The 10 Biggest Beauty Trends to Watch in 2021

Last year’s events have been unexpected to say at least. COVID-19 has definitely shaped the world and business in many different aspects. The beauty industry has not been spared. As the world changed, people’s beauty routine, habits and consumption has changed too. For instance with the mandatory closure of hair dresser, beauty and cosmetic salons as well as beauty stores, consumers spend more time educating themselves and new trends have emerged. We have gathered the biggest beauty trends for 2021 in this list.

1. Skinimalism

Ten-step skincare routine or full face contouring are trends we will leave behind and rather move on into the next year with a lot less. This year 2021 is all about embracing natural beauty through skinimalism. Like the term already indicates, it is the minimalism for our skin and showing more of our skin structure, redness, freckles and wrinkles. This might be the result of people mostly staying in and not going out as much as in the past. The goal here is to create a youthful, glowy and natural look with less make-up but instead richer skin care and ingredients. For example Milk Makeup has been focusing on strong ingredients like mango butter and watermelon extract in their products to achieve a natural and dewy makeup look.

2. Gender-less

Coming to the next trend of this year 2021. The beauty industry has long discharged the traditional view on gender stereotypes. Today, the concept of male and female has been critically questioned more than ever and seen as an outdated marketing strategy. More and more brands are now emphasizing non-binary beauty or gender independent products.

Gender-less skincare products are characterized by little fragrances and usually come in neutral packaging. They focus on the ingredients, effect and skin requirements more than on specific branding towards men or women.

Brands like The Ordinary or NGS have been successful in targeting both genders as consumers with their skincare. On the other hand, if we look at cosmetics, LAKA is a brand that challenges and rewrites the beauty standard by introducing cosmetics like eyeshadow, lipstick and foundation catered to females and males.

3. Hygiene and protection

One direct effect of COVID-19 was the rise in hygiene products and protection. Besides hand sanitizers, the demand for products like soap has increased as more people washed their hands several times a day. Because of that, the demand for moisturizing hand creams and lotions have risen concurrently.

Moreover, consumers prefer products with hygienic design and functionality, which means they are less exposed to fingers, touch and the environment. One way to achieve this could be with an additional spatula for application. Another way is by using product packaging with pumps just like the brand Drunk Elephant does.

4. Smart skincare tools

As beauty salons closed down, more people have been bringing the missing experience home. Companies have been developing more innovative at-home devices with the newest and professional technology. You have probably come across devices like the LED Light Therapy face masks before. But now devices and tools have become even more advanced and smarter to cater to all individual customers.

For instance, the Luna Fofo is an AI-based cleansing device with advanced embedded sensors to analyze the user’s skin and generate a customized report. With their app, users are recommended facial cleansing routines, including intensity and duration guidelines.

5. Hyper-Personalization

If this is still not enough personalization for you, hyper-personalization might be your trend. More and more customers want beauty products tailored to their own individual needs and situation.

The established brand Shiseido has launched Optune, a skincare system that analyzes the consumer’s skin with AI technology and selects the best ingredients to dispense the ideal blend. It accounts for various factors like mood or environmental factors such as humidity and air quality. Or big player Beiersdorf just launched O.W.N, which stands for “Only What’s Needed”, to accommodate consumers’ needs for personalized products through AI and comprehensive algorithms.

Also new beauty brands build their entire business model on personalization. For instance, through machine learning, the brands Curology and Yours create customized skin care products while Function of Beauty offers customized shampoos and conditioners.

6. Biotech ingredients

Biotech ingredients have been a trend in the last year and will not only follow us into this year too but are here to stay. It has been revealed that the Biotech ingredients market will reach USD 3.03 Billion by 2027. For those who have never heard of it, Biotech ingredients are made in Labs by microbes often bacteria, yeast or algae with edited DNA. The term already indicates the meaning from bio for microorganisms and tech for engineered DNA of microbes. Some familiar examples of biotech skincare ingredients include hyaluronic acid or peptides found in many different creams or serums. Not only did it gain popularity for its effectiveness on our skin but particularly for its positive impact on the planet earth. One popular brand that is leveraging biotechnology for their beauty products is Biossance.

7. Clean beauty

With new methods of sourcing ingredients safer for humans and the earth through biotech ingredients, more consumers have accepted and adopted the idea of clean beauty. Hence, this trend of clean beauty has been seeing a peak in search results last year. Clean beauty is most often defined as the elimination of toxic, poisonous and harmful ingredients and using high quality and wholesome natural ingredients that nourish and care for the skin. Given the great demand for clean beauty by consumers, there are more clean beauty newcomers like Korean brand CHA’UL that is using the power of organic fermented tea from South Korea’s Hadong region as the base ingredient for their products. Or the Korean clean skincare brand FEMMUE was created by Kelly S. Chung based on the idea of “Flower Therapy,” which is achieving self-love through the benefits and energy of flowers.

8. Digitalization

There has been a great rise in beauty apps and beauty devices running on innovative technologies like AI or machine learning. But not only did beauty tools and devices become smarter through digitalization, the whole beauty industry has digitalized. From e-commerce, social commerce and live commerce to AR and VR driven beauty experience. Consumers are now online and mobile, hence brands can best reach and serve customers through the internet. As consumers are keen to communicate with the brand directly, live commerce that can meet these consumer needs is emerging as a new trend.

For instance, Perfect Diary has hosted the live-streaming session on November 11, Singles Day, China’s largest shopping day of the year. Their livestream KOL’s conducted the live-streaming with the animal-themed eye make-up, co-branded with the Discovery channel.

9. Self-care

In order to distract and escape the negativity or stress resulting from the pandemic, more people are investing time, money and effort into themselves to become healthier and happier. Besides long baths and hydrating sheet masks, another self-care measure all over social media is face yoga. For this, hands or tools like jade roller or rose quartz gua sha stones together with a serum or face oil are used in slow motions. This not only massages and relaxes the face but also diminishes the appearance of puffy, tired-looking eyes. Brands like Rosental have been celebrated by consumers and press for their useful tools.

10. Inner beauty (wellness)

To finish off our list of beauty trends in 2021, we shift away from outer appearance and look at inner beauty. In a time like this, people have realized that taking care internally is as important as external. Just like your morning skin care routine, meditation and journaling have been essential to many people’s everyday lives.

We can also see that beauty brands have been emphasizing inner beauty more. One example is Selena Gomez’s brand, Rare Beauty, which embraces and advocates inner beauty. “Being rare is about being comfortable with yourself.”

Beauty Trends in Review

We can definitely see the impact of COVID-19 on the beauty trends for 2021. Due to the pandemic, consumers have turned to self-care and skincare for comfort. As safety and health are the highest priority, consumers are more mindful and thoughtful about their beauty choices. This is also reflected in our list that shows that ingredients, packaging and messaging as well as technology and innovation have and will gain new importance. With a lot of hope and excitement, we look forward to the trends arising this year.