unique and beautiful assortment, with three multi-chrome shades that, when applied, create an optical color shift that is magical to behold. This type of futuristic innovation and curation will push eyeshadows to new levels this year and beyond.”

RELATEDThe 14 Best Cream Eyeshadows For All-Day, Crease-Proof Wear

Beauty Trends 2021

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9. Grown-to-Order Beauty

For many beauty brands, one of the toughest challenges of dealing with the global pandemic in 2020 was the effect it had on manufacturing and supply chains. As a result, Middleton believes that many brands will look to mitigate supply chain and overstock issues in 2021 by shifting to increasingly on-demand and made-to-order practices. She calls it “grown-to-order” beauty. 

“With the specter of second and third waves of coronavirus outbreaks, retailers will need to move to more agile processes that allow them to avoid the discounting and supply chain issues faced during the summer of 2020,” she notes. “Some ways of doing this include moving towards shorter supply chains, the digitization of the supply chain (aka 3D design), and by offering pre-orders. By combining personalization and sustainability elements, grown-to-order beauty products, such as Haeckels’ algae eye masks, will only continue to grow in popularity. In this evolution of ‘slow beauty,’ consumers will move away from instant gratification and instead be part of the product’s creation process while also helping brands to avoid waste via small-batch productions.”

10. Increased Inclusivity

While beauty inclusivity is hardly just a passing trend, it is something that many of the experts we spoke to noted as being of increasing importance across every aspect of the industry moving forward into the new year. At Net-A-Porter, Hands says they “will be focusing hugely on inclusivity in all categories of beauty” this year and are excited to be adding several BIPOC-owned brands to their roster in the coming months. 

While this represents just a small fraction of the work that still needs to be done to ensure a more inclusive beauty industry for all, it is a sign that things are moving—albeit slowly—in the right direction. In the meantime, be sure to check out our guide to some of our favorite Black-owned beauty brands to support now and always. 

Original source: https://editorialist.com/beauty/biggest-beauty-trends-2021/


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