Beauty News

Cult Beauty Oracle: The 2022 Trend Forecast

In our co-founder, Alexia Inge’s 2021 trend forecast (read it here), she talked about the idea of resilience. However, a year later, “I would say this has evolved recently: it’s now less about learning to cope, and more about being kinder to ourselves. Beauty is not just about how we look, it’s increasingly about our mental and emotional health, as well as projecting a state of elevated wellness. It’s all connected.

“Consumers want to connect with each other again, too, in communities around products, founders and creators they like – even if that’s digital. I call this Beautytainment. Fans are now spending hours on Twitch and engaging in Instagram Live or Clubhouse discussions to track their favourite beauty influencers in more intimate formats.

“The next 12 months will see us driven by our pent-up desires to express ourselves, to travel, to experience each other, to party; fuelled to fever pitch by the will-they-won’t-they possibility of further lockdowns. For many, this means revisiting our make up bags, dusting off that styling wand, slapping on the self-tan (and for some reason buying Revitalash by the litre!) and getting out there with exuberance.”

So, from Smilesthetics to The Great Barrier Relief, we’ve rounded up the trends to watch in 2022…

Health Signaling 

‘Health is wealth’ is taking on a new meaning as millennials and Gen Xers invest in future-proofing their bodies – and never more so than post-pandemic. Signaling health and vitality has become not only a status symbol, but also a social necessity. The dynamic around wellbeing is changing, too. It’s being embraced as preventative, and a key to ensuring your body for the long haul with a focus on ‘Healthspaning’, ingredients that shore up your immunity like Vitamin D3, C & Zinc, shield your DNA like NMN & Vit D, enhance your brain function and energy levels like B12, B5 & L-tryosine, Lions Mane, Changa and re-wilding your gut by spending money on soil-based, multi-biotics and exposing yourself to the earth, e.g. gardening!

There’s also growing recognition that the wellness industry has predominantly been a playground for the affluent, hence the rise of disruptive, affordable, inclusive and approachable wellness brands like {HUM Nutrition} and {LifeBio}.

In beauty, the post-pandemic health obsession is manifesting in many ways. From a hearty hiking glow, to exuding positive ‘vibes’ to honing the appearance of the expensively facialed (or Micro-facialled), the new beauty currency is all about exuding health from within. Which is why we are seeing a growth in bridal-esque regimes (fitness, manicures, full body polish) and make up that focus on pretty beauty. At Cult Beauty, I’ve seen a rising emphasis on cream or stick blushers and bronzers with great new launches coming up from {Tower 28 Beauty}, {Live Tinted} and {Milk Makeup} and a new obsession with ‘dewing up’.


Teeth, sparkling, straight, healthy — are becoming the next frontier in sustaining a less injectible-led youthful look as consumers upgrade oral care, invest in Invisalign (a new status symbol), natural whitening and more. According to a survey by the UK’s Oral Health Foundation, under 35s now spend £750 a year on dental care, with 53% opting for cosmetic treatments. Cult Beauty’s {Oral Care} category has grown 216% in the last year. On cue, a flurry of new brands is hitting the market helping consumers maintain and beautify their teeth.

Microbiome-focused line {Galinee} recently launched prebiotic toothpaste and minty prebiotic-probiotic mouth and, in a fantastic upgrade to mouthwash, microbiome chews which both freshen your breath and bolster the mouth’s natural defences against cavity-causing bacteria. {Cocofloss} is not only like a little tooth loofa, they have refillable/recyclable cartons, made from recycled ocean plastic and anti-bacterial coconut waxes that work with the natural bacteria in your teeth. Water activated toothpaste tablets are going viral encompassing recyclable and waterless trends in one.

The Great Barrier Relief

Don’t pass the mantle, give it support. The latest wave of skin care brands are focused less on aggressive, fast-acting results and more on nurturing the skin’s barrier, maintaining a healthy, diverse microbiome and aligning more with self care. It’s slow beauty, it’s practicing skin KINDNESS. Sensitive skin has become even more prevalent during the pandemic and will likely remain a concern as we step outside after months spent at home. People will be seeking products that support their health, micro-biome and barrier. At Cult Concierge, for the first time ever customers are specifically asking how to support their skin barrier function.

