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Beauty Trends

The 2021 trend forecast

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert3 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile
“’Resilience’ is a word that we will be hearing a lot more of in the future” predicts our co-founder, Alexia Inge. “During this turbulent year, the beauty world has shown itself to be particularly resilient: our industry has long been misogynistically dismissed as frivolous and tertiary – but Covid-19 has highlighted that the modern world needs our products and services to help us function – to elevate our mood, project our personalities and emphasise our individuality, as well as to express the tribes we choose to be a part of.
“Covid will define consumption for the next five years (at least). It has pumped rocket fuel into trends that were quietly bubbling up – think: minimalism and conscious consumption over the last year. We have disconnected from our ‘hamster wheels’ and reconnected to our homes, family units and neighbours. We are reconnecting to the digital, work and commercial worlds with intention, awareness and a little bit of trepidation…”So, from bio-cleanical to mane-opause, we've rounded up the trends to watch in 2021...
Bio-Cleanical‘Clean’ is increasingly mired in myth so we’re placing our faith in new products that marry botanical extracts with lab-derived actives…After a year in which hand sanitiser and strong disinfectants have swiftly usurped our ‘all-natural’ formulas, faith in the power of science has rarely been better. We’ve shrugged off our fear of synthetics and now we’re content to fuse plant-derived extracts with lab-derived actives to stimulate skin and provide a 360˚ solution to common concerns - from acne to signs of the passage of time.What’s more, there’ll be a re-emergence of clean-savvy ‘doctor brands’, following renewed faith in advice of our science professionals during the crisis. Marry this to the ‘formulated without’ philosophies of the ‘clean beauty’ movement, layer in anti-contamination innovations and you’re left with clinically led, consciously formulated, lab-approved beauty for a new era of ‘clean’.Brands:One Ocean Beauty, Biossance, Volition, U Beauty, Allies of Skin and Drunk Elephant
Emo-BeautyForced to slow down and deprived of our rituals, many of us turned to beauty - specifically skin care - to book-end the day and provide an excuse to invest in ourselves. We read up on acids and slathered on face masks, opting for products that not only cherished our skin but provided a boost to wellbeing - products that we’re call ‘moodivators’, with textures and scents that can elevate mood as they make us look good. Cleansing felt meditative - we relished the act of removing ‘the day’ - and we utilised tools to upgrade our routines and bring calm in the midst of the chaos.And it didn’t stop at skin care. With emphasis firmly on health and resistance, we looked to the spate of ingestible launches to boost our immunity, bolster wellbeing and quieten everyday stresses. From striving to counter the negative toll of our screens to improving our sleep and relieving our worries, we witnessed a staggering rise in demand for holistic solutions to plagues of the age.And brands are responding in kind with a flurry of ranges that act like a ‘mood menu’ – letting us opt for a treatment that suits our emotional – not just our skin care – requirements; blending ancient wisdom (Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and ancestral techniques) with a modern sensibility.Brands:The Nue Co, de Mamiel, Keys Soulcare, goop, Odacité, Uma and LOUM
Ancestral BeautyAs life feels more uncertain, we’re drawn to the ancient, the ancestral, and brands that have a meaningful connection to specific countries and cultures are gaining new momentum, as renewed scrutiny and rejection of industry whitewashing makes people look towards brands that embrace their unique beauty heritage – prompting us to learn more about, and explore cultures long overlooked.Ancestral beauty has been talked about forever but awareness extends to a few, not to many; for example, ancient Indian beauty rituals have been the thoroughly rifled but now, it’s about celebrating the beauty traditions beyond the familiar – the Mayan inspired Mawena, Costa Brazil and Lovinah – which bring fresh, largely unexplored beauty heritages to the fore in an honest, transparent and ethical way.Furthermore, brands inspired by African heritage, as well as the brands being born there, are gaining new and long-overdue momentum, with names to watch including African Botanics and Charlotte Mensah.Brands: Mawena, Costa Brazil, Lovinah, Charlotte Mensah, Heritage Store and African Botanics
Homebody BeautySetting your pad up as a place of womb-like nurture and safety is the new ‘wellterior’ trend and a burgeoning Pinterest obsession. Working from home emerges from its locked-down need-state into our own micro-world of opportunity, where we prioritise the wholesome aspects of everything from natural light and scent (Home Fragrance sales are up 126% y.o.y.) to workspace and workout-space.What’s more, lockdown has changed our perception of beauty treatment devices – from how effective they are to how much we are willing to pay for them. This evolution of the ‘at-home salon’ has created a market for £400-£2000 devices such as Theragun, DRx Spectralite FaceWare Pro and the Deesse Mask – expect plenty more where they came from.And it isn’t just tech. Now that we’re firmly on board the ingestible train (2020 has sparked renewed appetite), the supplement sphere is evolving to meet our insatiable appetite. Traditionally pretty bland, brands like Hum Nutrition, Solgar, Golde and Apothekary are making your curating your dream capsule wardrobe affordable, fun and approachable.Brands: Theragun, Dr. Dennis Gross, Déesse Pro, HUM Nutrition, Apothem Labs and Foreo
Mane-opauseIn last season’s trends, Lex noticed the beginnings of a change in how ‘the change’ could be approached and how needed – not to mention overdue – that was. The revolution has been slow, especially by the medical profession, but a few brands like Pause Well-Aging and M-Powder have understood that there is no solution to the Menopause, because the Menopause isn’t an enigma – it’s a fact of life for 50% of the population.One of the most meaningful changes for many women over 40 is hair thinning. There are two factors that affect mature hair – hormones and an ageing scalp. Menopause can cause hair to change texture, and even fall out as testosterone levels increase and the oestrogen plummets. And scalp-wise, as we grow older, follicles embedded in the deeper layer of the dermis begin to manufacture much more slowly and, in some cases, can ‘switch off’ altogether.Therefore, to protect mature follicles, it’s important to shield them from UV exposure and steer clear of treatments that change the pH of the scalp. Regular masks and exfoliation are a great way to boost circulation and nourish each strand from the roots to the tips.Brands:Pause Well-Aging, Virtue, Philip Kingsley, THE INKEY LIST and Omorovicza.
LuxmoditiesIn recessionary periods, people tend to reduce the amount that they spend on superfluous items, which results in a consumer ‘need’ for staples that straddle the ‘feelgood’ and ‘functional’ boxes. In the quest to be deemed a necessity, daily care products – from hand sanitiser to toothpaste – are being upgraded to form a new category of ‘Luxmodity’.To win a place in our carefully considered daily regimes, these Luxmodities must be ‘everyday incredible’ – streamlines, minimised and concentrated products that perform (while looking fancy).Right now, we’re seeing it in serums which are fast becoming the new day creams (95% growth y.o.y.): in the months to come, serums will replace moisturisers as the cornerstone of your skin care. And it’s not just about price – for most people, buying into high-priced luxury goods has been out of reach for years, but thankfully, Luxmodity doesn’t (exclusively) mean a fantastical price tag: many affordable brands have been quietly harnessing cutting-edge tech and the latest advances to generate products that offer results without breaking the bank.Brands: THE INKEY LIST, Versed, NatureLab TOKYO, BeautyStat, Decree, Allies of Skin and Aesop
Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...