We’ve finally made it through a year that feels like it lasted a decade, and I’ll be overjoyed if I never have to send or read an email that starts with “during these unprecedented times” ever again.
I think we’re all ready for some changes to happen and to move forward into having a better time in general. And from my vantage point, there are some beauty trends emerging for 2021 that look like they have some great potential and others that I really want to just leave behind in 2020.
2021 Beauty Trends: The Keepers
Hydration has been one of, if not the biggest, cornerstones of Asian skin care for decades now. While the global and Western markets in particular have been slowly following this path, I think we’re going to see a huge focus on multiple types of hydrating products in major beauty brands. The first new round of skin care launches I’ve seen have been heavily focused on providing hydration to the skin in multiple ways; it’s not just about having a moisturizer or a standalone serum to address hydration anymore.
We’re talking toners, mists, cleansers, and everything in between, with all variety of humectants from glycerin to aloe to hyaluronic acid and even various mushroom and seaweed extracts. They’re all aimed at adding and maintaining as much water in your skin as possible to keep it healthy and plump. I can think of very few situations where hydration isn’t needed in someone’s routine, and as a person who literally lives in a desert, I couldn’t be more onboard with this 2021 beauty trend.
The Experts Are Here
My screen time notifications are calling me out on a weekly basis, and it’s very clear how much more time I’m spending on my phone looking up random things and scrolling through social media. While I have no interest in turning into a TikTok dancer, I’ve been spending a lot more time on there than usual due to the serious uptick in beauty industry experts, especially in the dermatology and aesthetician communities.
@teawithmdReply to @bethany_wang the order of retinoid application depends on your skin and how sensitive/dry you are ##dermbypark ##skincare♬ original sound – Dr. Joyce
Every expert is going to have a different opinion, and I think that finding a trusted derm or aesthetician is one of the best things to do for your skin if you have the ability to do so, especially if you’re dealing with a medical condition like eczema or rosacea. However, I think having access to so many different points of view and hundreds if not thousands of hours of combined education and experience via these experts on social media is an unexpected but extremely valuable resource for getting some solid info. And I, for one, hope this beauty trend doesn’t go away in 2021.
Light & Quick
I know I’m not the only one living a completely makeup-free existence at this point. My routine before was already very minimal, but now, foundation, powder, and highlighter feel like a ton of product on my face. When we’re able to get out and about more safely, I don’t think my feelings are going to change on this at all.
I think that moving forward, we’re not going to see many cosmetic launches focused on high coverage products that are geared towards achieving a super perfect and glamorous look. It’s a lot more likely that concealer, powder foundations, and lightweight foundation/tinted moisturizer products in easy-to-travel packaging like plastic tubes will become the “It” products. Quick to use, easy to travel with, and lighter both in texture and coverage are the target goals while we’re remembering how to people again.
2021 Beauty Trends: The Losers
Pantry Skin Care
Making DIY at-home skin care like masks or moisturizers isn’t anything new. (I cannot be the only one who was making kitty litter face masks in the late 2000s thanks to Michelle Phan—still love her though). But social media combined with too much time in 2020 definitely resulted in a resurgence of using kitchen pantry staples, mostly food, to create your own skin care at home. I’ve seen almost every food group (besides meat) being used to make these concoctions, and y’all, I don’t believe that it is worth it. I’m all for home remedies for things like a sore throat or headache, but this is a line I don’t think we should continue to cross.
Cracking open an avocado every weekend for a hair mask is not cost efficient, and I can’t help but feel like strawberry skin scrubs and banana undereye patches will result in wasted food, especially if you’re buying things you wouldn’t normally buy to make skin care. When you add in the lack of preservatives and the fact that virtually none of us have a lab grade, sterile working environment to use at home, it just opens up the potential to creating a playground for mold and bacteria rather than a face mask, especially if you’re attempting to get multiple uses out of something you make. Let’s leave the formulation and packaging to people with equipment, degrees, and experience.
Aggressive At-Home Treatments
I will keep saying this until the end of time, but let’s all say it together again: We are not aestheticians. Too many of y’all out there are getting real bold with super high percentage, very aggressive treatments in your own bathrooms, and I am telling you that the potential for damage both in the short-term and the long-term is not worth the risk. It doesn’t matter how many YouTube videos you watch or how many TikToks you’ve seen. Social media does not give you the training and experience to properly perform treatments like dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels on yourself or anyone else.
@dermdoctorUrgent PSA ##duet with @kylethomas ##skincare ##skincaretrends ##peelingsolution ##theordinary ##dermatologist♬ original sound – kyle thomas ✌️
I touched on this in one of my previous articles, but after watching someone supposedly microneedling a 30% acid peel into their face, I have doubled down on telling people to back away from any “professional” treatments that claim to be easy to use at home. As someone who literally got scabs on my face with an at-home microderm device (a story for another time), I’m telling you to just be patient with your existing products. It can take months of consistent product usage to see the beginnings of desired results, and trying to force those results to come faster is not worth the risk.
I know that societal expectations weigh very heavily on us, and even as a guy in the beauty industry, the most common reaction I got when my usage of base products came up in conversation was surprise. I think a shift to normalizing men wearing makeup (spoiler alert: virtually every person you’ve seen on TV or in a movie has makeup on to make their skin look more perfected) is slowly happening, and more skin care brands are ascribing to gender neutral marketing. But I personally cannot help but eye roll so hard at some of the stuff I’ve been seeing in regards to male-focused brands.
I think the concept of “male-focused” skin care or cosmetics is ridiculous; cosmetics are for anyone who wants to use them. Male skin is not fundamentally different in some way that requires an entirely separate category of products (another spoiler: the products in these male skin care brands are never any different than non-male focus brands), and we don’t need to brand male cosmetics with literal camouflage and references to combat or war to make them “appropriate.” I’ll talk about this more at a different time as I truly have a lot to say (who’s surprised) but TL;DR—men don’t need specialized cosmetic products.
In the grand scheme of things, there are many more serious beauty trends I’d absolutely love to leave behind in 2020, but I hope this list brought a little levity to your start of 2021. I hope y’all stay safe and healthy, and I’m not kidding, put down that chemical peel. <3