With this comes the concept of ‘Micro-dosing’ actives, a term that draws from the ancient philosophy of Homeopathy, which works on the premise that diluted, regular doses of aggravating or active ingredients nudges your body into repairing itself more efficiently over time. Another culture-al evolution I’m seeing is the growing concept of ‘rewilding’ your biome and reducing the number of products needed, to improve the skin’s natural resilience, reframing it as a living ecosystem that needs tending and diversity (just like society).

Consumers will be looking to put the ‘care’ back into skin, skipping foaming soaps, multi-acid or aggressive physical exfoliators and dialing down the retinol or vitamin C to micro-doses that work over time. Ingredients that support the right pH and rebuild barriers or create
a physical barrier themselves, such as ceramides, essential fatty acids, multi-biotics and non-fragrant oils like jojoba will be the ‘glycolic’ of the twenties!

Lifecycle Beauty

As millennial women hit motherhood, post-motherhood and even middle age, they are changing the dynamic for products and services that meet them in these moments. Whether it’s de-tabooing the pelvic floor, ageing, or menopause, they’re approaching the second half of life with emboldened confidence and are rejecting outdated notions that may be lingering in the current landscape.  Maternal wellness and beauty concepts are also on the rise too (think: Nessa and Equi), the upscale vitamin range for ‘every stage of motherhood’. The {Mother & Baby} beauty category is also finally moving out of its Laura Ashley phase, introducing great brands like {Evereden} and {Mini Bloom}.

The Millenopause is coming as the eldest millennials hit their 40s, slowly reframing the dialogue around what it means to be middle aged. And they will be turning to devices in their droves – SolaWave continues to garner new devotees. The five-minute facial tool uses microcurrents, red light therapy and warming massage to create ‘vibrant skin’ in two weeks. {PolarSEAL}, is a pocket cooling device perfect for treating hot flashes and Elvie’s phone-connected Pelvic Floor Trainer is so good it’s recommended by the NHS.

Cool new menopause and perimenopause products are also reframing the dialogue around this key period for women. Think: MPowder, Faace, Rejuevenated LTD, HUM Nutrition, DeoDoc, Baubo and Dr Barbara Sturm. I started looking at the shift in menopause beauty and wellness in my 2020 report and since the launch of our {Menopause} category in January 2020, we’ve seen growth of +206%. Another burgeoning area for this is hair health and we are seeing a number of new products address hair ageing. I dubbed this the Mane-opause.


Sustainability, like wellness, has transcended the idea of a trend to become a mandate across all beauty categories, and one with its own ecosystem of trends. The onus is now on transformation, regeneration, and carbon positivity over simply clearing up our mess. We’re also seeing big changes in consumer behaviour as refillable product concepts become table stakes. So, what’s new?

Monomania: The more iterations, parts and labels a beauty item has, the harder it is to recycle. Mono material packaging is being touted as the latest move to clean up the beauty industry’s act and it’s even allowing pumps to be fully recyclable. Manufacturers are investing heavily in minimalist, single-material creations to reduce virgin waste and increase possibilities for re-use.

Biodegradable shifts to dissolvable: The founders of hip acne patch brand, Starface, have created a radical new way to wash with Plus, a new water-activated, zero-waste body wash that has 100% dissolvable packaging. The product comes in sachets themed Waves, Summer and Cloud, in pastel lilac, peach and yellow. Users simply douse the packs in water, releasing a foam, and the packaging magically vanishes.

Plasto-standins: Materials wise, we are seeing some really exciting alternatives to soft plastic, such as Spectacle Skincare’s recyclable spruce-wood and sugarcane tube; seaweed, fungus or crustacean bioplastic; and a company in Finland is developing a foam made of lignen, nanoclay and wood fibre to replace bubble wrap. REN is partnering with Tubex to create the first recycled and recyclable check out samples and Decree have launched the first ever 100% recyclable Sheet masks.

Post-food-upcycling: hemp, oat hull or cacao bean husk paper (post-chocolate waste), using waste from industries like Wine, Seafood or, in the case of {Circumference} skin care, olive leaves usually thrown away by the olive oil industry.

Ocean-friendly: {Hello Sunday} and {Supergoop!} promote clean and ‘reef safe’ components as a core USP and are also free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. Even make up brand Chantecaille has launched a reef- safe sunscreen. HUM Nutrition and Kinship are using 100% ocean plastic for their jars.


Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert