Will the skincare trends in 2021 – in what is now year two of the pandemic – define a decade in beauty? There are signs that our changed habits in how we buy and use beauty products are here to stay.
Some things don’t change. Every year, research firms and the beauty media monitors not just the quantitative info such as the statistics and the reports of cosmetics multinationals, but also the qualitative output on social media. What are influencers predicting as the next big thing (or two)? So long as they’re not paid influencers and promoting only their sponsoring brands, that is.
Pinterest too is upping its game saying that “people use Pinterest to find tomorrow’s ideas”. Its users are there to pin inspiration for their plans – not their past. And while brief in content (no one reads these days anyway), the Pinterest Predicts 2021 report makes for some interesting scanning.
Undoubtedly, the biggest influencer of all on shaping our current and no doubt future beauty purchasing habits and desires has been the double whammy of Covid-19 and the climate crisis. Ironically, both are beyond anyone’s ability to influence short term. We can only hope that we take mindful, conscious actions today, this year and every year, to mitigate the effects of both.
So on that sobering note, let’s look at how our desire to stay safe and well, support each other and the planet is playing out in the the beauty industry.
5 key skincare trends in 2021: a year of seminal change
In the past, the buzzwords would be “antipollution”, “J- or K-Beauty”, or something to do with advanced peels, sheet masks or the latest ingredient. This, by the way, happens to Bakuchiol oil. Heralded as a natural, less harmful retinol replacer, bakuchiol has seen search rise 300% according to Covalo, a vast beauty supplier database which monitors trending searches on its platform.
The pandemic saw us in ongoing lockdowns, and 2021 will see more periods of stop-start which most certainly will not signal a return en masse to the office, commuting and city centres. This means we’re at home more and focusing more on holistic wellness and healthy eating, exercise and mindset to get us through whatever the pandemic throws at us.
There is definitely an emergence of movements linking mindfulness and wellness with skincare, along with the growth of multipurpose products as many of us are preferring a “less is more” approach. We simply don’t need a plethora of products if no one sees us much and our focal points are hidden behind masks.
Online beauty apps now supplant real make-up. Haircare and home hair styling products have seen a rise as that is about the only part of our face now visible and able to define our presentation of self to the virtual and real worlds – which have blurred anyway. As Cosmetics Design Europe says in its report, quoting Oliver Wright, MD of consumer services at Accenture, “Covid-19 is creating seminal change on how people are thinking about consumption”.
1. Skincare to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier
With health to the fore, we’re seeing a surge in skincare that protects. Sanitizers aside, there is a focus on skincare aiding the skin’s natural protective barrier. Antioxidants, Vitamin E and C, pre- and probiotics are still trending. While probiotics are excellent for gut health (a healthy gut equals healthy skin), we’re seeing far more probiotic-based skincare ranges with beneficial bacteria added directly to products to help keep the skin healthy and glowing.
2. Clean eating, clean living
With health centre stage, 2021 is shaping up as the year we tackle skincare from within. Your skin reflects everything you choose to fill your body with, so by following a clean diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and those probiotics, your skin will reward you by appearing more youthful with a glow that cannot be rivaled by the best beauty product out there.
Pinterest Predicts highlighted terms such as ‘face yoga’, ‘how to get glowing skin naturally’ and ‘natural everyday make-up’ as top search phrases. Clearly, we’re marrying health with beauty; a trend long overdue.
This has seen a rise in wellness skincare and products that cocoon us from the outside, and allow us moments of calm in our own bathing spaces. The closure of spas and salons has meant we are looking for home spa products that can create those tranquil, pampering moments in our own homes.
3. Skinimalism and multi-tasking products
Skinimalism – less is more – is now big in beauty. This might not be music to the cosmetics’ industry’s ears as large beauty conglomerates thrive on the traditional model of selling more SKUs to turn a profit. The consumer’s voice is now far too loud to go unheard. Are we seeing the end of K- and J-Beauty zillion-step beauty routines?
The pandemic and climate change have highlighted the extravagance and unsustainability of carrying on with our old purchasing habits. We’ve become accustomed to desiring fewer products and making do with whatever we needed to use up in our bathroom cabinets. As we return to a modicum of regular, day-to-day living and want to buy some beauty products, there is little doubt that skinimalism is now ingrained. The climate will thank us too for consuming less.
Pinterest Predicts says:”It’s the end of the caked-on makeup look. Pinners will embrace slow beauty and let their natural skin texture shine through. This new “effortlessly chic” routine is simple and sustainable”. It will be interesting to see this trend play out during 2021.
Now, to those multi-purpose products. In the past, you may have felt the multitasker didn’t work as well, or have used the more-in-one cosmetic solely while on holiday to be able to pack light and avoid the hassle at airports of lots of plastic bags.
Well, the multi-tasker has morphed into slimmed-down ranges but ones with sophisticated, dual + purpose products. We as consumers are also discovering just what a single product can do. It is totally possible to use a product that does three things in one, but still feels luxurious on the skin.
A high-quality facial oil, for example, can cleanse and moisturize your skin, and even be used on your hair. Because facial oils are so rich in potent antioxidants, you don’t have to worry about skimping on quality, even though you aren’t using three different products to do the same job.
At Olentium, we’re creating a micellar oil cleanser that starts off an oil to massage in on the skin but with a few drops of water, becomes a milk. It’s water micelles held in the oil create a double cleanser in a single product. And it’s perfect for all skin types and climates. With its minimal water content, it’s also conscious skincare created to reduce our water footprint both in the making and using.
4. Glam gone, natural in
As you can see, beauty products for glam – whether for office chic or social outings – is out. Natural, as nature intended, glowing healthy skin and hair are in. The plethora of Instagrammers documenting their journeys going grey and embracing their natural hair is a sign of the times that we are rejecting manicured looks for the real us, and feeling more comfortable in our own skins.
5. Ethical and local beauty is born
Not surprisingly, consumers are seeking out brands that are transparent about the provenance of almost every facet of their business, from field and forest to final cosmetics products. The ethical provenance of ingredients, packaging, and the planetary footprint left by their supply chains is high on the beauty consumer’s agenda. The brands that will thrive are those that embrace this challenge and are honest about the steps they are taking to reduce their negative impact on the planet and climate change.
Watch this space, because many of these trends and predictions are sure to remain with us defining how those of us in the industry do business and how beauty consumers behave, and likely 2020-21’s trends will change our concept of beauty forever. We hope so anyway.